A man wanted for allegedly raping a young girl in North Andover was arrested this Wednesday in Lawrence Township, N.J., after members of a federal fugitive task force tracked him down to the home of relatives.
North Andover Police want the 30-year-old in connection with charges of rape and indecent exposure involving a child under the age of 14, according to William Perez, an investigator with the New York/New Jersey Regional Fugitive Task Force of the U.S. Marshals Service.
“He is accused of sexually assaulting a juvenile,” Perez said, noting that the alleged victim is an “elementary school-age female” and that the charges against Perez were filed earlier this month.
As part of their search for Garcia – who fled Massachusetts before he could be apprehended on the charges – authorities looked into his background and discovered that he had relatives living in Lawrence Township, Perez said.
Members of the New York/New Jersey fugitive task force – which includes detectives from the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office – raided that house on Eldridge Avenue this morning and found Garcia hiding inside, Perez said.
The arrest took place as many Saint Ann’s parishioners were attending Ash Wednesday services at the church next door. Many people driving along Eldridge Avenue, either en route to the church or leaving it, slowed down to look at the large gathering of heavily-armed law enforcement personnel wearing body armor surrounding a handcuffed Garcia.
Garcia faces a local charge of hindering apprehension for allegedly trying to hide from the task force, and will be held at the Mercer County Correction Center in Hopewell Township until he is extradited to Massachusetts, Perez said.
A Lawrence Township police officer was present at the scene of the arrest, but Garcia does not appear to be suspected of any local crimes at this time.
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