A sicko groped a woman right in front of her boyfriend during a harried Dec. 31 exchange on Fourth Avenue — a brazen incident that’s left some wondering if the South Slope Sex Fiend has resurfaced.
The 23-year-old victim told police that she was nearing 19th Street at 1:30 am when a stranger grabbed her buttocks — but ran off when the woman’s boyfriend confronted him.
The attack is eerily similar to a string of 20 or so attacks that rocked a swath of Brooklyn from Prospect Park to Park Slope last year, but suddenly stopped two months ago.
Yet police claim that Saturday’s incident isn’t related to the prior attacks.
“Right now, it appears to be an isolated incident,” said a police source. “But the Special Victims Squad is handling the case.”
The groper in Saturday’s attack was described as a 25-year-old Hispanic male between 150 and 175 pounds with dark circles under his eyes and a buzz haircut. At the time of the attack, the suspect was wearing a black hooded jacket and black jeans and spoke English with an accent, investigators say.
He fits the description of the suspect wanted in the earlier attacks, but, then again, who knows? Police released six sketches of the possible assailant, who tends to sneak up from behind women and gropes them before running off when they scream.
The South Slope Sex Fiend, or fiends, began attacking women in March, but stopped cold in October — shortly after cops charged a fish market worker with forcible touching for a single groping incident in Sunset Park.
A few weeks later, a 32-year-old Manhattan bartender found masturbating between two parked cars in Windsor Terrace was connected to a May incident where a man allegedly grabbed a woman’s breasts and masturbated at the entrance of the Seventh Avenue F train station, but cops dropped those charges when the victim recanted her story.
No new attacks had been reported to police until this week, yet some worry that the South Slope Sex Fiend has returned.
“I am startled that he hasn’t been caught yet,” said 28-year-old South Slope resident Melissa Anderson. “I’m definitely going to be on the lookout. I’ve been more careful at night ever since this started happening.”
During the spree, residents claimed that the cops weren’t doing enough to nab the South Slope Sex Fiend and took matters into their own hands: they formed a group called Safe Slope and began conducting street marches, self-defense classes, and provided women with “safe walks” home.
South Slope resident Bo Samajopoulos said he wasn’t surprised to learn about Saturday’s attack. The NYPD has bungled its search for the South Slope Sex Fiend from the beginning, he claims.
“Some common sense needs to start being applied,” he said. “[The cops] need to get out from behind the desks and dashboards and get to know and earn the respect of the people in the community.”
Anyone with information regarding Saturday’s attack is urged to contact CrimeStoppers at (800) 577-8477. All calls will be kept confidential.
Reach Kate Briquelet at kbriquelet