An 18-year-old Bloomfield man was arrested Wednesday night after he groped one woman and harassed another in the south end of town, police said.
The man, later identified as Kierre Manning, first approached a 47-year-old woman at around 9 p.m. in the area of Grove Street and Watsessing Avenue after she got off the Grove Street light rail train, according to Sgt. Anthony Servedio, spokesperson for the Bloomfield Police Department.
Manning, who was riding a BMX-style bike, had asked the unidentified woman for directions when he reached and grabbed her buttocks, Servedio said.
As she quickly walked away, he followed her on his bike and attempted to reach for her breasts. He then fled south on Grove Street when she flagged down a passing car for help.
The woman described Manning to police as a black teenager, wearing glasses and a hooded sweatshirt. Police searched the area but could not immediately find Manning.
Nearly two hours later, at 10:43 p.m., a 37-year-old woman called police saying she was being followed by a black man, dressed in all black clothing, wearing glasses and riding a bike in the area of Watsessing Avenue near Berkeley Avenue.
Responding to the call, Bloomfield Police Officer Edward Dwyer found Manning hiding behind a parked car on Watsessing Avenue. As the officer ordered the Manning to come out, he noticed a fake, silver plastic handgun with a black handle protruding from Manning's front pocket. The toy gun had no markings on it to distinguish it from a real one. Manning also was carrying a face mask, police said.
The second woman had told police she near the Grove Street Light Rail Station when she was approached by Manning who asked her for the time. As she walked away, Manning continued to follow her, ducking behind parked cars whenever she turned around. Fearing her safety, she then called police.
Manning was positively identified by both women and placed under arrested. He was charged with criminal sexual contact (of the first woman) and harassment (of the second).
He is being held at Essex County jail with a bail of $3,000 set by Judge Vincent Pirone. A pending court date has been schedule for Oct. 25.