NEWS


 

Click here for recent Lower Township Community Press Releases

 

August 14, 2007

DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED PATROL LEADS TO MOTOR VEHICLE STOP AND SEIZURE OF MARIJUANA 

 On August 11, 2007 at approximately 12:30 am Patrolmen Patrick Greene and Ryan Hansberry of the Lower Township Police conducted a motor vehicle stop on Bay Drive in the Villas section of Lower Township for failure to maintain a lane and failure to stop or yield.  While issuing these tickets the subjects in the vehicle were spoken to and the officers observed the driver with a thin cigar in his hand and observed a bag of green vegetation, which appeared to be marijuana.  Upon this observation the driver and passenger were removed from the vehicle.  Once removed, the driver was placed under arrest.  The driver complied and was taken into custody without incident.   

The results of the seizure showed 4 individually packaged bags of marijuana indicating that they were ready for distribution to other subjects.  The passenger who was in the vehicle was a juvenile and was released to his parents after receiving a warning for a curfew violation.  

The driver advised police that the passenger had nothing to do with the items found.  The driver was identified as Thomas Solenski DOB 4-21-1988 white male, of the first block of Cloverdale Avenue in the Villas section of Lower Township.  He was charged with possession of controlled dangerous substance/marijuana, possession with intent to distribute a controlled dangerous substance/marijuana, and multiple motor vehicle violations. 

Solenski was processed at the Lower Township Police Department and released on his own recognizance.  

Patrolmen Patrick Greene and Patrolmen Ryan Hansberry investigated the case.

Prepared by:  DSG Thomas D. Keywood     Contact Number:  609-886-1619 ext. 111

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August 06, 2007

VILLAS MAN STABBED IN LOWER TOWNSHIP, SUSPECT ARRESTED SHORTLY THEREAFTER 

On August 6 2007 at approximately 1:30 am, Lower Township Police were contacted by an employee at Jake’s Bar and Grill in regards to a stabbing victim who was located in their parking lot area.  Upon speaking with the victim identified as Fred Schartner of Villas, New Jersey he stated that he was stabbed in the neck area after having a verbal argument with a female and her cracking a bottle on the ground and stabbing him with the broken bottle.  The argument appeared to have begun inside the bar before escalating and the subjects exiting into the parking lot. 

Detectives along with patrol personnel responded to the area in an effort to obtain additional information from the victim and witnesses.  The victim was treated by the Lower Township Rescue Squad and transported to the Cape Regional Medical Center where he was later released after receiving medical care for the large laceration to his neck.   

A search of the area and additional follow up interviews with witnesses lead detectives to the 100 block of Oak Avenue in the Villas section of Lower Township.  At that location, they spoke with a Diaundra Flanagan DOB 4-16-1980 of the above address who was identified as the suspect and taken into custody without incident. 

Flanagan was arrested and transported to the Lower Township Police Department for processing. She was charged with Aggravated Assault.  Judge David DeWeese JMC set bail at $50,000.00 cash no 10 percent.  She was then transferred to the Cape May County Correctional Center in lieu of bail. 

Patrolman Douglass Whitten and Detective Chris Lambert investigated the crime.

Prepared by:  DSG Thomas D. Keywood     Contact Number:  609-886-1619 ext. 111

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August 05, 2007

WILDWOOD CREST MAN BEATEN ON BEACH IN FRONT OF LOCAL HOTEL IN LOWER TOWNSHIP 

Lower Township Police on August 5th 2007, at approximately 2:30 am responded to a report of a man being beaten outside the Pier 6600 Hotel in the Diamond Beach section of Lower Township. Upon arrival by police the area was searched for the suspect with negative results.  The victim identified as Matthew Duppel of the 200 block of East Primrose Avenue in Wildwood Crest sustained facial injuries, but refused medical attention at the scene by rescue personnel. 

The victim indicated that the subject had confronted him saying that he was the girl’s brother and punched him in the nose.  On August 7th 2007, the victim was driven by a friend to the Cape Regional Medical Center for treatment of his injuries from that evening and it was discovered that he had a fractured cervical bone.  The victim was then transferred to the Atlantic City Medical Center City Division for his injuries.  He was treated and released. 

Lower Township Detectives spoke with the victim and with possible suspects in regards to this incident and the investigation into exactly what lead up to this assault is pending further invest. 

The possible suspect’s name is being withheld pending further investigation.  Citizens with information regarding this incident may contact the Lower Township Police Safe Neighborhood’s Tip Line at 609-886-1619 extension 156 or the Cape May County Crime Stoppers at 609-465-2800.  Information will remain confidential and may be reported anonymously. 

Detective Art Mason, Detective Edward Dougherty and Detective Chris Lambert are investigating the case.

Prepared by:  DSG Thomas D. Keywood     Contact Number:  609-886-1619 ext. 111

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July 27, 2007

PENNSYLVANIA MAN BEATEN OUTSIDE LOCAL NIGHTCLUB IN DIAMOND BEACH 

Lower Township Police on July 28th, 2007, at approximately 2:00 am responded to a report of a man being beaten outside the Velvet Lounge located in the Pier 6600 Hotel in the Diamond Beach section of Lower Township. Upon arrival by police the area was searched for the suspect with negative results.  

The victim indicated that the subject had confronted his friend earlier and pushed him off his bicycle.  Later in the evening the victim observed the suspect at the Velvet Lounge wearing a bright orange shirt and while leaving the victim approached him to ask about the earlier confrontation.  At this point the subject struck the victim in the face area with a closed fist.  This caused the victim to fall to the ground where he was struck two more times in the face before being kicked or stomped on his left leg causing a break in the fibula bone. 

The victim was transported to the Cape Regional Medical Center in Cape May Court House New Jersey for treatment.  He was treated and released. 

Lower Township Detectives spoke with the victim and a female friend who were at the scene of the crime.  Both the victim and female friend described the subject as a white male with dark hair in his mid twenties with an orange t-shirt and blue jeans.  They stated three other white males and a female accompanied him.  

The victim’s name is being withheld pending further investigation.  Citizens with information may contact the Lower Township Police Safe Neighborhood’s Tip Line at 609-886-1619 extension 156 or the Cape May County Crime Stoppers at 609-465-2800.  Information will remain confidential and may be reported anonymously. 

Patrolman Michael Perry, Detective Edward Dougherty and Detective Chris Lambert are investigating the case.

Prepared by:  DSG Thomas D. Keywood     Contact Number:  609-886-1619 ext. 111

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July 27, 2007

LOWER TOWNSHIP PUBLIC SAFETY BUILDING EVACUATED AFTER MAJOR GAS LEAK DETECTED 

The Lower Township Police Department reported that the Lower Township Public Safety Building located in the Cape May County Airport Complex on Breakwater Road was evacuated for a short time on July 27th, 2007 at approximately 12:15 pm after a major natural gas leak was detected.  The leak was caused by some demolition work which was being done outside of the complex to an old pumping station.  The construction workers accidentally hit the pipeline which supplies this pumping station and the public safety building. 

All personnel including police, fire safety, rescue, and court workers were evacuated without incident.  This included Lower Township Communication Personnel and all 911 calls were forwarded through the County Office of Emergency Management and rerouted to a mobile dispatch area set up in a nearby emergency management vehicle.  All calls of an emergency nature were handled in a timely fashion and emergency services were not interrupted due to the gas leak.  Roads around the complex were closed to traffic as a safety precaution. 

This type of incident showed the ability of all County Emergency Service Providers to work together in order to perform flawlessly and without interruption even when the emergency involves the evacuating of a major public safety center itself.   

Cape May County and Lower Township Office of Emergency Management along with the Erma Fire Company responded and checked the building after South Jersey Gas Officials capped the leak.  The meters used to check the building indicated it was safe for all personnel to return to the building and resume their normal duties.

Prepared by:  DSG Thomas D. Keywood     Contact Number:  609-886-1619 ext. 111

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July 21, 2007

LOWER TOWNSHIP OFFICERS/CIVILIANS HONORED AT AWARDS CEREMONY  

Several Lower Township Police Officers and Civilians were honored at the Annual David C. Douglass Officer of the Year Awards Ceremony, Tuesday night, July 24th at Lower Township Hall. 

The presentations are made in honor of Lower Township Police Officer, David C. Douglass, who was killed in the line of duty after exchanging gunfire with a burglary suspect on February 18, 1994.   

