Authorities in Somerset County announced the arrest of Elias Rodriguez, 45, of Brick, New Jersey, in relation to an assault that occurred on the path behind the Blessed Sacrament Church on Washington Valley Road at approximately 9:54 a.m. on Sunday, July 9, 2023, in Bridgewater Township.
Somerset County Prosecutor John P. McDonald, Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of County Detectives Francisco Roman Jr., and Bridgewater Township Chief of Police John B. Mitzak reported that on July 9, 2023, at approximately 9:54 a.m., Bridgewater Township Police received a 9-1-1 call reporting a theft in progress behind Blessed Sacrament Church on Washington Valley Road in Bridgewater.
Prosecutor McDonald stated that upon arrival, officers met with an adult female victim, a Bridgewater resident, who reported being assaulted by an unknown male while walking the path behind the church.
According to officials, detectives from the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Sex Crimes/Child Abuse Unit and Crime Scene Investigation Unit, along with detectives from the Bridgewater Police Department, responded to investigate.
The victim reported that while walking the path behind the church, officials stated that the suspect came up behind her and placed his hands over her eyes and mouth.
Authorities say the victim began to struggle with the suspect.
Officials said the victim and suspect fell to the ground, where the suspect took the victim’s cellular telephone and fled the area.
The victim chased after the suspect, observing him enter a dark-colored SUV and leave the area, officials say.
An investigation conducted by the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office and the Bridgewater Police Department led to the identification of Elias Rodriguez as a suspect in this case.
According to officials, on Wednesday, October 18, Elias Rodriguez was located and placed under arrest in Jackson Township without incident.
Officials said Defendant Rodriguez was transported to the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office, where he was processed on charges of 2nd degree Robbery, 2nd degree Attempted Explicit Assault, and 2nd degree Attempted Aggravated Explicit Assault.
Defendant Rodriguez was lodged in the Somerset County Jail pending a detention hearing in this matter, authorities say.