Vicious rape at Third Avenue bakery

A horrific rape and attempted robbery at a Third Avenue bakery on Friday has left merchants on the fledgling Gowanus business strip on edge.

Police sources said a man in a ski mask crept into the Everybody Eat Bakery near Carroll Street moments after a 22-year-old employee opened at 8:55 am. He flashed a gun and demanded cash, then beat and sexually assaulted the young woman when she said she had no money to give.

The thug stormed out of the bakery a few moments later, walking right past a video surveillance camera as he made his escape.

The woman was taken to Kings County Hospital, where she was treated and released.

Cops from the 78th Precinct said they were pulling out all the stops in their search for the rapist — welcome news to Third Avenue merchants.

“We can’t believe that something like this could happen, but it can get very quiet around here, especially in the morning,” said one Third Avenue business owner, who wished not to be named.

Friday’s rape was the second vicious attack to take place in the area in recent months, the merchant claimed: A woman was brutalized on Third Avenue near Seventh Street over the summer, although the crime was not reported at the time.

“There isn’t a lot of foot traffic around here,” she said. “Until we get better security measures, we’re going to make sure our doors are locked when we’re not busy.”

The merchant revitalization on Third Avenue between Ninth and Carroll streets has just begun, with only a handful of new stores and eateries popping up among a strip dominated by warehouses, plumbing supply companies and the Al-Madinah Islamic School.

Yet some defiant store keepers say Friday’s attack isn’t going to scare them off.

“[The attack] was shocking because we’re in a good neighborhood, but I still feel pretty safe,” said Joe Salimeri of Pizza Cotta-Bene near Carroll Street. “We watch each other’s backs.”

Anyone with information regarding the attack is encouraged to call NYPD CrimeStoppers at (800) 577-8477. All calls will be kept confidential.