By Sabina Mollot
A 25-year-old man from Hamilton Heights was arrested in connection with the brutal attack of a woman near Stuyvesant Town two Saturdays ago.
Frankie Simmons of 93 Hamilton Place was found, police said on Monday, after it was noticed in surveillance images that he was wearing a hospital wristband. After canvassing local hospitals, he was identified, police said, although a spokesperson for the NYPD said she didn’t have information about which hospital it was.
He has since been charged with assault in the first degree as a sexually motivated felony, robbery in the first degree, attempted burglary in the second degree that was sexually motivated and strangulation in the second degree as a sexually motivated felony.
The incident, which occurred on May 29, sent shockwaves in the community for the seemingly random violence. It was around 2 a.m. on East 18th Street between First and Second Avenue, when a man grabbed a woman in a chokehold, and when she tried to fight back, punched her in the face repeatedly until she blacked out. When the victim regained consciousness, she saw that her underwear had been pulled down to her knees. Her phone had also been stolen.
According to a criminal complaint, the woman suffered a broken orbital plate and will have to undergo surgery as a result of her injuries, which also included bruising and swelling to her face, mouth, legs and arms and cuts on her face, elbows and knees.
Security was beefed up in Stuyvesant Town after surveillance images showed the suspect strolling into a building in the complex. Police said this occurred after he followed a woman into the building but she slammed the doors shut behind her. He followed her into the vestibule before peering inside the locked inner door. According to a spokesperson for Blackstone, he couldn’t get further inside than the vestibule.
Following the incident, the suspect got into a cab on First Avenue and 19th Street and then headed to the Lower East Side. When he got out of the cab, he left the victim’s cell phone behind.
Town & Village since followed up with police about why the incident was classified simply as a robbery when information was originally shared with media outlets.
According to a rep for the NYPD, the reason is that police consider robbery a more major crime when force is used than felony assault (with no robbery).
The NYPD spokesperson added that when sending out emailed requests for media attention, only the top crime is used to describe the incident. She predicted correctly that the suspect would end up facing a number of charges.
Simmons, who was arraigned on Monday, was incarcerated without bail. He has another court appearance on Friday. His Legal Aid attorney, Caroline Ng, was not immediately available for comment.
UPDATE: Paula Chirhart, a spokesperson for StuyTown Property Services, said, “We are happy to have assisted the 13th Precinct by providing them with video and photos that aided in their investigation and are pleased to have such a strong relationship with them.”