A teenager was arrested Tuesday in Lakewood for trying to perpetrate knockout assaults on Orthodox Jewish women as part of an initiation process to join a gang.
Lakewood police have charged 18-year-old Rafael Laurano-Flores with obstruction, resisting arrest, bias intimidation and bias harassment.
Police on Tuesday responded to a report of an attempted abduction of a 16-year-old girl by a man on foot. Scouring the area, they lost track of the crime until another report arrived from the Lakewood Shomrim patrol of a man trying to follow a woman and her teenage daughter in the area of Princeton Avenue and Ninth Street.
Police stopped a suspicious black SUV believed to be driven by Laurano-Flores but the teen became violent.
“[The] investigation revealed that Laurano-Flores’s intention was to touch and knock down a woman from the Orthodox Jewish community as part of a gang initiation,” Detective Sgt. Greg Staffordsmith told the Asbury Park Press.
The gang he was interested in joining, MS-13, is the largest Hispanic gang in the United States.
Laurano-Flores is held on $18,000 bail.