FREEHOLD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Police are searching for a man they say targets women and their handbags in Monmouth County, New Jersey.
As CBS 2’s Emily Smith reported, police want women in the Freehold Township area to keep an eye out for a man tied to several aggressive attacks on women that began in April.
Authorities have been handing out sketches of the suspect to warn residents of the danger.
“You can’t trust anybody,” Freehold Township Police Det. Sgt. Jerry Kiwit said. “If you’re alone, if you’re a female alone at night, if it’s dark out don’t stop.”
Police say in every incident the man makes conversation with the victim and then sprays them in the eyes with a Mace-like substance.
One of the attacks happened in a CVS parking lot in Freehold. Authorities say a woman was in her own car, putting on makeup when a man approached her and asked her for directions. He then took off with her purse, Smith reported.
More attacks were reported last month with the most recent happening last week near the American Hotel in Freehold Borough.
“He started asking where is there a gas station around here, she started explaining to him and that’s when he sprayed her and he actually, this time, he got a little more physical, he actually punched her,” Kiwit said.
People in the community say fear is on most everyone’s mind.
“Just trying to keep our eyes out and hopefully apprehend him,” said one man.
“Try not to talk to them, walk away,” a woman said.
“I won’t be out without someone,” said another woman.
Police described the suspect as between 30 and 40 years old, bald and heavyset. He has been seen driving a green minivan and a dark four-door vehicle, Smith reported.
While authorities are asking for help in finding the man, women are being warned to be extra vigilant.
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