Man Charged With Breaking Into Wantage Township, N.J. Home, Sexually Assaulting 2 Children

WANTAGE TOWNSHIP, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — New Jersey State Police announced Sunday that they have arrested a man and charged him with sexually assaulting two children at gunpoint in Wantage Township.

Craig Lassiter, 33, of Middletown, New York, was charged with aggravated sexual assault on a minor less than 13, robbery, sexual penetration while using force, burglary, making terroristic threats, and other counts in the incident, which happened early on Monday, Sept. 18.

Craig Lassiter

Craig Lassiter is accused of breaking into a home and sexually assaulting two children in Wantage Township, New Jersey. (Credit: New Jersey State Police)

At 2:07 a.m. that morning, New Jersey State Police troopers from the Sussex Station responded to a Wantage Township home after the homeowner called 911 to report a burglary, state police said. The caller reported that the burglar might still be in the home, state police said.

When troopers arrived, they tried to pull over a Chevrolet Silverado with New York license plates, which it was later determined that Lassiter was driving, state police said. The driver swerved around the police cruiser, ran over a mailbox, and sped away, state police said.

Troopers quickly located the vehicle, which was abandoned in a field, state police said. It was determined that the truck had been reported stolen out of New York, state police said.

State police did not find Lassiter at the time.

Meanwhile, detectives and troopers went to the house where the burglary transpired, and learned that was far from all that happened, state police said.

Police determined that Lassiter entered the home and went into a bedroom shared by two children, state police said. He threatened the children with physical violence, told them he had a gun, and sexually assaulted them, state police said.

The children eventually notified family members, who searched the house and discovered the front door was open, state police said.

An investigation led detectives to identify Lassiter as the suspect, and working with the New Jersey State Police Fugitive Unit, New York State Police, Nassau and Suffolk County police, and the Middletown City Police Department in Orange County, Lassiter was located and arrested on Friday in Bay Shore Long Island, state police said.

He had been wanted on warrants in Sussex County the following Friday for allegedly eluding and receiving stolen property. On Friday, Sept. 29, he was extradited to New Jersey and this past Wednesday, Sussex County authorities charged him with the new counts.

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