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Southeast Queens is frustrated with the lack of progress the police have made in capturing two suspected serial rapists after a woman claimed she was accosted by a stranger early Monday morning in Jamaica.
The unidentified victim said she got off a bus at Sutphin Boulevard and Yates Road around 1 a.m. when she was grabbed by a man and dragged to a nearby lot, police said. The woman was able to fight off herattacker and run away to safety while the man fled. She was unharmed, according to the police.
Women who live and work near the intersection said they were afraid to go out alone because the police were searching for two men who they say have been responsible for a string of sexual assaults over the last couple of months.
"You got no choice but to watch your back," said Shaquanna Harris, 15, of Jamaica.
One of the suspects was described by police as a black man, age 19-23, 5-foot-8 inches, with a medium build and close-cut black hair. He assaulted two women who were waiting for the Q85 bus three weeks ago, police said.
In both cases, police said the man dragged the victim to a secluded area before assaulting them.
Police said they were investigating whether or not Monday's attacker is the same man.
The authorities were also searching for another individual who they said is connected to at least eight rapes in Jamaica, St. Albans and Springfield Gardens, the earliest reported on Nov. 11 and the latest reported July 9.
The rapist was described as a black man who wore a hooded sweatshirt and had a bandana featuring dollar bills that covered his face, police said.
Police said he also had a tattoo of the letter "D" on his right wrist.
Sketches of the suspects have been widely circulated across southeast Queens, but residents said it is not enough. Many want a bigger police presence on their streets to ensure they are safe.
"[The suspect] blends in," Shaquanna said. "We need more cops here. They don't do anything when there are no rapes going on."
City Councilman James Sanders (D-Laurelton) and his wife Andrea led a protest last week outside the 105th Precinct, where there were 11 reported rape cases this year, and also called for more police action.
Anyone with information on the sexual assault cases is urged to call Crimestoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477). All calls will be kept confidential.
Cory Tischbein contributed to this article.
Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 146.
©2008 Community Newspaper Group
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