SoHo on alert after alleged sexual assault

May 29, 2008 6:35:02 AM PDT
Police hit the streets in force after a woman was sexually assaulted in SoHo early Wednesday morning. The victim was reportedly followed from the subway to her apartment building, where she was attacked by a man armed with a box cutter. Eyewitness News reporter Jeff Rossen has the story.

Police say the suspect actually followed the 19-year-old woman down the street from the subway station several blocks. When the woman reached her building, the suspect allegedly asked her for a cigarette. She had one, so she gave it to him, and he then forced his way into the building.

The suspect had a box cutter and gave the victim a choice - get cut or get raped. He then dragged her into the courtyard, where he sexually assaulted her.

Police fingerprinted every inch of the front door, hoping for a match of the man.

"He followed her upstairs," NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly said. "He then accosted her and raped her downstairs."

"We've felt safe for a long time and we sort of live under this feeling of safety," one resident said. "It's, I think, a little delusional."

SoHo is always considered upscale, so the idea of an attacker has the neighborhood on alert.

"You want to think every neighborhood you live in is safe, but I don't know," another resident said.

Investigators reportedly found surveillance footage of the suspect and were discussing whether or not to release the information.