By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Police have arrested three men over the weekend in connection with three rapes and robberies in the Bronx and Manhattan, including an incident that took place in Gramercy last Tuesday.
Fernando Sandel, 26, was apprehended last Friday and was charged with rape, robbery and strangulation. The two other suspects, 31-year-old Isaias Rivera and 26-year-old Joey Cruz were arrested on Sunday. Both were also charged with rape, robbery and strangulation.
All three of the victims had agreed to meet with one of the men after placing ads offering sex for money on backpage.com, a website with listings for adult entertainment, according to a report in the New York Times.
The incident in Gramercy occurred at the victim’s apartment on Lexington Avenue around 10:40 p.m. on August 4. The 32-year-old victim told police that she made arrangements to meet one of the suspects in her apartment but when he arrived, he maced her and threw her on the bed. Police said that the two other suspects then arrived at the apartment and tied up the victim. They allegedly raped her and stole her phone, laptop and bracelet.
She was taken to the hospital for treatment and has since been released.
The first incident occurred at a building on East 138th Street in the South Bronx on Sunday, June 28 at 11:50 p.m. Police said that the victim, a 20-year-old woman, had made arrangements to meet one of the suspects. He showed up with another one of the suspects and the two men forced her to the roof of the building, where they raped her and took her money. The victim was taken to Lincoln Hospital where she was treated and released.
In the second incident, a 34-year-old woman made arrangements to meet one of the suspects at the Grand Hyatt Hotel at 109 East 42nd Street last Monday at 4:25 p.m. When the suspect arrived to the room, police said that he sprayed the victim in the face with an unknown substance and threw her on the bed. The other two suspects then entered the room and all three men tied the victim up. Police said that all three suspects raped her and stole her cell phone and purse.
The woman was taken to St. Luke’s Hospital, where she was treated and released.