As New York police scour the city for a man believed to be responsible for a robbery, rape and an attempted rape this week, reports are surfacing that a broken front door that remained unrepaired gave the assailant access to his victim.
As reported by CBS2, the attacker may have entered the housing development located near Delancey Street within sight of the Williamsburg Bridge on FDR Drive. Photos were taken of the Baruch Houses front door by crime scene investigators after residents stated they had repeatedly begged for the door lock to be repaired.
The Lower East Side crime spree took place in a three-hour period that began at approximately 5:40 a.m. That was allegedly when a 33-year-old woman was followed into her James Street apartment building by the suspect who then attempted to rob and rape her. When she fought back, he fled.
He turned up again two hours later on Broome Street at another apartment building. Authorities reported he again followed his intended victim into her building before grabbing her shoulders and snatching her ID out of her hand. She screamed, and once again thwarted, the predator fled the scene.
Authorities surmise that in his third attack, he had already gotten in through the unlocked door and was lurking in the housing project's stairwell. At about 8:45 a.m., he followed his 40-year-old victim as she exited the elevator. He then forcibly entered her apartment and sexually assaulted her. He also stole her cellphone as he was leaving.
Neighbors told a reporter that the victim of the assault is hearing-impaired and might not have heard him until it was too late.
According to several tenants, the lock had been broken for weeks. While the TV station was shooting video, a New York City Housing Authority worker arrived and attempted in vain to repair the door.
Similar cases of inadequate security can form the basis of premises liability litigation when residents or visitors are harmed.
Source: New York CBS, "Police: Man Attacked Three Women In Three Hours In Lower East Side," Nov. 12, 2015