A lot of dangerous drama was played out on Route 72 in Stafford Township Thursday morning.

Stafford Township Police say they first became aware of trouble just after 6:30am, when they received the report of a stolen vehicle out of Long Beach Township. The vehicle was said to be a white Range Rover, and it was last seen heading westbound away from Long Beach Island on Route 72.

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Police immediately started searching area, and Officer Zach Wiatrowski came upon a heavily damaged BMW X7 on the side of the road on Route 72 near Route 9. The officer observed heavy front end damage. "As he came up to the scene, he observed two black male subjects, wearing dark colored hooded sweatshirts, fleeing from the vehicle on foot toward the Route 9 South exit ramp. Officer Wiatrowski immediately ensued a foot pursuit, which quickly led to the apprehension and arrest of a 17 year-old male juvenile, of Newark, New Jersey."

Police quickly learned that just prior to  Officer Wiatrowski's arrival, the BMW has been speeding down the roadway, when it rear-ended a Jeep Compass. "The driver of the BMW lost control of the vehicle and subsequently struck the guardrail. After the impact, the driver of the Jeep Compass continued traveling a distance on Route 72 West, before pulling onto the center median to assess the situation."

Here's what happened next, according to police:

"While Officer Wiatrowski apprehended the first subject, it was learned that the second fleeing subject ran back to the area of Route 72 where the Jeep Compass was located. He then shoved the female driver of the vehicle to the ground, entered her vehicle, and fled the area traveling Route 72 West."

Police now way that BMW was actually stolen out of New York. Meanwhile, the stolen Range Rover  - the vehicle theft that originally prompted the search - has not been located.  Police say they believe the incidents are all related.

Police add, "At this time, investigation indicates that the carjacking suspect fled the area and is no longer a threat to the residents of Stafford Township.
Fortunately, no injuries were reported as a result of the either crash or the carjacking."
The investigation is continuing. Police ask that anyone who may have witnessed suspicious activity, please contact them at (609) 597-1189 x 8455 or leave an anonymous tip through the Stafford Township Police Department https://www.staffordnj.gov/.../Police.../Submit-A-TIP-70.


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