(UPDATED: Suspect arrested) Man chokes, sexually assaults woman in Stuy Town

Update: Police have arrested a man who was staying at the Armory Men’s Shelter on Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn. Melvin Collins, 36, was arrested Tuesday afternoon and charged with burglary, sexual abuse, criminal obstruction of breathing, forcible touching and assault.

By Sabina Mollot

Police are looking for a man who followed a woman into a building in Stuyvesant Town on Monday morning.

The victim, a 42-year-old woman, had entered 315 Avenue C when a man followed her inside at about 8:10 a.m.

Once inside an elevator, the man started groping and kissing her, police said. The woman then ran out of the elevator and the man chased her, and tried to pull her into a stairwell. The attacker then got on top of the woman and choked her. He took off however, fleeing down the stairs when the victim started screaming.

The victim suffered scratches to her neck and was taken to Bellevue Hospital in stable condition.

The suspect is described as being black, 30-35 years old and about 5’7″ to 5’9″, with a slim build. He was last seen wearing a dark long sleeve shirt, dark sneakers with white soles, and a baseball hat.

Neither he nor the victim are residents of Stuyvesant Town, according to management, and security has been beefed up in response to the incident.

“StuyTown Property Services has provided NYPD with video and is fully cooperating in the apprehension of the suspect,” said Rick Hayduk, general manager of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village. “Public Safety presence has been heightened around the two communities. Our thoughts are with the victim and her family.”

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25 thoughts on “(UPDATED: Suspect arrested) Man chokes, sexually assaults woman in Stuy Town

  1. Sounds a lot like what Rick said after the young lady was raped and almost killed in the vestibule of a building, yet here we are again.

    And is he kidding me? Heightened PS presence? You’ve all but stripped them of duties and made them nothing more than window dressing. We need the 13th precinct to start patrolling this property, NOW.

    Powers, Steinberg – now is your time to do something, although I’m sure we will just get a statement similar to Rick’s, with no action to back it up.

  2. What we need, in order to be secure, from anything from dog attacks to yet another sexual assault – or worse-is security at every entrance. No one should be allowed into the property in the first place who isn’t supposed to be here. We need doormen like security at all borders and entrances into the property, which is only one step towards preventing this from occurring once again.

    This is not the fault of a resident letting someone piggyback. This is the fault of Stuytown not being secure enough for our safety and it’s not realistic to expect the security team to be everywhere at all times.

    It’s also not realistic to expect the elderly and other residents to be the ones to stop someone from being here. That’s not our job and it could be dangerous or deadly. That’s the job for security at every entrance into the grounds, and ideally, at every building as well.

    Let’s begin with every entrance being guarded and all visitors or deliveries have to be called and checked and a name and id taken down.

    Why hasn’t that already been put into place?

    How realistic is the current system? A sign that says private property that doesn’t even mention trespassing will be prosecuted just isn’t enough. Even a better sign, which would be a start, wouldn’t stop a drugged up or dangerous attacker from entering.

    How many “me too”’s have to happen on out so called “Private Property” and “security team for residents” before something is done to make a safer place for us all?

    Isn’t once enough to show vulnerability?

    If Stuytown were a computer, and we got hacked, something would actuality change to prevent that from happening again. Yet, woman after woman after woman is getting traumatized living or being here and nothing is done by the powers that be to make sure it won’t happen again? A letter saying that she didn’t live here and he “piggybacked” his way in? Seriously? That never would have happened if security had been able to do its job and keep us secure at the gate. A security property management team would have never let it happen, as he would have been turned away- well before approaching any building or elevator here. And if he had been here for legit reason, then we would have his name and ID, making the job for the police a lot easier than just a videotape. Why not have that- and his name and ID? And how about stopping these dangerous people before they get anywhere near an elevator?

    This is the last time this should happen. If it occurs again, that’s on the management here not caring enough to take our safety seriously.

      • As a resident of 50+ years, I agree. It was never a gated community. However, we had a security force that did it’s job and crime was nearly nonexistent. If management is going to continue to add glorified resident service representatives dressed as public safety, we are in trouble and I think a change is necessary.

        Criminals know what’s going on here, and that is why this is becoming more commonplace. Maybe the time has come to make the community “gated?” With the L train shutdown there are going to be a lot of people walking in and around the property. Gating the community is the only thing that will keep this situation under control.

        • Understand the sentiment, but logistically that would be a major nightmare. They would need to physically seal off many/most of the entry points (a big, beautiful wall, anyone?), and there would be airport-like lines at the checkpoints while every incoming person is verified.

          Also, look at the video and note that this perp in this entered the T-level lobby from the sidewalk on Avenue C, not from within the complex.

  3. Sorry to say, but this can happen again and again. While groping and rape usually has a woman as victim, anyone (seniors, for instance) is a potential victim of being attacked, with money stolen. This is not a gated community, and that, I believe, is also prevented by the city as ST and PCV is “public access.” And, yes, it is the hope that the ferries will have potential renters coming through ST and PCV. So, there will be more people passing through and the Blackstone wish is that this will translate into more money…. And some residents will leave the bottom door open for that card-less “visitor,” and non-residents do not care, so they will leave the door open, regardless. Basically, it will get worse, but we do have those chairs on the Oval and dog days.

  4. When’s the next Oval concert or movie, Vampire Rick? His “thoughts” are with the victim? Isn’t the stereotypical expression “thoughts and prayers”?
    I’ll bet Public(?) Safety posts a guard–armed, no doubt–outside HIS family’s apartment front door 24/7 (since long before this incident happened).

  5. Aren’t the PS people watching the videos as they occur? I don’t understand why we have video if it’s only to be used after the fact. We know there are problems here. Why not have the elevators and lobbies watched 24/7? We have that kiosk on Ave. C and 18th St. Why is there never a guard in there to keep an eye on things especially since the ferry has opened? Spend some of your money on better security, Stuy Town, before you lose all the NYU students.

