Followup: Rape Suspect on Lower East Side; Security Concerns at Baruch Houses

Photo: NYPD.

Photo: NYPD.

Here’s a follow-up on this morning’s story concerning a sexual attack on a woman at the Baruch Houses. Police now say the suspect may have been responsible for two other incidents today.

This is the chain of events, as police describe it:

At 5:40 a.m., the suspect followed a 33-year-old woman inside her apartment on James St. He tried to grope her, but she fought the man off and he fled.

Then at 7:40 a.m., the man walked into a residential building on Broome Street and grabbed a 24-year-old woman by the shoulders. He also took her ID. She screamed and, once again, he took off.

Then at 8:45 a.m., the suspect came out from a stairwell as a 40-year-old resident of the Baruch Houses was approaching her apartment. The man engaged her in conversation, then forced his way into the apartment and raped the woman. As reported earlier, the victim was taken to Beth Israel Hospital. She has since been released.

Tonight, local media outlets are reporting about a potential security lapse at the Baruch Houses.

Channel 2:

…the assailant might have gotten into the building because of a problem neighbors were begging to have fixed. The lock on the front door has been broken for some time, and police believe it may have allowed the suspect to get in. Crime scene investigators photographed the front door to the building in the Baruch Houses New York City Housing Authority development, at 577 FDR Dr. near Delancey Street and the Williamsburg Bridge.

Channel 4:

Neighbors in the Baruch Houses, where one of the victims lived, said they were concerned about the buildings being easily accessible because of broken doors and wondered if the attack could have been avoided. “People from the outside come into the building like they live there,” said one woman. NYCHA said in a statement that they take the safety of residents seriously. “Today, senior staff visited Baruch Houses to assess the security measures,” the statement said. “Baruch Houses is one of NYCHA’s CCTV-equipped developments, and the Authority will work with the NYPD to identify anyone suspected in this incident.”

Channel 7:

A man who lives on the same floor as the victim blames NYCHA for failing to maintain the doors throughout the Baruch Houses, leaving them unlocked at all hours of the day. “Really sad that people do that,” he said. “You can walk in, doors are broken, still need a lot of repairs. It’s sad.”

If you can help find this suspect, call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS.There’s a $2500 reward for information.