A woman jogging in East River Park was attacked by a sicko who dragged her by the hair off a path and then raped and robbed her, police said Thursday.
The 26-year-old Manhattan resident was running in the park near Jackson St. on the Lower East Side when the creep attacked her around 7:45 p.m. Wednesday, cops said. He claimed to have a gun but never brandished it.
He grabbed her by the hair and dragged her off the footpath into the park’s amphitheater, where he raped her. The brute then rummaged through her pockets and snatched her credit card and cellphone before fleeing on a bicycle, police said.
The woman dashed out of the park to Jackson St., borrowed a phone from passerby Kevin Becker, 18, and called 911.
“She came up, she was really distraught,” said Becker, a college student home for Thanksgiving who was about to walk his pet husky across a footbridge to the park where the attack happened.
“She told me she was raped. I said, ‘Are you OK? Are you hurt? What can I do?’” he said. “I was really surprised this happened in my hometown, in my area. I go to that park every day with my dog.”
The victim, clad in jogging clothes, stayed on Becker’s phone with police until two cruisers arrived. She was taken to Beth Israel Medical Center, where she was treated and released, officials said.
Investigators released surveillance footage of the suspect after tracing the victim’s credit card to a deli where it was used after the attack.
The victim described her attacker as black, 5-feet-8, about 200 pounds and with dreadlocks, police said. Cops said he’s in his 20s.
Among advocates, the park between the Williamsburg and Manhattan bridges has a reputation for being poorly lit and an invitation for danger. But news of the attack shocked joggers.
“It’s a very scary thought,” said Amy Gonzalez, 27. “I definitely have my guard up now that it gets dark earlier.”
Samantha Chen, 23, said she may alter her running route.
“I can’t believe it happened here at the park,” she said. “You would think it would be nice right next to the East River.”
Rape is up 4.3% citywide through Nov. 22, compared with the same period last year, according to NYPD statistics. There have been 1,269 rape cases reported this year, compared with 1,217 over the same stretch last year.
In the 7th Precinct — where the Wednesday attack took place — there were eight rapes through Nov. 22, compared with six through the same date last year.
In July, a 41-year-old woman was raped by a teenager while she was walking in the park just after midnight. The teen fled when a passerby appeared.
And back in December 2012, a 42-year-old woman was the target of an attempted rape in the park. The suspect knocked her to the ground and pulled off her pants. She was able to fight him off and he fled.
Police later issued a sketch of him, but as in the July case, it’s unclear if he was arrested.
Before Wednesday’s attack, over the past 16 months, the 46-acre park had seen one rape, one felony assault, two robberies, and eight grand larcenies, records show.
The park has a reputation for being dangerous, said Geoffrey Croft, of NYC Park Advocates.
“The amphitheater has always been a place which offers some protection for people doing bad things, and the lighting isn’t that great,” he said.
Cops hunting suspect in rape of 26-year-old jogger in East River Park pic.twitter.com/vrO2A8Llyp
— NY Daily News Video (@NYDNVideo) November 27, 2015