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Robber attempts to rape cell phone store worker in E. Harlem, runs off amid screams

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A robber posing as a customer chased an employee into the back room of an East Harlem cell phone store and attempted to rape her at knifepoint — only running off after she started to scream — according to cops and a co-worker of the victim.

The 22-year-old woman was working alone at the Total by Verizon shop on Madison Ave. near E. 108th St. when a man walked in around 12 p.m. Sunday.

“He acted like a customer at first,” Riaz Fahim, a sales representative at the store, told the Daily News on Monday. “We need to be friendly with everyone. She was being friendly and suddenly the guy started to touch her.”

When the victim asked the man to “move away,” he flew off the handle, according to Fahim, 24.

“She had coffee in her hand and she was trying to throw it at him,” he said. “She couldn’t do it and the guy chased her.”

The attacker followed her into a back room where he threw her to the ground and threatened her with a knife, police said.

The attacker tried to rape her, but her screaming carried outside, according to Fahim.

“She was screaming a lot,” he said. “In this store specifically, we always open this door. This door is always open so if someone is screaming, anyone can hear it.”

The man, apparently spooked, ran off, grabbing three phones and $1,000 from the store on his way out.

The woman sought medical help after the attack, but was not seriously injured. She has lived in the city for about a year after moving from Bangladesh, Fahim said.

“As far as I know, she’s traumatized,” said Fahim. “For her, it’s been only one year she’s in the States.”

Police are still searching for the woman’s attacker, who fled east on E. 108th St. toward Park Ave. after the assault.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS.

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