Cops: Fake N.Y. cabbie tries to rape woman in front of kids

NEW YORK - Police are searching for a man who they say posed as a cab driver and tried to rape a woman while her three children looked on, reports CBS New York.

Police have released surveillance video of the attack, which occurred Wednesday night.

The unidentified woman told New York City police she got into the suspect's dark-colored sedan at around 2 a.m. Sunday, after he said he was a livery cab driver, according to the station.

The driver took the woman and her kids - ages 5, 3 and 1 - on an 11-mile ride from Manhattan to a homeless shelter in Queens.

A sketch of the suspect.
CBS New York

Police said the driver attempted to sexually assault the woman when they arrived at the shelter. A sketch of the attacker was issued Wednesday.

Surveillance video shows the man lifting a little girl out of the back seat of the vehicle and leaving her on the sidewalk. Then, the mother gets out of the car with a second child and gets in a struggle with the suspect. That's when police said the man elbows one of the kids in the head.

Moments later, the suspect jumps back into the car and grabs the third child. The video shows him throwing the child from the car and onto the sidewalk, the station reports. The suspect then shifts into the driver's seat and takes off.

"It's something that does not happen in this area," Tony Valenzuela, who lives near the shelter, told CBS New York. "Normally, this area is very quiet and peaceful."

Authorities said there is no indication that the man responsible for the attack was a licensed livery cab driver. According to investigators, the suspect is Hispanic and possibly in his 40s. The victim said he spoke Spanish and had an earring in his right ear and manicured eyebrows. He was last seen wearing a dark blue sweat suit with white stripes.

The station reports two of the victim's three children have been treated for minor injuries.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or text 'TIP577' to 274637 (CRIMES).