Prosecutors: Wawa shoplifting suspect drowns while fleeing

A 20-year-old man suspected of shoplifting at a Wawa store drowned in Woodbury Lake while fleeing from police, the Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office said Saturday.

Woodbury police responded to a report of shoplifting at 3:50 a.m. The suspect ran when officers attempted to speak to him, and entered the lake behind the Carriage House Apartments on Evergreen Avenue, according to preliminary findings by prosecutors.

The suspect refused commands to leave the water and swam under the Evergreen Avenue bridge, officials said. Police lost sight of him, and emergency responders in a Woodbury fire company boat were unable to find him.

A New Jersey State Police dive team recovered the man’s body at 10:30 a.m., the Prosecutor’s Office said. An autopsy by the county Medical Examiner’s Office found the cause of death to be accidental drowning.