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Police: Man Attempts To Rape Woman In Stuyvesant Town Elevator, Climbs Down Tree To Flee

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - The NYPD wants your help identifying a man they say tried to rape a woman in Stuyvesant Town early Friday morning.

The incident took place at around 4 a.m.

The suspect followed a 20-year-old woman into the elevator in Stuyvesant Town and attempted to rape her, police said.

The victim fought back, and the suspect eventually took off running.

Stuyvesant Town Attempted Rape Suspect
The suspect enters the building. (credit: NYPD)
Stuyvesant Town Attempted Rape Suspect
Moments before the attack in the elevator. (credit: NYPD)
Stuyvesant Town Attempted Rape Suspect
The suspect climbs down a tree to make his escape. (credit: NYPD)

In surveillance video, the suspect is wearing a dark hoodie, a dark t-shirt, blue jeans and white sneakers and carrying a white plastic bag, perhaps filled with groceries. Police said he is Hispanic.

The video shows him following the woman into the building's lobby and into the elevator.

While in the elevator, as the doors are closing, the suspect appears to size up and appraise the woman before dropping his bag and stepping closer to her.

The video then cuts to the man running back out through the lobby, having left his bag behind.

The building sits on top of two garage levels, so when he ran out, the suspect apparently hopped over a side wall and climbed down a tree to make his escape.

The commotion happened right outside Billy Stavropoulos' apartment.

"In the middle of my sleep I hear, 'Stop! You're hurting me. Stop you're hurting me. Stop, stop. And then by the time I threw some clothes on, I looked through my peep hole and didn't see anybody. But as soon as I opened the door, I heard the adjacent door of the staircase. I just missed the guy by a few seconds," he said.

Residents in the multiple building community say even with its own private security team, this crime is still alarming.

"I don't like to stay out late because it's scary, especially in an area like this, it makes it surreal," one resident told CBS 2's Tracee Carrasco.

"It's always scary. I know a lot of residents who have been here for 46 years and you have to keep moving, don't dwell on it," another said.

"He actually got away and then jumped down a tree and ran away and no one noticed. So my question is, what is security doing?" one resident said.

Stuyvesant Town sent an email out to residents Friday, urging them to close the security door behind them so no one can sneak in.

"Although our neighborhood is generally safe, we have had incidents--most recently the StuyTown Groper--so it's important for everyone to stay alert, not just for themselves but for their neighbors and the security of the building," the email reads.

Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call Crime stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477).  The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or by texting tips to 274637 (CRIMES) and then entering TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

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