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Police Release New Video Of Man Accused Of Raping Central Park Jogger

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- There's new video in the search for a possible suspect in a a sexual assault in Central Park.

The woman was raped while jogging Thursday.

As CBS2's Jenna DeAngelis reports, the path is tucked close to the pond, not far from Wollman Rink.

Police have been collecting video of a person of interest hoping it will help lead to an arrest.

Police released surveillance video of a man they want to question following the sexual assault in Central Park Thursday morning, leading to increased patrols in the park, and posters for tips.

"I'm actually terrified because I do walk these two guys every morning," said Upper East Side resident Andrea Tamayo.

The incident at 7:20 a.m. is shocking to parkgoers.

"I don't go out at night, don't go out at night in the park. It's scary. But 7 a.m., when it's daylight its nerve wracking and creepy," Tamayo said.

Police say the 27-year-old woman was jogging on the the footpath near Swan Lake, not far from busy Center Drive, when her attacker approached from behind, putting her in a chokehold, causing her to briefly lose consciousness before sexually assaulting her.

One tourist in the area says there were plenty of people around but she had no idea this happened.

"It's sad, especially as a tourist. You come places and you're not necessarily aware of your surroundings and all the dangers. You think you're invincible, but you're really not, so you should probably be a little more aware," said Sue Decker of Texas.

While the interior of the park does not have surveillance cameras, police have been canvassing cameras outside the park trying to retrace the man's steps. They tracked him to a subway station, a store and outside a smoke shop on Eighth Avenue.

"They say they see him a couple times in the store," said employee Mubrak Maflehi.

Maflehi claims the man allegedly tried to sell a cell phone to his coworker that morning, and they believe it is the woman's phone, which police say was reported missing after the assault.

"My coworker, he see him in the morning time, yesterday. He come sell him the phone, probably the phone he take from the girl," Maflehi said. "He want to come sell the phone to him in the morning and then the guy, he didn't buy the phone from him, and he just walk away."

central park rape nypd patrols deangelis
(Credit: CBS2)

According to NYPD data, this was the sixth rape reported in the park this year, compared to two by this time in 2020.

Police increased patrols following this incident. Investigators were working throughout the night. There were Crime Stoppers posters in the vicinity Friday morning.

"Just to see something like that here, it's devastating," said Dexter Price.

"I love New York because I was feeling so free when I moved here, and now I'm in constant panic and crossing the street if I see a suspicious person, and it's just getting out of hand," said Tamayo.

Police said the woman was taken to the hospital in stable condition. The search for her attacker continues.

Anyone with information is asked to call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). You can also submit a tip via their website or via DM on Twitter, @NYPDTips. All calls are kept confidential.

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