EAST VILLAGE, Manhattan (WABC) -- A man is under arrest after a woman was followed into an elevator and sexually assaulted her in Manhattan apartment building.
Police said 36-year-old Melvin Collins, of Brooklyn, faces sexual abuse and assault charges after the attack happened in an elevator Monday around 8:10 a.m. at a building in Stuyvesant Town near East 20th and Avenue C.
A keycard is required for gaining access to the lobby, but police said he "piggybacked" on a building resident by walking in after he or she unlocked the door.
The man, believed to be in his 30s, followed the 42-year-old woman into the elevator where he groped and kissed her. She tried to get away, but he pulled her into the stairwell, where he straddled her and choked her.
When she screamed, she said he ran off. The victim suffered scratches to her neck and was treated at Bellevue Hospital.
Even though residential buildings like these have strong security systems, several similar attacks have occurred in recent years.
A sign now warns neighbors about what happened, reminding them to be alert.
"You got to watch out who you let in, you know?" neighbor Mark Lekocaj told Eyewitness News. "You never know who's behind you, so I always try to explain that to people, and I always watch my surroundings as well."
Anyone with information in regards to the above incident is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.
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Man charged after woman sexually assaulted in East Village elevator
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