HOWELL TOWNSHIP - Police officers who turned out for a training exercise soon got to put their skills to the test when the drill turned into a real investigation.
A 911 call was received at around 6:30 a.m. Wednesday from a woman claiming she was being kidnapped. The call seems to have originated in Manalapan and ended in Howell. That call prompted a massive investigation by New Jersey State Police, the FBI, Monmouth County law enforcement, and several local police departments. A command center was set up along Route 9 in the parking lot of the Home Depot Shopping Center in Howell.
Meanwhile, the spokesperson for the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office tells News 12 New Jersey that an apparent drill activity in the Fort Plains Road area of the Township by local OEM turned into a real investigation. Charlie Webster says, "There was one thing going on, sort of a drill, but it got connected in another way to this because there was a lead down there that sent us down into that area."
Webster says his office is still investigating the 911 call as a real incident. However, sources close to the investigation tell News 12 New Jersey that they suspect the call was a "swatting" incident where someone reports a fake crime to trigger a response by law enforcement.
Police say there have been no other 911 calls related to the initial call, nor any reports of a missing person in the area.