October 4, 2012 at 4:00 PM
PATERSON, NJ - After an overnight manhunt, city police on Thursday arrrested the 42-year-old suspect in recent downtown rapes.
The suspect, Rafael Velez, was arrested at 3:40 pm at Broad and Market streets in downtown Newark by Paterson police and U.S. Marshalls, authorities said. Police did not say what Velez was doing in Newark or how they tracked him there.
Velez has been charged with two counts of aggravated sexual assault in connection with rapes that happened in the vacant sixth floor area of a commercial building less than a block from City Hall.
Velez eluded capture on Wednesday afternoon when police went looking for him at his job, a Market Street textile factory, and he slipped away.
Velez is accused of twice forcing women at knifepoint to accompany him inside 129 Market Street, where he allegedy took them to the top floor and assaulted them,
Authorities also are investigating whether he was responsible for a third rape that happened near the Great Falls. Police think he may have been involved in other attacks and are asking possible victims to contact them at 973-321-1120.