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Police On Hunt For Occupant Of Black Or Dark Blue Honda Wanted In Westfield, N.J. Home Invasion And Sexual Assault

WESTFIELD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- A New Jersey community is on edge as police search for the suspect in a frightening home invasion and sexual assault in Union County.

CBS2's Meg Baker was on Longfellow Avenue in Westfield, where a man entered a home through an unlocked door and attacked a woman. Neighbors said they are shaken.

"Yes, it's terrifying because the guy is still out there. It's usually a very quiet neighborhood," Bob Okell said of Tuesday's incident.

westfield suspect sketch
(Photo: Union County Prosecutors Office)

Sources told CBS2 the female victim, a mom, entered her house at around 1 p.m. on Tuesday, and was in another room and unaware the suspect was hiding in her bathroom armed with a kitchen knife. When the woman entered the bathroom the suspect approached her at knife point and began sexually assaulting her. She eventually fought off the attacker and ran from the scene to a neighbor's for help.

The suspect fled on foot up the block to his vehicle, which is believed to be a newer model black or dark blue Honda that displays a circular-shaped sticker on the left rear passenger window.

The suspect is described as a man with a dark complexion, in his 20s or 30s, with a thin build but muscular. He was said to be wearing blue surgical gloves and a blue face mask.

"Everyone is just a little bit nervous, obviously, about the future, and we all feel awful because half of us were home when this horrific thing happened and we feel for the family," another neighbor said.

"Obviously, we're very upset. Nothing ever happens here. It's very quiet, and we, before this, have always felt very safe and secure," another neighbor added.

Westfield Mayor Shelley Brindle said every police resource possible is on the case.

"We haven't had really any violent crime happen to us for several years. It's just even more jarring," Brindle said. "Let's just remember the victim. As a mom, as a daughter and wife and first female mayor of this town, I feel this very personally and it brings out all of our vulnerabilities and fears. This the worst thing that you could imagine happening, especially in your own home. It's the one place you feel like you should be safe."

Police have been circling the area since Tuesday, but some residents said more officers are needed.

"At the end of day, I have full confidence in the chief and the department," Brindle said.

The neighboring town of Scotch Plains put out an alert to residents saying "Please use extreme caution," and to "be on the lookout for any suspicious individuals who may be following you."

The investigation is being handled by the Union County Prosecutors Office. A spokesman said there have been a bunch of fast-moving developments in the case, and releasing any more information at this point would be highly counterproductive.

Anyone who may know the suspect or has any information about the individual is urged to contact Union County Prosecutor's Office at 908-347-2474 or Westfield Police Department at 908-789-6078

CBS2's Meg Baker contributed to this report.

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