Lakewood, NJ – Lakewood police have charged an 18-year-old township man with biased intimidation and biased harassment, among other charges, after they say was targeting an Orthodox Jewish victim for an assault as part of a gang initiation.
Rafael Laurano-Flores is now being held in the Ocean County Jail as a result of an arrest made last night.
Officers initially responded to a 7:30 p.m. call Tuesday night reporting the kidnapping of a 16-year-old 5th Street and Princeton Avenue, but were unable to locate a victim. As they were searching the area, a second call came in reporting a man who was attempting to lure or follow a mother and daughter, ages 54 and 16, in the area of Princeton Avenue and 9th Street, police said.
As officers investigated, they found out members of the Lakewood Community Safety Watch were following a black, 2001 BMW SUV that was believed to be operated by the suspect. Police eventually conducted a motor vehicle stop on the BMW, at which time they said Laurano-Flores became violent towards the officers.
“Further investigation revealed that Laurano-Flores’ intention was to touch and knock down a woman from the Orthodox Jewish community as part of a gang initiation,” police said in a statement.
Detectives from the Lakewood Police Department Street Crimes Unit were able to locate the victims in this case, the statement said.
Laurano-Flores faces charges of obstruction, resisting arrest, three counts of biased intimidation and three counts of biased harassment.
Bail was set at $18,000 cash.