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Jacksonville detective's vigilance helps put accused rapist behind bars

Timothy McGhee arrested after Officer Jacob Vorpahl spots suspect vehicle

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Jacksonville Sheriff's Office detective's vigilance led to Wednesday's arrest of a 25-year-old man accused of home invasion and rape at a Southside apartment complex. 

Detective Jacob Vorpahl, with the JSO Sexual Assault Unit, remained on high alert after he received a composite sketch of the suspect and surveillance images of a vehicle believed to be connected to an attack Sunday on a woman at the Terraces at Town Center.

Vorpahl told News4Jax that he was driving down Bay Street, heading back to police headquarters, on Wednesday when he spotted the vehicle captured on surveillance. 

"Initially I'm thinking, 'That's probably what it looks like.' And then I said, 'I need to see what the driver looks like,'" Vorpahl recounted Friday. "The driver made a U-turn and I was able to see that the face of the driver matched the sketch that the victim provided."

Once Vorpahl spotted the black Dodge Journey, he compared the driver to the composite sketch. He then approached the suspect, who was later identified as Timothy McGhee. 

McGhee was not only accused in Sunday's attack, but court records also show he has been arrested multiple times since 2009. His ex-girlfriend filed a temporary injunction against him a few months ago.

"I pull over and made contact with him and, while talking with him and getting information, I learned he had an active writ," Vorpahl said. "He continued to provide more information that leaned toward him being the suspect in our case."

Vorpahl then brought McGhee into the police station for question. McGhee was arrested and charged with sexual battery, two counts of home invasion robbery, armed burglary and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

As McGhee sits in the Duval County jail, where he was ordered held without bond, the public is commending Vorpahl for great police work. 

But he said the community deserves just as much credit for getting a potentially dangerous person off the streets. 

"The public was very helpful. They kept sending us tips. So constantly comparing that sketch to other people they're sending us," Vorpahl said. "I had a very good look at it."

Vorpahl said it was the first time that he ever made an arrest in that manner while with JSO. He said he was in the right place at the right time and he's thankful.

"I was there and he was there," Vorpahl said. "There’s nothing else to explain it."