CO Applegate and Lieutenant Cole responded after hours to a report
of an injured Bald Eagle in Delaware Township in Hunterdon County.
The officers were able to capture the bird, an adult male, and
transport it to the Raptor Trust for rehabilitation. The eagle
is expected to make a full recovery from the wing injury.
CO Hutchinson and Lieutenant Fletcher assisted with a motor vehicle
accident in Riverdale in Morris County. CO Hutchinson was able
to extinguish a fire, which started in one of the vehicles.
An investigation of an Essex County Taxidermy Shop concluded with
the signing of complaints by CO Kuechler. The shop owner was charged
with twenty-one counts of unlawful possession of white-tailed
deer and one count of failing to keep required records.
Captain Cussen attended Federation of Sportsman Clubs meetings
in Bergen, Union and Warren Counties.
CO Paul conducted training at a recent Region Meeting regarding
the safe handling of potentially dangerous wildlife.
ATV Patrols were conducted at Sparta Mountain, Wildcat Ridge and
Pequest WMAs. The following officers assisted with the effort,
COs Samona, Paul, Williamson, Kuechler, Panico and Hutchinson,
Deputies Mortensen, Kahn and Schliefer, Lieutenants Cole and Fletcher
and Captain Cussen. Individuals were apprehended and charged with
eight violations and three warnings. One motorcycle was impounded.
CO Kuechler investigated a complaint of songbirds in captivity
at a residence in Union. Two cardinals were found along with a
trap set for the capture of additional birds. The cardinals were
transferred to rehabilitator prior to release and complaints signed
for possession of each bird.
CO Nestel attended a fishing derby at Ghost Lake in Warren County
conducted by the New Jersey State Park Police HOFNOD program.
CO Kuechler attended fishing derbies at Branch Brook Park Pond
and Weequahic Park Pond; Newark, Verona Park Pond; Verona, West
Hudson County Park Pond; Harrison and Nomahegan Park Pond; Cranford.
CO Williamson was requested by the licensing section to pick up
licenses at County Line Sport Shop in Washington Township Morris
County, as a result of accounts in arrears.
An American alligator, seventy-one inches in length was removed
from a residence in Milford in Hunterdon County by Michael Ralbovsky
of Rainforest Reptiles. The animal is to be relocated. Assistance
was given by COs Applegate, Paul and O’Rourke.
Northern Region Officers made several apprehensions for over-the-limit
and undersized trout over the Memorial Day Weekend. The apprehensions
were as follows:
CO Applegate - eight over on the Capoolong, CO Panico - seven
over on the Musconetcong River with the assistance of Deputy Fluta
and CO Paul - two over as well as closed waters violations on
the North Branch of the Raritan River.
CO Applegate responded to a complaint of possession of undersized
trout at Round Valley Reservoir. Two individuals were apprehended
with six undersized fish, complaints were also signed for over
the limit violations.
Conservation Officers have investigated several Bear Feeding complaints
during the report period. In one incident, an Andover Township
Sussex County man was charged with enticing black bears to take
items from his hand. The individual had been given both verbal
and written warnings in the past.
CO Applegate and Lieutenant Cole responded to a complaint regarding
the taking of bass during the closed season at White Lake in Hardwick
Township in Warren County. When contacted, the individuals set
the stringer of bass adrift from their boat. Complaints were signed
on four individuals for possession of bass closed season, wanton
waste of fish and possession of alcoholic beverages on WMA property.
CO Hutchinson attended a HOFNOD fishing derby sponsored by the
Police Department of Ramsey in Bergen County. There were 82 children
in attendance and approximately 600 fish were caught and released.
CO Paul attended a fishing derby sponsored by the Somerset County
Park Service at Mettlar’s Pond. The derby benefited the
County’s Office of Therapeutic Recreation.
CO Kuechler issued a warning to a fisherman who advised that he
had left it at home. When the individual provided proof of a license
through the mail, it was determined that it had been purchased
after the encounter and the date of issue changed. Complaints
were signed for no license and altering a license.
CO Paul apprehended an individual at Chimney Rock Reservoir fishing
without a license. Upon closer inspection it was determined that
his driver’s license was suspended and vehicle registration
was expired. Bridgewater Police were called and the appropriate
motor vehicle complaints were signed and the vehicle impounded.