  6. The students will come, as will the AirBnb people. That’s the way of life here. PS is never, or almost never, at several booths that were built around the property. Maybe when the ferries start arriving, PS will have someone inside or nearby to tell people where to go. LOL. It’s mostly about money. This could be a more secure community, but Blackstone hopes to have money saved. They win, you lose.

  7. This is a large community, not easy to secure, but if anyone has gone to the security office, they can see that whatever happens it is not for lack of our Security wanting to do the best job possible. I for one applaud PCVST. Sadly this type of crime is happening almost everywhere in our city. Sometimes these horrible acts of violence are not the fault of the NYC police or the local security. Thank God that disgusting criminal was caught

    • Those cameras, which we pay MCI’s on, are reactive, not proactive. If we had more officers walking the property instead of in front of cameras, maybe some of these crimes would be stopped. You can not stop a crime in progress from behind a monitor, so those fancy screens are nothing worth applauding. Ask this poor woman and the previous woman what was raped and almost killed if they applaud the security measures on this property.

      Criminals know there is absolutely no NYPD presence on this property, and a crappy do-nothing security force, and that leaves us all susceptible to crime. But I’m glad you applaud their reactive security measures.

  8. So this suspect came from a men’s shelter in Brooklyn?? So now the neighborhood has to worry about the men’s shelter on 30th and first, the poorly run ACS facility on 29th and first, outside men’s shelters, and Powers wants to open another facility on 17th between First and Second????

    This neighborhood (not just PCVST) needs to stand up and stop this. Enough is enough Powers.

  9. “I for one applaud PCVST.” Wish I could applaud with you. There are a lot of problems with PS and relying on those monitors. And, yes, I was at the PS office numerous times. The monitors may be watched, but the crimes inside this community are still being committed. So, the monitors, which are paying for forever and which have been acclaimed by management and Blackstone, are not doing their job. That is obvious. And the PS presence outside the office is a joke. They are there mainly for show, with little enforcement of the rules, which are ignored by some residents all the time. How many times has the lobby door been left open for anyone to enter, how many doggie stains of do-do and pee are visible, how many of those “club cars” go this way and that way, ignoring the rules of the city, how many uncovered mattresses are left on the loops??? Residents who’ve been here a while will state that PS is not doing an efficient job. Whether they have been told not to “confront” tenants is another issue. I’m not on the inside, so I don’t know. I do know that I am not applauding.

    • Yep, the last attempted rape, at 628 E20, went on for 10+ minutes, in the vestibule. Security’s lame excuse was that it was only “partially visible” on camera. Even if only partially on camera, you don’t need Sherlock Holmes to deduce this teen holding a woman in a headlock while ripping her dress off at 5am is not business as usual…

  10. Opportunistic crimes and crimes of violence against vulnerable people have increased significantly in DeBlasio’s New York. There are times when I miss Bloomberg. Never thought I’d say that, but this lazy, arrogant, corrupt idiot has done NOTHING to improve the safety and wellbeing of any of the citizens of New York. Only his developer cronies have benefited from his being in office. The sooner he goes away and disappears, the better.

  11. In all seriousness, I wonder if he got here on the ferry from Brooklyn. The crime rate always increases wherever public transportation links exist. Did the city just unleash a crime wave in PCVST???

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  13. The ferry began service last spring/summer and I agree. The guard booth on Ave C ( and all of them around the property) need to have guards there watching out for us.

    I don’t think that enough people pass through the entrances at a time that it would cause a gridlock if we had secure entrances there. Even flashing the building card might be enough, but it doesn’t take long and there could be a special line or entrance for visitors and delivery maybe.

    Another option, since a lot of this seems to be happening inside the buildings is to have doormen. Somehow. Or a way for security to yell into a stairwell or vestibule or hallway that the perp is being recorded on high def camera and the police are moments away. That could stop them.

    In addition to this- I think that having signs and security ( even if we don’t have gates) at all of the entrances, as well as signs stating that this is Private Property for Residents ( with ID) only and their guests and Trespassing will be prosecuted to the Fullest Extent of the Lae could be helpful in reducing crime, preventing the outside and potentially dangerous dogs from entering and also keeping the playgrounds and oval and benches free from criminals/trespassers.. otherwise the word will spread that anyone can come here and with all of the shelters and projects nearby that could be looking for a sort of remote area to sleep or do drugs etc that’s not a good thing. And the ferry and shut downs are also excellent points.

    No one is going to want to move here and lay for the ameneties ( including feeling safe with security) if they don’t have to. Too many can come and enjoy what we pay for without being charged for MCI. Or high rent. I believe that it’s much more likely to attract new renters if it’s exclusive and especially if it has better and more secure entrances to buildings and the property in general. Too many trespass here without anyone stopping or questioning them.

    Can our security even give tickets to those who don’t belong here? Can they even spot them?

    What being done about that? So far all of these crimes are from people who don’t live here. Is that really what we need to keep encouraging with open borders? And non doorman buildings?

    There’s going to be a dog attack or something sooner than later too if that’s not enforced better.

    And I’ve personally seen way too many people outing their dog off lease – and on non dog grass. Without any thoughts or concerns about that. Or consequences, unfortunately. That’s also not great for our safety and the appeal of the place/look of the grass..

    Every time a crime happens here- alll of us should get a permanent rent reduction!

  14. I also don’t understand why our events and parties etc are posted publically? This also attracts people onto the property, either to benefit themselves for things that- we are paying for- or to know where crowds will be or to create crimes. Ditto for the billboards posting what we have to offer when just anyone can- and does wander through.

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