Authorities have arrested a man they say is responsible for multiple gropings in Manhattan earlier this year — again.
In April, police arrested Karl Vanderwoude for the series of gropings credited to the so-called “Gentleman Groper,” a moniker given to the groper because of his rather dapper appearance. But Vanderwoude was later cleared of any wrongdoing by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office (more on that below).
The new suspect has been identified as Paul Kraft, who is free on $5,000 bond following his arrest on Tuesday.
The first alleged groping happened on February 26, when police say the groper grabbed the crotch of a 31-year-old woman near Varick and King streets.
His next alleged attack happened the next day when police say he grabbed the butt of a 19-year-old woman walking on Second Avenue near East 67thStreet.
It’s also alleged that on March 30, the groper put his hand between the legs of a 22-year-old woman as she was walking to a subway near Chambers Street.
Vanderwoude was arrested at his Park Slope apartment in April in connection with the three gropings.
According to the D.A.’s Office, Vanderwoude — who works as a staffer at a private equity firm in Manhattan — first found himself on the cops’ radar after an anonymous tipster called Crime Stoppers after seeing video surveillance of the groper on TV. The tipster gave police Vanderwoude’s name, phone number, address, and even told them where he went to college and where he worked.
After he was picked up on April 13, Vanderwoude was identified by two of the three victims who participated in a photo lineup. The third victim, the D.A.’s Office said at the time, made no identification.
Following his arrest, the D.A.’s Office continued its investigation to corroborate the charges against Vanderwoude. However, after obtaining video surveillance footage from multiple locations on multiple
dates, including Vanderwoude’s office — as well as email records, transaction records from banks, credit card companies, vendors, and several other sources of information — it was determined that Vanderwoude had alibis for several of the gropings — in one case he was out to dinner with a colleague. In another, video surveillance showed he was at his office.
The D.A.’s Office concluded that Vanderwoude is not the person responsible for the gropings and had the charges dismissed in May.