Australian Rugby Player Arrested in NYC, Accused of Following, Threatening Women: Police

A troubled Australian professional rugby player was arrested in New York City last weekend after he allegedly followed two women into an apartment building and threatened them, screaming, "This is the night you die," police said.

Matthew Lodge, who plays for the Sydney-based rugby league football club Wests Tigers, was on vacation in New York City when he followed two women into a building at 76th Street and West End Avenue on the Upper West Side early Friday, police said.

The women, who were German tourists, according to the Daily News, hit several buzzers to get into the building to escape the 20-year-old Lodge, police told NBC 4 New York. It's not clear how Lodge encountered the women or why he was following them, but he allegedly screamed at them: "This is the night you die." 

When a neighbor ran into the hallway to help, he and Lodge got into a scuffle, and Ldoge then ran into the man's apartment, with the man's wife and child inside, and began breaking things, according to police. 

Mario Veltri, whose son owns the building, told NBC 4 New York he heard from tenants about the chaos, which ended with police arrived. He said tenants told him Lodge threw a bottle at officers before police found him hiding in a closet.

"It would make anybody nervous," said Veltri.

Neighbors were shocked to hear of the alleged assault, and many were scared to hear the suspect was able to get into the building.

"Our building has 24/7 security, so it's less of a worry, but any apartment or anybody living on the first floor with no security is going to be concerned," said Ami Kantawala. 

"It's absolutely terrifying. I feel bad for them," said Gabriel Marshall.

Lodge had posted a video on Instagram hours before his arrest, showing him inside a taxi laughing with the driver as music blared. 

He was charged with trespassing and menacing, and was held on $20,000 bail Saturday. It's not clear if he had an attorney here. 

This wasn't his first run-in with the law. His team benched him in August on domestic violence charges, and then fired him Monday, The Wests Tigers said in a statement: "The Club is incredibly disappointed to learn that Matthew Lodge has been charged by police while overseas on holiday. We have since made the decision to terminate Lodge’s playing contract." 

His family told a local news station in Australia they were "devastated." 

"I have no comment because I don't know what's going on," his mother Karan Lodge said. "I don't know anything about the incident, and my husband's currently on his way to New York to find out details." 

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