Suspect Arrested in Central Park Rape

By Carol Tannenhauser

A suspect was arrested on Saturday for the Thursday rape of a woman jogger in Central Park, the NYPD reported.

Paulie Velez, 25, who police say is homeless, “was grabbed…by police after they got a Crime Stoppers tip about his location, officials said,” according to the Daily News.

Velez was charged with Rape, Robbery, Strangulation, Assault, Sex Abuse, and Criminal Possession of Stolen Property, police said. It is alleged that he came up behind the 27-year-old woman, on a footpath near Wollman Rink, around 63rd Street, put her in a chokehold until she passed out, then raped her, and stole her cellphone. The victim was transported to an area hospital in stable condition.

“After the assault, Velez jumped on the subway at 59th St. and Fifth Ave. and headed downtown, the surveillance showed,” according to the Daily News, which also reported that, “As of Nov. 7, there have been seven rapes in [Central Park] this year compared with two in all of 2020, police department data shows….In the wake of the horrific attack, the NYPD promised increased patrols in the park.”


Police had previously sent out the photo above of a person wanted for questioning in connection with the rape.

NEWS | 16 comments | permalink
    1. Good; thanks.

      Thanks to for the video link; it was useful as a comparison to the crime-stoppers still images included below it.

    2. Leon says:

      Great work catching him, NYPD. Hopefully they will put him away for a long time. I hope the victim is doing OK.

    3. JerryV says:

      The police have taken a great deal of abuse lately – some of it earned and much unfairly assigned to them. Thus, it is gratifying to see the high degree of competence and professionalism that actually exists within the police force. Congratulations to them. Best wishes and compassion to the targeted victim, with hopes for a speedy recovery, both physically and spiritually.

      • zahrah says:

        Thank you Jerry. The media shapes the narrative and the masses follow with zero critical thinking. Mob think. The NYPD has courageous men and women who risks their lives dealing with gun violence, gangs, etc. We owe them our gratitude and support ; not just our criticism.

        • Josh says:

          We can give them gratitude and support, while also providing criticism. Many people forget that it doesn’t have to be one or the other.

    4. RiversideBoulevarder says:

      Very happy to see that the NYPD captured the suspect.

      Having said that, it is a shame that the NYPD has been directed to guard a statue 24/7 in the southeast corner of the park rather than patrolling the park like they should be. I’m not sure who the statue portrays but it is only a few hundred meters from where this terrible crime took place.

      As an early morning cyclist, I’ve seen the 24/7 guarding of the statue for well over a year now. What a terrible use of resources which are obviously needed patrolling the park.

    5. Dee says:

      The “homeless” do not all look alike. Lack of affordable housing has a part to play in this. Disgraceful! Ugh!

      • Jen says:

        Are you serious? The lack of affordable housing is to blame for this crime?

      • SadforUWS says:

        “Lack of affordable housing has a part to play in this”, meaning “Rape, Robbery, Strangulation, Assault, Sex Abuse”. Yep, you are definitely an Upper West Sider.

      • Rob G. says:

        Are you nuts? Blaming “the lack of affordable housing” for a rape? This is trolling in the worst sense of the word.

      • js says:

        Dee,
        Although the suspect is described as homeless, media has reported that he was located and arrested at his mother’s home.
        So perhaps he is not really homeless?

      • Dave says:

        Lack of affordable housing??? Wake up to what is really going on… Hopefully our new Mayor will get it right.

      • Carlos says:

        Once again, it is these people who deny that crime is an issue that are a rallying cry for Republicans. Please return to the real world. Yes, affordable housing is an issue, but that does not excuse this type of behavior. This tendency to just change the subject and ignore the problem at hand doesn’t help anyone.

        I think the problem is lack of adequate punishment for those who commit such crimes, and lack of programs for the mentally ill who cannot take care of themselves and should not be on the streets. And if those programs are best offered outside NYC, so be it. But in the short term, this is a big issue that needs to be dealt with.

        Kudos to NYPD for catching the criminal.

        • Ppri says:

          Exactly. Some times people are just bad and need to be locked away. Can’t blame racism, lack of opportunities, lack of affordable housing.

    6. sean says:

      i have lived near CP and never felt so fearful as I have
      since the pandemic. As a woman, i could walk just about anywhere including the park.. But things are not the same anymore 🙁 So very sad

    7. blacklikeu says:

      If found guilty –
      LOCK HIM UP FOR LIFE!