COs Samona and Paul conducted training regarding Bog Turtle enforcement
CO Panico attended a fishing derby at the Liberty Township Community
Day in Warren County.
Central Region Highlights
At the request of the New Jersey State Police, CO’s McManus
and O’Rourke responded to a one car motor vehicle accident
that occurred on Hawkins Road within the Colliers Mills Wildlife
Management Area in Plumstead Twp. All available troopers in the
area were tied up on other calls. Upon arrival the CO’s
noticed a 2005 Chevrolet pickup truck partially submerged in one
of the ponds along Hawkins Rd. The two male occupants had escaped
without injury. The officers immediately secured the scene and
began to reenact the accident. The driver initially told the officers
that he had been run off the road by an ATV. Officers interviewed
fishermen on the lake and other witnesses who informed them that
there were no other vehicles involved. Evidence collected at the
scene revealed that the driver had struck a tree first and then
veered into the lake. When the CO’s confronted the driver
with the evidence, they were able to obtain a written statement
from him stating that he had lied about the ATV and that he was
just traveling too fast and lost control of his vehicle. When
the Trooper finally did arrive, he was provided with the information
gathered by the CO’s and issued a summons for careless driving.
CO Szulecki was assigned to investigate an incident in Ocean Twp,
Monmouth County after the central region office received information
that a local resident had three dead box turtles hanging from
his porch. After gathering evidence and conferring with the local
authorities, it was determined that the subject had a total of
fourteen non-game and exotic species in his home without the necessary
permits. A summons for the illegal possession of non-game and
exotic species was issued in addition to a number of other citations
issued by the S.P.C.A. for animal cruelty.
While on patrol in the Assunpink Wildlife Management Area, CO
Martiak located a group of individuals that were parked near Lake
Assunpink. As he approached he noticed that they were attempting
to conceal the illegal beer they had in their possession. He quickly
took control of the situation and through the course of his inspection
located a plastic bag which contained two short large mouth bass
and one short black crappie. One of the members in the group stated
that the fish belonged to three friends who were still out fishing
on the lake. Lt. Sich located the subjects who were fishing from
a small rubber boat and called them ashore. During the initial
inspection, Lt. Sich noticed that they had no life preservers,
one individual was fishing without a license and the other had
obtained a resident fishing license illegally. Summonses were
issued for illegal possession of alcohol, no life preservers,
possession of bass closed season, possession of undersized crappie,
fish no license and providing false information to a license agent.
CO Martiak was recently assigned to investigate a complaint made
against a Monmouth County resident who allegedly shot and killed
a number of geese in his back yard with a pellet gun. After interviewing
the suspect who acknowledged his involvement, the neighbors that
had witnessed the incident and conferring with SPCA who had retrieved
one of the injured geese, CO Martiak issued the following complaints;
hunt geese closed season and hunt with an illegal missile.
CO Mutone while on patrol in the Forked River WMA stopped an illegal
motorcycle rider using her patrol vehicle emergency lights and
instructed the subject to turn off his motorcycle in order to
do an inspection. When the rider asked if there was anything wrong
the officer repeated her instructions to turn off the motorcycle
and dismount. With that said the rider rapidly accelerated his
motorcycle and fled from the officer. Unfortunately for him, Officer
Mutone was able to locate his transport vehicle parked in a remote
section of the wildlife management area. After concealing her
patrol vehicle she set up on the subject’s vehicle and waited.
A short time later the rider returned and began to refuel his
motorcycle. The officer then announced her presence and apprehended
the subject. While gathering information she noticed that a bag
in the back of the suspect’s truck was moving. The subject
readily admitted that it contained fowler toads that he had collected
from the wild. Summonses for interference, unregistered MV on
a WMA, illegal collecting of non-game species, and failure to
obey an officer’s direction were issued.
During the “Free Fishing Days” Lt.’s Lacroix,
Sich and CO’s Mutone and Martiak focused their enforcement
efforts on the region’s wildlife management areas. On Saturday
evening at approximately midnight officers encountered two separate
groups that were illegally camping on the Greenwood Forest Wildlife
Management Area. One group had set up their campsite in a restricted
area of the wildlife management area and placed their tents right
under the posted signs. Violation’s encountered that evening
ranged from under age consumption of alcohol, littering, illegal
camping, illegal campfires, after hours on a wildlife management
area, being in a restricted area, unregistered and uninspected
motor vehicles. A total of thirty-three fish and wildlife and
three motor vehicle summonses were issued.