Chief Edward Donohue made the presentations along with Commander Bud Smith of the “Buddy Lewis VFW Post No. 5343” Villas, New Jersey, to a standing room only crowd. 

Awards were given to the following persons and officers:  

                     2006 Officer of the Year Award – Patrolman Chad Fitzmaurice 

                     2006 VFW Gold Medal Award – Patrolman Kevin Lewis                    

 

Community Partnership Awards

                     Lower Township Community Emergency Response Team or CERT Team

                     Sturdy Savings Bank

                     Lower Township Police Explorers Post

                     Seashore Campsites

 

 Mutual Aid Emergency Services Awards-

                      Townbank Fire Company

                      Erma Fire Company

                      Villas Fire Company

                      Lower Township Rescue Squad                

  

Lower Township Police Chief Ed Donohue presents certificate to Erma Fire Chief
Warner Muller for his roll as the incident commander during the Crabhouse
Restaurant building collapse.

 

Officer Fitness Awards –

                     (The award is given to officers participating in the Lower Township Police

                      Department Annual Physical Fitness Program. Officers who receive 100%

                      in each category are awarded fitness ribbons to wear on their uniform.

                      Ribbons were awarded to the following officers.)

 

                        Sergeant David Adams

                        Officer William Barcas

                        Chief Ed Donohue

                        Captain Lou Russo

                        Officer Chad Fitzmaurice

                        Officer Kevin Lewis

                        Officer Michael Majane

                        Lieutenant William Mastriana

                        Officer Theodore Nagel

                        Officer Shawn Whittington

 

                      Distinguished Service Awards – were presented to Lieutenant Chris

                      Winter for his outstanding administrative efforts in preparing the Lower          

                      Township Police Department for the upcoming CALEA Police Certification

                      process.

 

                      School Resource Officer, Darrin Hickok and School Resource Officer,

                      Al Flitcroft, received Distinguished Service Awards for their continued

                      commitment to our community schools, school administration and

                      students.

 

                      Unit Citation Awards – Chief Ed Donohue issued a Unit Citation Award

                      to the Lower Township Detective Division for their outstanding

                      performance in detecting, deterring and apprehending known criminals

                      and drug dealers within Lower Township by aggressively conducting

                      investigations, executing search warrants and performing motor vehicle

                      stops which have led to the seizure of large amounts of illegal drugs and

                      arrest of multiple known felons from July 2005 to July 2007.  Detectives

                      receiving the Unit Citation Award were:

                      DSG. Thomas Keywood

                      DFC. Mel Hedum

                      Detective Robert Smith

                      Detective Art Mason

                      Detective Chris Lambert

                      Detective Edward Dougherty

 

Letters of Commendation were issued to the following officers:

 

                      Patrolman Shawn Whittington for his efforts in clearing the obstructed

                      airway of a small child.

 

                      CPL. Kevin Boyle and Patrolman William McPherson for their handling

                      of an armed barricaded suspect situation in which a suspect pointed a

                      loaded shotgun at the officers.

 

                      SFC. William Hienkel for disarming a suicidal subject with a butcher knife.

 

                     Patrolman Nicholas Gallaccio of the Cape May City Police Department for

                     intervening in a strong arm robbery at the Sturdy Savings Bank in Lower

                     Township where upon a male was assaulting a female attempting to rob

                     her  of $3,000 that she had just retrieved from an ATM Machine. 

  

The 2006 VFW Gold Medal Award – was awarded by Commander Bud Smith of VFW

Post No. 5343 in the Villas to Patrolman Kevin Lewis.  

Capt. Lou Russo and Commander Bud Smith of Villas VFW post #5343 present VFW
Gold Medal Award to Ptlm. Kevin Lewis

The 2006 Officer of the Year Award -  was presented by Chief Edward Donohue to Patrolman Charles “Chad” Fitzmaurice.  Officer Fitzmaurice will receive complimentary certificates from the Washington Inn by the Craig Family and The Angel of the Sea Bed And Breakfast by the Whissel Family, for his achievement.  (Please see attached information on Patrolman Chad Fitzmaurice.)    

Lower Township Police Chief Ed Donohue presents Officer of the Year award to
Ptlm. Chad Fitzmaurice

The NEW Lower Township Police Explorers Post was also recognized.  The post was formed in memory of Lower Township Police Chief, Donald Douglass and is headed by School Resource Officer, Al Flitcroft with assistance from CPL. Dave Fisher, Patrolman William Barcas, Patrolman Michael Perry and Patrolman Brian McEwing. 

During the Emergency Service Awards portion of the program, Chief Edward Donohue recounted the incident at Two Mile/Crab House Restaurant were a partial building collapsed on July 7th and sent at least nine (9) people to the hospital and generated a huge response from local police, fire and rescue units throughout Cape May County.   

Chief Donohue personally thanked the Fire Chiefs.  Chief Donohue praised all the Chiefs present, for their efforts in helping to stabilize the situation, clear the building and treat the injured.  

Prepared by:  Captain Brian Q. Marker    Contact Number:  609-886-1619 ext. 114

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July 21, 2007

TIP JAR THEFT RESULTS IN MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENT AND CHARGE OF ROBBERY 

The Lower Township Police Department on July 21, 2007 at approximately 6:00 pm reported a robbery that occurred at the Fish and Fancy Restaurant on Bayshore Road in the Villas section of Lower Township.  During this crime two subjects entered the restaurant and removed a tip jar containing approximately $250.00 from the counter area.  Upon removing the item the subjects fled the restaurant and possibly bumped a patron inside before entering their vehicle to make their escape. 

While exiting the parking area the vehicle being driven in a reckless manner backed into another occupied vehicle before fleeing in a northerly direction into the Villas section of Lower Township.  The vehicle and suspects where located a short time later several blocks away and items of evidentiary value where recovered at the scene linking the suspects to the robbery. 

The suspects were taken into custody without any further incident.  They are identified as William Bullick DOB 12-16-1967 39 years of age of the 100 block of Hickory Hill road in the City of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  The second subject is Richard Gould DOB 9-13-1968 38 years of age of the 11 thousand block of Brandon Road in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Both were charged with Robbery and some motor vehicle summonses for the hit and run accident in the parking lot. 

The subjects were processed at the Lower Township Police Department and then transported to the Cape May County Correctional Center in lieu of bail.  Judge David DeWeese set bail for the robbery at $25,000.00 cash for each subject. 

Patrolman Joseph Boyle, Patrolman William Barcas and Detective First Class Mel Hedum investigated the case.  

Prepared by:  DSG Thomas D. Keywood     Contact Number:  609-886-1619 ext. 111

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July 20, 2007

POLICE CHASE ENDS IN RECOVERY OF STOLEN VEHICLE

The Lower Township Police Department reported that on July 20th 2007 at approximately 2:30 AM a vehicle was observed by Patrolman Shaun Whittington coming out of Wildwood into the Shaw Crest section of Lower Township at a high rate of speed.  The vehicle being a 2001 green 4 door Acura traveled onto the Garden State Parkway with two males in the rear of the vehicle motioning to police in a manner that lead the officers to believe that they may have needed assistance or were being held against their will.  The vehicle stopped at mile marker .05 and let out the two male subjects and then continued south on the Parkway.     

Lower Township Patrolman Whittington picked up the male subjects as Corporal Ernie MaComber continued to pursue the vehicle until the driver stopped the vehicle and attempted to flee on foot near the Cape May Canal.  She was later apprehended after a brief foot chase.  

A further investigation determined that the vehicle had originally been stolen out of the Villas section of Lower Township on July 16th 2007 during a Chinese food delivery in which a fake order was phoned in and as it was being delivered an unknown person stole the delivery vehicle. The suspects had apparently changed the tags on the vehicle.  The vehicle had New York Plates at the time of the theft and they had been changed to Delaware plates at the time of the apprehension. 

The driver was identified as Cassandra Kirwin, 22 years of age of the 3000 block of Shunpike in the Rio Grande section of Middle Township.   Kirwin was transported to the Lower Township Police Department were she was charged with the theft of the motor vehicle and eluding.  Judge David DeWeese set bail at $25,000.00 cash.  In addition, she was charged with multiple traffic violations including speeding, reckless driving, fictitious plates, driving while suspended and unlicensed driver.  Kirwin was transferred to the Cape May County Correctional Center in lieu of bail.  

The case was investigated by Patrolman Shaun Whittington, Corporal Ernie MaComber, Patrolman Chad Fitzmaurice,  Sergeant Martin Biersbach and Detective Robert Smith.  

