Following a series of sexual assaults in the Valley Stream area over the last month, police say they have caught the man responsible for at least two attacks including a rape at the Valley Stream State Park on Sept. 1.
Police arrested 16-year-old Nashane Peterkin, of 231st Street in Springfield Gardens, Queens. He was arrested in Howard Beach at 6:50 a.m. on Sept. 8 following an investigation by Nassau County Police, New York State Police, State Parks Police and the District Attorney’s Office.
Nassau County Police Chief Steven Skrynecki said the arrest was made with help from the New York City Police Department. Skrynecki said Peterkin was known to the NYPD, but he could not comment on the suspect’s prior criminal history.
Peterkin is accused of raping a 60-year-old woman in the state park on Sept. 1 shortly after 11 a.m. According to police, the woman was walking on a path in the southern section of the park when she was sexually assaulted.
He is also accused of attacking a 30-year-old woman on Mill Road, near Jedwood Place, on Aug. 12 at about 9 p.m. In that case, police say Peterkin, who was riding a bicycle, grabbed the woman’s buttocks from behind, then chased her, pushed her to the ground, punched her in the face and attempted to rip off her shirt before she was able to fight him off. The woman was walking home from the train station.
Police say that there is DNA evidence in this case against Peterkin, and that one of the victims has positively identified him as her attacker.
Skrynecki addressed some of the discrepancies between the initial description of the suspect and Peterkin. A flier with a composite sketch of the assailant described him as a 25- to 35-year-old man. “In any sexual case, the recollection of the victim can be challenging,” Skrynecki said. “It’s a horrific experience to a woman or a man, so we know when we receive a description of a suspect in those types of cases, there may be some variables. It’s not uncommon for there to be some variations.”
Investigators worked around the clock to try and catch the suspect, Skrynecki said, saying that the series of sexual assaults was disturbing to both the community and law enforcement officials.