Police charge man with rape in Chapel Hill parking deck

Chapel Hill police charged a Raleigh man with rape Monday after the sexual assault was reported in the parking deck of Shortbread Lofts earlier this month.

Vernon Lamont Reed, 46, was charged with first-degree forcible rape, robbery with a dangerous weapon, assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury, and kidnapping, according to a press release from the Town of Chapel Hill.

The incident took place around 3 a.m. on Sept. 13, at 333 W. Rosemary St. in downtown Chapel Hill, according to a previous news release. The off-campus housing is north of Franklin Street and less than a mile from campus.

Following the report, police increased patrols in the downtown area, The News & Observer previously reported. Chapel Hill Police Chief Chris Blue also said he had been in communication with UNC Police Chief David Perry, with the campus police supplementing patrols, The N&O reported.

Chapel Hill police said community tips helped them identify the suspect.

“We would like to thank the community for the many tips that we’ve received in this very difficult case,” Blue said in the release. “And our investigators have worked around the clock for more than two weeks to run those tips down. The tips, the immense amount of community interest in this case, and the hard work of our investigations team are what have led us to the arrest today.”

Reed is being held in Orange County Jail on a $500,000 secured bond. His first court appearance will be Oct. 1.

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Ashad Hajela reports on public safety for The News & Observer and The Herald-Sun. He studied journalism at New York University.