NEW YORK — Sources tell NY1 that two sexual assaults Thursday morning in Manhattan were not related.
Two women were sexually assaulted in the separate attacks, and a man was taken into custody in connection with the second attack, the NYPD said.
A 27-year-old woman was on a footpath near Central Park’s Swan Lake around 7:20 a.m. when a male suspect wearing all black and a mask attacked her from behind and sexually assaulted her, police said.
Police said the woman was jogging when the suspect choked her. During a press conference Thursday afternoon, NYPD Special Victims Department Inspector Michael King said authorities believed she may have been unconscious for some time, but they did not know for how long.
The woman flagged down a passerby who called for help, according to police. She was taken to a local hospital after the attack.
Police in the evening released photos of a man they said they were looking to question in connection to the attack:
A second woman, a 54-year-old, reported being sexually assaulted on a footpath near the FDR Drive and East 103rd Street in East Harlem approximately 45 minutes after the Central Park attack, police said.
Authorities took Howard Shaw, 38, into custody in connection with the East Harlem attack at the scene of the incident, according to police.
King said the suspect connected to the second attack was charged with rape in 2007 and attempted robbery in 2005 in the city, and was released from Green Haven Correctional Facility, an upstate prison, this past Tuesday.
Central Park will see increased law enforcement in the coming days, police said. A Crime Stoppers unit will be located in Central Park on Friday near the scene of the first attack, where police will seek additional information from possible witnesses.
Police are requesting anyone with information pertaining to the incidents to call 1-800-577-TIPS.