Facial recognition software helped the NYPD identify the suspect accused of trying to rape a fellow passenger Saturday morning on a midtown Manhattan subway platform in a witness-recorded attack, the chief of detectives said in announcing the man’s arrest.
The attack, allegedly by Jose Reyes, 31, happened at Lexington Avenue and 63rd Street on the F line at about 11 a.m., and was interrupted by a witness, said chief Rodney Harrison.
“This heinous and horrendous act was interrupted by a good Samaritan who observed Mr. Reyes’ behavior and got him to cease his behavior while subsequently videotaping the incident,” the recording of which was later publicized, Harrison said.
Reyes, identified by matching his face captured in the recording to an NYPD mug shot database from a previous arrest, was detained on the street at about 12:30 p.m. by patrol officers about 50 blocks north, based on a tip from the public, Harrison said.
Harrison said the video recordings by witnesses were “very instrumental” in identifying Reyes. Some of the witnesses screamed at Reyes to get off the woman, and “that was also helpful in scaring him away.”
Reyes and the woman were strangers, “an absolutely random attack,” said Harrison, who said she first encountered him a short time earlier on a train while she was traveling home from work. Reyes followed her off the train
“He appeared to be smoking some type of hookah and making weird noises and laughing to himself,” Harrison said.
Reyes allegedly made an obscene gesture in her direction after she exited the train and tried to avoid him. He followed her, punched and pushed her to the ground and attempted to rape her, Harrison said.
He said Reyes may have used drugs.
In police custody Sunday afternoon, Reyes couldn’t be reached for comment. It wasn’t clear whether he is represented by an attorney.
The mug shot used to identify Reyes was from an arrest for criminal mischief in June. Reyes’ previous arrests were not sexual in nature, Harrison said.
The woman later identified him to the police, and “we spoke to him several times. He actually admitted” to the crime, according to Harrison.