Over the Memorial Day weekend central region officers conducted
patrols of the Delaware River and the region’s wildlife
management areas. The joint operations netted 30 fishing violations,
32 wildlife management area violations, 12 motor vehicle violations,
2 marine fish and 3 Title 2C criminal violations, including 2
for CDS, and 1 Title 12 boating infraction for a total of 80 violations.
During one particular incident CO McManus attempted to stop an
individual who was operating a vehicle off road on the Forked
River Wildlife Management Area. The driver ignored the officers
direction to stop and attempted to evade apprehension by driving
through a deep water creek thinking that the officer wouldn’t
follow. He was quite correct in his assumption, but he was apprehended
when his pickup truck became submerged in the creek and needed
to be towed out. CO Martiak stopped a pickup truck on the Forked
River WMA for safety violations and subsequently arrested two
female occupants for the illegal possession of hallucinogenic
mushrooms and marijuana. During a patrol of the Delaware River,
Lt. Lacroix noticed an unattended cooler, which at first nobody
claimed ownership of. Lt. Lacroix opened the cooler and found
11 short striped bass. In addition to being short, the season
was also closed in that portion of the river. After dealing with
some language barrier issues, it was determined that two fishermen
were putting their fish in the cooler. Both fishermen were charged
with taking short stripers.
CO Martiak was patrolling the Assunpink WMA when he located what
appeared to be an abandoned pickup truck. The 1984 Ford truck
was parked in a parking area, the plates were removed and the
keys were left in the ignition. Upon investigation of the cargo
box in the back of the truck, which appeared to have been pried
open, the name and address of the last registered owner was located
on a scrap of paper. CO Martiak contacted the woman who stated
that she had sold the vehicle. She was able to provide CO Martiak
with the buyer’s information. Subsequent investigation led
to a third owner and a fourth owner who turned out to be a Jackson
Township police officer. The Jackson officer stated he had just
sold the vehicle several days earlier for $50.00 on eBay to an
individual in Connecticut. The officer was able to provide CO
Martiak with the cell phone number of the last buyer. CO Martiak
then contacted that individual who at first claimed that the battery
had died and that he intended to come back for the vehicle. After
further questioning, the individual finally admitted to dumping
the vehicle on the Assunpink. The appropriate summonses were issued.
CO Martiak learned recently that a woman he had issued a summons
for consumption of alcohol on a WMA back in April had provided
him a drivers license belonging to someone else that night. The
woman whose driver’s license had been used, recently found
the crumpled up summons in her house after her roommate had moved
out. She contacted CO Martiak and provided him with the correct
identity of the woman he was looking for. In tracking this person
down, CO Martiak learned that she had been recently picked up
and housed in Monmouth County Jail. They were able to provide
CO Martiak with the last known address for her. The consumption
of alcohol summons was reissued along with interference with a
Conservation Officer and criminal hindering
Southern Region Highlights
CO Risher prosecuted two Delaware residents for over the limit
turkey violations. The two men killed five turkeys one day in
Fairton Twp. Cumberland County. They agreed to pay $2000 in fines
for their greed.
CO Vazquez’s investigation into a dumping on Winslow WMA
in Winslow Twp. Camden County resulted in the apprehension of
a local man. The accused who just moved to the area had some boxes
and household trash that he needed to dispose of. He said he couldn’t
get into the dumpster where he worked and when one of the boxes
blew out of his truck he decided to dump the rest along Piney
Hollow Road. He was charged with the appropriate dumping statutes.
Several Conservation Officers attended fishing derbies to represent
the division. CO Kille attended a derby at Grenlock Lake, Washington
Twp. Gloucester County. CO Stites attended a derby at Supawna
Meadows National Wildlife Refuge in Pennsville Twp. Salem County.
CO Vazquez attended the Haddon Lake derby in Audubon Twp. Camden
County. Hundreds of people who were at the derbies got to talk
to their local game warden and ask him questions about the Division
and fishing in New Jersey.
ATV’s continue to keep CO’s occupied. On Memorial
Day CO’s Kille and Vazquez apprehended 10 riders. One of
the individuals had a warrant for his arrest and was taken into
While patrolling the waters of Gloucester County CO Kille apprehended
a man fishing without a license. He also had several warrants
for his arrest. Among his offenses was failure to register as
a convicted sex offender. He was taken to the Camden jail.
