Officials warn Sunnyside of bicycle-riding groper

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn (l.) joins Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer to hand out fliers in Sunnyside with information about a sexual assault suspect to No. 7 train commuters. Photo by Christina Santucci
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City Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan) and Sunnyside electeds passed out fliers near the No. 7 train 46th Street-Bliss Street station early Monday morning, warning commuters of a groper in the area who has attacked five women and a 12-year-old girl.

“This is an assault upon our entire neighborho­od,” said U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-Jackson Heights).

NYPD released information Saturday about the groper, who is described as a 30- to 40-year-old Hispanic male. Police said the suspect rides up to women on a black mountain bicycle, grabs their breasts or buttocks, and then flees.

City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) said the area’s officials mobilized quickly to alert the public after hearing news of the groper. He said they have kept in close contact with the NYPD, including 108th Precinct Captain Donald Powers.

“We will track down this criminal,” Van Bramer said. “We will lock him up.”

The first attack occurred on Sept. 15 and the latest was Oct. 7, police said. The perpetrator has struck in Sunnyside and Woodside between 38th and 43rd avenues and 42nd and 56th streets, usually very early in the morning, police said. The perpetrator’s victims included a 17-year-old Hispanic girl, a 38-year-old white woman, a 12-year-old white girl, a 29-year-old Asian woman, a 29-year-old Hispanic woman and a 24-year-old white woman.

Quinn encouraged any other victims to contact the NYPD.

“We need to ask anyone who has been groped by this individual to do the brave thing and come forward,” she said.

Crowley commended the use of surveillance cameras used to get a video of the suspect. He also reminded victims who may be illegal immigrants and who are scared of coming forward that officers can not ask the immigration status of anyone who reports a crime.

“They can reach out to their elected officials whether they’re here illegally or not,” the congressman said.

State Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria) said the community needs to come together to stop the groper.

“Today’s groper is tomorrow’s rapist,” Gianaris said.

This rash of gropings by a man on a bicycle is similar to those reported by women in Astoria this summer. A 33-year-old Hispanic man, Miguel Hermenegildo, was arrested after the reports, police said.

Those with information should contact the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers by phone at 1-800-577-TIPS, by visiting or by texting 274637 then entering TIP577.

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4564.

Updated 10:28 am, October 20, 2011
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