BRIDGEWATER — Authorities believe they have the man responsible for an assault and robbery behind a church over the summer.

The Somerset County Prosecutor's Office announced that 45-year-old Elias Rodriguez, of Brick, was arrested on Wednesday and charged with robbery, attempted sexual assault, and attempted aggravated sexual assault.

On the morning of July 9, police responded to a theft in progress on the path behind Blessed Sacrament Church on Washington Valley Road.

An adult female victim told cops that while she walking on the path, an unknown male came up behind her and placed his hands over her eyes and mouth.

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The women began to struggle with the suspect and both fell to the ground, according to police. The suspect then took the victim's phone and fled, police said. The victim chased the suspect and saw him get into a dark SUV to leave the area.

Within 24 hours, police had released a surveillance photo of a potential suspect in the case.

An investigation led to the identification of Rodriguez as a suspect, and he was arrested in Jackson Township without incident, according to police.

Rodriguez has been transported to Somerset County.

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