Prepared by:  DSG Thomas D. Keywood     Contact Number:  609-886-1619 ext. 111

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July 19, 2007

QUICK ACTION BY DISPATCHER HELPS IDENTIFY SUSPECT IN DOMESTIC ASSAULT WHO THEN COMMITS AGGRAVATED ASSAULT ON POLICE OFFICER

The Lower Township Police Department reported that on Monday July 16th, 2007 at approximately   12:30 pm received information from a concerned citizen who just observed a man striking a woman on the road coming out of Wildwood into the area of Middle and Lower Townships.  The concerned citizen followed the vehicle containing the couple that had been in the physical altercation. 

Police Communications Officer John Piggot began to run the vehicle registration through the motor vehicle computers in order to identify the suspect.  Due to the fact the tag number being given was transposed it took several attempts by the officer to obtain the proper vehicle information.  After being able to ascertain the identity of the driver who committed the assault on the female, he relayed this to patrol personnel who then intercepted the suspect at his residence. 

The driver identified as Michael Ricci, DOB 4-12-1983, 23 years of age of the 100 block of West Pacific Avenue in the Villas section of Lower Township was stopped by Patrolman Joseph Boyle and during this encounter Ricci began a confrontation with the officer that lead to him spitting on the officer.  After this action he was placed under arrest and resisted.  After being taken into custody he was subsequently charged with aggravated assault on a police officer, resisting arrest, obstruction, and contempt of court.   

Ricci was transported to the Lower Township Police Department for processing and then transferred to the Cape May County Correctional Center.  Judge David DeWeese set bail at $25,000.00.

Prepared by:  DSG Thomas D. Keywood     Contact Number:  609-886-1619 ext. 111

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July 17, 2007

SEARCH AT LOCAL HOME IN VILLAS SECTION OF LOWER TOWNSHIP LEADS TO SEIZURE OF CRACK COCAINE

The Lower Township Police Department concluded a long-term narcotics investigation in the 1700 block of Morris Avenue in the Villas section of Lower Township.  Members of the Detective Bureau, Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office Narcotic’s Task Force and the Cape May County Regionalized SWAT Team entered the home in the late evening hours of Friday July 13, 2007. 

Police during their investigation had received intelligence that the individuals may be in possession of firearms.  Due to this information the Cape May County Regionalized SWAT Team was utilized in the execution of the warrant. 

The SWAT Team after making entry secured the occupants and location. Detectives and Prosecutor’s Office Personnel entered the residence after securement and located approximately 1 ounce of crack cocaine, numerous glass pipes utilized in the smoking of the crack cocaine, scale and numerous unidentified prescription drugs.  Additionally, one of the suspects admitted knowledge of a handgun being in the residence and showed the officers where to locate it.  The handgun recovered was a Ruger 357 magnum.  

Charged with possession of cocaine, possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose and possession of drug paraphernalia was Joseph G. Hoover AKA “Buddy” DOB 1-12-1960 of the 1700 block of Morris Avenue Villas, NJ.  Charged with possession of cocaine, possession of cocaine with intent to distribute and possession of drug paraphernalia was Daniel Payne DOB 11-3-1960 of the 1700 block of Morris Avenue Villas, NJ.   Both individuals were charged on warrants with bail being set at $50,000.00 Cash/Bond by Judge David DeWeese.  

Also arrested and charged in the operation were the following persons who were released on summonses.  Charged with two counts of possession of prescription narcotics was Sunny Ennis DOB 11-13-1963 of the 700 block of Bayshore Road Villas, NJ.  Charged with drug paraphernalia was Jason Bodine DOB 12-11-1977 of the 1700 block of Morris Avenue Villas, NJ.   

Police focused particular attention on this case due to information that the residence was being used as a crack house (a location where people could purchase and consume their drugs at the same location.)  After entering the residence and locating approximately eight individuals inside, it appears that many of the individuals located within were in the process of either buying or using crack cocaine due to the large amount of broken glass pipes scattered throughout the home.  

Lower Township Detectives investigated the Case along with members of the Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office Narcotics Task Force.

Prepared by:  DSG Thomas D. Keywood     Contact Number:  609-886-1619 ext. 111

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July 12, 2007

CONSUMER AFFAIRS COMPLAINT LEADS TO ARREST OF LOWER TOWNSHIP MAN FOR CONSUMER THEFT

The Lower Township Police Department with help from the Cape May County Consumer Affairs Department was able to apprehend a subject who was victimizing residents that needed canvas awning work done around their homes. 

Detectives during the investigation were able to locate and identify Dewel C. Smith 39 years of age of the 100 block of Tennessee Avenue in the Villas section of Lower Township.  He was arrested without incident by uniformed personnel and transported to the Lower Township Police Department for processing. 

Smith was charged with theft by deception and theft by not making proper disposition of property received.  The amount of money in question was in excess of $1000.00 and a crime of the third degree. 

Judge David DeWeese JMC set bail at $15,000.00 cash.  Smith was transferred to the Cape May County Correctional Center in lieu of bail. 

Detective Chris Lambert, Detective Edward Dougherty and Patrolman Eric Coombs investigated the case. 

Citizens with similar interactions with this individual are asked to contact the Lower Township Police Detective Bureau at 886-1619 ext. 157.

Prepared by:  DSG Thomas D. Keywood     Contact Number:  609-886-1619 ext. 111

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July 09, 2007

LOWER TOWNSHIP POLICE PRAISE MUTUAL AID RESPONSE DURING CRAB HOUSE INCIDENT 

When a large portion of the concrete floor gave way on Saturday, July 7th at the Two Mile Crab House in the Diamond Beach Section of Lower Township, approximately 900 people were inside the building which includes the Crab House Two Mile Restaurant and a large outside deck.   

The collapsing concrete gave off a series of loud pops.  This combined with the screams of patrons, caused an employee to believe that shots were being fired inside the restaurant. 

Therefore, the first 9-11 calls received by the Lower Township Police were reporting multiple shots fired at the Two Mile Restaurant. 

Members of Lower Township Police, Squad Two and Sergeant David Adams were just finishing up roll call for the oncoming night shift when the 9-11 calls were received. 

At least five Lower Township Police Officers responded to the scene with backup requested from the Wildwood Crest Police Department. 

While enroute to the scene, the Officers were advised that the shots fired call was unfounded, but that there had been a partial building collapse with reports of people trapped inside.   

Sergeant Adams then requested the Erma Fire Department, which covers the Diamond Beach Section of Lower Township, to respond to the scene as well. 

Lower Township and Wildwood Crest Officers were met by a throng of people attempting to exit the building.  Police Officers assisted the injured at the scene and entered the building to check restrooms and storage areas for possibly injured patrons. 

The Lower Township Rescue Squad responded to the scene in force with multiple ambulances and set up a triage area in the front parking lot and requested back up from multiple rescue squads in the area. 

An employee was trapped inside a walk in freezer for some time until staff members were able to remove the hinges off the freezer. 

After the initial collapse and confusion, there were multiple reports of people unaccounted for, and due to the fact that the electric and gas was still on inside the building. 

Erma Fire Chief Warren Muller, who was the incident commander at the scene for Search and Rescue Operations, then requested mutual aid assistance from various fire departments throughout the area. 

Lower Township Police Chief Ed Donohue praised the efforts of police, fire, and rescue units that responded to the scene and stated, “This incident shows why comprehensive county wide mutual aid agreements that Cape May County Prosecutor Robert Taylor has been pushing for are essential to have in place.” 

“All of our Police Officers, firefighters and EMT’s from various organizations worked well together as a team in order to clear the building, treat the injured and stabilize the situation.” 

Chief Donohue also praised the owners and staff of the restaurant for their efforts to evacuate the building. 

