Wantage Township, N.J. - The New Jersey State Police working with the Sussex County Prosecutor’s Office have charged Craig Lassiter, 33, of Middletown, N.Y. with multiple counts of aggravated sexual assault on a minor and other charges as the result of a Sussex County home invasion.
On Monday, September 18, at 2:07 a.m., troopers from Sussex Station responded to a Wantage Township residence after the homeowner called 9-1-1 to report a burglary. The caller advised dispatchers that he believed the burglar may still be in the residence. When troopers arrived, they attempted to stop a Chevrolet Silverado with New York license plates, which was driving away from the area of the burglary. When the trooper activated his overhead lights, the driver, later identified as Craig Lassiter, swerved around the troop car, ran over a mailbox, and sped away. Troopers were able to quickly locate the vehicle, which was abandoned in a field. Upon further investigation, troopers discovered that the truck was reported stolen out of New York. Lassiter was not located after an extensive search of the area.
When detectives and troopers continued their investigation at the residence, they discovered the incident was more than a burglary. It was determined that Lassiter entered the residence through and went into a bedroom shared by two juveniles. Once inside, he threatened the victims with physical violence, told them he had a gun, and sexually assaulted them. The juveniles eventually notified family members who searched the house and discovered their front door was left open.
Through various investigative means, detectives were able to identify Craig Lassiter as the suspect. Working with the New Jersey State Police Fugitive Unit, New York State Police, Nassau and Suffolk County Police Departments, and the Middletown City Police Department (Orange County, N.Y.), Lassiter was located and arrested on Friday, September 22, in Bayshore, Long Island as the result of arrest warrants issued by Sussex troopers for eluding and receiving stolen property. He was extradited to New Jersey on Friday, September 29, and lodged in the Sussex County Jail pending additional charges.
On Wednesday, October 4, Craig Lassiter was additionally charged with the following:
- 2 counts of 1st Degree Aggravated Sexual Assault on minor less than 13 years old
- 2 counts of 1st Degree Aggravated Sexual Assault during the commission of a robbery and burglary
- 1 count of 1st Degree Robbery while threaten to use a deadly weapon
- 2 counts of 2nd Degree Sexual Assault on a minor less than 13 years old
- 2 counts of 2nd Degree Sexual Penetration while using physical force
- 1 count of 2nd Degree Burglary
- 2 counts of 3rd Degree Endangering the welfare of a child
- 2 counts of 3rd Degree Criminal Restraint
- 2 counts of 3rd Degree Terroristic Threats
- 1 count of 3rd Degree Theft
- 2 counts of 4th Degree Sexual Contact
- 1 count of 4th Degree Criminal Trespass
Lassiter remains in Sussex County Jail awaiting a bail hearing.
Charges are mere accusations the suspect is considered innocent until proven guilty.