SOMERSET, NJ - Last week Willow Avenue caught the attention of local, state and regional media news outlets after someone threw a large rock at a resident's car while she was driving home with her 4-year old daughter.
The police are investigating the incident and are taking it very seriously.
“It’s something that could have not only have caused a serious motor vehicle crash, but someone could have been seriously injured,” says Franklin Township Police Lt. Philip Rizzo said to News 12 in an interview last week.
After the resident who wishes to be identified as PK took to social media to report the claim, others came out and said they too, experienced a very similar incident.
Ashley Taylor of Somerset reported to TAPinto Franklin Township that her car was also hit with a rock and damaged around Memorial Day weekend in 2016.
Taylor says the same thing also happened to her mother around the same time of year, in 2017, and she is planning on obtaining the police reports to provide to TAPinto.
"I just really hope the police catch the kids that are doing this," Taylor said.
Another victim who wished to be identified only as TR, told TAPinto Franklin Township in a phone interview that she too had her car damaged by an unknown flying object while driving on Willow Avenue.
TR provided TAPinto with a copy of her police report.
According to the report, TR was traveling northbound on Willow Avenue on March 12, 2015, at approximately 9:08 pm when she heard an unknown object strike the passenger side of her car window, causing damage.
TR says she had to replace the window because it shattered, and believe it was either a rock or snowball that was thrown at her vehicle.
Rochelle Lauren Kipnis of Somerset said her truck was also struck with an unidentified object on April 24, 2015, at approximately 8 pm.
“I’ve always felt safe in Franklin but this incident was absolutely terrifying and unexpected for our quiet neighborhood,” Kipnis said. “Franklin Township Police Officers are among the best in New Jersey and I have full confidence that they are going to find these kids after the most recent incident."
Kipnis also provided TAPinto Franklin Township with her police report as proof of the incident.
According to the report, Kipnis was driving near the intersection of 12th Street and Willow Avenue when five males she described to be approximately 16-17 years old threw a rock or piece of metal at her car.
Kipnis also reported to police that one of the suspects brandished a handgun during the incident. Kipnis says when she saw the handgun she quickly fled the scene and did not see what direction the suspects fled.
According to the report, police canvassed the area to look for the suspects or witnesses to no avail.
"I am always on the lookout while driving now and will feel more comfortable when I know these kids are finally caught," Kipnis said.
Although all of the victim's vehicles were struck while driving on Willow Avenue, PK's incident was the only one that included an act of sabotage.
The suspects blocked the two-lane street with chairs which caused PK to have to slow down on the 25 miles per hour road before her car was struck.
“This is not just a simple act of tomfoolery. This is not just some childhood shenanigans,” Rizzo said to News 12. “This is a serious act.”
PK said there was someone who was driving behind her Sunday, May 27 after midnight during the incident and may have seen the suspects. She could not identify the vehicle and only saw the headlights in her rearview mirror.
PK hopes this incident will bring the community closer together with one another and law enforcement officials.
"It's an unfortunate truth that such negative events are triggers which bond our communities together and remind us of the genuine hearts in our town," PK said. "We should join together for neighborhood crime watches and proactively support our police patrols to establish a safer place for our families."
Rizzo urges anyone with information about this incident to contact the Franklin Township Police Department at 732-873-2300.
Have a news tip? Email FranklinTownship@tapinto.net.