A woman foiled a shakedown plot by kidnappers by mouthing “Help me” to a stranger in a New Jersey parking lot, police said Tuesday.
The dramatic encounter unfolded Friday evening while a couple was sitting in their parked car near Main and Vreeland avenues in Clifton and a stranger, who identified himself as a cop, knocked on the driver’s window, according to local police.
The phony lawman, 39-year-old Travis Mann, told the two they were “‘breaking the law’ by being intimate in a public place” and had to pony up some cash to avoid arrest, Clifton Lt. Robert Bracken said.
Mann told the two he was armed and ordered them to drive to an ATM to withdraw money as the kidnapper’s alleged accomplice, 45-year-old Paul Dunlop, followed behind, police said.
After the man withdrew cash, the woman mouthed the words “Help me” to someone who had just pulled into the bank parking lot — and they called the cops.
Officers rushed to the scene and rescued the couple, Bracken said.
Cops charged Mann and Dunlop with kidnapping, carjacking and robbery, according to Bracken.
Mann was also slapped with counts of impersonating a police officer and criminal coercion.
Mann was busted back in May by Paterson police for failing to register as a sex offender after causing a scene in a 7-Eleven and flouting social distancing guidelines, police said.
The sex offender had been previously convicted of drug possession, carjacking and robbery, court records show.