According to police and sources, Paulie Velez, 25, who was busted for sexual battery in Florida last year, was arrested early Saturday, Nov. 13, in Central Park and accused of raping a woman during the daytime.

Officers caught Paulie Velez, 25, around 12:50 a.m. after he ran, jumped fences, tried to hide under a deck, and plunged into a “body of water” in an attempt to flee after they came knocking at his mother’s home in Howard Beach, Queens, authorities, and sources reported.

According to the New York Post, Velez, who is homeless, assaulted the woman near Swan Lake on Thursday morning around 7:20 a.m. Velez allegedly approached the 27-year-old woman from behind and placed her in a chokehold, causing her to pass out temporarily before raping her, police claim. He is also accused of stealing her phone.

The woman was later transferred to a nearby hospital and was in stable condition.

“He made a statement saying he was only looking to rob the victim,” a source said.

Although there are no video cameras inside the park, police could use cameras outside the park to obtain a clear image of the suspect and track his steps to a subway station, then a store, and finally, outside a smoke shop on Eighth Avenue, CBS New York reported.

Investigators said that Velez’s whereabouts were located thanks to a Crime Stoppers tip. Around 1 a.m. on Saturday, he was arrested in Lower Manhattan.

A source added that cops released photos of Velez around Midtown following the Central Park attack, which helped in his capture.

“He puts himself at the crime. Says ‘I was there in the park,’” a law enforcement source stated.

Velez is homeless, but he had lived in Florida, where he was arrested in Miami-Dade County in February 2020 in an attack that was somehow similar to the alleged attack in Central Park.

The source said Velez is suspected of dragging a woman from a Miami sidewalk to a darkened spot behind some bushes, where he allegedly placed her in a chokehold and threatened to remove her pants.

The Florida attack was apparently interrupted by two witnesses, who Velez allegedly urged to leave after threatening to shoot them if they didn’t. He fled when authorities arrived, jumping fences and hiding in a condo complex before being caught. At the time, Velez was accused of battery, kidnapping, and sexual battery, Florida records show.

In that case, Velez agreed to a plea deal but then left town and was wanted in the state.

“There was a court date, and he doesn’t show up,” the source said following the Florida arrest.

On Saturday, Velez was charged with the Central Park attack in Manhattan Criminal Court. Velez’s felony assault history in Florida and convictions in Pennsylvania and Las Vegas were mentioned during the hearings by Assistant District Attorney Jacqueline Studley.

Velez faces charges of strangulation, rape, robbery, and assault.

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