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.