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South Passaic Daily Voice serves Clifton, Haledon, Hawthorne, Little Falls, North Haledon, Passaic, Paterson, Prospect Park, Totowa, Wayne & Woodland Park

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Frightened Female Driver Pursued By Police Impostor, Clifton PD Charges

Juan Almonte-Peralta
Juan Almonte-Peralta Photo Credit: MUGSHOT: Courtesy CLIFTON PD

CLIFTON, N.J. -- A frightened female driver stopped in Clifton by a police impersonator who asked for her license early Friday took off instead and called police, who arrested her pursuer moments later, authorities said.

The woman was headed to work around 6:15 am. when a white Ford Crown Victoria began following her on southbound Route 21 near River Road, Detective Lt. Robert Bracken said.

The other driver followed her onto River Road and sounded a police siren, the woman told police.

"Although she did not see any emergency lights, she pulled over...believing that she was being stopped by a police officer," Bracken said.

He got out and asked for her driver's license, the lieutenant said.

When the woman asked him for identification first, the driver -- identified as Juan Almonte-Peralta, 28, of Paterson -- got back into his car and drove to a nearby parking lot, he said.

Realizing something was wrong, the woman drove to a nearby business and ran inside.

Almonte-Peralta then parked next to her car and sounded the siren again.

So she dialed 911.

Responding Officers Joseph Pichnarcik and Victor Ascencio located found the car in the area of Main Avenue and Rutherford Boulevard.

It had been reported stolen from Bergen Avenue barely 15 minutes earlier, after it was left running in the street Bracken said.

"It was also learned that another vehicle on Bergen Avenue had been burglarized, not stolen, during this time frame," the lieutenant said.

Almonte-Peralta was charged in connection with that break-in, as well, before being released without bail pending a court hearing.

Charges include motor vehicle theft, burglary, impersonating a police officer, resisting arrest and receiving stolen property.

An investigation was continuing into why the vehicle has a siren, Bracken said.

"It was not a law enforcement vehicle," he said.

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