Man charged with raping woman in Newark Airport, NJ parking garage
✈ A West New York man is accused of sexually assaulting a woman in a parking garage connected to Terminal A
✈ Terminal A opened in January with a brand new $2.7 billion look and modern security
✈ Anyone with information is asked to contact detectives
ELIZABETH — Authorities have charged a West New York man with sexual assault for attacking a woman in a parking garage connected to Newark Airport Terminal A, according to the Union County Prosecutor's Office.
Assistant Prosecutor Caroline Lawlor said the victim, a woman, reported that she was walking to her car at the Conrac Parking Garage around 9 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 19, when a stranger emerged from the shadows and sexually assaulted her. The garage is connected to Terminal A, which reopened two weeks ago.
As soon as she had the chance, the victim called the police. Cops from the Port Authority police soon got to the scene and immediately began a search for the culprit.
Within minutes, they found 40-year-old Thomassal Watkins still on the airport grounds and identified him as the assailant, according to Lawlor. The prosecutor's office in a statement said detectives found "significant evidence" after what it called an "exhaustive investigation."
Watkins is being held at Union County jail pending a Friday court appearance. He is charged with first-degree aggravated sexual assault, second-degree sexual assault, third-degree aggravated assault and fourth-degree criminal sexual contact.
Anyone with more information is still urged to contact UCPO Det. Claudia Diaz at 908-965-3779 or Port Authority police Det. Amos Shand at 973-961-6308.
👮♂️ New Newark Airport Terminal A, modernized security
After $2.7 billion in spending and a month-long delay, a brand new Terminal A opened at Newark Liberty International Airport with one million square feet of space. Officials boasted about its state-of-the-art amenities at its Jan. 12 opening.
“Newark Liberty’s new Terminal A will serve as a stunning showcase of the art, history and cuisine of the Garden State,” Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Chairman Kevin O’Toole said. “This new terminal reflects the best of our region."
Terminal A also opened with a new, connected $400 million public parking garage. The Conrac Parking Garage features 2,700 parking spaces and rental car facilities.
READ MORE: Brand new terminal at Newark Airport finally opens next week
One week after the first flight departed from the terminal on Jan. 12, a woman reported that she was sexually assaulted in the parking garage, according to the prosecutor.
Port Authority spokesperson Lenis Valens told New Jersey 101.5 that the garage has "sufficient lighting." It is also equipped with emergency phones and CCTV cameras.
Conrac Solutions spokesperson Cassidy Davis told New Jersey 101.5 that it does not handle the garage's security. The company turned over the operation of the public parking portion of the garage to the airport on Oct. 24, 2022.
"Conrac Solutions does not operate or maintain this part of the facility on behalf of the Port Authority," Davis said.
Rick Rickman is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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