By Gina Martinez
Police have arrested a man they believe could be behind six attacks against women in Forest Park since 2011.
Mark Andrade, 42, of Richmond Hill, was arrested last week in connection with the attempted rape of a 24-year-old in March 2013, police said.
According to the criminal complaint, Andrade disabled the victim with a stun gun and demanded that she show her breast and crotch, telling her “We’re going to have sex, I have a condom.”
The complaint said that during the attack he removed her shorts and underwear. The victim felt a hard object in his pocket and believed it was a weapon, which turned out to be a beer bottle, and threw it into a nearby bush as she was assaulted, it said When a couple approached the scene, Andrade fled and took the victim’s cellphone, underwear and shorts, the complaint said.
Officers were able to find the beer bottle and the DNA collected matched Andrade’s, leading to his arrest, police said. Andrade had been arrested earlier on charges of grand larceny in Nassau County and his DNA was then entered into the state’s data bank, which produced a match, police said.
Andrade is also suspected of attacking five additional women between 2011 and 2013, police said. In 2011, a 54-year-old and a 13-year-old were attacked in separate incidents. Then in 2012, two women, one 34 years old and the other 40, were groped on the path along Park Lane South. In August 2013, a 69-year-old woman was Tazed and raped in the area as well. Police said they were still investigating those other attacks.
Andrade was arraigned in Queens Criminal Court Friday and charged with attempted rape, robbery, assault and criminal possession of a weapon. He was held on $2 million bond or $500,000 cash bond in the March 2013 attack.
Cameras were installed in Forest Park last year following the attacks.
“Queens residents can rest assured today because of the professionalism of our NYPD Queens Special Victims Task-Force and Queens South,” Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Maspeth) said. “After years of terrorizing women in Forest Park, a solid arrest has been made. I will work closely with the Queens District Attorney to make sure we have a prosecution done to the fullest extent of the law.”
On Wednesday, Crowley presented the NYPD’s Forest Park Stranger Rape Pattern Investigation Team of the Special Victims Division with a City Council proclamation. According to Crowley, the proclamation “honored their work and dedication to safeguarding local residents and the countless people who visit Forest Park every single day.
Crowley said the 32-member team followed up on more than 120 tips and leads, interviewed hundreds of people, examined video from dozens of locations, performed analytical data mining, and obtained and processed forensic evidence from each assault crime scene.
Reach Gina Martinez by e-mail at gmart