SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ – Thanks to the FaceTime app, an assault victim notified police through a relative and captured the alleged assailant Sunday morning.
According to police, an unidentified person was being assaulted at 7:30 a.m. at the La Mirage hotel on Route 1 Sunday morning.
The victim used the FaceTime app on their phone to alert a relative who then contacted police about the incident.
Police said that Officers arrived within minutes and captured the suspect after he fled down the highway.
Chief of Police Raymond Hayducka credited the use of social media and a fast police response for the suspects capture.
“The victim used social media to notify a relative of the ongoing assault,” he said. “The officers’ rapid response caught the suspect still on scene near the victim when the suspect fled. A victim was saved from further harm, and a suspect captured because of the coordination of all those involved.”
FaceTime is an application for both Apple and Android cellphones that allows for video and audio calls over the internet, even if mobile data or service is not available.
Police said the incident began at 7:30am Sunday morning when the department received a call from a person stating their relative was being assaulted at the La Mirage Motor Inn on Route 1.
The relative told the police dispatcher that the victim was currently on Facetime and the suspect was nearby.
Police said Officer Craig Cleffi arrived within minutes and found the victim in the parking lot with lacerations and swelling to the head and face
Nearby, in a Silver Toyota Corolla, was the suspect, Jaron Thomas, 25, of Somerset, police said.
Officer Cleffi told Thomas to stop the vehicle, but Thomas accelerated and drove around the officer onto Route 1 south, police said.
Officer Cleffi then notified dispatch that he needed an ambulance for the victim, and the suspect had fled in the Toyota Corolla onto the highway.
Officer William Beard was northbound on Route 1 and observed the Toyota Corolla going southbound, police said.
Officer Beard turned around and attempted to catch up to Thomas, who turned into the parking lot of Hotel Vincenza.
Thomas then pulled behind the hotel building in an attempt to lose the officer.
Police said Officer Beard located Thomas in the rear lot parked between several other vehicles.
According to police, Thomas provided officers with a false name and identity and was charged with aggravated assault, obstruction of justice, and hindering his apprehension.
He was lodged in the Middlesex County Adult Correction Center in North Brunswick pending his first court appearance.
The victim was taken to an area hospital and is receiving treatment for facial fractures, police said.
“When seconds count use whatever tools you need to contact police for help, “Chief Hayducka said. “The relative, police dispatcher and officers did a great job getting the victim the needed help.”