ROSELLE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A 27-year-old Linden man who works for the U.S. Marine Corps. recruitment office in Elizabeth, New Jersey was charged with sexual assault and endangering the welfare of a child Tuesday in connection with an incident that happened in Roselle earlier this month.
Police said a 10-year-old boy and two 11-year-old girls were walking near 7th Street and Chestnut Avenue in Roselle shortly before 8:30 a.m. on October 5, when Wade Phillips drove by in his government vehicle.
“So he was driving by these three kids, he turned around, stopped and parked. He opened his car door and he inappropriately touched himself and he called out to the kids to try to grab their attention,” Acting Union County Prosecutor Grace Park told CBS2’s Alice Gainer.
The children went to school and reported the incident, police said.
Phillips was arrested Tuesday.
“Unfortunately these crimes span all across different types of people and professions,” Park said.
Investigators believe he may have been involved in five similar incidents in Roselle or Roselle Park and two in Linden, Gainer reported.
Officials ask other victims to come forward if they recognize Phillips.
“When I speak to these victims, they’re pretty traumatized,” Park said.
For now, residents and neighbors in Roselle are happy to hear about the arrest.
“I see the kids going home everyday all happy and we don’t want anything to happen to them,” Victor Martins said.
One man is telling his children to stay close.
“Stay close to daddy and mommy, it’s the best way to keep it — if they’re close to you, if they’re within arms reach, you have a better chance of keeping your kids safe.” he said.
Phillips was held on $125,000 bail.