A total of nine (9) persons were transported to Cape Regional Medical Center with various injuries, including chest pain from anxiety.  Several other persons were treated at the scene by EMT’s, but refused transportation to the hospital.  The following individuals were transported by Lower Township Rescue Squad and other rescue squad units.  It is believed that all of the injured were treated and released from the hospital: 

Carol Werwinski, age 42 of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Betty Dewitt, age 50 of Trumbaursville, Pennsylvania

Helen Murphy, age 64 of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Chitlyn Kucher, age 18 of Quakertown, Pennsylvania

John Kemp, Sr., age 45 of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

John Kemp, Jr., age 11 of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Edward Giamantonio, age 61 of West Chester, Pennsylvania

Jackie Butkiewicz, age 43 of Monroe, New Jersey

Cindy Dougherty, age 48 of Edison, New Jersey

Before the incident was over, the following organizations and/or individuals responded to the scene:

Lower Township Police Department

Wildwood Crest Police Department

Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office

Erma Fire Department

Townbank Fire Department

Wildwood Crest Fire Department

Wildwood Fire Department

Cape May Fire Department

U.S. Coast Guard Fire Department

Atlantic City Fire Department/Search and Rescue Unit

Lower Township Rescue Squad

Wildwood Crest Rescue Squad

Wildwood Fire/Rescue

Cape May Rescue Squad

Middle Township Rescue Squad

Upper Township Rescue Squad

Paramedic Unit, Medic 5

Paramedic Unit, Medic 9

Paramedic Unit, Medic 2

U.S. Coast Guard Patrol Boats

New Jersey State Police Patrol Boats

New Jersey State Police Teams Unit with State Police Scuba Divers

New Jersey Urban Rescue Members and Engineers 

Lower Township Mayor Walt Craig

Lower Township Manager Joe Jackson

Lower Township Building Inspectors Jim Cannon and Gary Playford

Mr. Art Treon, Lower Township O.E.M.

Mr. Frank McCall, Cape May County O.E.M.

Atlantic City Electric Company

South Jersey Gas Company

Cape May County Health Department 

The cause of the collapse is still under investigation by the Lower Township Building Inspector’s Office and Structural Engineers. 

The Crab House portion of the complex is expected to be closed for the foreseeable future.  The Lower Township Building Inspector’s Office and Structural Engineers are assessing the situation to determine when the restaurant portion of the complex can be opened to the public.

Prepared by:  Chief Edward P. Donohue     Contact Number:  609-886-1619 ext. 109

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July 06, 2007

NEW COURT SECURITY IN LOWER TOWNSHIP NETS FIRST ARREST FOR CONTRABAND 

On July 3, 2007 at approximately 9:30 am, Lower Township Police Officers assigned to a new security detail at the Lower Township Municipal Court that includes a walk through metal detector and portable metal detection wand manned by two officers were approached by a concerned citizen who reported suspicious activity to them. 

The citizen along with the officers described seeing an individual enter the Court building and then head back out after seeing the security measures.  Once outside the subject identified as Vince Dobbins 26 years of age of the 500 block of Indian Avenue in the North Cape May section of Lower Township placed an unknown container in some shrubs.  The concerned citizen who advised the police working the security detail observed this placement.  

Police personnel retrieved the item, which turned out to be a tintype can with a bag of marijuana contained within.  The item was taken into evidence and the subject was removed from the courtroom where he was awaiting the Judge for other non-related charges. 

Dobbins was charged with Possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance specifically marijuana, a disorderly persons offense.  Dobbins was released on a summons for this offense. 

Detective Art Mason, Special Officer Michael Iames and Detective Edward Dougherty investigated the Case

Prepared by:  DSG Thomas D. Keywood     Contact Number:  609-886-1619 ext. 111

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July 06, 2007

MOTOR VEHICLE STOP LEADS TO LARGE SEIZURE OF PRESCRIPTION PILLS AND CRACK COCAINE 

On July 5, 2007 at approximately 9:30 pm Patrolmen Albert Flitcroft of the Lower Township Police conducted a motor vehicle stop on Ocean Drive in Lower Township for speeding and careless driving.  While issuing these tickets the subjects were spoken to by detective personnel and appeared to be extremely nervous and kept reaching under the driver’s side seat.  Upon this observation the driver and passenger were removed from the vehicle for the officer’s safety.  Once removed it was requested of the driver to give consent to search of the vehicle.  The driver complied and a search was completed. 

The results of this search discovered a flare gun under the front seat along with two knives.  These items were not seized and further search disclosed controlled dangerous substances.  The drugs found on scene included vicodin, Tylenol with codeine and two other types of unidentified prescription pills totaling just under 100 pills.  In addition, crack cocaine was found on the driver. 

The driver advised police that the passenger had nothing to do with the items found.  The driver was identified as Kylef Anderson 30 years of age from Upsale Street in the City of Philadelphia.  He was charged with possession of controlled dangerous substance/ prescription pills, possession with intent to distribute prescription pills, possession of cocaine and multiple motor vehicle violations. 

Anderson was processed at the Lower Township Police Department and transferred to the Cape May County Correctional Center.  Judge David DeWeese JMC set bail at $15,000.00 cash. 

Patrolmen Albert Flitcroft, Detective First Class Mel Hedum and Detective Chris Lambert investigated the case.

Prepared by:  DSG Thomas D. Keywood     Contact Number:  609-886-1619 ext. 111

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July 02, 2007

TWO NEW POLICE OFFICERS TAKE OATH OF OFFICE

LOWER TOWNSHIP -

On June 30th, 2007, after twenty two (22) weeks of extensive training, two new Lower Township Police Officers Graduated from the Cape May County Police Academy.

Officer Charles (C.J.) Ryan 27, and Officer Brian McEwing 21, both of Lower Township were officially sworn in as Lower Township Police Officers by Mayor Walt Craig during Monday night’s council meeting in Lower Township on July 2nd.

Officer Ryan is a graduate of Rowan University with a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and is also a Sergeant in the New Jersey Air National Guard with the 177th fighter wing. He has been deployed over seas to Qatar and Iraq as part of an F-16 maintenance crew during his service with the Air force. He resides in Lower Township with his wife Yvonne and daughter Dempsey.

Officer McEwing served with the Lower Township Police Department for three years as a seasonal Class II Police Officer, and as the departments full time year round Class II Officer. He is a graduate of Lower Cape May Regional High School and Atlantic Cape Community College and is also a member of the Civil Air Patrol.

Officer McEwing excelled at the Cape May County Police Academy receiving the highest academic award for the class and the Directors Award for best overall performance in each phase of academy training.

The Officers will be assigned to a field training officer for several weeks, before hitting the streets where they are sorely needed.

Officer Brian McEwing takes oath of office with his parents and grandparents by his side.

Officer “CJ” Ryan takes oath of office with his wife Yvonne and his parents by his side.

 

Pictured left to right; Officer “CJ” Ryan, Police Chief Ed Donohue, And Officer Brian McEwing.

Press Release Prepared By:  Captain Louis Russo    Contact Number 609-886-1619 ext. 117                                                                             

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July 01, 2007

LOWER TOWNSHIP POLICE RESPOND WITH SEARCH AND RESCUE OPERATION FOR MISSING BOAT OFF BAYFRONT

At approximately 3:15 am on July 1, 2007, Lower Township Police received a report of possibly four subjects in an 11-12 foot aluminum boat sinking in the Delaware Bay off of Higbee’s Beach.  Police responded along with Coast Guard, State Police, Delaware River Bay Authority, and Townbank Fire Personnel. 

At approximately 3:20 am United States Coast Guard Air Rescue responded along with additional police personnel.  The subjects identified below were located at approximately 4:05 am and treated by Lower Township Rescue personnel. 

The missing individuals were identified as Jason Mathis, Kim Murphy, Brian Dooley and Kevin Davidson of the North Cape May and Villas sections of Lower Township.  All were treated at the scene for hypothermia and refused additional medical attention. 

A police investigation showed that the subjects went down onto the beach area in front of Harpoon Henry’s a local eating establishment and utilized the boat which was kept in that area.  Once the boat began to sink the occupants made it to shore at various locations from Higbee’s Beach down to the area of Cape May Point. 

Once making it to shore one of the occupants made contact with a Brady Eckel who was in the parking area at Higbee’s Beach and called 911 to report the sinking.  The boat has not been recovered as of the time of this press release. 

Patrolman Ken McGurk, Patrolman Michael Majane, Patrolman Matthew Dickinson, Corporal David Fisher and Sergeant Thomas Beeby investigated and responded to the incident along with various other members of the above listed agencies.

Prepared by:  DSG Thomas D. Keywood     Contact Number:  609-886-1619 ext. 111

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June 25, 2007

LOWER TOWNSHIP POLICE SEIZE AK47 ASSAULT WEAPON DURING DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CASE 

The Lower Township Police Department on 6-21-2007 at approximately 10:30 pm responded to a residence in the 200 block of Ridgewood Avenue in the Villas section of Lower Township in regards to a domestic violence case.  Upon further investigation by police a temporary restraining order was issued and upon service, an assault type weapon was recovered. 

