Prosecutors in New Jersey say the man behind an armed home invasion has been arrested and charged for sexually assaulting a woman in one of the state's higher-end income communities earlier this week.
Patrol units responded to a home near Forest and Longfellow Avenues in Westfield, which Bloomberg News ranked as the nation's 99th highest-income town in the country as recently as three years ago, shortly before 1 p.m. Tuesday for a report of a burglary and sex assault by an assailant with some sort of weapon, officials said.
Union County prosecutors announced the arrest of 22-year-old Terence Rhue, of Plainfield, Friday morning following an "exhaustive" search. He's been charged with aggravated sexual assault, robbery, and burglary among other weapon possession charges. It wasn't immediately clear if Rhue had hired an attorney.
“We are grateful for the collaboration with the local and State law enforcement agencies who assisted our Office in quickly locating and apprehending the suspect,” William Daniel, the Union County prosecutor, said.
Authorities said that a woman returned to her home to find Rhue in the middle of a burglary. Instead of running off, he sexually assaulted the woman, police said.
Westfield Mayor Mayor Shelley Brindle said that police and the prosecutor's office quickly identified Rhue as the suspect, putting out a sketch and having him under surveillance with 24 hours.
"Of all the places you should feel safe, it should be your own home," Brindle said.
Authorities acknowledged there were questions about unreleased details in the case but said that decision was in the best interest of the investigation.
"That being said, nobody should ever feel unsafe in their own home. Nobody should have to worry about a wife, mother, or daughter suffering such a horrific attack," Westfield Mayor Shelley Brindle and Police Chief Christopher Battiloro said in a joint statement. "We will continue to dedicate every possible resource to this case and to the safety of our residents, and we thank all of you who have provided helpful information and offered words of healing and support for the victim."
Westfield police have visibly enhanced patrol operations throughout the town as the investigation continues, Brindle and Battiloro's statement said Thursday.
"Our thoughts remain with the victim of this horrific crime, and we are grateful to live in a community that has shown a true outpouring of support and compassion for our fellow resident and neighbor," they continued. "We will all continue to pray for her continued recovery following an unthinkable turn of events."