Man arrested in Brooklyn rapes

March 21, 2008 8:12:16 PM PDT
A man was arrested Friday in connection with two rapes in Brooklyn.Police say 29-year-old Thomas Boker was charged with rape and robbery in two separate assaults. He was taken to a Brooklyn hospital for a psychiatric evaluation.

Both incidents took place at the Van Dyke housing complex.

Sources say the suspect was about to be charged when he began acting disoriented and seemed to not know who he was. He was taken to a hospital for evaluation and was placed under arrest there.

The most recent attack happened around 1:45 a.m., Thursday, at 414 Sutter Avenue, when a 19-year-old woman was forced at knifepoint to the roof of a building, where she was raped.

Police released a description of the man wanted for questioning. He was described as a black man, 5-foot-7, wearing a gray hoodie, blue jeans, dark hat and a black vest.

In the first incident on March 6, authorities say a male followed a female into a building on 345 Blake Avenue, produced a knife, forced her to a stairwell and then sexually assaulted her for almost 40 minutes.

He was described as a black male between the ages of 20 and 30, approximately 5-foot-6 and 150 pounds. He had a tan complexion and was last seen wearing a green knit hat.

In relation to the first incident, the New York City Police Department admitted two cops who were supposed to patrol the building and claimed they had actually never did. The two were stripped of their guns and badges after the cameras showed they hadn't performed the stairwell patrols. They face disciplinary action.

Meanwhile, residents have long questioned whether the large number of cameras, both inside and outside the buildings, are always on and being monitored.

Additionally, residents criticized the shoddy upkeep of the building, saying that the front door was broken and that anyone could walk in or out.

The NYPD released the following statement after the attack:

"Only 7-second snippets of each of the 24 cameras in 23 separate buildings in the complex are fed into the monitoring room at any given time. Contrary to published accounts, it has not been established that any portion of the attack was fed into the monitoring room. However, it was established that two officers did not do a vertical patrol of the building when they claimed they had. They were taken off enforcement duties and face disciplinary actions. The rape was at the Van Dyke complex. We do not identify the building out of privacy of the victim."

The Van Dyke Houses has 22 buildings, ranging from three to 14 stories high, with 1,601 apartments housing some 4,330 residents. The 22.35-acres complex was completed May 31, 1955 and is bordered by Mother Gaston Boulevard, Powell Street, Sutter and Livonia Avenues in Brooklyn.