By Steve Mosco
Anonymous tips helped police track down a suspect wanted in connection with two sexual molestations last week.
Authorities announced Tuesday a homeless man was arrested and charged with molesting two 7-year-old girls in South Ozone Park last week.
District Attorney Richard Brown identified the suspect as 25-year-old Lee Samuel.
Samuel’s image was captured on surveillance videos, showing him walking down the street sipping a beverage. Police said they received multiple tips from individuals who recognized Samuel and called Crime Stoppers.
According to a report on CBS, investigators picked up Samuel when a friend tipped them off after recognizing the man in the surveillance video. The report also states the friend told cops Samuel was hiding out in Manhattan.
“The defendant is accused of being a sexual predator,” Brown said. “Such an allegation makes him a threat to children and a clear and present danger to society in general. Such conduct, if proven true, cannot go unpunished.”
Brown said Samuel was accused of touching one victim on her buttocks May 1 as she bent over to tie her shoe. Police said the girl’s 12-year-old sister yelled at the man, and he fled.
Brown also said Samuel allegedly approached another girl 2 miles away and asked her if she wanted to play a game, telling her to cover her eyes with her hands and stick out her tongue, Brown said.
When the girl opened her eyes Samuel had allegedly exposed himself, then he grabbed her by the waist and engaged in a sexual act with her, the DA said.
Brown said Samuel was awaiting arraignment on two criminal complaints: one charging him with a criminal sex act and endangering the welfare of a child, and the other charging him with forcible touching and endangering the welfare of a child.
He faces up to 25 years in jail if convicted, Brown said.
Reach reporter Steve Mosco by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4546.