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Police Hunt For Serial Rape Suspect In Paterson, N.J.

Rafael Velez (credit: Handout)

Rafael Velez (credit: Handout)

PATERSON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – Police are hunting for an accused serial rapist suspected of attacking two women in the same building, and of possibly being involved in a third attack.

Rafael Velez, 42, allegedly lured women into an office building near City Hall in Paterson and led them to the sixth floor at knife point.

Residents told CBS 2′s Derricke Dennis that the possibility of an encounter with Velez makes even the most mundane activities seem dangerous.

“It’s a shock. What if I’m just coming and he tried to get me as I’m getting money out of the ATM?” Sherkeya Cuffie said Wednesday.

According to police, Velez stood outside of the building at 129 Market St., grabbed his targets, forced them inside, and then held them blade to throat. The first attack happened on Sept. 14, the second occurred on Monday, and a third attack that may have occurred near the Paterson falls is under investigation, police said.

Detectives identified Velez as a suspect and tracked him to his Paterson home but he escaped. A manhunt is underway.

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