Cop recognized for arrest of suspect in Stuy Town sexual assault

Police Officers William Blum and Brendan Bellew with Deputy Inspector Steven Hellman, commanding officer of the 13th Precinct, and 13th Precinct Community Council President Frank Scala (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Two cops from the 13th Precinct were recognized for catching the man who was later charged with a sexual assault in Stuyvesant Town that took place on Monday, October 8.

Deputy Inspector Steven Hellman awarded officers Brendan Bellew and William Blum last Tuesday as Cops of the Month for catching Melvin Collins, 36, the day after the incident occurred.

Hellman said that the woman who was assaulted had been hired by residents of Stuyvesant Town to clean their apartment and had been buzzed in by security as she had in the past when Collins allegedly followed her into the building.

Collins then attempted to sexually assault her while in the elevator, Hellman said, and when the elevator doors opened, he allegedly attempted to pull her into a stairway and rape her. Collins fled down the stairs when the victim started yelling.

Hellman said that through the NYPD’s relationship with management at Stuyvesant Town, the department was able to get “somewhat good video,” as well as DNA evidence and fingerprints from the scene.

“We blasted out the information on a flyer and not even by the end of the next day, Brendan and Will identified him while on patrol on Park Avenue South,” Hellman said. “They spotted him just based on the flyer, which isn’t always easy to do because of the quality of the photos, and picked him up.”

Collins reportedly has eight prior arrests on his record, although Hellman noted that none of his previous crimes have been sex-related, and one included a gunpoint robbery. Hellman said that Collins admitted to the sexual assault in Stuyvesant Town when Bellew and Blum picked him up.

Hellman noted that this was the second time in the last year that Bellew has received this honor, having been previously been awarded Cop of the Month in April after he recognized a man being sought for a shoplifting gone wrong.

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