The Brooklyn man accused of attempting to lure a 12-year-old girl into his car in Corona earlier this week has been linked to a similar incident in Flushing last month, prosecutors announced on Friday.
Eddie Rodriguez, 42, of Crown Heights was picked up on May 9 three days after he allegedly tried to pick up the young girl from his car on Van Cleef Street in Corona, then exposed his penis to her and began masturbating.
Following his arrest, detectives learned that Rodriguez allegedly did the same thing to a 14-year-old girl walking in the area of 156th Street and 43rd Avenue on April 4. Police now believe there may be more victims, and are asking anyone who may have been approached by Rodriguez to come forward.
“This week there was a Queens man arrested for masturbating in front of young girls,” Assistant Chief Martin Morales of NYPD Patrol Borough Queens North tweeted. “There may be more victims…if you or someone you know were a victim, please call our rape hotline at 212-267-RAPE.”
Rodriguez currently faces charges on two criminal complaints of endangering the welfare of a child, public lewdness, fourth-degree grand larceny and three counts of second-degree harassment. He faces up to a year behind bars if convicted, according to acting Queens District Attorney John Ryan.
“Every single person — especially children — should feel safe and secure walking alone in our neighborhoods,” Ryan said in a May 10 statement. “But the defendant in this case is alleged to have pursued the girls in his car, asked for directions all while fondling his exposed genitals. This kind of lewd and abhorrent behavior is unacceptable and caused the youngsters real fear. The defendant is in custody and faces jail time for his alleged deviant actions.”
Regarding the April 4 incident in Flushing, law enforcement sources said, Rodriguez drove up to the location and asked the 14-year-old victim to use her phone. When she attempted to help him, he allegedly grabbed the phone out of her hand.
The victim tried to get the phone back and saw Rodriguez allegedly stroking his exposed genitalia. He refused to give her phone back, stating, “when I finished.” Authorities said he continued the lewd act, then returned the phone to the teenager.
The Corona incident occurred at around 6:30 p.m. on May 6, when Rodriguez — while behind the wheel of a gray Nissan — approached the 12-year-old girl and asked her for directions to a nearby hospital. During a conversation, he allegedly asked to use the girl’s cellphone, claiming that his own phone did not work.
After the girl handed over her phone, law enforcement sources said, Rodriguez allegedly ordered the girl to get into his car, but she refused to do so. When she went to take her phone back, the suspect allegedly began manipulating his exposed penis in front of her.
The 110th Precinct learned of the incident and obtained an image of the vehicle from a nearby security camera. Rodriguez was arrested on May 9 after police disseminated the picture through media outlets and on Twitter.
Members of the NYPD Queens Special Victims Squad conducted the investigation.