A Rego Park man was indicted on Dec. 9 for allegedly robbing a woman at knifepoint and then groping a woman who was riding in a northbound M train in Dutch Kills last month, according to Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz.
Abel Pita-Aviles, 36, of 67th Avenue, was arraigned on Dec. 9 before Queens Supreme Court Justice Michael Yavinsky on a four-count indictment charging him with robbery, sexual abuse, forcible touching and criminal possession of a weapon.
According to the charges, at around 8:45 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 11, the defendant approached the 24-year-old victim inside a subway car as the M train approached the 36th Street station in Dutch Kills. Pita-Aviles allegedly demanded money and the woman’s cellphone while brandishing a knife. The victim handed over her phone and $50 in cash to Aviles, who proceeded to pin the victim to the subway seat, after which Pita-Aviles allegedly grabbed both of her breasts over her clothing before bolting off the train as it arrived at the 36th Street subway station, according to authorities. The woman was not injured during the attack, police said.
Pita-Aviles was apprehended by members of the NYPD Transit Bureau’s Special Victims Unit four days later, on Nov. 15.
“This shameful attack inside our subway system will not go unanswered,” Katz said. “My office will use all tools at our disposal to protect commuters from violence inside our trains. Every New Yorker should expect to be able to travel safely using public transportation.”
Justice Yavinsky ordered the defendant to return to court on Jan. 1. Pita-Aviles faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted.