Thursday, May 18, 2006

Police continue to search for Lakewood rape suspect

Tri-Town News, NJ
May 18, 2006

LAKEWOOD - Police this week continued to search for the man who is wanted in the rape of a 20-year-old township woman.

Lakewood police Capt. Robert Lawson said the woman was abducted and raped on the evening of May 7 after she left the Trim Gym Fitness Center behind a ShopRite supermarket off Route 9 at Kennedy Boulevard. At 5 a.m. May 8, the assailant returned the victim to the location from which she had been abducted, according to police.

After finding police, the woman was taken to Kimball Medical Center, treated for her injuries and released, according to Lawson.

Police have described the assailant as a white male in his mid-20s to early 30s, between 5 feet 7 inches and 5 feet 9 inches tall. He is said to have short brown hair and a thin to medium build. The suspect's vehicle is described as a green 1995 to 1997 Jeep Cherokee with alloy wheels and either New Jersey or New York license plates.

The victim is an Orthodox Jewish woman.

At a news conference held the day after the crime, members of Lakewood's large Orthodox Jewish community listened to Lawson and Mayor Meir Lichtenstein describe the assault.

Lawson said the attack occurred at about 8:45 p.m. May 7. He said as the woman exited the gym, she was seized by her attacker after she attempted to gain access to her parked car. After holding the victim overnight, the assailant returned the woman to the site from where she had been taken and was able to do so without being seen, Lawson said.

Although Lakewood police remain in contact with their New York counterparts regarding the case, there has been no connection made between the assault here and incidents in the Borough Park section of Brooklyn. There, multiple attempts to abduct young Orthodox Jewish women have occurred.

Lakewood Detective Lt. Joseph Isnardi confirmed that police have teamed up with the FBI to use their resources as well. Isnardi said that as of early this week the investigation remained status quo.

On May 9, the Vaad, a local group of influential Orthodox Jewish leaders, announced a $50,000 reward for information leading to the capture of the suspect. The reward was funded by David Lich-tenstein of the Lightstone Group and Somerset Development, which works in the township.

Anyone with information regarding the case may call the Lakewood Detec-tive Bureau and Detective Lt. Joseph Isnardi at (732) 363-0200, ext. 5332.


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