Suspect arrested in Washington Heights sexual assault

NYPD says a woman was accosted on 165th Street on Monday night.

Police apprehended a man Wednesday who was sought in the attempted rape and sexual assault of a 23-year-old woman earlier this week in Washington Heights.

Xavier Lazu, whose image had been captured on surveillance video, ran up behind the woman, wrapped his arms around her and put his hands over her mouth at about 11:20 p.m. on Monday on 165th Street, between St. Nicholas and Amsterdam avenues, police said. 

He dragged her under an awning and told her not to scream or he would stab her, cops said.

The man unsuccessfully attempted to rape the woman and instead forced her to perform a sexual act until a passerby approached and he fled, police said.

Lazu, 20, was caught near the site of the alleged assault wearing similar clothing to what was shown in surveillance footage, police said. He was charged with attempted rape, criminal sex act and sex abuse.

The victim was taken to an area hospital for evaluation. 

Alison Fox