Police arrest suspect in rape of woman in Central Park

UPPER EAST SIDE, Manhattan (WABC) -- Police arrested a man suspected of raping a woman in Central Park.

Paulie Velez, a 25-year-old homeless man, was taken into custody just before 1 a.m. Saturday in Lower Manhattan.

He's facing several charges including rape, robbery, and sex abuse.

Police said a tip to the CrimeStoppers hotline led to his arrest.

Velez is accused of raping a woman in Central Park Thursday in which he allegedly came up behind the 27-year-old woman near the pond on the southern end of the park, strangled her until she passed out, and then sexually assaulted her.

She lost consciousness and awoke with cuts, abrasions, and bruises to her arms and chin.

The woman was taken to Mount Sinai West Hospital for treatment and is in stable condition.

The suspect was caught on surveillance video entering the N and R subway station near the south end of Central Park.

He was later caught on video at the Smoke Valley CBD store near Times Square trying to sell the victim's cellphone. The store clerk refused to buy the phone because he suspected it was stolen.

Sexual assaults are uncommon in Central Park. But Thursday's is the sixth sexual assault reported in the 840-acre park so far this year compared to two by this time last year.
Anyone with information is asked to call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).

ALSO READ | Woman shoved onto subway tracks during robbery in Manhattan
EMBED More News Videos

A 31-year-old woman was robbed of her wallet and shoved onto subway tracks during a robbery at 7th Avenue station in Midtown Wednesday.



----------
* Get Eyewitness News Delivered
* More Manhattan news
* Send us a news tip
* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts
* Follow us on YouTube
Submit a News Tip
Copyright © 2021 WABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.