Park ‘rapist’ caught! Man charged with attacks across Somerset County, NJ
A 38-year-old Somerset County man first busted for masturbating in public has been connected to at least two rapes within roughly the last year, the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office announced on Wednesday.
Rogelio Calyeca Postrero, of Raritan, was arrested on Thursday in connection to an “act of lewdness” in Raritan Borough, according to Somerset County Prosecutor John McDonald.
Following further investigation, he has also been accused of sexually assaulting a woman in Duke Island Park last summer in Bridgewater and sexually assaulting a different woman in May, near Blackwells Mills and Canal roads in Franklin Township.
On Thursday just after 9 a.m., police received a 911 call reporting a Hispanic male in the area of the Nevius Street Bridge possibly masturbating in public, McDonald said.
Officers found Postrero — who matched the description given by the caller — in the area of the bridge.
He was initially charged with lewdness, a disorderly person’s offense, and detectives from the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Unit joined the investigation.
Postrero was also found to be using phony identification for work purposes in Somerset County and was then charged with two counts of third-degree knowingly exhibiting false documents.
Law enforcement recognized that the Raritan resident bore a resemblance to the State Police composite sketches and descriptions given by a jogger attacked just over a year ago at knifepoint in Bridgewater, as well as those from a woman attacked along a trail in Franklin Township this past spring.
Police were granted a search warrant for Postrero’s home and found a bicycle there that matched the description provided by the victim who reported the Franklin assault.
His DNA also matched the profile of a sample taken after the Bridgewater assault, as analyzed by the State Police forensic lab.
On Friday, Postrero was additionally charged with two counts of first-degree aggravated sexual assault.
He remained at Somerset County Jail on Wednesday, pending a detention hearing.
In addition to local, county and state law enforcement, the prosecutor thanked federal agents with Immigration and Customs Enforcement as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigation for involvement in the case.
Reported trailside rapes
In May, Franklin Township police responded to a 911 call from a female runner, who reported being attacked by a man near Blackwells Mills Road and Canal Road, in the Six Mile Run area of Delaware & Raritan Canal park.
In July 2021, a woman reported being sexually assaulted by a man who had been armed with a knife in Duke Island Park, according to the Somerset County Prosecutor's Office.
Police previously said that the Franklin Township attacker was described as a Hispanic male in his mid-30s, with a heavier build, and about 5 feet 7 inches.
Following the May attack, the victim said that the man got off a bike while she was running and tackled her to the ground — where she fought back and escaped before calling for help.
On July 18, 2021, police received a 911 call reporting a sexual assault in Duke Island Park.
In that incident, the woman had been riding a bike when she said a man came up behind her, held a knife to her throat and asked for money, before assaulting her in the nearby bushes and then fled the area on his own bicycle in the direction of Raritan, according to police.
The suspect in the Bridgewater assault was described to police as a Hispanic male in his 30s, weighing between 151 and 175 pounds with a medium to stocky build, between 5 feet 4 inches and 5 feet 6 inches.
In September, a woman reported being raped by a man armed with a gun within D&R Canal park near the South Brunswick/Plainsboro border, Middlesex County authorities previously said.
Following all three attacks, police said they were investigating whether the same person was involved in both reported in Somerset as well as the one in Middlesex.
As of Thursday, the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office had not yet made an arrest for the September sex assault, but anticipated “charging the suspect soon,” a spokesperson confirmed to New Jersey 101.5.
Anyone with potential information can contact the Somerset County Prosecutors Office Sex Crimes Unit at 908-231-7100 or via the STOPit app.
The STOPit app, which can be downloaded to a smart phone for free, allows citizens to provide anonymous reports including videos and photos.
Information can also be provided through the Somerset County Crime Stoppers’ Tip Line at 1-888-577-TIPS (8477).