Investigators say 47-year-old Lawrence Elliot followed the victim into her building on West 147th Street Thursday afternoon.
He allegedly threatened her with a firearm and forced his way into her apartment.
Once inside, police say the suspect sexually assaulted the 21-year-old City College student.
This is not the first time Elliot has been arrested.
He served prison time for raping an 18-year-old woman in Syracuse, according to the State Division of Criminal Justice Services.
Residents living in Hamilton Heights are relieved he's once again behind bars.
"We were really scared. I go to school at night. I made sure people were aware when I'm walking home," Hamilton Heights resident Crystal Ramos said.
Surveillance video helped detectives crack this case.
Police say Elliot used his alleged victim's ATM card at a deli, blocks away from the crime scene and just moments after the alleged assault.
Women who live nearby hope prosecutors throw the book at him.
"I'm relieved. I'm glad he's off the streets and we caught him. But it's nerve racking, especially as a young woman." said Hamilton Heights resident Taylor McHugh.
Elliot is charged with predatory sexual assault, criminal sex act, burglary, robbery, kidnapping sexual abuse, and criminal possession of stolen property.
He was arraigned Sunday and is being held without bail.