NJ man allegedly targeted Orthodox Jewish women as part of gang initiation

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Rafael Laurano-Flores is being charged with bias harassment and a flurry of other charges after allegedly luring two women from the Orthodox Jewish community.  (Ocean County Jail)

LAKEWOOD, N.J. (PIX11/AP) — Authorities have accused a New Jersey man of trying to lure Orthodox Jewish women as part of a gang initiation.

Lakewood police have charged 18-year-old Rafael Laurano-Flores from Mexico with obstruction, resisting arrest, bias intimidation and bias harassment.

Police on Tuesday responded to a report of an attempted abduction of a 16-year-old girl and a report of a man trying to follow a woman and her teenage daughter.

Detective Sgt. Greg Staffordsmith tells the Asbury Park Press  that Laurano-Flores was trying to touch and knock down women from the Orthodox Jewish community as part of an initiation for the MS-13 gang.

“We have not seen gang-related targeting in a long time. People are like, ‘What is going on?’ It has always been gang against gang, but now we don’t know if this is some kind of ‘knock-out game’ or what,” Lakewood community watch coordinator Pinny Werner told the paper.

Laurano-Flores is held on $18,000 bail. It’s not known if he has a lawyer.

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