Police upon observing the prohibited weapon and a large capacity banana type clip in close proximity, the officers on scene immediately seized and secured it for their safety.  The owner identified as Manuel Serra 38 years of age of the Villas section of Lower Township was placed under arrest and taken into custody. 

Serra was transported to the Lower Township Police Department for processing and charged with unlawful possession of a weapon.  Judge David DeWeese JMC set bail at $15’000.00 10% and transported to the Cape May County Correctional Center in lieu of bail. 

Patrolman Chad Fitzmaurice and Corporal Ernie MaComber investigated the case.

Prepared by:  DSG Thomas D. Keywood     Contact Number:  609-886-1619 ext. 111 

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 June 25, 2007

CITIZEN TIP AND CAR STOP LEADS TO LARGE SEIZURE OF CRACK COCAINE

The Lower Township Police Department on June 23, 2007 at approximately 5 pm received information on persons delivering crack cocaine in t he Villas section of Lower Township.   

Lower Township Detectives along with Patrol personnel swarmed the area in an attempt to locate the two black males in a green sedan type vehicle.  The information provided that the subjects in the vehicle would be in possession of narcotics specifically crack cocaine.   

A short time later, detectives observed the suspects traveling on Bayshore Road in the Villas section of Lower Township.  The suspects were observed not wearing their seatbelts and detectives followed the suspects waiting for marked units.  At this point detectives effectuated a motor vehicle stop.  

Upon speaking with the suspects they were identified as Rashawn M. Grier 25 years of age of Allegheney Ave. in Philadelphia PA and David B. McField 24 years of age of Spangler St. in Philadelphia PA.  During their interactions with the police they had different stories on their route of travel and the passenger kept reaching for a peanut can in the passenger compartment area and upon being questioned about it, turned over the can to detectives which was open and they could clearly see secreted under the thin layer of peanuts were bags of crack cocaine. 

Upon this discovery the suspects were placed under arrest and the vehicle impounded and taken to the Lower Township Police Department.  Upon a thorough search of the vehicle additional crack cocaine was seized along with another hidden compartment container.   

The total amount of seized cocaine was over 2 ounces individually wrapped and packaged for sale.  The number of bags seized was 111 pieces and two large bags of crack cocaine with an estimated street value of approximately $12,000.00.   

Both suspects were charged with possession of cocaine and possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.  Judge DeWeese, JMC, set bail at $50,000.00 cash.   They were processed and transported to the Cape May County Correctional Center in lieu of bail.   

Detective Chris Lambert, Detective Robert Smith Jr., Detective First Class Mel Hedum and Patrolman Joseph Boyle investigated the case.

Prepared by:  DSG Thomas D. Keywood     Contact Number:  609-886-1619 ext. 111 

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June 25, 2007

DISABLED VEHICLE ASSISTANCE LEADS TO LARGE MARIJUANA SEIZURE

The Lower Township Police Department on June 23, 2007 at approximately 8:30 pm responded to a call of a disabled and possibly impaired driver in the area of Wuerker’s Pit off of Railroad Avenue in the Erma section of Lower Township.  Upon arrival they located a 1987 Monte Carlo SS with Florida Tags off the side of the dirt road.

Further investigation showed the tire had torn and was peeling apart possibly causing the vehicle to lose control.  While speaking with the driver identified as William Atkinson 24 years of age of the 400 block of Fern in the North Cape May section of Lower Township, he attempted to provide documents for the vehicle and upon opening the center console Patrolman Pat Greene observed several large bags of green vegetation.

Through the officers training he immediately identified these bags as marijuana and placed Atkinson under arrest.  The vehicle was impounded and towed to the Lower Township Police department were it was searched further. 

Total amount of items taken was in excess of 5 ounces of marijuana, brass knuckles, packaging material, switchblade knife and other miscellaneous items.  In addition, Atkinson was charged with driving under the influence. 

Criminal charges filed against him included possession of marijuana, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, two counts of possession of a prohibited weapon and possession of drug paraphernalia.  Judge David DeWeese JMC set the bail at $50,000.00 cash bail. He was transported to the Cape May County Correctional Center in lieu of bail. 

Patrolman Pat Greene, Patrolman William McPherson, and Detective First Class Mel Hedum investigated the case. 

Prepared by:  DSG Thomas D. Keywood     Contact Number:  609-886-1619 ext. 111

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June 22, 2007

DOMESTIC DISPUTE RESULTS IN BARRICADED GUNMAN

On Thursday, 06-21-2007 at approximately 11:30 pm the Lower Township Police Department received a call that a subject had made threats to his girlfriend with a firearm and that the female feared for her safety in the first block of Alexander Avenue in the Villas section of Lower Township.  Upon arrival, Patrolman Robert Fessler located the female caller still inside the house and facilitated her escape through a window.  Shortly thereafter the woman’s son exited the residence and both subjects were removed to an area of safety.

Additional information was received that the subject had removed a long gun rifle/shotgun from under the bed and had gone back into the bedroom.  Officers observed a light come on in the residence and believed that the subject was still inside the residence.  The Cape May County Regional SWAT Team South Unit was activated and prior to their arrival Police negotiators where able to make contact with the subject utilizing a telephone and then a bullhorn. 

The police on scene who spoke with the subject and assisted in his surrender were Sergeant Martin Biersbach and Corporal Ernest MaComber.  The total time from the initial call to the surrender of the subject was approximately one hour.

Once the subject identified as Steven Tomlin 45 years old of the first block of Alexander Avenue in the Villas section of Lower Township exited the home he was taken into custody by Patrolman Fessler without incident and transported the Lower Township Police Department for processing.  Several weapons were removed from the residence and motor vehicle including a rifle, shotgun and compound bow.

Tomlin is charged with assault, harassment and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose.  Judge David DeWeese JMC set bail at $15,000.00 bail with no contact with the victim.  Tomlin was transported to the Cape May County Correctional Center in lieu of bail.

Prepared by:  DSG Thomas D. Keywood     Contact Number:  609-886-1619 ext. 111

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June 19, 2007

MAN STABS HIMSELF AFTER POLICE ARE CALLED TO CHECK ON HIS WELL BEING

On Monday, 06-18-07, at approximately 4:40 p.m. the Lower Township Police Department received a call from New Jersey State Police Mobile Dispatch, relaying a 9-1-1 call from a cell phone involving a hysterical female.

The call initially came in as a domestic incident with a male attempting to break into a home in the 100 Block of Canterbury Way in the Erma Section of Lower Township in an attempt to harm himself or his girlfriend.

Additional investigation by dispatchers determined that the girlfriend was in fact calling from a different location and was reporting that her boyfriend was attempting to harm himself inside the residence.

Lower Township Police Officers set up a perimeter around the home while Detective Robert Smith, a Police Negotiator, made contact with the male by phone and attempted to determine if the subject was in possession of any firearms.

The subject stated that he did not have any firearms, but that he was now stabbing himself in the stomach.

Police Officers were then given permission to force entry into the residence by Lower Township Police Chief, Edward Donohue, who had just arrived at the scene.

Five (5) officers with protective shields then entered the residence and had to force entry to a bathroom door.  Upon entering the bathroom, SFC William Hienkel observed the subject stabbing himself in the stomach with a large butcher knife.  SFC Hienkel immediately grabbed the subject, knocked the knife out of his hand and brought him to the ground.

Lower Township Rescue Squad Personnel, who had been on stand by in the area, were then requested to enter the residence to stabilize the victim.

The victim advised officers that he had also taken an unknown amount of prescription pills.  He was treated on the scene by Lower Township Rescue Squad and Paramedics then air lifted by Medivac Helicopter to the Atlantic City Medical Center.

Press Release Prepared By:  Captain Louis Russo    Contact Number 609-886-1619 ext. 117   

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June 18, 2007

NEIGHBORS REPORT DOMESTIC WHICH LEAD TO ARREST OF LOWER TOWNSHIP MAN

On June 15, 2007 at approximately 6 pm, Lower Township Police received two 911 calls reporting a disturbance on Delford Road in the Townbank section of Lower Township.  Upon arrival officers met with the victim who reported her door had been kicked in and her husband who was two hours late for his visitation had taken her child.  

After police arrived on scene at the Delford Road address, a subject identified as Casimir Rupinski of the 700 block of Route 9 in the Erma section of Lower Township came to the Lower Township Police Department to report a domestic between him and his wife.  Police who were investigating responded to the station and placed Rupinski under arrest for assault and criminal mischief.

