Police say they have a suspect in custody for the alleged attempted rape of an NYU student last week.
They were led to the suspect by two tips to their Crime Stoppers hotline, police said. He was also seen on video footage near the site of the attack, and cops said facial recognition software matched this suspect's name to the person seen in the videos.
The 20-year-old victim had just left school around 1 a.m. on Oct. 8 after a night of studying, she told police. She said she was walking on Thompson Street listening to music on her iPhone when she suddenly saw a shadow come up fast behind her. Before she could react, there was an arm around her neck, squeezing.
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She struggled to break free and started feeling light-headed, she told police. She was sexually assaulted but not raped, she said.
When her attacker tried to drag her between some cars, his grip on her neck loosened and she was able to break free and run, though he managed to take her bag. A woman in a taxi pulled up beside her to help her and called 911.
Police said they were able to track this suspect down because an employee at a store on the corner of Thompson and Prince saw him dart inside the vestibule of 120 Thompson then come back out about 30 seconds later. Police said the employee watched the suspect head east on Prince and right on West Broadway, right around where cops found the victim's things and the suspect's coat in a dumpster.
The suspect was also captured on video at 120 Thompson around 1:25 a.m. taking off his jacket and wrapping it around the young woman's bag. Another surveillance camera on Thompson Street caught him following the young woman, and then running away with her bag about two minutes later.
After police released some of the surveillance video footage with a request for information one Crime Stopper tipster called in with the name of the suspect currently in custody, and another sent in an email with his location. Special Victims Squad detectives received the email tip today while already out on the street searching for him and were able to respond to the given location and apprehend him, a law enforcement official said.
The suspect has 55 prior arrests and was recently released on parole, the official said. His parole officer told cops he missed his check-in last week.
He is expected to be charged sometime today.
Follow Danielle Tcholakian on Twitter @danielleiat