NYPD Police Commissioner Ray Kelly thanked two local heroes today for going above and beyond in helping to nab a man accused of groping children on the street in Brooklyn.
The man also, police said, injured a police officer who was trying to question him when she thought he resembled a police sketch of the child-groping suspect. He pushed her to the ground and dislocated her shoulder, Kelly said.
Apparel designer Lawrence Abdullah, 40, and college student Mahdi Whareed, 22, were on their way to grab a bite to eat in Park Slope this past Monday afternoon when they heard a woman cry out for help.
She was yelling, "Get him!" So Abdullah and Whareed stopped and saw a man running down the street. They figured he must have done something unlawful, Abdullah said, so they took off after him.
They hollered at a man on a bicycle ahead of them to stay after the man they were pursuing and he did. Eventually the three of them caught up with the person and, still not knowing why they had chased him, Abdullah asked him why he was running.
The man told them a woman had tried to take his ID from him. Abdullah was skeptical, he said, and asked to see the ID. He took a photo of it with his iPhone and the man fled. The next day, Abdullah's wife saw a news report about a man wanted for molesting children in the neighborhood. She pointed it out to Abdullah and he thought the sketch looked like the person whose ID he had photographed.
On Wednesday, Kelly said, Abdullah saw another news report on television about the "Brooklyn groper." Sure it was the same person he had chased, he went directly to the 78th precinct and told a detective there his story.
Abdullah recalled how when he finished his story, the detective said, "please tell me you have a photo of the ID."
Thanks to Abdullah's information, police were able to track down 34-year-old Jesse Dailey at his home in Park Slope. He was arrested and charged with two counts of sex abuse, two counts of forcible touching, and three counts of endangering the welfare of a child.
Kelly spoke glowingly of Abdullah and Whareed.
"Their actions exemplify the courage and bravery that makes us all proud to be New Yorkers," the police commissioner said. "And it is another reminder that every day we are surrounded by heroes."
Police have so far connected Dailey to two incidents. The first occurred on Sept. 20, when a 10-year-old and an 11-year-old girl were walking together along 5th Avenue in Park Slope in the afternoon. A man, who police now believe was Dailey, rubbed himself against the 10-year-old and groped the 11-year-old. On Nov. 11, an 11-year-old girl was walking her dog on 4th Avenue, when a man started following her and then groped her and ran away, police said.
Abdullah, who has a baby daughter turning one year old on Thanksgiving, said he'd do it all again in a heartbeat, especially after he learned what Dailey was wanted for.
"I feel like I was just doing what was supposed to be done," Abdullah said.
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