Lakewood Kidnapping Suspect Identified As Quamel Benton; Faces Decades In Prison

Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that Quamel Benton, 35, of Farmingdale, was charged with Attempted Kidnapping, Luring, Endangering the Welfare of a Child, and multiple other offenses, all in connection with a series of incidents that occurred this past Thursday into the early morning hours of Friday in Lakewood and Toms River.

At approximately 7:30 p.m. last Thursday, Lakewood police responded to the area of Forest Park Circle for a report of an attempted kidnapping. Responding officers learned that a male suspect driving a smaller model white SUV had attempted to pull a teenage girl into his vehicle. The victim was able to break away from the suspect and ran back to her residence; the suspect then fled the area in his vehicle. A subsequent investigation resulted in law enforcement obtaining a description of the suspect as well as the vehicle he was operating.

At approximately 9:00 p.m. that night, Toms River police responded to the Target parking lot on Hooper Avenue for a report that a female had been assaulted. Responding officers learned that a male suspect had approached a female victim and grabbed her in an inappropriate manner. The suspect then fled the parking lot. Police were able to identify and follow the suspect fleeing from the Target parking lot, and a vehicle pursuit ensued.

The suspect, who was traveling at a high rate of speed, entered the Garden State Parkway northbound – driving erratically. As such, Toms River Police Officers terminated the pursuit. The Officers were, however, able obtain the registration number for the vehicle. Officers thereafter learned that the individual believed to be operating the vehicle, Quamel Benton, was a person of interest in connection with an aggravated assault that occurred earlier on Thursday in Willingboro Township, in Burlington County. Through continuing investigation, law enforcement was able to confirm that the description of the suspect in both the Lakewood and Toms River incidents matched that of Benton.

At approximately 12:40 a.m., Toms River police were notified that a male suspect was attempting to enter a vehicle occupied by a female in the Walden Woods neighborhood. Officers responded to the scene, which resulted in them positively identifying Benton as the suspect trying to enter the vehicle. Benton attempted to flee the area; a motor vehicle pursuit ensued, which ultimately resulted in Benton losing control of his vehicle and crashing into a utility pole in the area of Route 70 and Whitesville Road. A foot pursuit then ensued, and Benton was subsequently apprehended and taken into custody.

A thorough investigation identified Benton as the individual responsible for the incidents in Willingboro, Lakewood and Toms River. Additionally, Benton was charged by the Willingboro Township Police Department with Aggravated Assault and Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose in connection with the incident that occurred in Willingboro. Benton is presently lodged in the Burlington County Jail pending a detention hearing.

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