FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A suspect wanted in connection with a string of armed robberies in which the female victims were maced in their eyes has struck again in New Jersey, police said.
The suspect assaulted a fifth woman last week near the American Hotel in Freehold, police said.
In each incident, investigators said the suspect strikes up a conversation with his victims then sprays them with mace before robbing them, CBS 2 reported.
The attacks began in April when a woman was reportedly robbed while parked at a CVS pharmacy at Raintree Town Center on Route 537. According to the report, a suspect described as a chubby, bald, black man around 40 years old walked up to her vehicle and grabbed her purse after spraying her in the face with a substance “that made her eyes burn.”
On August 17, another woman was taking a walk when a man sprayed something in her face, which also burned her eyes. The suspect was described as a black man in his 30s, wearing a white polo shirt with blue stripes. According to a release, Freehold Township Police Detective William Holohan said the suspect may have taken off in a dark-colored, four-door vehicle.
In the third incident, the female victim said after dropping a friend off at a Freehold Township housing development, an older, green minivan pulled up next to her. She said a man in the van was yelling at her, which prompted her to roll down her window. The suspect then got out of the van and asked for directions to Newark.
When the suspect got back in his car and the victim began heading home, she noticed the vehicle was following her from Randolph Road to Walling Road, Holohan said.
The detective said the victim then pulled over, thinking the man was lost. When the suspect got out of his car, he asked the victim for directions to a gas station before spraying her in the face with a substance, again, causing her eyes to burn.
The suspect said he had a gun and demanded the victim hand over her purse. The suspect then reportedly punched the woman and took her wallet.
The victim escaped the scene by stepping on the gas, Holohan said.
The suspect in that incident was described by the victim as a black male in his mid-30s, approximately 6 feet tall. He was also described as bald with chubby cheeks and a large build, wearing a light-colored polo.
Another attack that occurred in Colts Neck in May followed the same pattern, News 12 New Jersey reported.
Holohan urges women traveling alone and at night to be cautious and aware of suspicious vehicles.
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