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Woman attacked while sunbathing in Central Park. NYPD launches all-out search for suspect.

By Jenna DeAngelis

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    NEW YORK, NY (WCBS) — Police in New York City are searching for a man they say sexually assaulted a woman who was sunbathing Monday in Central Park.

It happened in broad daylight around West Drive and 104th Street on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.

NYPD officials said the 21-year-old woman was sunbathing alone when she was attacked.

“She sees a male, Black, coming toward her, exposing himself. She screams and gets up to run. He tackles her from behind,” NYPD Chief of Patrol John Chell said Monday.

Police said she was able to fight the man off, and he ran away.

NYPD detectives and drones scoured the park, focusing on the Great Hill section.

Police are looking at cameras around the park for an image of the suspect, but said there were none in the immediate area.

“I would like to put cameras up in these bike paths that are not illuminated,” said NYPD Deputy Commissioner Kaz Daughtry. “A lot of times, these incidents that we see that are happening here in this park and parks across the city, they’re areas that are off the beaten path.”

Police set up a mobile command center in the park, as the investigation continues. They said they’re searching for a man in his 30s, about 6 feet tall, with a medium build and curly hair.

CBS New York spoke with people who frequent the park, including neighbor Camila Rojas, who visits daily.

“It’s terrifying, because this is our neighborhood, this is our backyard, basically,” she said.

“That surprises me, because it’s a pretty peaceful, mellow area,” said neighbor Tricia Regan.

Police said the victim was taken to the hospital and met with detectives, who are asking any witnesses to come forward.

Anyone with information about the attack is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). You can also submit a tip via their website or via DM on Twitter, @NYPDTips. All calls are kept confidential.

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