The community of Independence Township in Warren County, New Jersey, has been left scratching their heads after a man intentionally crashed his SUV into a police station while blaring Guns N’ Roses’ iconic track “Welcome to the Jungle.”
The man has since been charged with terrorism and could face a lengthy prison sentence if convicted.
The bizarre episode happened on September 20. According to the Warren County Prosecutor’s Office, the suspect, identified as 34-year-old John Hargreaves, first drove his gold Toyota SUV into the garage door of a home in Liberty Township.
Authorities believe this act was intended to “scare or harass the homeowner,” with whom Hargreaves had a personal connection.
After causing damage to the home, Hargreaves headed to the Independence Township Police Department, which was the nearest police station to the damaged property.
Hargreaves then drove his SUV straight through the police station’s exterior wall, crashing into the department’s squad room.
“The entire vehicle came to a final resting place in the squad room. The defendant exited the vehicle and appeared to be celebrating as officers apprehended him on the scene as his car stereo blared the song ‘Welcome to the Jungle,’” Warren County Prosecutor James Pfeiffer said.
Security footage released by the police department captured the moment when Hargreaves’ vehicle smashed through the building’s wall, narrowly missing the officers inside. Officers quickly apprehended the suspect, who exited his SUV with his hands raised in celebration, according to witnesses.
Despite the song not being clearly audible in the audio of the crash, authorities confirmed that “Welcome to the Jungle” was being played during the incident.
Lieutenant Christopher Prell of the Independence Township Police commended the officers’ professionalism and quick response.
“We never could have expected what transpired that night. I am proud of the officers on how quickly they processed their emotions in such a critical incident,” Prell stated.
Fortunately, no injuries were reported in either the crash at the home or the police station.
Police later revealed that Hargreaves allegedly carried out these acts as revenge against a woman he claimed had hypnotized him.
“He was not happy with the way that was handled, and even though it was last year, for some reason, he decided he was going to make it an issue,” Pfeiffer explained.
Hargreaves faces a slew of charges for his destructive actions, including burglary, criminal mischief, possession of a weapon and harassment related to the home crash.
Additionally, he faces charges of terrorism, causing widespread injury or damage, aggravated assault, burglary, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose and criminal mischief for the police station incident.
If convicted on the most serious charge of terrorism, Hargreaves could face a potential sentence of up to 30 years in prison. He is currently being held at the Warren County Jail.
As a result of the extensive damage caused to the police station, the Independence Township Police Department is closed for repairs and security upgrades. However, Prell assured the community that they would continue to serve to the best of their ability during this time.