A Linden man has been arrested and charged in connection with a luring incident that took place earlier this month in Roselle, and authorities are working to determine whether he was also responsible for several other similar incidents occurring in the area during recent weeks, acting Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park, Roselle Police Chief Gerard Orlando, and Roselle Park Police Chief Paul Morrison jointly announced Wednesday.
Wade Phillips, 27, a recruiter with the U.S. Marine Corps recruitment office in Elizabeth, is charged with second-degree sexual assault and three counts of third-degree endangering the welfare of a child.
It was a little before 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, October 5 when three children, a 10-year-old boy and two 11-year-old girls, were walking in the area of 7th Street and Chestnut Avenue in Roselle, according to Prosecutor’s Office Special Victims Unit Supervisor Caroline Lawlor, who is prosecuting the case.
At that time a man later identified as Phillips passed the children in his government vehicle, then backed up, turned around, and parked on the street, Lawlor said. He then allegedly began touching himself inappropriately while calling for the three children to get their attention.
The three victims immediately walked to their school and reported what had happened. An intensive joint investigation involving the Roselle Police Department, Roselle Park Police Department, several other municipal police departments, and the Prosecutor’s Office’s Special Victims Unit resulted in Phillips being identified as a suspect in the case, and after Roselle Park detectives spotted and tracked his vehicle on Tuesday, he was arrested without incident in Roselle. He subsequently has been lodged in Union County Jail on $125,000 bail set by state Superior Court Judge Scott J. Moynihan.
Investigators are working to determine whether Phillips may also be responsible for at least five similar incidents that took place in Roselle and Roselle Park during the last six weeks. Anyone with information about any of these matters is being urged to contact Union County Prosecutor’s Office Sgt. Timothy Durkin at 973-698-9529, Roselle Police Department Detective Carmen Olivera at 908-245-9200, or Roselle Park Police Department Sgt. Domenick Frino at 908-966-1224.