An armed kidnapping from Pleasantville on Monday night led to a multi-agency search that included a State Police helicopter.
A Pleasantville man who just got out of prison in June is charged.
Pleasantville police received a call at 10:47 p.m., saying that two men with handguns forced their way into a Seagrass Cove apartment on East Ridgewood Avenue, and forced a man out at gunpoint, Capt. Matt Hartman said. The victim was forced into a vehicle and the men then drove off.
While officers were arriving, another call came from a residence in the 800 block of Cedar Lane saying the kidnapping victim was there under duress and that the suspects were outside with handguns.
Sgt. Ryan VanSyckle responded and, as he arrived, an older model maroon Chevy Impala fled east on Cedar Lane, according to the report.
The driver of the vehicle, later identified as James Belfor, did not stop when VanSyckle tried to pull him over, and a chase started, Hartman said.
Belfor fled through multiple residential streets before eventually heading north on New Road to the Atlantic City Expressway. He then went on the expressway eastbound, struck a guardrail and continued east, Hartman said.
As he tried to go off Exit 2 to the Black Horse Pike, Belfor lost control of the car, struck a guardrail and then ran from the vehicle on foot into the marsh area east of the ramp, according to the report.
“I also cannot say enough to properly thank the officers from the surrounding jurisdictions and their supervisors and the New Jersey State Police for responding quickly and in force to assist us.”
— Pleasantville Police Capt. Matt Hartman
A perimeter was set up with units from Pleasantville, Atlantic City, Egg Harbor Township and Ventnor, along with New Jersey State Police.
The State Police Aviation Unit was requested to respond to the area to assist. While conducting the search, Belfor was found in the wooded area along the westbound entrance to the expressway from the Black Horse Pike and taken into custody by Ventnor K-9 Sgt. David Gaeckle and Patrolman Kevin Brady.
No weapon was found.
While the expressway search was going on, Northfield police responded to Seagrass Cove to help secure that area, with Egg Harbor Township units coming to assist at Cedar Lane.
The second suspect was not found.
“The outstanding work of the Pleasantville Police Communications staff and Pleasantville Patrol Bureau personnel in the initial response to this call were key to the eventual apprehension of Belfor,” Hartman said. “I also cannot say enough to properly thank the officers from the surrounding jurisdictions and their supervisors and the New Jersey State Police for responding quickly and in force to assist us. I would be remiss if I failed to recognize the PPD Criminal Investigations Bureau for their hard work in the immediate follow-up and continued investigation of this case.”
Belfor, 27, of Pleasantville, is charged with armed robbery, burglary, kidnapping, unlawful possession of a weapon, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, eluding police in a motor vehicle and resisting arrest by flight. He was also charged with two counts each of terroristic threats and aggravated assault.
He is being held in the Atlantic County Justice Facility.
Belfor previously served prison time on charges of robbery, weapons offenses and eluding, state Department of Corrections records show. He was released June 26.