Westwood Police warn of rise in ‘Virtual Kidnappings’


September 2, 2014

The Westwood Police Department seeks to warn the public regarding the rise in “virtual kidnapping” extortion schemes. This agency recently has received numerous reports from the public regarding extortion schemes, often referred to as “virtual kidnappings.” These schemes typically involve an individual or criminal organization who contacts a victim via telephone and demands payment for the return of a “kidnapped” family member or friend. While no actual kidnapping takes place, the callers often use co-conspirators to convince their victims of the legitimacy of the threat. For example, a caller might attempt to convince a victim that his daughter was kidnapped by having a young female scream for help in the background during the call.

Callers, sometimes representing themselves as wanted fugitives, typically provide the victim with specific instructions to ensure safe “return” of the allegedly kidnapped individual. These instructions usually involve demands of a ransom payment. Most schemes use various techniques to instill a sense of fear, panic, and urgency in an effort to rush the victim into making a very hasty decision. Instructions usually require the ransom payment be made immediately and typically by wire transfer or by prepaid credit card such as Green Dot. These schemes involve varying amounts of ransom demands, which often decrease at the first indication of resistance.

Callers will often go to great lengths to engage victims in ongoing conversations to prevent them from verifying the status and location of the “kidnapped” individuals. Callers will often make their victims believe they are being watched and were personally targeted. In reality, many of these callers are outside of the United States, simply making hundreds of calls, possibly using phone directories or other phone lists. Read the rest of this entry »

Westwood Police charge woman with promoting prostitution

August 8, 2014

As a result of an undercover operation, Westwood Police have charged a 26-year-old Brooklyn with promoting prostitution at the Wellness Center massage parlor on Broadway. Elina Chapurina was charged and released with an Aug. 20 court appearance.

The Westwood Police Department had received numerous complaints alleging prostitution at the Welness Center. On Thursday August 7th, an undercover officer conversed with Chapurina, and she solicited him for sex in exchange for money.

The investigation was conducted by the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office Special Investigation Squad as well as the Westwood police.




On or about Monday, July 7th, PSE&G is scheduled to begin its gas main replacement project in Westwood as part of its Energy Strong Project.  Work will begin in the areas of Broadway, Jefferson, Irvington, Washington, Park and 3rd Avenues. All retail establishments and businesses will be open throughout the duration of this project.  Work will be conducted from 7:30 AM to 4:30 PM – Monday to Friday. Please expect delays during this time. 

Annual Junior Police Academy held

July 3, 2014

A record number of kids learned what it’s like to be a police officer last week when departments from Hillsdale, Washington Township and Westwood hosted their annual junior police academy at Westwood Regional Jr./Sr. High School.

The community policing program, which marked its seventh year as a collaborative effort between police in the three towns, is designed to introduce children between the ages of 10 to 14 to law enforcement careers, as well as reinforce the consequences of breaking the law. Prior to Hillsdale joining in, the program was offered each summer by Westwood and Washington Township police for children in the two towns for the past 14 years.

Over the course of last week’s program, 120 kids were treated to demos by the Bergen County Police K-9 Unit, the Bergen County Police Bomb Squad, the Drug Enforcement Agency, as well as a helicopter landing by Hackensack University Medical Center’s AirMedOne and a field trip to the United States Military Academy at West Point, according to Washington Township Police Officer Heather Castronova. Read the rest of this entry »

Certificate of Reaccreditation presented to Westwood Police

June 12, 2014


In March, the Westwood Police Department was reaccredited by the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police (NJSACOP). The department first achieved accreditation by the NJSACOP in 2011 after spending nearly a year working to incorporate more than 100 best practices standards, which are based on national standards as well as state law. Since accreditation is only valid for a three-year period, the department set to work last year on recertifying its status. Harry Delgado of NJSACOP said the benefits of being accredited include greater accountability within the agency, reduced liability exposure and increased community confidence in departments. Of the 470 law enforcement agencies in the state, 115 have gone through the accreditation process and an even smaller number have gone on to become reaccredited, making Westwood Police Department part of a “very, very exclusive group.” Read the rest of this entry »

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