Suspect grabbed 2 women in separate incidents
By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Police are looking for a suspect who grabbed and groped two women in separate incidents in Bensonhurst in August.
One of the incidents took place on the sidewalk outside 1839 Bath Ave. (between Bay 19th and Bay 20th streets) on Monday, Aug. 11, according to police, who said the suspect, a Hispanic man in his 20s, approached a 34-year-old woman from behind as she was walking down the street at approximately 10:20 p.m., grabbed her buttocks and then forcibly touched her private parts before fleeing on foot.
The Bath Avenue site where the shocking incident took place is located outside the parish hall of Saint Finbar Catholic Church. The Rev. Michael Louis Gelfant, the pastor of St. Finbar, told the Brooklyn Eagle that he was shocked when he heard about the incident.
The suspect also fondled a 31-year-old woman as she was entering her apartment building at approximately 9:05 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 10, cops said. As was the case with the Aug. 11 incident, the suspect grabbed the victim from behind, forcibly touched her private parts, and then fled the scene on foot.
Police did not release the exact address where the Aug. 10 attack took place, citing the need to protect the victim’s privacy.
Cops are asking for the public’s help in finding the suspect. The NYPD released a video of the man entering the building in the Aug. 10 incident.
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS. The public can also submit tips by logging onto Crime Stoppers' website at www.nypdcrimestoppers.com or by texting their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577.
All calls are strictly confidential.
At St. Finbar Church on Wednesday, Father Gelfant expressed concern about a plan by the city to plant trees on the sidewalk on Bath Avenue. When asked if he was worried that the new trees would obscure the view of the sidewalk from the church’s security cameras, he answered, “Very much so.”
The city “planted 10 trees on Bay 19th Street and those cameras were useless in the attack,” the pastor told the Eagle. “The same will now be true for Bath Ave. and there was an armed robbery across the street. So now the city will plant six more trees, giving St. Finbar 16 new trees."
The trees are being planted by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation under the Million Trees program, according to local officials. The program is a public-private initiative by the Parks Dept. and the New York Restoration Project that started during the Bloomberg Administration.