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Cops Investigating Possible 13th Brooklyn Sex Assault, Release More Details On No. 12

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- On Monday evening the NYPD was investigating whether the recent string of sex assaults in Brooklyn had grown by one to 13.

Just before 8 p.m. Monday, police responded to an incident in Sunset Park in which a woman claimed a male Hispanic in his 20s grabbed her buttocks before running off. Police are still investigating if this alleged incident is connected to the pattern of attacks that stretches back to March, reports CBS 2's Sean Hennessey.

The incident came following a confirmed assault early Monday morning on Vanderbilt Street in Windsor Terrace.

Police said that suspect, who was possibly Hispanic, approached the woman from behind and groped her. The woman, in her 20s, screamed and the suspect fled toward East 3rd Street.

"She was attacked by a man who pulled her down by her chest. She screamed," the victim's sister told CBS 2's Sean Hennessey on Monday night.

The incident occurred just before midnight Sunday night on the normally quiet street. The latest victim told police the suspect followed her from the subway when she was walking home.

The behavior is consistent with some of the other attacks that have occurred in Windsor Terrace, Park Slope and Sunset Park.  Police believe more than one attacker may be involved.

"She screamed luckily or maybe I'd be looking for a dead sister," the woman told Hennessey.

One resident, who identified herself only as "Barbara," told 1010 WINS' Steve Sandberg she's rattled by the incident.

"It's scary, you know? You gotta come out, you gotta walk the dogs, you don't know who's going to be behind you," she said. "Just make sure the doors are locked, looking behind me, just be careful. Hopefully, they'll catch him."

Detectives are still canvassing the area and talking to witnesses like Adam Lazaro.

"I heard a scream, poked my head out the window. I looked, I saw a guy running," Lazaro told CBS 2's Ann Mercogliano. "It was just scary, the minute you heard it, you knew something was up."

the latest victim is shaken up but is okay. What's not okay is the collective psyche of area women with so many sexual assaults and, so far, no arrests.

"It's terrible. They should have caught him by now. You know, it's just awful," said Alice Perretti of Windsor Terrace.

"This is getting ridiculous. I mean all these attacks. I think maybe police need to re-evaluate what they're doing, that's all. I'm sure they're trying, but this is not a good situation," said Laura Tendler of Kensington.

The attack has been linked to the series of sexual assaults that has been plaguing Park Slope, Hennessey reports. That makes it the 12th incident in the recent pattern.

Detectives had been stepping up their efforts to catch the groper or gropers. They've been taking laptops around, showing surveillance video of the attacks to witnesses, victims and even defendants in central booking.

"We've done a lot.  We're doing a lot of canvasses, we're showing pictures," Police Commissioner Ray Kelly told reporters, including CBS 2's Pablo Guzman.

Kelly said one problem has been a good description of the attacker, and other, a lack of physical evidence.

"If they're concerned, we're concerned, I can assure you," Kelly said. "We've had one completed rape out of the 12, so we have a minimal amount of forensic evidence to work with."

On Monday night there was a fine line between frustration and understanding.

"It's kind of a tough thing to catch. It's not like you can watch every single corner every second," said Ann Jhun of Windsor Terrace.

The Guardian Angels have also been involved, making their presence known at subway stations and along sidewalks.

Last Tuesday, police arrested Federico Chamorro Yax, 22, for allegedly groping women on two occasions.

The suspects are described as Latinos and about 5-foot-4 and in their late 20s or early 30s.

As always, if you any information about the recent groping incidents, you can contact Crime Stoppers.

  • You can call 1-800-577-8477 (TIPS). All calls are kept confidential.
  • You can log on to the Crime Stoppers website.
  • You can text your tip to 274637 (CRIMES), then enter TIP577.

What more can police and residents be doing to stop the recent spate of groping incidents? Sound off in our comments section.

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