CO’s logged many hours of patrol protecting the shorebirds
along the Delaware Bay. Much of the work was proactive preventing
any disturbance to the birds.
CO’s Kille and Stites responded to multiple complaints of
a cougar in Greenwich Twp., Gloucester County. The animal was
seen near houses and baseball fields. The complaints were so numerous
and the locals were so upset that public outdoor events were cancelled
in the township. The Conservation Officers set up a remote camera
in an attempt to capture the animal on film. They also answered
many questions about cougars and reassured the public of there
In Mantua Twp., Gloucester County CO Kille responded to a complaint
from the office of a man in possession of captive white-tailed
deer. The investigation uncovered six deer, three buck and three
does. One of the bucks was an eighteen pointer last year. The
investigation is continuing into their origin.
Conservation Officer’s Massey and Ely, assisted by Deputy
Conservation Officer Santini, encountered several individuals
on the Tuckahoe Wildlife Management Area, Corbin City, Atlantic
County, drinking alcoholic beverages and littering. None of the
individuals could produce proper identification and a records
check indicated that none of the individuals possessed a valid
driver’s license. A search of the motor vehicle files indicated
that the vehicle possessed fictitious tags. The vehicle was towed
from the WMA and the appropriate Fish and Wildlife summonses were
During a routine patrol of the Maple Lake Wildlife Management
Area in Estell Manor, Atlantic County Conservation Officer Massey
and Deputy Conservation Officer Santini encountered an unoccupied
vehicle left in the middle of a roadway. The driver of the vehicle
was located and found not to possess a valid driver’s license.
The vehicle was towed from the management area and the operator
was issued several summonses.
Conservation Officer’s Honachefsky and Batten encountered
a stolen motorcycle on the Clark’s Pond Wildlife Management
Area in Fairfield Township, Cumberland County. The CO’s
observed the subject drive the motorcycle into the WMA while they
were conducting a surveillance operation at the boat ramp for
litter, alcohol and criminal activity. The CO’s were able
to conduct a motor vehicle stop and apprehend the rider. A computer
search indicated that the motorcycle had been stolen despite the
fact that the rider said that he had a bill of sale. The subject
was charged with two criminal violations, four title 39 motor
vehicle violations and two title 23 Fish and Wildlife violations.
While on a routine patrol of the Clarks Pond Wildlife Management
Area in Fairfield Township, Cumberland County, Conservation Officer
Batten encountered an individual found to be in possession of
a large quantity of white powder believed to be a controlled dangerous
substance. The State Police lab in Hammonton is testing the substance
to confirm whether on not it’s a CDS. A field test indicated
that the substance was a CDS and the appropriate charges have
Conservation Officer Ely taught a class about the Division of
Fish and Wildlife and local wildlife species to a Cub Scout Pack
in Cape May County.
Marine Enforcement Highlights
On 5/17/06 CO’s Jones, Fittin, and Massey inspected the
charter fishing vessel, “Hyper Striper” fishing trip
as it docked in Highland after a striped bass fishing trip. The
inspection recorded that 11 striped bass had been filleted prior
to landing. A summons for possession of parts of striped bass
less than the minimum size was issued to the captain of the vessel.
Two years prior, the Captain received an identical summons for
the same violations. The penalty range is $300 to $3000.
On Saturday 5/20/06 Officer James located fishermen on the Bidwell
Creek jetty at Reeds Beach. He observed 3 fishermen catch horseshoe
crabs by hook and line. Once the fishermen unhooked the horseshoe
crab they threw it down inside the rocks and proceeded to smash
the horseshoe crabs with large jetty stones. Summonses were issued
for Wanton Waste of a marine fish as well as littering while fishing.
On 5/27/06, CO Jones with Deputy Mehler inspected the charter
vessel “High Hook II” as it docked at Monmouth Marina
in the Port Monmouth section of Middletown Twp. The inspection
revealed 10 striped bass which had been filleted prior to landing.
A summons was issued to the Captain of the vessel for possession
of striped bass parts less than 28” in length. The penalty
range is $300 to $3000.
On 6/4/06, CO’s Jones and Fittin apprehended two bait clam
boats from the port of Belford fishing for bait clams on Sunday.
The vessels “Spisula” and “Alexa J” were
boarded at sea by CO Jones aboard a USCG vessel out of Sandy Hook.
