"We have had some tips, nothing concrete," Riverhead Detective Sgt. Loggia said last week.
The suspect allegedly attacked a 67-year-old woman Oct. 29 in a bathroom at the Tanger Outlet Center in Riverhead. Police later released a sketch of the suspect.
The day after the incident, Riverhead Police Lt. Rick Boden said an active investigation was ongoing, but added that one of the female witnesses has come forward to speak with authorities.
"There was more than one witness," Boden confirmed.
"Our witness came forward," said Det. Sgt. Joseph Loggia. "We are still working on it. No new leads as of yet."
According to Riverhead Town Police, a call came in at noon on Oct. 29 about the alleged attack. The woman told police that she had been using the public bathroom, where a man was hiding in another stall.
As she exited the stall, the woman said the man pushed her back inside and got behind her, placing one of his arms around her neck and trying to force her to the floor, police said.
The victim was screaming for help when another woman entered the bathroom, police said; she left the bathroom and rushed to a nearby store to notify personnel that an attack was underway in the ladies' room.
Police said the suspect fled the scene on foot toward River Road; police searched the area with the assistance of K-9 units.
The public has been asked to assist in the search. The suspect has been described as a "young-looking" black man, clean-shaven, between 5'6" and 5'8" tall, with a slim build and last seen wearing a dark-colored hoodie.
In addition, police are asking witnesses and anyone with information to call 631-727-4500.
According to Janine Nebons, general manager at Tanger, "The incident is under police investigation. Our first concern is the safety of our customers and employees and as a result, we have increased third party security and are working closely with the local authorities on their ongoing investigation. It is Tanger's policy not to publicly disclose details that could compromise security or the ongoing investigation."
Boden said Riverhead Town police patrol Tanger regularly; the outlet center is one of the town's designated patrol sectors.
Tanger, Boden said, also has their own security team.
Despite alarm about the attack, Boden said he believes the event was an "isolated incident. There's no pattern of something like this going on at Tanger."
While the outlet center does have "typical shoplifting," Boden said, and other "isolated incidents" have occurred over the past year, they are a small number in comparison to the crowds that shop at Tanger.
"How many thousands of people come there every day?" he asked. "They're not checking everyone as they come in."
But Boden said there is no pattern to the "isolated" incidents. "It could happen anywhere," he said.
Still, Boden advised shoppers to exercise caution, not only at Tanger, but at any shopping center. "If an area is isolated, they shouldn't go by themselves," he said. "They should check before they go in — be aware of their surroundings. From what I understand, that bathroom is pretty isolated. Unfortunately, some woman had to learn the hard way."
Isolated and similarly random crimes, he said, "are impossible to stop. You'd have to have 50 security people at access points in the mall."
Boden said over the years, he's never heard of another attack in a ladies' room at Tanger. "And they've been there a long time," he said.