Rupinski was charged with above offenses and Judge Richard Russell set bail at $1,000.00 cash with a no contact order.  In addition, a temporary restraining order was issued and served on Rupinski.

Patrolman Michael Perry, Patrolman Matthew Dickinson and Sergeant Thomas Beeby investigated the case.

Prepared by:  DSG Thomas D. Keywood     Contact Number:  609-886-1619 ext. 111

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June 14, 2007

OFFICER TO BE REINSTATED WITH THE LOWER TOWNSHIP POLICE DEPARTMENT

On Monday, June 11th, following a hearing at the Office of Administrative Law in Atlantic City, New Jersey, a settlement agreement was reached to reinstate Officer Edward Edwards as a Lower Township Police Officer.

Edwards was brought up on departmental charges following a confrontation with Captain Louis Russo in Russo’s office on March 16, 2006. 

At the time, Lower Township Police Chief, Edward Donohue, recommended that Edwards receive a 90 day suspension without pay, however the officer requested to use vacation time as part of the settlement, but his request was denied by former Lower Township Manager, Kathleen McPherson.

Edwards then requested and was granted a departmental hearing on the matter after which  Township Manager, Kathleen McPherson, made a decision to terminate the officer’s employment.

Prior to the Office of Administrative Law Hearing, Lower Township Solicitor, Paul Baldini and Edwards’ attorney, Stuart Alderman, agreed to the following settlement agreement which was then officially put on the record in front of Judge Todd Miller of the O.A.L.

Edwards’ pled guilty to NJAC: 4A:2.3(a)(11), for other sufficient cause, specifically  for improper conduct towards Captain Louis Russo.  All other administrative charges filed by the Township were dismissed. 

Edwards agreed to a 90 day suspension for the incident, which was already served and he will receive six (6) months of back pay. 

The settlement must be approved by the New Jersey Merit System Board.

Officer Edwards will be reinstated to the Lower Township Police Department on or about July 1, 2007.

Lower Township Police Chief, Edward Donohue stated, he supported the settlement agreement and noted that he never requested nor sought the termination of Officer Edwards.

“However, it is imperative that the Chain of Command in any organization be respected.  I have thought all along that a 90 day suspension in lieu of termination was appropriate in this disciplinary case.  Officer Edwards has apologized for his demeanor toward the Captain and I look forward to having him back on the department, as additional officers are sorely needed.” 

Statement from Edward P. Donohue, Chief of Police.

Prepared by:  Chief Edward P. Donohue     Contact Number:  609-886-1619 ext. 109

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June 12, 2007

DWI SUSPECT CHARGED IN LOWER TOWNSHIP AFTER CRASH AT JUGHANDLE ON ROUTE 109

The Lower Township Police on June 10, 2007 at approximately 1:20 am investigated a driving while intoxicated case in the Erma Section of Lower Township.  The subject involved in the case is identified as a Jennifer Dowe DOB 06/25/1975 of Main Street in the Erma section of Lower Township.  Dowe was also charged with failure to observe a traffic signal. 

Prior to the crash, a vehicle driven by James Linnington of Seashore Road in Lower Township was stopped at the traffic light and when it turned green he proceeded through the light when Dowe struck him.   Linnington was not injured in the crash.

The accident investigation disclosed that Dowe was traveling northbound on Route 109 when she failed to stop at the light and struck Linnington.  Dowe was taken to the Cape Regional Medical Center for treatment.  Dowe is charged with Driving under the influence and failure to observe a signal. 

Prepared by:  DSG Thomas D. Keywood     Contact Number:  609-886-1619 ext. 111

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June 08, 2007

LOWER TOWNSHIP DETECTIVES SOLVE SIX COMMERCIAL BURGLARIES

 

The Lower Township Police Department during the months of April, May and June investigated five burglaries in the Erma section of Lower Township and in the Schellenger’s Landing area of the Township.  Taken during these incidents, were various food items, large quantities of alcoholic beverages and scrap material including empty beer kegs.   

Lower Township Detectives followed up on these crimes and were able to ascertain the identity of the subject who was involved in the incidents.  Upon additional investigation by detectives, they were able to verify that this individual had entered the various locations, which included the Knights of Columbus, Moose Lodge, Lucky Bones Restaurant, Harbor View Restaurant (2 times) and the C-View Restaurant in the City of Cape May.  Information obtained showed that the items taken had been sold or consumed.  Detectives are still investigating in an effort to recover some of the items. 

The arrestee was identified as Aaron L. Shelton DOB 05/29/1981 of North Main Street in the Cape May Court House section of Middle Township. 

Shelton who is being held in the Cape May County Correctional Center on unrelated charges was arrested by Detectives on June 7, 2007 and charged with various counts of burglary and theft for each of the five burglaries in Lower Township.  Cape May Detectives will be charging for the C-View Restaurant Burglary.  He is being held at the Cape May County Correctional Center on bail from the unrelated charges in an amount of $25,000.00 cash and no bail for a contempt of court violation from Cape May County Superior Court. 

Detective Chris Lambert and Detective First Class Mel Hedum investigated the case with assistance from Lower Township Police Patrol/Detective Bureaus and the City of Cape May Police Department.

Prepared by:  DSG Thomas D. Keywood     Contact Number:  609-886-1619 ext. 111

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June 05, 2007

FOUND PROPERTY LEADS TO DRUG ARREST AND SEIZURE OF 12 BAGS OF HEROIN IN LOWER TOWNSHIP

Lower Township Police announced that while investigating the recovery of some lost property on Saturday June 2, 2007 the followup investigation lead to an arrest for possession of heroin. 

Patrolman Ted Nagel of the Lower Township Police was the investigating officer and was requested to respond to the area of the Bayshore Inn parking lot in reference to a pocketbook being found.  After the item was turned over to police Patrolman Nagel was checking for some type of identification for the purse and discovered a small pouch containing 12 bags of heroin with “Hit Hard” stamped on them. 

Nagel located the owner of the pocketbook identified as Kathleen Kriner 42 years of age at her residence in the 600 block of Townbank Road in the North Cape May section of Lower Township.  Kriner identified all the items within the pocketbook as being hers including the heroin.  Kriner was placed under arrest and transported to the Lower Township Police Department. 

Upon processing she was charged on a summons for possession of heroin a crime of the third degree and released.

Prepared by:  DSG Thomas D. Keywood     Contact Number:  609-886-1619 ext. 111

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June 04, 2007

LOWER TOWNSHIP OFFICER TO RECEIVE REPRIMAND AND SUSPENSION FOR IMPROPER USE OF A TOWNSHIP VEHICLE

On May 31st, the Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office advised Lower Township Police Chief, Edward Donohue, that the Prosecutor’s Office had concluded their investigation into the use of a Lower Township Department of Public Works bucket truck by an off-duty Lower Township Police Officer after the officer was given permission to use the vehicle by the Supervisor of the Department of Public Works.

The Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office investigation found no criminal culpability on the officer’s part primarily due to the informal permission situation that existed and returned the case back to the Lower Township Police Department for appropriate administrative action.

In addition, Cape May County Prosecutor, Robert Taylor strongly recommended that the Lower Township Municipal Government pass a formal resolution banning any future use of public property in this manner. 

Lower Township’s Manager, Mr. Joseph Jackson acted immediately to put an end to the Department of Public Works practice of lending out equipment to township employees as soon as this incident was reported via an anonymous letter received by the manager on March 13, 2007.

At the direction of Chief Donohue, the Lower Township Police Department immediately initiated an Internal Affairs investigation into the incident to determine if any rules and regulations of the police department had been violated. 

However, the police department’s investigation could not be concluded until the Prosecutor’s Office investigation was completed.

The investigation revealed that the officer never received any monetary compensation for the work where the township vehicle was used.

However, Lower Township Police Chief, Edward Donohue stated, “I have had major concerns regarding the ethical issues surrounding this incident since it was reported.”

“The fact that the investigation did not find any criminal culpability on the part of the officer involved does not relieve him of his obligation to conduct his private activities so as not to bring the police department into disrepute.”

“It was certainly poor judgement on the officer’s part to use a township vehicle in this manner and I can assure the public and our tax payers that this incident was looked at in a very serious manner by the police administration.”

“Furthermore, I believe the actions taken by the Township Manager will prevent this type of situation from occurring in the future.”

As a result of the Lower Township Police Department’s investigation into this incident, the officer involved will be reprimanded and given a three (3) day suspension without pay.

