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Police Canvass Queens Neighborhood With Child Sexual Predator On The Loose

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Police on Saturday morning were stepping up their search for a sexual predator in Queens.

As CBS 2's Janelle Burrell reported, officers were going door-to-door, trying to catch the man who has assaulted two young girls and exposed himself to another. Fliers have been plastered around the South Ozone Park section of Queens.

Police said a man driving a tan van exposed himself to a 13-year-old girl and then trailed her for several blocks Thursday afternoon.

The man fits the description of the suspect sought in connection with two incidents in South Ozone Park that occurred within hours of each other on Wednesday. All three incidents happened in the area of 115th Street and Sutter Avenue, CBS 2's Derricke Dennis reported Friday.

In the first incident Wednesday, the suspect followed two sisters, ages 7 and 12, as they walked home from school, Kelly said. When the younger girl bent down to tie her shoe, the suspect grabbed her buttocks and walked off mumbling, Kelly said.

Then around 6 p.m. Wednesday, a man believed to be the same suspect forced another 7-year-old girl to commit a sex act, Kelly said. The girl had hopped over a fence to retrieve a basketball at the time of the incident, Kelly said.

Neighbors in the area were on edge this week.

"I've got two kids too, and I don't want the same thing that happened to the girl to happen to my kids," said neighbor Ivan Yagual.

"This is a very quiet, quiet place," added Peter Singh. "Nothing happens over here, anytime."

In addition to the door-to-door canvassing, police have set up a mobile command post with a makeshift precinct, hoping to solicit tips.

The suspect is believed to be in his 20s, around 6-foot, 160 pounds with black hair. The suspect was last seen wearing a blue hooded sweatshirt with white writing on the front, dark jeans and was carrying a purple back pack.

South Ozone Park Forcible Touching Suspect Sketch
Police have released this sketch of a man wanted in two forcible touching incidents, and a third incident with an older child, in South Ozone Park. (credit: NYPD)

A $12,000 reward is being offered for the arrest and indictment of the suspect. There's also an NYPD mobile command post set up, as a makeshift precinct, and officers are being deployed door to door for information.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (5477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.

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