Home Invasion Suspect Arrested
JOINT STATEMENT FROM MAYOR BRINDLE AND CHIEF BATTILORO
We are very relieved to share today’s news of an arrest made for Tuesday’s home invasion and sexual assault on Longfellow Avenue. The details of the arrest and charges can be found in the press release below from the Union County Prosecutor’s Office.
This arrest, less than 72 hours after this horrific incident, is the result of extraordinary police work and a close collaboration between the Westfield Police Department, the UCPO, and the State Police. We are immensely grateful for the dedication of these law enforcement professionals and their expertise that has brought this case to a swift resolution.
This has been an extremely upsetting time for our community, knowing that the unthinkable can truly happen anywhere. We want to reassure you that, above all else, the safety of the residents of Westfield community remains our top priority and your Police Department is working with every resource at its disposal.
We join the community in offering continued thoughts and prayers of healing for the victim, and we thank the residents of Westfield for their outpouring of concern. We are grateful to live in a town where neighbors always offer ongoing support and look out for one another during trying and unpredictable times.
PRESS RELEASE FROM UCPO AND THE WESTFIELD POLICE DEPARTMENT
For Immediate Release
October 22, 2021
Contact: Mike Sheets, Union County Prosecutor’s Office
Plainfield Man Arrested for Westfield Sexual Assault
A Plainfield man was arrested early this morning after being criminally charged with sexually assaulting a woman during a home invasion in Westfield on Tuesday, Union County Prosecutor William A. Daniel and Westfield Police Chief Christopher Battiloro jointly announced Friday.
Terence Rhue, 22, is charged with first-degree aggravated sexual assault, first-degree robbery, second-degree burglary, third-degree possession of a weapon for unlawful purposes and fourth-degree unlawful possession of a weapon in connection with the attack on a female resident.
Westfield Police Department patrol units responded to the area Forest and Longfellow Avenues at approximately 12:50 p.m. on Tuesday in response to a report of a sexual assault by an armed intruder, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor Caroline Lawlor, who is prosecuting the case.
An exhaustive investigation led by the Union County Special Victims Unit and the Westfield Police Department, and assisted by the Union County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Unit, the New Jersey State Police Regional Operations Intelligence Center (R.O.I.C.), as well as the Plainfield, Scotch Plains and Fanwood Police Departments, resulted in the identification of Rhue as the suspect and led to his eventual capture and arrest.
“We are grateful for the collaboration with the local and State law enforcement agencies who assisted our Office in quickly locating and apprehending the suspect,” Prosecutor Daniel said.
Rhue is currently being held in the Union County Jail pending a First Appearance.
Anyone with information about this matter is still urged to contact Prosecutor’s Office Detective Annie Coll at 908-347-2474 or Westfield Police Department Detective Betsy Savnik at 908-789-6078.
Convictions on crimes of this nature are commonly punishable by terms of up to twenty years in state prison.
These criminal charges are mere accusations. Every defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.
By LAUREN S. BARR
For The Westfield Leader
WESTFIELD — Today the Union County Prosecutor’s Office and Westfield Police released the above sketch of the suspect in Tuesday’s home invasion and sexual assault in Westfield.
The prosecutor’s office urged for anyone who may know this individual or has any information about this matter to contact Union County Prosecutor’s Office Detective Annie Coll at (908) 347-2474 or Westfield Police Department Detective Betsy Savnik at (908) 789-6078.
A joint press release further stated that, “Members of the public are strongly discouraged from approaching or confronting any individuals they believe to resemble the suspect composite, but are instead advised to contact members of law enforcement.”
Tips can also be submitted anonymously by phone at (908) 654-TIPS (8477) or online at www.uctip.org; submission of tips made in this fashion that result in an indictment and conviction can be eligible for a reward of up to $10,000 via the Union County Crime Stoppers.
The investigation into the attack is being led by the Union County Special Victims Unit and the Westfield Police Department and assisted by members of the Union County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Unit and the New Jersey State Police.
Westfield Mayor Shelley Brindle and Police Chief Chris Battiloro released a statement shortly after the Prosecutor’s Office released the sketch, which reads:
“First and foremost, our thoughts remain with the victim of this horrific crime, and we are grateful to live in a community that has shown a true outpouring of support and compassion for our fellow resident and neighbor. We will all continue to pray for her continued recovery following an unthinkable turn of events.
We want to assure everyone that this very active investigation is the absolute top priority of the Town right now. All of the resources of the Westfield Police Department continue to be utilized in partnership with the Union County Prosecutor’s Office and New Jersey State Police. These law enforcement officers are working tirelessly to solve this case and bring the perpetrator to justice for the victim and for the community at large. In addition, the Westfield Police Department continues to conduct significant and visibly enhanced patrol operations throughout Town as this investigation continues.
While questions about unreleased details are very understandable as we try to process what happened here as fellow neighbors, that judgment is one that ultimately is left to the professionals leading the investigation. Our role is to do everything asked of us to maintain the integrity of the investigation, both tactically and in terms of public information, so that it can reach the successful conclusion that this community deserves. We will not stray from their guidance, and we ask that you place your trust in the law enforcement experts whose experience best decides how to proceed in this case.
That being said, nobody should ever feel unsafe in their own home. Nobody should have to worry about a wife, mother, or daughter suffering such a horrific attack. We will continue to dedicate every possible resource to this case and to the safety of our residents, and we thank all of you who have provided helpful information and offered words of healing and support for the victim.”
Editor’s Note: information has been updated as of today (10/22/21, 3:15 p.m.) and we will continue to update as more details become available.