Press Release Prepared By:  Captain Louis Russo    Contact Number 609-886-1619 ext. 117 

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May 30, 2007

MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENT VICTIM SUCCUMBS TO INJURIES RECEIVED DURING MEMORIAL DAY CRASH  

The Lower Township Police Department reported that a victim of a motor vehicle accident that occurred on Friday May 25, 2007 at approximately 3:30 pm in the beginning of the Memorial Day Weekend has passed away from injuries sustained during the accident. 

The Medical Examiners Office notified police early Wednesday morning that the victim had died at approximately 11:30 pm on Tuesday May 29, 2007 at the Atlantic City Medical Center City Division where she had been flown earlier after the accident.

The accident involved two vehicles traveling on Seashore Road in Lower Township. They collided head on after the deceased’s vehicle veered into the other lane of travel.  The deceased is identified as Maryanne Stelacio 75 years of age from the Villas section of Lower Township.

Patrolman William Barcas, Detective Edward Dougherty, Medical Examiner’s Office and the Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office Fatal Crash Unit are investigating the case.

Prepared by:  DSG Thomas D. Keywood     Contact Number:  609-886-1619 ext. 111

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May 29, 2007

HIT AND RUN MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENT

On Monday May 28, 2007 at approximately 9:30 pm Mr. David Robinson was driving a Dodge pick-up truck southbound on Route 9 preparing to turn onto Cresse Lane in the Erma section of Lower Township.  A vehicle, believed to be an older model white Chevy van, was traveling northbound approaching the intersection at a high rate of speed.  The van hit the rear passenger corner of Mr. Robinson’s truck.  The van then swerved across the roadway and hit a guardrail and sped away from the scene northbound on Route 9.  Police are asking anyone with information about the possible identity of the van or its driver to contact the Lower Township Police Department at 609-886-1619 extension 156.  The van is believed to have damage to its front passenger and driver side.  The accident is being investigated by Officer Matthew Dickson.

Press Release Prepared By:  Captain Louis Russo    Contact Number 609-886-1619 ext. 117

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May 29, 2007

LOWER TOWNSHIP POLICE SEEK HISPANIC MALE ON BIKE WHO ENTERED VEHICLE AND REMOVED CAMERAS IN DIAMOND BEACH AREA OF THE TOWNSHIP

 

On May 26, 2007 Lower Township Police received a call from a subject in the 200 block of Raleigh Avenue in the Diamond Beach section of Lower Township reporting a theft from an unlocked van.

Upon police arrival they spoke with the victim and she indicated that a Hispanic male traveling on a bicycle reached into her van and removed a medium sized camera bag containing over $2000.00 in cameras and equipment.  The subject was last seen traveling north/west direction into Wildwood Crest.  The City of Wildwood and Wildwood Crest were notified of the incident.

A check of the area by police from the various agencies proved negative. Citizens with information may contact the Lower Township Police Safe Neighborhood’s Tip Line at 609-886-1619 extension 156 or the Cape May County Crime Stoppers at 609-465-2800.  Information will remain confidential and may be reported anonymously.

Patrolman William Barcas and Lower Township Detectives are investigating the case.

Prepared by:  DSG Thomas D. Keywood     Contact Number:  609-886-1619 ext. 111

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May 28, 2007

LOWER TOWNSHIP POLICE ARREST TWO IN STRING OF BURGLARIES AT PANTRY ONE CONVENIENCE STORE

Lower Township Police acting on a tip in the early morning hours of May 27, 2007 located two subjects who were involved in various capacities in the burglarizing of Pantry One Convenience Store on Seashore Road in the Erma section of Lower Township.  Lower Township Detective Chris Lambert while following up on a tip located a subject and recovered stolen property from the most recent burglary.  This property included various lottery tickets and a large amount of cigarettes.

Interviews of this subject by detectives lead to another subject who resided in the Seaville area of Dennis Township.  Upon making contact with this subject he voluntarily came to the Lower Township Police Department and brought additional proceeds from the burglary.

The total amount of stolen property recovered included 73 cartons of cigarettes, several rolls of quarters, 77 disposable lighters and several thousand unopened lottery tickets ranging in cost from $2.00 to $5.00 each.  These items were photographed and returned to the owner.

The subjects arrested are identified as James T. Smith Jr. 19 years of age, who resides on the first block of Church Road in the Erma section of Lower Township.  The second subject is Phillip J. Prudhomme 19 years of age, who resides on Crestview Road in the Seaville section of Dennis Township.

Both subjects where charged with burglary, theft and criminal mischief for each incident that occurred at the Pantry One Convenience Store.  A total of three entries were made into the business between January 15, 2007 and May 23, 2007. 

These subjects where processed at the Lower Township Police Department and transferred to the Cape May County Correctional Center in lieu of bail.  Judge David DeWeese JMC set bail at $25,000.00 cash for both Smith and Prudhomme.

Detective Chris Lambert along with other members of the Lower Township Detective Bureau investigated the case with assistance from the Middle Township Police Department and Lower Township Patrol Division.

Prepared by:  DSG Thomas D. Keywood     Contact Number:  609-886-1619 ext. 111

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May 23, 2007

Local Convenience Store Burglarized for the Third Time in Five Months

On May 23, 2007 at approximately 5:45am the employees of the Panty One convenience discovered the break-in while opening the business for the day. The store is located at the intersection of Seashore Road and Sally Marshall Crossing in the Erma section of Lower Township. This is the third time the store has been burglarized since January of 2007.

Hidden store video surveillance captured what is believed to be a white male dressed in all black clothing wearing a maroon or purple ski mask, enter the store at approximately 3:20 am.

Items stolen from the store included cigarettes, lottery tickets, various nutritional supplements, display items and cash. The owners placed the total valued of the stolen items at approximately $44,000.00.

The break-in is being investigated by Ptlm Ryan Hansberry, Detective Art Mason and Detective Ed Dougherty. Any one with any possible information is asked to contact the Lower Township Police Department Detective Division at 609-886-1619 extension 157 or The Cape May County Crime Stoppers at 609-465-2800

      

Press Release Prepared By:  Captain Louis Russo    Contact Number 609-886-1619 ext. 117

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May 14, 2007

LOWER TOWNSHIP POLICE STEP UP SECURITY AT MUNICIPAL COURT

The Lower Township Police Department has increased their security measures at the Lower Township Municipal Court Building located at the Public Safety Building at the Cape May County Airport, specifically while court is being held on Tuesdays.

New security measures include a uniformed police officer in the court room while court is in session, along with uniformed and plain clothes officers manning a walk through metal detector. 

The new security measures are part of a state wide Municipal Court Security Policy which was adopted by the Supreme Court of New Jersey on July 6, 2006.

The policy requires Municipal Courts to create a local Municipal Court security committee and to have developed a local Municipal Court security plan by February 5, 2007.

Lower Township is one of the first municipalities in Cape May County to fully implement the Municipal Court Security Plan.

 Lower Township’s New Manager, Mr. Joseph Jackson, was briefed on the security plan by Lower Township Municipal Court Judge, David DeWeese, Municipal Court Administrator, Betty Byrnes and Lower Township Police Chief, Edward P. Donohue.  Mr. Jackson then elected to implement the full plan as soon as possible at which time the township purchased a walk through metal detector which is now in place at the Municipal Court.

All persons wishing to enter the court room must now pass through the metal detector.

A sign at the entrance to the Municipal Court indicates that all persons entering the court room are now “subject to search.” 

Chief Donohue stated that officers already scheduled for court are utilized as much as possible for the Municipal Court Security Detail.  However due to staffing issues, officers may be brought in on overtime details for court security assignments.   “We are already stretched thin on the street and the court security assignment has added yet another responsibility for our department to handle in the interest of public safety.”

Prepared by:  Captain Brian Q. Marker    Contact Number:  609-886-1619 ext. 114

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May 14, 2007

LOWER TOWNSHIP POLICE CONDUCT SEARCH FOR
MISSING EIGHT (8) YEAR OLD BOY

On Sunday, 05-13-07 at approximately 2 pm the Lower Township Police Department received a report of a missing eight (8) year old boy which was last seen near the jetty at the Cape May Point State Park, (The State Park is located in Lower Township’s jurisdiction.)  After an initial search of the area failed to locate the child, police coordinated a larger search of the area with the assistance of the following organizations:

  • The Cape May County Sheriff’s Department K-9 Unit

  • The New Jersey State Police Marine Unit

  • The United States Coast Guard

  • The Cape May Point Fire Department

  • The Townbank Fire Department

  • The Cape May Police Department

After approximately two (2) hours, the child was located on Lafayette Street in Cape May, after walking approximately two (2) miles away from the State Park.

