Police have arrested a suspect in the attack on a young mother — captured by a nanny cam — who was beaten in front of her 3-year-old daughter at their home in an upscale New Jersey community.
Shawn Custis, 42, was arrested in upper Manhattan by New York and New Jersey FBI agents Friday afternoon, shortly after he was publicly identified as a suspect, a law enforcement official said.
Custis, who has a long criminal history of burglaries, was located in the lobby of a building on 10th Avenue in Inwood, where his girlfriend lives, the official said.
He said nothing to reporters as FBI agents led him to the Essex County courthouse to be arraigned.
Authorities say the woman and her daughter were watching cartoons on their couch in Millburn, N.J. last Friday morning, a baby boy asleep upstairs, when the suspect — alleged to be Custis — kicked in the dead-bolted door of their Cypress Street home.
The suspect beat the mother as the little girl watched, punching and kicking the woman at least 16 times before pushing her down the basement stairs, police said.
The assault was captured on a nanny cam. Footage from that camera shows the woman being tossed around and beaten as her daughter (seen as a blur in the video) looks on. The mother stays nearly silent during the end of the attack.
"She stayed quiet because she didn't want to upset the 3-year-old child who was witnessing the whole crime," said Millburn Police Captain Michael Palardy, who called the brutal assault "despicable."
The attacker appears to stop at one point to say something to the child. She was not hurt.
The suspect took off with jewelry and valuables, including the woman's wedding rings and her purse, police said.
The mother was taken to the hospital to be treated for a concussion and bruises to her face and body. She had several chipped teeth and received stitches near her mouth, police said. Her husband was at work in New York City at the time of the attack.
Authorities say Custis may have chosen the Cypress Street home because he believed it was empty; the shades were drawn and no car was in the driveway.
Neighbors celebrated the news of Custis' arrest Friday.
"This whole block, you could just hear a collective sigh of relief when the news started breaking that they got this guy," said Nick Romano.
Homeowners in the normally peaceful neighborhood have been on edge since the assault; on Friday, they were seen passing around fliers to start a neighborhood watch group. It read, "The time is now that we need to look out for each other."