Police have nabbed a Queens man who they suspect is behind five sex assaults and one rape in Forest Park over the course of two years, NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said.
Mark Andrade, 46, of Richmond Hill, was charged on Thursday in connection with the March 29, 2013, attempted rape of a 24-year-old woman, police said.
The woman was jogging in the park around 7:25 p.m. when Andrade allegedly snuck up behind her and used a stun gun on her several times, according to a criminal complaint. He pushed her to the ground, told her he was going to rape her and sexually assaulted her, the complaint said.
But the woman fought back, grabbing a Beck’s beer bottle out of his pocket in the struggle, thinking it was a weapon, and throwing it into the brush, according to Boyce. Andrade then ran off as a man and a woman approached on the path, per the complaint. He took her phone, shorts and underwear with him, the document said.
Investigators were able to zero in on Andrade after they recovered the beer bottle at the crime scene and swabbed it for DNA. Police then got a match for a male in Nassau County in December 2016.
Andrade had been arrested in August 2015 on charges he stole copper from utility poles in Rockville Centre, according to a spokeswoman for the Nassau County district attorney’s office. He pleaded guilty in December 2016 to two charges of felony grand larceny and was given five years probation, the spokeswoman said.
Upon his conviction for the felonies, Andrade’s DNA was entered into the state databank, as required under New York law.
Andrade was charged with attempted rape, robbery, assault, sex abuse and criminal possession of a weapon, according to the criminal complaint.
Police are still trying to connect Andrade to the other attacks, which fit a similar pattern.
All six victims, one of whom was a 13-year-old girl, were targeted as they jogged or walked along Park Lane South in Forest Park between 2011 and 2013, according to police. All of the attacks happened during the daytime.
“We hope to add on more as we go forward,” Boyce said of the case during a news conference on crime statistics Thursday.
The most recent attack was on Aug. 26, 2013, when a 69-year-old woman was Tasered and raped, according to police. In 2012, a 34-year-old woman and a 40-year-old woman were groped in separate incidents along the same path. There were also two attempted rapes in the park, involving a 13-year-old girl and a 54-year-old woman, in 2011, police said.
With Alison Fox and Newsday