Police have arrested a person they are saying allegedly choked a lady unconscious after which raped her inside Central Park on Thursday. The arrest comes because the variety of reported rapes has risen contained in the 843-acre park to date this yr.
Paulie Velez, 25, was arrested early Saturday morning and faces quite a few expenses together with rape, assault, theft, and prison possession of stolen property. Police say Velez, who’s homeless, approached the 27-year-old sufferer from behind close to a strolling path by Swan Lake and Heart Drive at round 7 a.m. on Thursday, allegedly choking her till she fainted earlier than sexually assaulting her. The sufferer got here to and requested a passerby for assist, based on police. The sufferer was rushed to an space hospital the place she was listed in steady situation.
Police launched surveillance video capturing Velez exiting a subway station on the N and R subway line, and later at a retailer close to Occasions Sq.. In line with WABC-TV, the person was on the retailer making an attempt to promote the sufferer’s cellular phone, however the clerk refused.
Following the incident contained in the park, police elevated patrols.
Roughly 45 minutes after police responded to the rape, officers acquired one other report of an tried rape close to the footbridge at 103rd Road and the FDR Drive. Police dominated out Velez as a suspect in that assault after arresting a 38-year-old man in that incident.
Velez’s arrest comes amid a rise within the variety of reported rapes contained in the park. Crime statistics present six rape instances contained in the park have been reported to police to date this yr, in comparison with two across the similar time a yr in the past.
In the previous few weeks, the NYPD has confronted intense scrutiny over the way in which it investigates rape instances. Final yr, 59% of rape instances reported in 2020 went unsolved, the best fee for the reason that division started to publicly disclose that information in 2018. On the similar time, the variety of reported rape instances decreased from 1,794 in 2018 to 1,427 in 2020, based on police statistics launched throughout a Metropolis Council listening to evaluating the success fee of the NYPD’s Particular Victims Division.
Deputy Inspector Michael King, head of the Particular Victims Division, testified on the listening to that instances have a tendency to interrupt aside if investigators are unable to show that drive was used or if a complainant declines proceed with the case.
“It comes down to a lot of different variables with the cases,” King said. “It’s very difficult to pinpoint just one reason why.”
Editor’s Observe: The article was up to date to make clear King’s testimony.