Suspect arrested in Queens child sex assaults

May 8, 2013 3:02:35 AM PDT
A suspect who had been on the run for days after he allegedly targeted little girls in Queens to sexually assault is now in police custody.

Police say 25-year-old Lee Samuel, who is homeless, was the man caught on numerous surveillance cameras near where two 7-year-old girls were groped just hours apart in South Ozone Park.

Authorities say Samuel was trying to hide out at a friend's apartment in Washington Heights when the friend recognized him from the video and called police.

It was the end to a weeklong manhunt that left parents on edge.

The first incident happened just before 3 p.m. on May 1, when the suspect approached the victim from behind and grabbed her buttocks. The girl's 12-year-old sister saw it happen and yelled at the suspect, who fled the scene.

Less than three hours later, the same man allegedly approached his second victim outside her neighbor's home after a ball went over a fence. Police say the girl went to retrieve it, and the suspect performed a sex act on her and fled the location on foot.

"Fortunately, we have these videos," Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said. "And they've been talking with the individual, and hopefully we've got the right individual."

He is charged with sex abuse, forcible touching, endangering the welfare of a child and criminal sex act.

Samuel reportedly has prior arrests, all related to similar incidents.