Suspect in Central Park rape showed off ankle monitor on Instagram


The man accused of raping a Central Park jogger after skipping court in an assault case in Florida appeared to mock the legal system’s attempt to monitor him in an Instagram posting last month.

Paulie Velez, 25, posted several photos of himself posing in front of a mirror with his ankle monitor from the Florida case clearly visible in mid-October.

“Locked up, they won’t let me out,” he wrote in the caption of one photo.

Velez ended up dismantling the ankle monitor before fleeing to New York and committing the rape last week, prosecutors said at his Manhattan court hearing Saturday.  

Velez, now at Rikers on the rape rap, had failed to show up at a status hearing in his assault case in Florida on Oct. 27, prompting a warrant to be put out for him, according to online records.

Velez was initially accused of kidnapping and sex assault after he allegedly dragged a woman in her 20s from a Miami sidewalk to a dimly lit area behind some bushes in February 2020, police sources told The Post.

Velez, who was homeless at the time and part of a shelter program, allegedly put her in a chokehold and threatened to remove her pants – but the attack was foiled by two witnesses.

Paulie Velez
Paulie Velez raped a 27-year-old woman running in Central Park.

He agreed to a plea deal in the case, sources said — and online records show the charges against him were downgraded to aggravated battery and resisting arrest.

It wasn’t immediately clear why the charges were pleaded down, and calls to the Miami County Court went unanswered Sunday.

The accused rapist then turned up in Manhattan, where he raped a 27-year-old woman running in the park Thursday morning, authorities have said.

Paulie Velez
Paulie Velez was initially accused of kidnapping and sex assault.

He was on the lam till early Saturday, when cops nabbed him in Queens after they “received several phones calls to a hot line’’ that led investigators to his mom’s Howard Beach home, sources said.

He initially tried to run from cops and jumped into a body of water before being detained, police said.

A peace-sign tattoo on his arm and a Buddhist symbol for enlightenment on his neck helped cops identify him, sources said.

Paulie Velez
Paulie Velez is arraigned in Manhattan Criminal Court for raping a woman in Central Park near Swan Lake.
Curtis Means/DailyMail/Pool

Velez later admitted to NYPD investigators that he raped the woman in Central Park, the sources said.

He is due back in court Friday for the rape case and Dec. 13 on the fugitive warrant from Florida.

Velez has prior convictions in Pennsylvania and Las Vegas, according to authorities. He pleaded guilty to drug charges in Pike and Lackawanna counties in Pennsylvania back in 2016 and 2017 when he was a teen and was fined.

Paulie Velez
Paulie Velez admitted to NYPD investigators that he raped the woman in Central Park.

The details regarding his Nevada rap sheet don’t appear to be public.

Additional reporting Kevin Sheehan

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