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Police: Passenger In Pickup Hidden In Mahwah Woods Had Fully Loaded Pistol On Her Lap

Sam Braen and Airmont fields
Sam Braen and Airmont fields Photo Credit: Jerry DeMarco (inset)/Googlemaps

"I have a gun on my lap," an Illinois woman told a Mahwah police officer who found her and a pickup driver parked in an isolated area before dawn near the Rockland County border.

Officer Richard Albro spotted the 1988 GMC C15, with no front license plate, backed into the woods in a corner of Sam Braen Field across from Secor Farms -- barely a half-mile from Ramapo -- just after midnight July 6, authorities said.

Because the truck "seemed purposely isolated," the officer said, he asked whether the driver, who was standing outside, or the passenger, who was in her seat, was armed.

Cassandra Marie Unser, 43, of Waltonville, said that she was, he said.

Looking through the driver's window, Albro said, he saw a gun on her lap, so he ordered Unser to put her hands on the dashboard while he summoned backups.

Albro said he patted down the 42-year-old driver, confiscated a pocket knife from him for safety reasons and had him stand in front of the truck with his hands on the hood while he retrieved the gun.

The .40-caliber Taurus PT140G2 semi-automatic was fully loaded with hollow-point bullets, he said.

Once Sgt. Keith Iorio and PO William Kantanas arrived, Unser and the truck were searched and both she and the driver were brought to headquarters.

The couple said they got lost on their way to Massachusetts and decided to park in the woods.

Unser claimed ownership of the gun, saying that driver's grandfather gave it to her "for my safety."

Police charged her with unlawful possession of a handgun without a permit and possession of prohibited ammunition before sending Unser to the Bergen County Jail.

She'd barely been processed there when a judge in Hackensack ordered her released under New Jersey's 2017 bail reform law.

Township police released the driver without charges or summonses.

NOTE: This account was produced from a police report that the township required Daily Voice to request under New Jersey's Open Public Records Act (OPRA). 


ALSO SEE: Two drug users died and another was hospitalized after overdosing before dawn Wednesday in a Route 17 hotel, authorities confirmed.


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