A convicted violent sex offender has been arrested in connection with the rape of a woman inside the bathroom of a Manhattan sports bar over the weekend after he walked past the very same bar Wednesday morning and the owner recognized him, authorities say.
Rodney Stover, 48, was arrested on rape, sex assault and other charges in Saturday's attack at the Turnmill Bar on East 27th Street in Murray Hill, police said.
Turnmill bar owner Tom Lucas had been watching surveillance video from that night for hours when he stepped outside Wednesday morning and the suspect walked right past him, he told NBC 4 New York. He called police and followed Stover until officers arrived and cuffed him just blocks away.
Stover was identified by the 23-year-old victim in a lineup. It wasn't immediately clear if he had an attorney. When asked by reporters as he was led from the police station Wednesday if he committed the rape, he shook his head no but said nothing else.
According to police, Stover was hiding in one of the stalls inside a women's restroom at the bar Saturday evening, and when a woman emerged from one of the other stalls, he pushed her back in, grabbed her by the throat and raped her. He then fled the bar.
The level-three sex offender spent decades in prison on convictions of a 1990 rape in Pittsburgh and a 1992 rape in Southampton on Long Island, according to authorities. He was released from prison just this year, then moved into the Bellevue men's homeless shelter in Murray Hill.
"I don't know how people like that are still allowed to walk on the street," said neighbor Katie Aulcino.
News of the arrest has brought relief to neighbors.
"It could have been me or my friends," said one woman. "No one expects it, it's scary."
48 year old Rodney Stover arrested for raping a woman in a Manhattan sports bar. When asked if he did it- he yelled "no". Stover is a level 3 sex offender, convicted for two other rapes in the 90s.
Posted by Brynn Gingras on Wednesday, April 15, 2015