“HELP ME!” a Morris County woman mouthed to a stranger in the parking lot of a Clifton bank after she and a companion were kidnapped by a violent registered sex offender.
That brought Clifton police, who captured both the abductor and an accomplice, authorities said.
The 28-year-old woman and her companion, a 32-year-old West Milford man, told police that they were parked near the corner of Main and Vreeland avenues around 10:45 p.m. Friday when there was a tap on the driver’s side window.
Travis Mann, 39, of Hewitt identified himself as a police officer and said they were breaking the law by "being intimate in a public place," Lt. Robert Bracken said.
Mann, an ex-con with an extensive criminal history who'd been released several times under bail reform, told them that he was armed and that they’d “have to compensate him with cash if they wanted to avoid being arrested,” Bracken said.
Mann then ordered the woman into the back seat, took her place up front and made the man drive to the Chase Bank on Main Avenue, the lieutenant said.
Following in another vehicle was Mann’s accomplice, 45-year-old Paul Dunlop of Pompton Plains, he said.
After the male victim withdrew cash from the ATM, the female victim entered the ATM vestibule in an attempt to get more.
It was then that she was able to mouth the words "HELP ME!" to a stranger who’d just entered the parking lot, Bracken said.
Officer who were nearby rushed to the bank, grabbed Mann and Dunlop, and rescued the couple, the lieutenant said.
They charged both men with kidnapping, carjacking and robbery. Mann also was charged with impersonating a police officer and coercion. Both were sent to the Passaic County Jail in Paterson, where they remained held pending first appearances.
Mann was free pending trial after going berserk at a Paterson 7-Eleven earlier this year.
Police who arrested him at the time said they found that he’d also violated Megan’s Law by failing to keep authorities property notified.
Mann, whose rap sheet includes robbery and drug possession convictions, among other offenses, was released from state prison in August 2019 after serving a brief sentence for making terroristic threats and hindering his apprehension.
Two years earlier, authorities said, he carjacked a night school student at a Wayne McDonalds drive-thru, then forced him to drive around Paterson for nearly six hours, having the victim pull money from his ATM so that he could buy drugs and pick up hookers – while wearing an ankle bracelet.
A judge had freed Mann on a supervised release program while he awaited trial on charges of robbing an Elmwood Park Walgreens.
He made headlines a year earlier when an off-duty city police officer fired his gun during a fight with Mann, wounding a bystander.
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