Posts Tagged ‘Assault in Ocean Grove Monday morning’

Escape route. "Sitting Ducks" by Paul Goldfinger

By Paul Goldfinger and Charles Layton

A young man on a bicycle accosted two young women late Monday morning in Ocean Grove near Wesley Lake. During a struggle, he wrested an iPhone from the hands of one of the women and fled on foot into Asbury Park, abandoning his bicycle. No one was hurt during the struggle.

Witnesses who live in Ocean Grove, and who tried to help the young women, told the following story:

The young women, from Brooklyn, NY, had been in Asbury Park this weekend attending the music festival. They had never seen Ocean Grove before, and so, before leaving for home, they decided to take a walk through town and have breakfast at Nagle’s.

They came across on the foot bridge near Mt. Zion Way and began strolling down Mt. Pisgah Way, drinking coffee and texting on their phones as they went. When they turned onto New York Avenue, a young man in a gray hoodie approached them on a bicycle and, as he passed, grabbed an iPhone from one of the women.

“I was standing on my porch talking to a neighbor and I heard a girl screaming, ‘Why are you doing this?’ ” a resident said. He ran to the scene of what had become a struggle. As the thief tried to get away on his bicycle, the woman grabbed his hoodie and didn’t let go. She also threw coffee in the thief’s face.

The thief ended up abandoning both the hoodie and his bicycle and retreating on foot, with iPhone in hand, toward the bridge by Founders Park. The Ocean Grove man chased the thief for a time. The last he saw of the thief, he was on the Asbury Park side retreating in the direction of the Casino. He described the thief as probably in his 20s, black with short-cropped hair, and wearing a white tee-shirt, blue jeans and sneakers with red soles.

Other neighbors, meanwhile, came to the aid of the two young women. A woman who lives on Mt. Zion Way gave the two victims coffee while waiting for police to arrive. “They were I think in shock, sort of,” she said. She said Neptune police responded with considerable force, including an unmarked police van and at least one canine unit. She said police were visibly active in the area for about two hours.

The attack happened at about 11:30 a.m., according to police. One witness said the attacker had brandished a knife during the struggle, but another witness disputed that; he said a butterfly knife fell from the pocket of the hoodie after the attacker had fled.

Both Neptune and Asbury police joined in the unsuccessful search. Police took the bicycle, the hoodie and the knife as evidence.

“The investigation is continuing and police are looking for any person with information,” the Neptune PD said in a press release on Monday night. Anyone with information should call 732-988-8000.

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