You would think you could feel safe driving around in your own neighborhood. But unfortunately that is not always the case. One of our local Township employees was driving on South Lake Drive late last Wednesday evening (mischief night,) we he suddenly felt the impact of what he thought was another car hitting his vehicle as it passed him in the other direction. The car in his rear view mirror hastily sped off leading the employee to believe he had been the victim of a hit and run. Somewhat shaken but with his car still in working order, he took a u-turn and began to follow the vehicle suspected of hitting him to obtain the license plate number and relay to local authorities.
The alleged vehicle pulled into a wooded area near the lake and the driver extinguished the lights. The employee approached carefully and after taking this information, he broke off and both the LCSW and LPD were contacted. After exiting and inspecting his vehicle, he discovered that his vehicle had in fact been shot at with a paintball gun and not actually struck by the other car.
On receiving the plate number, LCSW coordinators immediately relayed the information to all neighborhood volunteers on visual patrol that night. With the plate number, authorities discovered that the vehicle was actually registered to a woman in TomsRiver and set out to the home to in search of information. Approximately an hour later, a unit of LCSW volunteers located the unoccupied vehicle parked in the area of James Street and Route Nine in Lakewood. Meanwhile, authorities had discovered that the owner in TomsRiver claimed she had lent the car out for the evening. LCSW members immediately placed a call to the LPD with a positive identification on the vehicle and LPD units responded to the area to maintain visual surveillance until someone came to retrieve it. Although, the vehicle remained where it was for quite some time, at approximately 3am, a different female driver did come to retrieve it. The LPD subsequently pulled the car over on Route Nine, questioning the driver and searching the interior. Officers noted that the driver was familiar with the events that had occurred earlier though it was not clear if she had participated in the attack. They also discovered paintball guns and various paraphernalia associated with these devices inside. Authorities are still on the lookout for the individuals who may have perpetrated the actual attack. Indeed, the episode was not a pleasing one from the start, but does once again illustrate the efficacy and valuable assistance the LCSW continues to avail to local authorities and emergency response agencies.