CLIFFVIEW PILOT EXCLUSIVE: A manhunt is under way for a motorist who four teens said pulled them over by claiming he was a police detective, then stole $110 from their glove compartment and wrestled a cellphone away when one of them tried calling his parents.
COMPOSITE: FORT LEE PD DETECTIVE SGT. KENNETH PORINO
They said he’s white, muscular, in his mid-20s, about 5-foot-9 and 210 pounds, driving a dark gray, four-door Toyota (Camry or Corolla), with a smudged license plate that includes the letters MP. He has short brown hair, light eyes and a deep voice, according to the teens.
The 17-year-olds told investigators he pulled up to them on New Milford Avenue just before 6 o’clock Friday night.
He claimed to be a detective, they said, and told them he’d seen one of them rolling a joint, New Milford Police Chief Frank Papapietro told CLIFFVIEW PILOT early Saturday afternoon.
“Where is the pot?” the stocky man demanded, before ordering all four out of the car, the teens said. He was wearing an athletic gray t-shirt, possibly of the Under Armour brand, and khaki cargo shorts, they said.
The teens said he had them remove their shoes and empty their pockets. He then searched the car, grabbing the cash, they told police.
The driver said he tried calling his parents, but the would-be detective wrestled briefly with him over the phone. The teens told police he got back in his car and took off east before turning south on Boulevard.
If you know him, or have seen him, please dial 911 or call New Milford police: (201) 599-7567
“Remember: All police officers are required to carry a department ID card,” Papapietro tells CLIFFVIEW PILOT‘s audience. “Please, if you are suspicious of a non-uniformed police officer, contact your local police department or request from the person that a marked unit be dispatched.”
“If you have a situation like that where you feel someone is trying to fraudulently stop you, call 911 and request a marked unit,” State Police Sgt. Brian Polite told CLIFFVIEWPILOT.COM. “If you’re anxious or afraid, you can signal that you want to move forward to a better-lighted area.”
The more people who come forward, he emphasized, the better case detectives can make. In doing so, hopefully they can deter others from doing the same thing.
“This is definitely a safety issue,” Polite said.
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