The Lower Township Police Department would like to thank all of the agencies involved for their quick response and assistance in the search for this child.

Prepared by:  Captain Brian Q. Marker    Contact Number:  609-886-1619 ext. 114

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May 08, 2007

POLICE REPORT NO CREDIBLE THREAT REGARDING RUMORS OF A STUDENT WITH A HANDGUN AT LOWER CAPE MAY REGIONAL HIGH SCHOOL

The Lower Township Police Department along with the Cape May County Prosecutor's Office, Cape May City Police and Middle Township Police have been actively investigating rumors of retaliation in regards to an incident which occurred in the Rio Grande section of Middle Township on May 2, 2007 at approximately 1:30 am.  During this incident, several juveniles from the Villas section of Lower Township entered into an altercation with Middle Township residents that ended with a subject having his jaw broken.

Rumors regarding this incident and reprisals from it started to circulate in the community and the local high school in Lower Township.  Students have been indicating that subjects from Middle Township were going to retaliate against the Lower Township subjects for the assault.  A discussion among students in regards to this had escalated into a yelling match, which school authorities quickly dispersed on Friday, May 4, 2007 in the afternoon.

Local police including the school resource officer Albert Flitcroft along with the school officials, met in order to develop an action plan for the prom, which was held over the weekend.  Members of the Cape May County Prosecutor's Office assisted local police in developing this plan.

In addition, detectives hit the streets Friday evening in order to arrest subjects involved in the originating confrontation.  A 16-year-old male juvenile from the Villas section of Lower Township was arrested and charged with aggravated assault in connection with the assault in Rio Grande.

Lower Township Police Chief Edward P. Donohue stated that school officials, Lower Township Police Department and members of the Cape May County Prosecutor's Office have been investigating rumors of possible retaliatory violence at the high school since Friday morning.  The Chief would like to ensure the public and parents that no credible threat to the school exists at this time, however as a precaution extra security measures have been put in place at the school. 

Prepared by:  DSG Thomas D. Keywood     Contact Number:  609-886-1619 ext. 111

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May 06, 2007

LOWER TOWNSHIP POLICE INVESTIGATE E-BAY SCAM WHICH LEADS TO RECOVERY OF PROPERTY

The Lower Township Police Department received a complaint from a subject who sold a Sony play station over the Internet on May 2, 2007.  The unique thing about this call is that the caller was located in Texas and had sent the item after receiving an electronic payment to an address in Lower Township, New Jersey.  The payment was later canceled after the account information indicated it had been stolen.

Corporal William Priole of the Lower Township Police then took the case and began following up on both the person it was shipped to and the address.  At first he received no response at the residence in question.  Further investigation on May 3, 2007 by Priole showed that the person who purchased the item was not the same as the person who had received it.  Upon locating the person in possession of the items, Priole was able to ascertain that they had been received in error and was able to recover the items and have the Postal Service ship them back to their owner in Texas without further charge.  The owner in Texas believes he may have put the wrong item into the wrong shipping package.

The possessor of the items stated that he had never bid on these items or ordered them.  He stated that he received the package in error.  The public is reminded if they receive such packages without ordering them they should contact the shipper or local law enforcement to return the item.  If a person keeps said item they can be charged with theft under a New Jersey Law.  In this case the timing of the police response and the condition of the item did not warrant this charge.

The owner of the play station gave praise to Corporal Priole through an e-mail sent to Lower Township Officials on the return of his items which he felt were gone and only recovered through the diligent work of Corporal Priole.

Prepared by:  DSG Thomas D. Keywood     Contact Number:  609-886-1619 ext. 111

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May 06, 2007

DISORDERLY CONDUCT REPORT LEADS TO ARREST FOR RESTRAINING ORDER VIOLATION AND USE OF MACE BY POLICE TO SUBDUE VILLAS MEN

The Lower Township Police responded to a disorderly conduct call on May 5, 2007 at approximately midnight.  The police received a call and while communication officers had the caller on the line they heard the argument escalate from verbal to physical.  As responding officers arrived on scene they found a physical altercation between an Edward Connelly 40 years of age of the Rio Grande section of Middle Township, NJ and Anthony S. Moyer Jr.  42 years of age of the Villas section of Lower Township, NJ.

Police had to discharge pepper spray to control Edward Connelly and Anthony S. Moyer Jr. who would not comply with police orders to stop fighting.  Once contained Connelly was treated by Lower Township Rescue for his exposure to the Pepper Spray and Moyer was transported to the Lower Township Police Department for processing in regards to additional charges.

Moyer was found to be in violation of a final restraining order and charged with violating this order and transported to the Cape May County Correctional Center.  Judge DeWeese JMC set the bail at $1,000.00 cash.  In addition, both Connelly and Moyer were charged on a summons with disorderly conduct for fighting.

Patrolman Michael Majane, Patrolman Eric Coombs, Patrolman Matt Dickinson and Sergeant Thomas Beeby investigated the case. 

Prepared by:  DSG Thomas D. Keywood     Contact Number:  609-886-1619 ext. 111

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May 03, 2007

OFF DUTY CAPE MAY CITY POLICE OFFICER INTERVENES IN LOWER TOWNSHIP ROBBERY

On Thursday, May 3, 2007, at approximately 09:00 a.m., Lower Township Police Officers responded to a report of a man assaulting a woman in front of the Sturdy Savings Bank in North Cape May.

Upon their arrival, it was discovered that off duty Cape May City Police Officer, Nicholas Gallachio, had witnessed a possible Robbery and Assault occurring on the front lawn of the Sturdy Savings Bank.

Officer Gallachio was able to subdue the aggressor and contain him until Lower Township Police Officers arrived on scene.

Investigation on scene revealed that a Samuel Gonzalez, age 39, of Ventnor, New Jersey, had forced his estranged wife to the ground in an attempt to gain control of approximately $3,000.00 that she had just withdrawn from the Sturdy Savings Bank.

Once Officer Gallachio intervened, the woman ran from the scene.  She was later located by Lower Township Police, uninjured.

Further investigation revealed that Gonzalez was in fact an illegal alien and INS Officials were advised of his status by the Lower Township Police Department.

Gonzalez was charged with Robbery and Assault.  Bail was set at $50,000.00 and Mr. Gonzalez was lodged in the Cape May County Jail on default of bail.

The incident was investigated by Patrolman William Barcas and Patrolman Joseph Boyle.

It was later determined that Gonzalez has been separated from his wife for over a year.  The victim's identity is being withheld by police.

Press Release Prepared By:  Captain Louis Russo    Contact Number 609-886-1619 ext. 117  

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April 28, 2007

LOCAL MAN CAUGHT IN ACT OF BURGLARIZING VILLAS HOME

The Lower Township Police Department responded to a call of a burglary in progress with a subject entering into a house located in the first block of Maple Road in the Villas section of Lower Township. 

Upon police arrival, the possible suspect was still in the residence and was exiting the scene when confronted by Patrolman Joseph Boyle who took him into custody at gunpoint.  The suspect was compliant with the officer's orders to raise his hands and get on the ground and was eventually handcuffed before being taken into custody. 

The suspect was caught with various items of value on his person including approximately $20.00 in cash, jewelry, coins and watches belonging to the resident. 

Further police investigation showed the accused listed below being the sole actor in the burglary and that he had gained entry through a rear window by smashing it with a hammer which he had retrieved from his car which was parked next door to the burglarized home.

The accused was identified as Wilson Crespo; DOB 10-29-1957; residing in the 1700 block of Woolson Road in the Villas section Of Lower Township.  Crespo was transported to the Lower Township Police Department for processing.  He was charged with Burglary, Possession of Burglar Tools and Theft.  Crespo was later transferred and lodged in the Cape May Correctional Center.  Judge DeWeese JMC set bail at $25,000.00 cash.

Patrolman Joseph Boyle, Patrolman William Barcas, Detective First Class Mel Hedum and Sergeant Dave Adams investigated the case.

The Lower Township Police Department would like to commend the citizens who helped in this case by calling the police and guiding responding officers to the location of the burglar.

Prepared by:  DSG Thomas D. Keywood     Contact Number:  609-886-1619 ext. 111

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