‘Weird’ feet-sniffing sex assaulter has detectives puzzled and residents concerned

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UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS, The Bronx (PIX11) — Sexual assault is certainly a serious crime, but one sex assault suspect added a foot fetish act to a crime that has investigators as surprised as it has women in the neighborhood where the man struck feeling ill at ease.

“It’s weird.  Weird,” University Heights resident Erika Martinez told PIX11 News.  Another resident, Christina Rivera, echoed that assessment.  “That’s weird.  That’s crazy,” she said.

Those same words —  weird and crazy — were said over and over again by women  who regularly walk through the the intersection of Sedgwick and Bailey avenues.  That’s the area where cops say a man whose image was captured on surveillance video carried out a dangerous and unusual crime.

“I live around here all my life,” Martinez said, “and never heard of anything like that.  But you never know,” she said about what the 5 feet, 8 inches-tall man did to his 18 year-old victim after assaulting her around 1:10 A.M. last Friday, according to police.

They say he walked up behind the young woman, choked her, and got her to the ground.  There, on the sidewalk, he removed her shoes and smelled her feet.

“I don’t know.  That’s crazy,” said resident Christina Rivera.

The man ran when his victim pulled herself up.  He ended up in front of 2816 Parkview Terrace, a large apartment building about a quarter mile from where the foot-smelling assault took place.  There, according to investigators, the man assaulted another woman.

This time, though, he did more than just smell her feet.  Police say he tried to get into the 24 year-old woman’s pants.  She put up a fight, and he fled.

The woman’s fighting back prevented the situation from getting worse, but the man was able to escape.

“I just think they should catch this guy,” Rivera told PIX11 News.  Police agree, and their distribution of the surveillance video shows how eager they are to nab him.  After all, the man’s first attack involved feet, and in the next one he skittered away after his victim refused to let him unzip her pants.  The concern is that he could try another attack, in which he’d work harder to do something worse.

As always, police ask anyone who may recognize the suspect or who may know anything about the crimes to tell Crimestoppers online , or call 800-577-TIPS (8477) or text “TIP577” with a message about the crime to “CRIMES” (274637).