Search for suspect in Staten Island attacks

April 8, 2008 4:47:44 PM PDT
The hunt is on for the suspect behind two violent attacks in Staten Island on women in the normally safe Eltingville section, on the borough's South Shore. The most recent attack, on a 25-year-old woman just after 2 a.m. last Thursday, is believed to have be the carried out by the same man who grabbed a woman off Richmond Hill Road and sexually assaulted her Febraury 26.

In Thursday's attack, the victim got off a bus at Barlow and Richmond avenues, less than a mile away from the Eltingville train station, and was walking home when a man approached from behind.

The suspect allegedly threw the woman to the ground and choked her. Police say she was able to fend off her attacker and fled, but he stole her purse.

On Feb. 26, a man fitting a similar description grabbed a 24-year-old woman from behind and threatened her with a gun while she waited at a bus stop at Richmond Hill Road and Vassar Street, near the Staten Island mall.

That woman was dragged behind a shed in a fenced-in backyard on Merry Mount Street, where she was forced to perform a sex act on the man.

The suspect escaped, and bloodhounds brought by police to the scene lost his scent a few blocks away.

Red-jacketed members of the Guardian Angels safety patrol fanned out across Eltingville on Sunday afternoon, handing out a sketch of the suspect and asking women to be careful.

Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa said the first time his group responded to the normally safe South Shore of Staten Island. He said his group may increase patrols in those neighborhoods.

Anyone with any information is being asked to call the anonymous police hotline, 1-800-572-TIPS.

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