What to Know
- Police are looking for a man who allegedly followed a woman into a building near East 20th Street and Avenue C, and sexually abused her
- The man groped her in the elevator, then tried to pull her into a stairwell, got on top of her and choked her, police said
- The woman screamed, prompting the suspect to run off; anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers
Police say they've arrested the man captured on surveillance video following a woman into her apartment building in Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village, where he allegedly groped her on the elevator, then tried to pull her into a stairwell and choked her on Monday morning.
Melvin Collins, 36, of Brooklyn, has been arrested on burglary, sex abuse, forcible touching, assault and criminal obstruction of breathing charges in the attack, police say. It's not clear if he has an attorney who could comment on the charges.
Police said the victim, a 42-year-old woman was going into the building in the area of East 20th Street and Avenue C just after 8 a.m. when the suspect followed her inside. He then groped her and kissed her, and when the woman ran from the elevator, he tried to pull her into a stairwell, got on top of her and choked her, according to police.
The woman screamed, prompting the man to run down the stairs and out of the building.
She was taken to Bellevue Hospital in stable condition with scratches to her neck, police said.
Building management said they have 24/7 security and surveillance cameras everywhere in the complex, including inside the elevators.
"It's scary, but I come home even late at night, and I'm never threatened, and I'm not going to change," said resident Marilyn Levin. "I cannot become a prisoner of insane people. I will not do it. I have to keep living my life the way it is."
Ellen Mammen said of Stuy Town added, "I do think as a society in New York, generally Manhattan, we do have this false sense of security... but we as women have to always have our guard up and it's important to me because I have a 15-year-old daughter and I will be telling her all about this."
Anyone with information is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS.