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Boy Carrying Fake Rifle, Wearing Camouflage Suit Found On Ridge Road

Police say they have notified the school district of the situation involving a 13-year-old Mahwah boy

One week after sensitivity to gun violence was heightened across the country , police picked up a 13-year-old Mahwah boy wearing a camouflage outfit and carrying a fake rifle. According to police, the boy was walking through a wooded area Friday afternoon at the corner of Macarthur Blvd. and Ridge Road, which houses four of the township’s six schools.

According to Police Chief Jim Batelli, a Ridge Road resident called police after seeing a boy walking in the area wearing the bottom piece of a camouflage suit and carting a large satchel.

When police found the boy in a wooded area near a business complex on Ridge Road, he was wearing the bottom half of a Ghillie suit, a “complete camouflage outfit that is designed to resemble heavy foliage,” Batelli said. “It is generally made of netting and cloth with loose strips of burlap attached which is of a color to resemble foliage and is commonly used by snipers or hunters.”

The boy was carrying the top of the suit, and, inside the bag he was carrying, a “replicate long rifle with a scope and a stabilizing tripod,” Batelli said.

Police say they are unsure why the boy was carrying those items or dressed in the suit, but are continuing to investigate it.

The boy initially refused to identify himself to responding Police Officer Ryan Hill and Lieutenant Stuart Blank. He was brought to police headquarters where he identified himself “after an extended period of time,” Batelli said.

Juvenile charges against the boy are pending a review by the Investigative Bureau, he said.

Police confirmed the boy is from Mahwah. Batelli said he has "spoken with school officials so they are aware of the situation."

One of the corporations in the area, Seiko, requested a police presence when its employees left for the day, which was provided, Batelli said. 

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Jessica Mazzola January 12, 2013 at 05:47 AM
JP - I am working on an update to this story. I should have it ready sometime next week.
KG January 12, 2013 at 05:49 AM
JP - Yes, they brought him in. Did they do so legally? He didn't want to identify himself. He may not have been actually required to do so. Many police try to intimidate you to doing things they don't have the right to force you to do. I agree that we need more info to see what charges are being brought. None may be and these are just empty threats to get him to capitulate to something. Also he may not have committed a crime, but an infraction or other low level violation. That still does not make him a criminal. Hey, if he violated an actual law, then sure he deserves to be held accountable commensurate with the nature of the violation.
Jessica Mazzola January 12, 2013 at 05:51 AM
I just commented above to JP, but yes I am working on an update article about this story. It should be ready sometime next week. Thanks for continuously checking in!
Judi Neeb January 12, 2013 at 03:59 PM
Is there a way that these comments can be shown by order of date? Most recent at top?
KG January 13, 2013 at 04:52 PM
Just wanted to make one thing clear. I am all for an investigation. Calls about anyone running around with a rifle withing city limits is worth checking into.. What I am against is the automatic labeling as a criminal when all the facts are not in. Police often bring people in and sometimes overstep and try to use trumped up charges to validate their actions. By now, the kid should have been arranged and charged with an offense and that info should be available. Convictions come later, if there is a trial, maybe by now if there was a plea bargain.

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