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Park groper charged in string of Manhattan burglaries, NYPD says

A Manhattan man arrested on charges he groped a woman sun bathing in a park near Gracie Mansion turned out to be a person wanted for questioning in a string of burglaries, officials said.

Thomas Cronin, 53, of East 63rd Street, was charged with forcible touching, sex abuse in the third degree and 11 counts of third-degree burglary after, police said, he entered Carl Schurz Park on a bicycle, approached a 45-year-old woman lying face down on a blanket and grabbed her buttocks on Wednesday.

The woman’s screams alerted off-duty NYPD housing Officer Eric Sullivan, who was near the park on his day off reading a book about the American Revolution. When he reached the park, police said, Sullivan saw the victim photographing a man as she yelled “pervert” and said he had touched her, according to an NYPD spokesman. The suspect ran away, leaving his bicycle at the scene.

Sullivan relayed to 911 the suspect’s description and information about which direction he had run. Other NYPD officers stopped Cronin when he returned to the park to retrieve the bicycle, arresting him after the victim identified him, police said. A follow-up investigation determined that Cronin was wanted for questioning in a pattern of 11 burglaries, the NYPD said in a statement.

Cronin had not appeared in court as of late Thursday and a spokesman for the Manhattan district attorney’s office declined to comment on the case.

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