Police Blotter: Cops Investigate Burglary, False 911 Call, Counterfeit Cigarettes...
Here's a roundup of notable police activity in Lawrence Township from July 17 through July 29.
Detective James Smith is investigating a residential burglary that took place on Dayna Lane, off Lawrenceville-Pennington Road, on Tuesday, July 24.
More than $2,000 in jewelry was stolen during the break-in but the property was later recovered by police, according to Lt. Mark Ubry, township police spokesman.
Due to the ongoing nature of the investigation, Ubry declined to disclose specific details of the crime.
It was about 6:20 p.m. that day when a neighbor called police to report that, about a half-hour earlier, he had spotted three men he did not recognize acting “suspiciously” on Dayna Lane, Ubry said.
He said officers responded and, after checking the neighborhood, discovered that someone had burglarized one of the homes on Dayna Lane by breaking a rear window.
The property owner, who was not home at the time, returned to the residence after being contacted by police, Ubry said. He said jewelry that had been taken from the residence was “recovered outside” by police.
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A Pennsylvania man was arrested and charged with possession of under 50 grams of marijuana after the vehicle in which he was riding was stopped by police on Dayna Lane about 7:50 p.m. on Tuesday, July 24, according to Ubry.
He said officers stopped the vehicle after it was allegedly spotted traveling at a “high rate of speed” on the residential street.
The driver, Tarell Bass, 25, of Levittown, Pa., was taken into custody after he was found to be wanted in connection with two outstanding warrants from Beverly City in Burlington County, Ubry said.
Ubry said a passenger in the vehicle, Ren Crowder, 29, of Bristol, Pa., was arrested on the drug charge after police allegedly found marijuana on his person.
He said a third man riding in the vehicle was identified by police but not charged with any criminal activity at that time.
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False 911 Call
Elijah Griffin, 18, of Trenton was arrested in the early hours of Sunday, July 29, after he allegedly phoned in a false 911 call reporting that there was a man with a gun at the Howard Johnson’s Motor Lodge in the 2900 block of Brunswick Pike (Route 1), according to Ubry.
He said Griffin allegedly made the call in anger after he and two friends were asked to leave the motel room they had been visiting.
Officers responding to the 3:20 a.m. distress call spotted the three men in the motel’s parking lot and detained them for questioning, Ubry said. He said police quickly determined the 911 call had been fake and that there was no gunman.
Ubry said the arrest was made after officers traced the 911 call to a cell phone in Griffin’s possession. Purposely phoning in a false 911 call is a fourth-degree crime, he said.
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Driving Under the Influence
Beatriz Cancel-Perez, 29, of Rustic Court, Lawrence Township, was arrested about 1:40 a.m. Sunday, July 22, and charged with driving under the influence, reckless driving, obstructing traffic and refusing to submit to breathalyzer test, Ubry said.
He said Cancel-Perez was arrested after Officer Andres Mejia’s spotted her vehicle stopped in the middle of traffic near the corner of Franklin Corner Road and Princess Road.
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An investigation by Lawrence Township police and the New Jersey Division of Taxation resulted in the arrest of Vishal Patel, 34, of Edison, on charges alleging he sold counterfeit cigarettes from his shop, Fox’s Pizza, on Lawrenceville-Pennington Road, according to township police Detective Sgt. Joseph Amodio.
The investigation began in June when a township resident sent an email to Police Chief Daniel Posluszny complaining that Newport cigarettes she had allegedly purchased at Fox’s Pizza “tasted funny,” Amodio said.
He said police obtained the cigarettes from the woman and sent them to the Lorillard Tobacco Co. – maker of Newports – to be tested. Those tests confirmed that the cigarettes were counterfeit, likely manufactured in China, but packaged to look as if they were real Newports, he said.
Earlier this month, township police and state tax investigators visited Fox’s Pizza and seized 11 cartons of allegedly counterfeit cigarettes, Amodio said. He said the cigarette packages even bore imitation state sales tax stamps.
Patel was subsequently arrested and charges filed against him by the state Division of Taxation included possession of goods without paying the required tax and failure to keep records as required by state tax law, according to Amodio.
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Seventy-two bras worth more than $3,000 were stolen from the Victoria’s Secret store in Quaker Bridge Mall, while 26 jean leggings were stolen from the mall’s New York & Co. store on Sunday, July 29, Ubry said.
He said the theft at Victor’s Secret was reported at 2:12 p.m., 17 minutes after police were notified of the theft at New York & Co. Possible suspects in the crimes are two men who had been spotted by employees of both stores, he said.
Officer Thomas Everist and Detective Kevin Reading are working to identify and locate the two suspects.
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Stolen Vehicle Recovered
The 2010 Hyundai Accent that was stolen from the driveway of a home in the 1600 block of Lawrence Road (Route 206) on Monday, July 23, has been located, Ubry said. He said the vehicle was found abandoned on Misty Morn Lane in Ewing Township on Saturday, July 28.
