A New York City woman remains shaken days after a frighteningly close and potentially dangerous encounter with a stranger inside her apartment building, all captured on surveillance video.
Alex Araujo had just gotten out of her Uber in the University Heights section of the Bronx around 4 a.m. Sunday and was walking back to her building when a man suddenly began following her.
At the time, she had no idea she was being trailed, but chilling surveillance video would show how the man, with his face completely covered by a scarf and hood, stepped out of the shadows behind Araujo and walked steps behind her.
"I didn't bother turning around, didn't feel anyone coming," she told News 4 New York in an exclusive interview Wednesday. "You think you're home, you're safe."
Even after walking into her building, Araujo had no idea someone was close behind -- no idea that a stranger had stopped inside the vestibule of her building and was watching her through the door for more than 10 seconds.
An instinct finally alerted her to look, revealing the man through the lobby's mirror.
"When I turned my face, I saw his reflection," she said.
Acting on pure adrenaline, Araujo raced back to the vestibule door to slam it shut -- he had propped it open with his foot, she said.
He appeared to back away but stayed in the vestibule, at one point using his arm to cover his face when he noticed cameras. Araujo stood her ground in the lobby, on the other side of the door, watching him before he finally left the building.
Araujo called police as soon as left, shaking and stuttering as she spoke to the dispatchers. Later, watching the surveillance footage, she noticed he'd opened the door with his sleeve: "Obviously, he didn't want to leave fingerprints behind."
As of Wednesday, no arrest had been made.
More cautious now, Araujo is speaking out to warn other women to keep their guards up, even when they're close to home. Tweeting about the experience, she said, "I keep replaying the incident over and over, thinking of the many factors that could’ve caused a different outcome; me dropping my keys or stopping to look for them in my bag, being drunk and taking my time walking in, being distracted on my phone."
"As women we always worry about falling victim to situations like these, but I let my guard down because I was home. I just thank God and his angels, my angel, for being with me that night," she tweeted.
Araujo told News 4, "I'm just glad it didn't go an unfortunate route and I'm still here to tell the story."