Sunnyside and Woodside concerned over sex attacks


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com |

Photo Courtesy of Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer
Photo Courtesy of Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer

For the past month, women in Sunnyside and Woodside have been looking over their shoulders for a predator on pedals.

With incidents of sexual assault rising across the five boroughs, the neighboring communities are the most recent areas to experience repeated sexual attacks on women.

Beginning September 15, five women and one 12-year-old girl have reported being groped from behind by a man riding a black mountain bicycle. The pervert has been described as a Hispanic male between the ages of 30 and 40.

Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer joined local elected officials on October 17 on 46th Street and Queens Boulevard in Sunnyside in order to alert the public of the predator’s existence.

“Sunnyside and Woodside are safe neighborhoods but one assault against women is one too many,” said Van Bramer. “We will track down this cowardly criminal and make sure he is punished and put away. We must be vigilant as a community as the 108th Precinct pursues leads in the case, and I will do all I can to assist the NYPD in getting this sexual predator off our streets.”

The first attack occurred on the morning of September 15, and the most recent incident happened at 8 a.m. on October 7 on 39th Avenue and 46th Street. The suspect reportedly strikes in the same general vicinity, with incidents usually occurring only a few blocks apart, say police.

“We must have zero tolerance for the recent rash of groping incidents in our neighborhoods,” said Senator Michael Gianaris, who has introduced legislation that would make the groping of a child a felony requiring mandatory jail time. “In addition to the passage of my bill that would increase penalties for gropers, we must band together as a community to keep our streets safe and free from sexual predators.”

A full-scale investigation by the NYPD and 108th Precinct is already underway. Police are asking for the public’s assistance in catching the criminal, and a surveillance video, which was taken October 6 and depicts the suspect riding his bicycle down the street, has been released.

“The women of our community should not have to walk through our neighborhoods in fear of being attacked,” said Congressmember Joseph Crowley. “I urge everyone to take a good look at the surveillance tape and contact the authorities if you recognize the suspect, as well as report any suspicious activity. This is a time when our community can work together to help ensure our family, friends and neighbors are safe and to help bring the person responsible for these attacks to justice.”