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Van In Purported Clifton Luring Found -- Looks Like Misunderstanding, Frustrated Police Say

Anyone who might have seen something or has information that could help police in incidents of suspected wrongdoing is asked to call Clifton police before posting anything on social media: (973) 470-5908.
Anyone who might have seen something or has information that could help police in incidents of suspected wrongdoing is asked to call Clifton police before posting anything on social media: (973) 470-5908. Photo Credit: COURTESY: Clifton PD

A Clifton 8th-grader's claim that one of two occupants of a white van tried to lure her from her backyard apparently was the result of a misunderstanding stemming from a language barrier, say authorities who urged residents to come to them first before taking to social media.

Police said they found the van and the pair in Paterson.

"The matter is still under investigation," they said Friday morning. "However, it appears to be to be the result of a misunderstanding resulting from a language barrier."

Although police said they "commend the juvenile for taking quick action and reporting the incident in a timely manner," they had another message for citizens:

"That being said, we could not do our job without help from the community. As always, we greatly appreciate all of your assistance and want you to know that we count on you as much as you count on us!"

The Albion neighborhood girl told police that a stranger showed up at 3:10 p.m. Wednesday saying he was there to deliver and package -- and asked her to "come get it" from him .

Instead, she ran into her house and called police, they said.

Suddenly cell phone video of the van was being distributed, garnering hundreds of shares and cries from angry residents of extreme punishment for the man in the van.

"In the future, we strongly encourage anyone in possession of surveillance video and/or images of a particular incident to contact the police department before posting them on social media," police said.

"In this case, a neighborhood resident posted the surveillance video prior to the start of the investigation. In turn, this caused the incident to intensify prematurely and ultimately impeded a portion of the investigation."

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