A 2007 Honda Accord that was stolen from Quaker Bridge Mall in Lawrence Township on July 20 was still missing as of the morning of July 30, according to Ubry.
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A resident of the Avalon Run apartment complex called police at 8 a.m. Friday, July 20, to report that he had just found his 2011 Infinity sitting up on cement blocks in the carport of Building 10, off Maple Leaf Drive, with all four of the vehicles tires and rims – worth about $4,000 – missing, Ubry said. The theft took place sometime after the man parked the vehicle about 7:30 p.m. on July 19.
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A resident of Building 4 of the Avalon Run apartment complex notified police at 9:37 a.m. on Friday, July 20, that $700 worth of property, including a television, had been stolen from two vehicles he owns, Ubry said.
The vehicles, a Honda and an Acura, had been parked several spaces apart on Town Court North. The crime took place between 11 p.m. on July 19 and about 8:30 a.m. on July 20, Ubry said, noting that police found no evidence of forced entry to either vehicle.
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Property was stolen from two vehicles parked a few doors apart along J. Russel Smith Road in the Tiffany Woods apartment complex sometime between 11 p.m. Wednesday, July 25, and 7 a.m. Thursday, July 26.
Ubry said an iPod valued at about $200 was stolen from a Toyota Camry that had been parked in the driveway of one of the homes, while a GPS unit worth $150 was taken from another Toyota Camry parked outside the second residence.
The owners found the doors and glove boxes of their respective vehicles open and the interiors ransacked, Ubry said. No evidence of forced entry was found. Officer Thomas Everist is investigating.
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Officer Adam Kowalczyk is investigating the theft of nearly $50 in cash and change from two vending machines that were broken into at the Red Roof Inn in the 3200 block of Brunswick Pike (Route 1), according to Ubry, adding that the crime was reported at 7:25 a.m. on Thursday, July 26.
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At 12:46 a.m. on Friday, July 27, police were notified that someone had slashed both passenger’s side tires of a Volkswagen parked in the 2100 block of Princeton Pike, Ubry said. Damage was estimated at $150. Officer Iwona Smith is investigating.
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A trek mountain bike equipped with a child seat was stolen sometime between 8 and 8:40 a.m. on Friday, July 27, while its owner was in Maidenhead Bagel in the 2600 block of Lawrence Road (also known as Route 206 or Main Street), Ubry said.
The owner told police he had left his ride unsecured at the bicycle stand outside the bagel shop. When he came out of the eatery, the bike – valued at $1,000 – was gone. Officer Adam Kowalczyk is investigating.
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At 7:32 p.m. on Saturday, July 28, a 23-year-old township resident reported that his wallet – containing more than $100 – was stolen earlier in the day while he was at the Colonial Lanes Bowling and Entertainment Center in the 2400 block of Brunswick Pike (Business Route 1), Ubry said. The investigation was assigned to Officer Chris Stylianou.
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Two Lawrence Township teenagers – one 14, the other 17 – were arrested about 5:20 p.m. on Saturday, July 21, after they were allegedly caught with two pieces of lawn furniture stolen from two addresses on Alburtus Court, Ubry said. He said a neighbor called police after spotting the two boys allegedly walking away with the two chairs, which were worth a total of $70.
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At 6:38 p.m. on Tuesday, July 17, Officer Thomas Chianese was sent to the Quick Chek on Brunswick Circle Extension to investigate after two men and a woman drove away without paying after having $15 worth of gasoline pumped into their vehicle, which was described as a late-90s black sedan, Ubry said.
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At 10:04 a.m. on Wednesday, July 18, police were notified that sometime between 6 p.m. on the previous day and about 8 o’clock that morning someone entered an unlocked Chevrolet van on the Enterprise Rent-A-Car lot in the 3200 block of Brunswick Pike (Route 1) and removed the plastic cover from the vehicle’s steering column, according to Ubry, adding that nothing else was missing.
The plastic cover was valued at about $20 and the damage estimated to be about $50, Ubry said. He said it was not known if the crime was part of an unsuccessful attempt to steal the vehicle or if simply taking the plastic cover had been the goal.
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At 2:56 a.m. on Tuesday, July 17, a township resident reported that his Nissan Altima was damaged while it was parked on Polonia Avenue, off Lawrenceville-Pennington Road. The man told police he had parked the vehicle there about 11 p.m. while he visited a friend who lives on the street. When he went to leave around 2:45 a.m. he discovered a large dent in the side of his vehicle, Ubry said, noting that damage was estimated at $250. Officer Thomas Maple is investigating.
Anyone with information about any of the above crimes is asked to call Lawrence Township police at (609) 896-1111.
A copy of Lawrence Township's police dispatch log for Tuesday, July 17, through Sunday, July 29, 2012, can be viewed from the PDF box above. This log lists all significant calls for service and incidents for which officers filed a written report. Routine administrative assignments are omitted. Some data has been redacted to protect the identity of crime victims.
July 26: "Pedestrian Struck by Car on Brunswick Pike"