New Paltz Police have made an arrest following a string of off-campus burglaries that occurred over the holiday weekend—one of which resulted in the sexual assault of a female SUNY New Paltz student as she slept in her bedroom.
Police located and apprehended the suspect at his place of employment yesterday after intensive investigative efforts by the New Paltz Police Department and SUNY New Paltz Police Department. Kevin Guerrero, 20, of New Windsor, was arraigned in the Town of New Paltz Court and sent to Ulster County Jail on no bail.
Police responded to a reported burglary on Sunday, Sept. 4 at around 5:45 a.m. after Guerrero entered his victim’s off-campus apartment by pushing in an air conditioning unit that was installed in a window. Police say Guerrero sexually assaulted the student before she was able to fend him off, causing him to flee the area.
Further investigation by detectives showed that Guerrero was involved in two other similar incidents; he broke into two more apartments in the village, and was noticed by the tenants inside both times. Upon being encountered, he fled once again.
“No assault was perpetrated in the other two cases because he was encountered by people in the apartments,” New Paltz Police Lieutenant Robert Lucchesi said. “That prevented him from doing anything further.”
Guerrero was charged with burglary in the second degree and rape in the first degree and is scheduled to return to New Paltz Court for a preliminary hearing on Sept. 13. The investigation is continuing and additional charges may be filed, police said.
In light of these events, University Police Chief David Dugatkin recommends that off-campus students conduct a safety check of their residence, making sure all doors, windows and entry points are locked. Lucchesi offered similar precautions.
“Not just students but to residents as a whole: make sure your windows and doors are locked,” he said. “If you do have an air conditioner in your window, secure it as best as possible so that you can make it very difficult to be pushed in. The other thing is, if you see something, call us. Don’t be concerned that it may be nothing—we would rather come down there and verify that everything is OK.”
In addition to UPD, the New Paltz Police Department was assisted in the investigation by the the Ulster County SANE Unit and New York State Police.