A Wood-Ridge man was charged with stalking a schoolteacher after police said he slashed the tire of a man he believed she was involved with and drove around her former neighborhood shouting “school shooter!”
Francis R. Lucas III, 32, remained in police custody at Bergen New Bridge Medical Center in Paramus on Saturday, more than a week after he was arrested, records show.
Police got 911 calls from residents on April 1 that a man had been driving around Avalon at Wesmont Station shouting the threats.
Following a license plate check, Sgt. Joseph Rutigliano Jr. and Officers Joseph Vitkovsky and Devin Ochiuzzo found Lucas at the nearby low-income Ingerman at Wesmont Station complex, Detective Lt. Joseph Biamonte said.
He was “acting irrationally and experiencing mood swings,” Biamonte said. "He also threatened to harm himself."
Lucas initially was taken to Bergen New Bridge for his own safety, the lieutenant said. Meanwhile, Detective Sgt. Matthew Mueller and Detective David Marchitelli began investigating, he said.
They immediately discovered an alarming series of incidents involving an area schoolteacher who works in another district.
These included Lucas using a folding knife to slash the tire of a man whom he'd mistakenly believed she was involved with, according to a criminal complaint. He'd also previously badgered him in February, the victim told police.
Then Lucas reportedly was spotted near the new home of the teacher, who'd moved from the area.
"Due to the efforts of the patrol division, the detective bureau and the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office, probable cause was established for the formal charging of [the] crimes," Biamonte said.
These include causing a false public alarm, stalking, criminal mischief and weapons possession, he said.
Anyone who may have information about other possible incidents related to the case was asked to contact Wood-Ridge police: (201) 939-0476.
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