Authorities mistakenly believed they had caught a fugitive who gave the NYPD the slip earlier today,
has learned. An arrest following a chase on the Garden State Parkway that ended at a toll plaza in Egg Harbor Township tonight was of someone else, a law enforcement official with knowledge of the search said.
A federal law enforcement source told
that Jose Rodriguez was handcuffed, in leg irons and without shoes when he bolted from
New York City Police Department detectives who, along with U.S. marshals, had tracked him to a Fort Lee hotel this afternoon. After getting behind the wheel of an unmarked NYPD vehicle, hands behind his back, Rodriguez — aka “Flip” or “Flipper” — drove off, steering with his knees.
(FORT LEE PD ALERT)
An unconfirmed report from a law enforcement source originally said police suspected that Rodriguez, 27, may have been holed up in a building on East Brinkerhoff Avenue off Broad Avenue in Palisades Park, less than a block from a First Street school.
A search of the area, with police dogs, has turned up nothing so far, authorities said.
Authorities were closing in on Rodriguez, who was wanted for questioning in connection with a Nov. 1 shooting in the Bronx and apparently had also violated his parole after being arrested more than a dozen times.
“They were following the guy from Co-Op City in the Bronx, along with U.S. marshals from the New York office in Brooklyn,” a law enforcement source told CLIFFVIEW PILOT . “They followed him over the George Washington Bridge, and he pulled into the Holiday Inn (on Route 4 in Fort Lee). That’s when they moved in and grabbed him.”
Although they thought they had secured him in the back seat of the unmarked police vehicle while they searched his car around 1:15 p.m., Rodriguez hopped in front, “got away, and is now on the run,” the source told CLIFFVIEW PILOT . Unconfirmed reports say a gun was found in Rodriguez’s vehicle.
The NYPD officers found their own car in nearby Ridgefield.
Rodriguez was last spotted around 4 p.m. — shoeless, near the corner of Broad Avenue and Brinkerhoff in neighboring Palisades Park, trying to bum money or a ride from passing motorists, another law enforcement source told CLIFFVIEW PILOT .
Someone called police, and a phalanx of officers, some with search dogs, blanketed the predominately Korean neighborhood.
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