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Queens Chronicle

Police catch Jackson Heights groper

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Posted: Thursday, November 15, 2012 5:52 pm | Updated: 12:05 pm, Wed Nov 21, 2012.

Police have caught the man who allegedly inappropriately touched two girls in their Jackson Heights apartment building earlier this week.

Mario Lopez, 52, of Brooklyn, was charged on Thursday with burglary, luring a child, first-degree sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a child.

“Such an allegation makes him a threat to children and a clear and present danger to society in general,” Brown said. “Such conduct, if proven true, cannot go unpunished.”

On Nov. 12 at 7 p.m. Lopez entered the massive apartment building at 70-35 Broadway on 37th Street side behind a woman who had the front door key, according to the super, Johnny Garcia.

He then waited by the elevator until he saw the two girls, ages 4 and 9, and allegedly lured them into the laundry room saying he needed help, according to District Attorney Richard Brown. Once inside the room he allegedly sexually abused the two unrelated girls. Afterwards Lopez allegedly offered the nine-year-old candy and then left, said Brown.

The case came to light when the girls told their parents. Lopez faces 15-years in prison if convicted.

On Thursday morning, before the arrest, Councilman Danny Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) passed out fliers to residents of the building. The sheets of paper say “Wanted” in bold writing with four pictures of the suspect, which were captured by the complex’s extensive camera system.

“Children are our most precious gift and they should not have to suffer at the hands of a pervert,” Dromm said. Anyone else who might have been a victim is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1 (800) 577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit tips at nypdcrimestoppers.com, or by texting 274637 (CRIMES), then entering TIP577. All tips are strictly confidential.

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