A citizen tip in Oaklyn led police to pursue and capture Robert F. Ritter of Blackwood after he led authorities on a two-hour chase into PA from NJ, and then back.
By Matt Skoufalos
Updated: Tuesday, July 28, 1:30 p.m.
Oaklyn police had been watching the white van in the CVS parking lot all day, said Chief Mark Moore.
Thanks to an anonymous tip, they also ran the license plates, and discovered that the vehicle was registered to Robert F. Ritter, 54, of Blackwood.
Ritter was wanted by the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office for a strong-arm robbery in Brooklawn on July 9, Moore said in a statement on Tuesday. He was also sought on $20,000 in outstanding warrants from various Camden County jurisdictions as well as on no-bail warrants for violations of the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act “within the last month,” according to the statement.
“It is believed Ritter was staying with friends in the area and attempting to hide his vehicle,” the statement read.
At 7:23 p.m. Monday, the van pulled out onto West Lakeview Avenue, and Oaklyn Sgt. Charles Antrilli stopped Ritter briefly before the man allegedly sped away. Oaklyn police then initiated a low-speed, long-lasting pursuit, which finally ended when Pennsylvania authorities were able to execute a PIT maneuver (Precision Immobilization Technique) to knock the van off course.
The PIT maneuver is not an option New Jersey lawmen have at their disposal, Moore said.
Ritter was apprehended at the scene. He faces charges in Pennsylvania from striking three police vehicles during the incident. On Tuesday afternoon, he was awaiting extradition to New Jersey to answer for the outstanding warrants there, as well as for charges stemming from evading police.
The chase lasted so long that Oaklyn Patrolman Matt Olivieri ran out of gas, but was able to refuel and rejoin the pursuit for a second time, Moore said.
The chase was “slow and not dangerous,” Moore said, and was only authorized because of those conditions. 6ABC has extensive footage of the pursuit here.
No accidents or injuries were reported in either state as a result of the pursuit, said Oaklyn Lt. Craig Stauts.