Authorities today announced the arrest of a 19-year-old man accused of stalking two women in Howell as they shopped and then allegedly followed them home in attempts of robbing them at knifepoint.
Howell Township Police Department Detective Corporal Nancy Carroll #182 and Detective Robert Ortenzi today arrested and charged Tristan Reyes, 19 of Howell, with two counts each of 1st degree robbery, 3rd degree possession of a weapon for unlawful purposes, 3rd degree unlawful possession of a weapon and 4th degree stalking.
The arrest is the result of the investigation into two incidents where Reyes stalked two women while they were shopping in Howell at various stores and followed them to their homes with the intent to rob them at knifepoint.
In the first case which occurred on Feb. 24th at approximately 8pm, Reyes followed an 18 year-old female out of her car and into the Howell Shoprite. Police said Reyes followed the unsuspecting woman around the store. When the woman left the store, Reyes followed her to her car. When she left the parking lot in her vehicle, Reyes followed in his vehicle, described as a black van, possibly a Honda Odyssey.
According to police, when the woman noticed the vehicle was following her, she began to make several unnecessary turns to see if the vehicle would continue to follow her, which it did. When she pulled over to see what the vehicle would do next, the vehicle also pulled over and shut the lights off.
The van followed the woman back near her home prompting her to call her father. The woman’s father attempted to confront the driver (Reyes) in the street but he sped off.
Authorities said yesterday at approximately noon, a 38-year-old female arrived at her home in the Ramtown section of Howell, when she noticed a suspicious black van parked in front of her neighbor’s home and alerted her neighbors. Moments later, the van left.
The woman knew it was suspicious and checked her home’s surveillance footage which showed the black minivan followed her into the neighborhood. As the woman was unloading groceries in the open garage and going back and forth into the home, the suspect is seen on the footage wearing all black, with a hood and ski mask covering his face. The surveillance footage shows man approaching the house discreetly, clearing attempting to avoid detection and identification. He lurks around side of the house peering into the open garage door apparently waiting for an opportunity.
At this time, the homeowner’s Rottweiler runs out of the home barking, causing the man to sprint off back towards his van. As the woman exits the home, the suspect (Reyes) can be seen hiding behind his van. After the woman reenters the home, Reyes gets back in the vehicle and speeds off.
As a result of an extensive investigation the suspect was identified today as Tristan Reyes. It was learned that Reyes followed the second victim from one store to another on Route 9 in Howell, then back to her home and that he was planning on robbing the two women at knife point.
It was also learned that Reyes has followed other women, possibly at the Freehold Raceway Mall, around stores and back to their vehicles. In the Howell cases, he was operating a black 2004 Honda Odyssey.
After processing, Reyes was transported to Monmouth County Correctional Institute.
Typically, a defendant’s photo is not released. However, investigators are seeking additional information about Reyes’ activities and looking to identify other possible victims. Police at this time have positively identified two.
If you believe you have been a victim, or have information pertaining to these cases, please contact either Howell Police Detective Corporal Nancy Carroll at (732) 938-4575 ext. 2182 or (732) 938-4111 and ask to speak to the Officer-In-Charge.
Tipsters can also text "MONMOUTH" and their tip to 274637 or they can email a tip via the website at www.monmouthcountycrimestoppers.com
These charges are merely accusations. The defendant is not guilty until proven so through the judicial system.