NEW YORK (WSVN) – A man accused of skipping a probation violation hearing in Miami-Dade County was arrested in New York City in connection with the rape of a woman.
Paulie Velez was apprehended on Saturday. He faces charges of rape, robbery and sexual abuse.
The suspect is accused of attacking a 27-year-old woman in Central Park, last week.
Velez was seen on surveillance video released by New York City Police entering a smoke shop Thursday morning after the alleged attack, investigators said.
An employee said the suspect had a cellphone in his hand and attempted to sell it to one of his co-workers.
“He was calm, when he is calm, he takes his time, like three minutes in the store,” said employee Mubarak Maflehi. “He was not a regular, but they would see him here a couple of times, like three or four times.”
After being denied by the shop’s worker, Velez was seen leaving the store.
Velez has a prior arrest stemming from a similar alleged attack in South Florida. He was arrested in 2020 in connection to the kidnapping of a 20-year-old woman in Sunny Isles Beach.
Investigators said Veles dragged the victim into the bushes and tried to rape her.
The judge gave him no bond and eventually set a date for him to appear on a probation violation.
But Velez did not show up.
New York City investigators said the woman in Central Park was choked, lost consciousness briefly and was then raped. She ran out and called for help, stumbling onto a passer-by who called 911.
She was taken to a hospital, where she continues to recover.
“The perception is, if you’re a jogger in Central Park, you’re afraid. If you are in the park in the Bronx, you are afraid,” said New York City Mayor-elect Eric Adams. “I’m not going to minimize what people perceive. I must change the perception and actualization of the crime in our city.”
Once Velez’s New York case is resolved, the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office will extradite him to South Florida for the probation violation hearing.
Copyright 2021 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.