Police searching for man who used fidget spinners to try to lure children in New Jersey

LAURENCE HARBOR, New Jersey (WABC) -- Police in New Jersey are searching for a man who tried to lure two children at a convenience store Thursday.

The incident happened at the QuickChek on Cliffwood Avenue in the Laurence Harbor section of Old Bridge.

According to police, the man attempted to purchase snacks for the two boys, ages 8 and 11, then attempted to get them to go outside with him to his car by offering them hats and fidget spinners.

One of the children felt uncomfortable and notified the store staff.

As the staff intervened, the suspect insisted the children were going with him. He left the store after being told to do so by staff, police said.

"DId you notice the guy's behavior prior to this?," we asked assistant store manager Jeanine Karycinski, who spoke exclusively with Eyewitness News.

"No, the way he played it off was as if they were with him so we didn't think anything of it until the kids started to look a little nervous and ran up to the girl at the register," she said.

Police say the suspect tried almost every trick in the book to get the boys to leave with him.

"He purchased some items for them and handed them the bag, forced the bag on them, then told them to follow them to his car because he had spinners and a baseball cap," said Karycinski.

After the kids asked for help, the suspect still didn't go away.

"I took them into my office and he proceeded to try to give me the stuff that he purchased and I told him that they didn't want it, didn't need it and asked him to please leave the store because the kids were that nervous," Karycinski said. "They didn't want to see him. They hid in my office and didn't want to come back out."

The suspect left the area in a white Toyota, possibly a Corolla.

The suspect is described as a thin, white male in his late twenties or thirties. He was wearing a gold Yankees hat, sunglasses, and a red Nike t-shirt. He was described as having brown scruff on his face as if he was unshaven.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Michael Machen at (732) 721-5600 x3210 or email mmachen@oldbridge.com.
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