Police: Man sought to lure, assault Orthodox Jewish women for gang initiation

    A man is facing a slew of charges stemming from a gang initiation that involved attempting to lure, touch, and knock down an Orthodox Jewish woman in Lakewood, police say. 

    Rafael Laurano-Flores, 18, of Lakewood was charged Tuesday night with obstruction, resisting arrest, three counts of biased intimidation, and three counts of biased harassment, according to a release by the Lakewood Police Department.

    An investigation revealed that Laurano-Flores’ intention was to touch and knock down a woman from the Orthodox Jewish community as part of a gang initiation, police said.

    Police were initially dispatched to 5th Street and Princeton Avenue in the township on a report of an attempted abduction of a 16-year-old girl, according to police.

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    But responding officers were unable to find the caller and victim. As the search continued, police received a call that a man was attempting to lure or follow a 56-year-old woman and her 16-year-old daughter at 9th Street and Princeton Avenue, according to police.

    While other officers responded to that location, members of the Lakewood Community Safety Watch (LCSW) reported that they were following a black 2001 BMW SUV that Laurano-Flores was believed to be driving, police said.

    When police stopped the vehicle, Laurano-Flores became violent, according to police. He was placed under arrest and transported to police headquarters. 

    Detectives from the Lakewood Police Department Street Crimes Unit located the victims, police said. 

    Municipal Court Judge Scott Basen set bail at $18,000 with no 10% option. Laurano-Flores was lodged in the Ocean County Jail. 

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