State Police Air Unit Assists In Fruitless Search For Township Man’s Masked Assailants

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Township police are looking for five men who assaulted an Eden Street resident after stealing his two recreational vehicles.

Searches for the men on Oct. 10 and 11 by township police and the State Police Aviation Bureau were unsuccessful.

The 19-year-old victim, whom police did not identify, reported on Oct. 10 that the two vehicles, a 2007 Yamaha all-terrain vehicle and a 2001 Yamaha sport motorcycle, valued at $5,000 each, were taken at about 5 a.m. from a shed in his back yard.

At about 11 a.m., police were called to Crabapple Lane on a fight report, and found the Eden Street resident with bruising and lacerations on his face, according to a press release on the incident. The man said he went looking for his vehicles, thinking that they were dumped in the area, when he came upon his vehicles and five men wearing masks.

The man said the men punched and kicked him, then fled, according to the release. One of the men fled on the ATV, but the sport motorcycle was left behind.

The victim was transported to a local hospital for treatment, police said. An area search was to no avail.

State Police became involved later in the day, when they were notified by the victim, who is a relative of a State Trooper, according to NJSP spokesman Capt. Stephen Jones.

Jones said that the NJSP aviation bureau, which is housed nearby, was on a training flight at the time.

“My guys advised Franklin that they were going to be up in the air,” Jones said. Jones said the unit regularly assists local police departments in searches, and does routine training and homeland security flights.

Franklin Park residents reported on social media seeing the helicopter hover around the area of the Franklin Park School at about 8:30 p.m. Oct. 10, and then again during the afternoon of Oct. 11.

Jones said the Oct. 11 flight was a regular training flight for the unit.

The Franklin Township Police Department’s Detective Bureau is actively investigating this incident. Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Derek Miller at (732) 873-5533, extension 3193.

(Cover photo: southardfire.org)

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