Newark Police arrest suspect in attempted abductions
Special from the Newark Post
— The man accused of trying to abduct two women from downtown Newark parking lots last week is now behind bars.
Joseph B. Rudge, a 35-year-old homeless sex offender, was taken into custody last weekend when a Newark Police Department SWAT team raided a home in the 1200 block of North Claymont Street in Wilmington, Lt. Bill Hargrove said.
Rudge was charged with two counts of second-degree attempted kidnapping, two counts of offensive touching, attempted theft, second-degree attempted carjacking, attempted theft from a victim over 62 years of age and failure to re-register as a sex offender. He was committed to the Howard R. Young Correctional Institute in lieu of $48,700 secured bond.
The charges stem from two incidents that occurred in downtown Newark, the first of which came at 11:20 p.m. July 3 at Colonial Garden Apartments, located at 334 E. Main St.
Newark Police Department spokesman Cpl. James Spadola said a 28-year-old University of Delaware stu-
dent had unloaded items from her car when a man entered the apartment building and grabbed her from behind.
He put a chemical-soaked rag around her mouth and attempted to drag her outside, but the woman fought back and escaped, Spadola said.
The suspect left on foot but struck again four hours later at Main Towers, a senior citizen apartment complex next door to Colonial Garden, police said.
Spadola said the man attacked a 61-year-old woman as she was getting out of her vehicle in the parking lot just after 3:30 a.m. July 4. He grabbed the woman’s neck and mouth and attempted to force her back into her vehicle.
She, too, fought off the attack, and the suspect ran away.
Both women medical attention.
After the incidents, police released a description of the attacker as well as video taken from two surveillance cameras at Main Towers, and it didn’t take long for someone to recognize him.
Hargrove said last week that NPD received a tip that Rudge fit the description declined of the person seen in the video. Through an exhaustive investigation, including serving a search warrant at his last known address, detectives were able to identify Rudge and obtain an arrest warrant.
Hargove said Rudge is considered homeless but had a few belongings at the address.
“I don’t think he had been there in quite a while,” he said.
After police released Rudge’s name and photo, more tips led investigators to the home in Wilmington where Rudge was staying.
Hargrove said police are still investigating to find out why Rudge allegedly targeted the two victims.
“We don’t know at this point exactly what his motive was, so anything at this point would be pure speculation,” he said, noting that Rudge did try to force one of the victims back into her car, which led officers to believe he was trying to steal her car.
In August 2001, Rudge was convicted of fourthdegree rape for sexual intercourse with a victim under 16 years old. He is labeled a Tier 2 (moderate risk) sex offender.