Editor's Note (Aug. 23, 2021): Police now say the woman in the Cherry Hill incident fabricated the story. She has been criminally charged. Read more here.
Police in New Jersey were warning the public and seeking their help to find a man who tried to grab at least two women in three separate incidents while impersonating a police officer.
The latest incident was reported by the Cherry Hill Police Department, which said a woman reported that a man in a white van pulled her over Monday on Route 38 around 1:04 p.m. and, after walking up to the driver’s side of her vehicle, reached inside and tried to grab her neck. The woman was able to drive away.
The man, described as white, being in his 30s and having dark red or brown hair and a mid-length beard, was wearing a blue t-shirt with the word “police” on the front and drove a white Ford van with red and blue LED warning lights in the grill and on the rear doors, the CHPD said.
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The department said the incident bore similarities with at least two other incidents reported by the New Jersey State Police.
The NJSP said that on Aug. 1, a man driving a black, older model Ford Crown Victoria activated a blue dome light on the front dashboard and pulled over a woman in Brick Township. After a “brief exchange,” the woman became suspicious and asked the man for identification, which he did not provide, the NJSP said.
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The man then told the woman to get out of the car, which she refused to do, at which point he tried to pull her out before she, too, managed to get away, state police said.
During their investigation into that incident, state police said they discovered something similar had happened on Aug. 3 in Wall Township, with a woman reporting that a man also tried to pull her over while driving the same type of vehicle as the one described in the Aug. 1 incident.
The man was described as white, 40-50 years old, with long red hair pulled back in a ponytail, a red scruffy beard and tattoos on both arms and the back of his hands. The NJSP said he was last seen wearing black BDU pants, a light blue short-sleeved bloused shirt with the word “police” on the front and non-descriptive patches on the arms that also said “police” but no specific department.
The department added he was also wearing a duty belt and a holster with what appeared to be black handgun.
Anyone with information is asked to call Wall Township Police Department detective Christopher Mason at 732-449-4500, ext. 1192, or Brick Township Police Department detective Michael Bennett at 732-262-1100. In Cherry Hill, tipsters are asked to contact detective Daniello at 856-432-8834 or firstname.lastname@example.org. They can also provide information anonymously by emailing email@example.com or texting TIP CHERRYHILLPD, followed by the relevant message, to 888777.