A man armed with a knife grabbed a 13-year-old girl walking to school in Brooklyn Tuesday morning and threatened to sexually assault her before running away with her cellphone, police say.
The girl was walking along Cleveland Street in East New York just before 8 a.m., headed to her friend's house to pick her up on the way to school, when the man grabbed her by the arm, showed a knife and threatened to sexually assault her, police said.
He forced her to walk with him, demanding she keep quiet, according to police. The victim said something to her attacker to prompt him to flee, but he took her cellphone before running, according to police and her friend.
The girl ran to her friend's house, where the mother called police.
The friend, also 13, spoke to NBC 4 New York with the permission of her mother Tuesday and related what happened.
"We were going to go to school, I came downstairs and I saw her running and she was crying," said the friend. "I asked what happened and she said, 'Somebody tried to take me.'"
The man "held a knife to her face and said 'Come with me and hold my hand so it doesn't look suspicious,' so then she walked to the corner and that's when he started to tell her what he was going to do to her," said the victim's friend.
The girl is physically OK, but shaken up, her friend said.
Community activists rallied Tuesday night, concerned about another teenage girl being preyed upon, days after an alleged gang rape in Brownsville.
"I want to be very clear to individuals that would do this, that would set upon these young ladies in our community: you will not get away with this," said community activist Tony Herbert.
The suspect was described as a man in his 30s with facial hair, last seen wearing a khaki-style tan jacket, dark jeans, black boots and a black baseball cap. Police were continuing to canvass the area for more clues and surveillance images.