A homeless man has been arrested in connection to a rape on Thursday in New York City’s Central Park.
The New York Police Department says it arrested 25-year-old Paulie Velez at 12:50 a.m. Saturday – charging him with rape, robbery, strangulation, assault, sex abuse and criminal possession of stolen property, per the New York Post.
Velez—who is expected to be arraigned at Manhattan Criminal Court—allegedly went up to the 27-year-old victim at the park’s southeastern corner pond footpath around 7:20 a.m. Thursday and choked her until she lost consciousness before raping her.
The man can be seen in NYPD footage wearing black pants, black shirts, a black baseball cap and a black mask, as he entered a train station through an emergency exit door. NYPD Inspector Michael King said the victim was taken to a hospital with an increased patrol presence promised in the park moving forward.
The rape took place 25 minutes before a man allegedly tried to rape a 54-year-old jogger on Randall’s Island before a bystander intervened. Howard Shaw, a 38-year-old registered sex offender, was charged in the attack after being released from state prison earlier in the week.