Police mannequin, ‘Officer Manny,’ abducted by youths

By: Roger Alvarado
   Police are investigating the brazen daylight kidnapping of "Officer Manny," the realistic Hillsborough police mannequin used to deter speeders, who was yanked from his patrol car recently by three kids and dragged off into the woods.
   Officer Manny was last seen at 3:48 p.m. Jan. 14, when several juveniles pulled him from a police car parked at the intersection of Amwell and Woods roads, according to police.
   A motorist passing the spot where Officer Manny was stationed reported seeing three juveniles smash the windows on Hillsborough Police Traffic Safety Unit 609, a stripped-down version of the township squad cars used in areas where drivers tend to speed, and pull the hapless officer out.
   The motorist reported seeing one the juveniles pulling Officer Manny toward the woods north of Amwell Road as the other two fled ahead. The caller initially thought he was observing an assault on a live officer.
   Investigating officers noted the juveniles had thrown bricks through the car’s windows to snatch the mannequin.
   Officer Manny is one of the department’s most effective traffic control programs, according to Lt. Paul Kaminsky.
   "We utilize it every day on various streets," he said. "Whenever we hear complaints of speeders or (that) there is excessive traffic on the road we deploy him."
   Lt. Kaminsky added the vehicle has already been repaired — and a replacement for the missing "officer" is in place.
   He noted the Police Department often switches live officers with the mannequins during a shift .
   In addition to the missing police mannequin, the police report noted the mannequin was dressed in a complete police uniform — and badge.
   Altogether, the stolen items are valued at $500.
   For those reasons, detectives have been assigned to continue investigating the disappearance of Officer Manny.
   "It’s unfortunate," Lt. Kaminsky said. "The investigation is ongoing."