An 82-year-old woman was attacked and raped in what Police Commissioner Bill Bratton called "an incredibly heinous crime" on Tuesday, as rapes increased in 2015 from the same time period last year.
The woman went to sleep inside her Brighton Beach home after sweeping the street outside Sunday evening, police said. Bratton, said that's when "a very violent, vicious, depraved individual" broke inside.
Police on Wednesday identified the suspect as Asa Robert, 18.
When the woman woke up at about 1:40 a.m. she found the suspect hovering over her bed.
"That is an incredibly heinous crime. Something that no society, no city can tolerate," Bratton said. "What that woman suffered and endured nobody should have to suffer and endure at any time, anywhere in this city."
The suspect held up a knife and demanded money from the woman, police said. But when she didn't have any, he decided to remain inside the home.
"She really speaks to this individual and she gets kind of like a rapport going," Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said. "She really saved herself from more damage by her wits. Very strong."
But at about 4 a.m., after several hours of being inside the home, the suspect raped her.
Boyce said the suspect is believed to be from the same neighborhood. When he left, he took a bag of clothing and an umbrella from the apartment.
The woman was later removed to Kings County Hospital for evaluation. Boyce called her a "very courageous person" and said she has been very helpful with the investigation.
This rape is one of hundreds in the city so far this year, which has seen a significant increase since 2014.
There were 673 rapes so far this year as of July 5, according to NYPD statistics. That is a 4% increase from the same time period last year when there were 647 reported rapes.
"We take all of these rapes seriously," Bratton said. "We're fortunate that the amount of them reported in the city for the size of our population is small enough that we can focus a lot of attention on each of them.
"It's a crime that we treat very seriously and want people to report so we in fact can investigate and hopefully prosecute," he added.
Bratton said he hopes the department's public education campaigns will bring forth a lot of police reports that may not have been reported otherwise.