A suspect has been arrested in connection with three terrifying incidents at a Manhattan Park earlier in the week, police said.
Police said Elvis Nina Pichardo, 40, of the Bronx, is facing charges after two women and a man, each who were walking alone inside Inwood Park on Monday, were attacked within just minutes of each other. The suspect in all three incidents threatened to sexually assault the victims, police said.
Pichardo was first taken into custody on Friday after being linked to a separate crime in the same police precinct.
The first attack occurred around 11 a.m. Monday, when a 34-year-old woman was punched by a man who threatened rape, then stole her phone, earbuds and watch. Shortly after, around 11:45 a.m., a 40-year-old man walking a dog was approached by a man who said he wanted to commit a sex act, and then threatened to kill the dog, according to police. That victim saw a jogger and cried out for help, scaring the would-be attacker away.
Just minutes later, a 44-year-old woman was also walking a dog when the victim took a tree branch to the head, police said, knocking her unconscious. A passerby found her dog, and the saw the woman with her pants pulled down. The victim was later hospitalized with a cut to the forehead.
Earlier in the week, Mayor Bill de Blasio called the attacks "outrageous" and "completely unacceptable." He also said that the NYPD and NYC Parks Department would deploy more officers to the Inwood Hill Park area.
On Friday, community members gathered to walk together in a large group, hoping to reclaim the park. The Parks Department increased patrols on horseback and the NYPD added scooter task force officers. They have also put up signs announcing up to a $3,500 reward for information.