News

Quaint Westfield, N.J., On Edge After Brutal Rape

Police Searching For 2 Suspects And A Minivan
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This is the spot where police believe a 20-year-old woman was raped in Westfield, N.J. on Oct. 11, 2010.

This is the spot where police believe a 20-year-old woman was raped in Westfield, N.J. on Oct. 11, 2010.

Christine Sloan thumbnail Christine Sloan
Emmy-award winning journalist Christine Sloan joined CBS 2 News in...
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WESTFIELD, N.J. (CBS 2) – The hunt is on for two men who sexually attacked a woman in New Jersey. Police said the victim was forced into a minivan then raped at knife point and robbed.

Westfield is as suburban as it gets. It’s a place where life seems safe and perfect.

But now, as CBS 2’s Christine Sloan reports, that sense of security has been rattled after police said a woman was sexually assaulted.

Investigators said they have DNA evidence and are trying to figure out if women in other communities have been targeted.

“I am just really shocked, never heard of crime in this area,” said resident Elizabeth Ruf.

In this quaint town women are on alert and police on patrol as the search continued Wednesday for two suspects, and have released a sketch of one of them. Police said they sexually assaulted a 20-year-old Cranford woman near popular Gumbert Park early Monday morning.

Meredith Bridge lives by the park and said she was out with her dog hours before the alleged attack.

“I was out walking the dog as I do every night and it does gives you a false sense of security it’s safe it’s Westfield. We live in the suburbs. There’s nothing wrong here,” Bridge said.

Police said the woman told them she was out walking on South Chestnut Street when a man grabbed her at knifepoint and dragged her into a minivan parked on the street. That’s where she said she was sexually assaulted by the suspect and another man inside the minivan.

“She struck the second person and was able to strike the actor and escape from the vehicle and run from the car,” Westfield Police Capt. David Wayman said.

Police said the suspects, including one in his 40s, also stole $450 from the victim. In a town where most women wouldn’t think twice about walking alone in the dark, now there seems to be a sense of it’s not safe anywhere.

Not even with a dog.

“My husband won’t let me walk the dog again at night. He said you will never do that again,” Bridge said.

“Maybe we should put more policemen on duty but how can you do that? How can you do that?  Where are they going to be? Everywhere,” said resident Missy McIntyre.

Police are still working on the second sketch. They don’t have a model on the minivan but said it was black. Police are also asking the public for help. If you saw anything, or may have been a victim yourself of a similar incident, they want to hear from you.

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