The police have revealed that their suspect in the brutal 19-hour rape and torture of a 23-year-old Columbia journalism student is William Roberts, a 30-year-old man with a criminal history. According to WABC 7, Roberts has been charged with attempted murder twice - once in 1993, once in 1996 for shooting a man in the back. Last year, he was charged with assault as well as fare jumping.
There was a false sighting of Roberts at the Apple Tree Supermarket, at 120th and Amsterdam, a grocery that is near Barnard college dorms. While it was later confirmed that the man at the grocery was not Roberts, Barnard head of security William Plackenmeyer told the Columbia Spectator, "This is the number-one priority of Manhattan Special Victims Unit, and with the amount of people out to apprehend this guy, my feeling is that he will be apprehended sooner rather than later." And Barnard security had alerted students how to avoid "push-in" attacks. The NYPD doesn't provide specific tips for avoiding push-in attack, but does have a list of ways to safeguard yourself.
Roberts is described as being 5'9", about 170 pounds, and people are asked to call Crimestoppers (800-577-TIPS) with more information - there is a $12,000 reward.