"There was an urgency, and that was as a result of the escalation of the activity," SVU Capt. John Darby said yesterday. "We really felt the need to intervene as quickly and aggressively as we could, and we did that."
The spate of violent attacks had the neighborhood - an area with high foot traffic - on edge.
"We have a predator that was taking advantage of victims that were vulnerable. These are young ladies walking to work or school in the early morning hours," SVU Lt. Anthony McFadden said. "We didn't know what this guy could be doing or what his next intention was."
In the most recent attack, on Oct. 15, police say a 15-year-old girl was grabbed and threatened on Neilson Street near Hunting Park Avenue. The next day, officers spotted Mitchell, who lives in the neighborhood, in a car with a woman near the scenes of the assaults and stopped him because he matched the description of the perpetrator, Darby said.
Investigators questioned Mitchell that day and locked him up for violating terms of his probation stemming from a 2010 robbery conviction, Darby said. On that conviction - one of at least four prior arrests on his record - he was sentenced to three to six years in prison followed by two years' probation, according to court documents.
Police say Mitchell was also responsible for two other attacks. The first was the Oct. 10 rape and robbery of a 22-year-old woman he allegedly accosted on Maywood Street near Lycoming. He dragged the victim into an alley and sexually assaulted her at gunpoint before robbing her of $30, police said.
Later that day, cops said, he pulled a gun on another woman on O Street near Hunting Park Avenue and tried to pull her into an alley. That alleged attack was interrupted by a passing car.
Earlier this week, DNA evidence linked the man to the assaults, a police source told the Daily News.
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