"Got him!" Deputy Commissioner John Miller tweeted. "There was never a doubt that #NYPD Detectives would apprehend the suspect wanted for the heinous sexual assault in Central Park. Justice will be served."
The man was identified as 25-year-old Paulie Velez, according to the NY Post. The paper said he was busted at about 12:50 a.m. after he ran jumped fences, and tried to hide under a deck when officers showed up at his mother's Howard Beach, Queens home.
The woman was approached from behind by the man on a footpath near Swan Lake just before 7:30 a.m. on Thursday. He then choked the woman unconscious before sexually assaulting her, according to police.
EMS rushed her to the hospital after the attack. She was listed in stable condition.
FOX 5 NY obtained a new video from a smoke shop on 8th Avenue and 38th Street. The man dressed in all black is seen entering Smoke Valley CBD around 7:54 a.m. Thursday. An employee said he attempted to sell a cellphone to one of his co-workers.
"He was calm. He takes his time. He was in the store three minutes," Mubarak Maflehi told FOX 5 NY. "He was not a regular but they would see him here a couple of times, like three to four times."
After being denied, the man then left the store, the video shows.
Another sexual assault a short time later was initially investigated for a possible connection to the Central Park rape but that was ruled out, according to police.
The second attack took place about 45 minutes later on a running path on Randall's Island near a footbridge at 103rd Street near and FDR Drive.
The NYPD said a 38-year-old man was taken into custody after the second attack. The suspect in that attack had been released on probation two days prior for a rape conviction in 2005.
Police released these images of a man believed to have raped a woman in Central Park on Nov. 11, 2021. (MTA/NYPD)