Caught on Tape: Suspect in East River Park Rape (Updated)

suspect east river park

Police have released still photos and surveillance video showing the man they believe raped a woman in East River Park Wednesday evening.

The incident happened at around 7:30 p.m. The victim was dragged by her hair from the footpath near Jackson Street into the amphitheater and brutally assaulted. Cops said he claimed to have a gun but never showed it. Following the attack, the suspect stole the victim’s credit card and cell phone. He used the card at a nearby deli, where these surveillance images were captured. The 26 year-old victim was taken to Beth Israel Hospital and later released.

After the suspect took off on a bicycle, the woman sought help from a young man who was walking his dog in the park. According to the Daily News, she borrowed a phone from 18-year-old Kevin Becker to call 911. “She came up, she was really distraught,” said Becker, “She told me she was raped. I said, ‘Are you OK? Are you hurt? What can I do?'” Becker, a college student, added, “I was really surprised this happened in my hometown, in my area. I go to that park every day with my dog.”

As the News noted, locals have complained about poor lighting and insufficient patrols in the park for a long time. In the 7th Precinct this year, there have been eight rapes, compared with six in the same time period last year. Over the summer, a woman was sexually assaulted in East River Park. During the past 16 months, the News reported, there’s also been one felony assault, two robberies and eight grand larcenies in the park.

The woman said her attacker was a black man in his 20s with dreadlocks, 5-feet-8 and weighing 200 pounds. If you have any information about this crime, call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS.

UPDATE: The suspect has been identified as 28-year-old Paul Niles. According to Channel 2, he was arrested on public lewdness charges last month.