Both were ordered back to port and were met by CO Fittin and joined
by CO Jones shortly afterward.
The “Spisula” had 121 bags of shellstock aboard and
16 gallons of shucked stock. The total value of all this product
was $1096.00. A check in this amount was seized from the captain.
The “Alexa J” had 33 bags of shellstock aboard valued
@ $264. The captain of the “Alexa J” opted to return
his catch to the Atlantic Ocean.
Both vessels’ captains were issued summonses for harvesting
bait clams on Sunday during the month of June and face penalties
between $300 to $3000. Additionally, if convicted, the captain
of the Spisula faces loss of the value of the clams harvested.
On 6/9/06 Officer Petruccelli was patrolling Cape May Harbor when
he observed the F/V Captain Jeff tie up to Cold Spring Fish Company’s
dock. The F/V Captain Jeff has a General Sea Scallop Permit which
allows a maximum landing of 400 pounds of shucked sea scallops
per trip per day. Officer Petruccelli boarded the vessel and observed
8 50-pound bags of sea scallops in a gray extacta on the deck
of the vessel. Officer Petruccelli then interviewed the captain
and inspected the logbook which at that time was accurately completed
showing the 400 pounds of sea scallops as well as a few pounds
of monkfish and summer flounder. Officer Petruccelli then inspected
the fish hold of the vessel and found two totes of loose sea scallops
hidden underneath a pile of nets. Officer Petruccelli notified
NMFS and seized the catch. Officer Petruccelli will act as the
case agent and will issue EAR’s to the captain and owner
for exceeding the 400-pound trip limit and falsifying the vessel
On 6/11/06 at approximately 1100 hrs., CO Dravis was on routine
patrol in the Belmar area when he stopped to inspect two fishermen
who had just returned from fluke fishing. One of the fishermen
stated that they were enrolled in the Jersey Coast Angler's fluke
tournament. Upon inspecting a large fluke aboard their vessel,
CO Dravis became suspicious based upon the fish's condition that
it had not been caught on this day. The color was poor, eyes cloudy,
and gills coloration poor. At this time, CO Dravis contacted Lt.
Chicketano and requested that he come to Belmar to assist in the
investigation. Upon arriving at the weigh station, Lt. Chicketano
and CO Dravis began examining the fluke together with another
fish which had obviously been caught recently. While the officers
examined both fish side by side to compare gill, eye, and body
coloration, numerous parties were asking what they were looking
for. CO Dravis responded that they were checking for "sea
lice" which appeared to appease the onlookers. Based upon
their experience and direct comparisons, both Lt. Chicketano and
CO Dravis concluded that the fish was definitely not caught that
day. The captain of the vessel together with his guest were then
interviewed separately regarding this fish. The captain held fast
to his story while his guest admitted that the fish was not from
that day. When the captain was confronted with his guest's admission,
he then also admitted that he had gotten the fish from a friend
who had caught it in Barnegat Bay the prior day.
The captain, a fireman by profession, was reminded that if he
had entered this fish into the contest and received money for
it, he could have been charged with the criminal violation of
theft by deception, a charge which would endanger his Police &
Fire Pension. The captain was both embarrassed and thankful that
he had been apprehended.
On Monday 6/12/06 Officer Petruccelli and Officer James inspected
the Pilot House Restaurant in Cape May. Officer Petruccelli had
received an anonymous complaint that the restaurant purchased
a shark from a local fisherman who was not federally permitted.
At the restaurant Officer Petruccelli interviewed the head chef
as well as the owner. The head chef admitted to purchasing an
80-pound Mako from a local fisherman a few days earlier. When
the head chef produced the Mako fillets Officer Petrucelli also
noticed bluefish fillets. The owner of the restaurant admitted
to catching the bluefish on an earlier fishing trip. The owner
will receive summonses for selling bluefish without a federal
permit and during the closed season. The restaurant will receive
summonses for purchasing bluefish and shark from a non-permitted
fisherman and not being a federal dealer. The shark fisherman
will receive a summons for selling shark without having a commercial
permit from NMFS.
On 6/14/06 Officer Petrucelli and Lt. Yunghans inspected the F/V
Jessica at Lund’s Fisheries in Cape May. The F/V Jessica
is a general category scalloper, which allows for a maximum of
400 pounds of shucked sea scallops per trip. On the deck of the
vessel was a gray exacta that contained ten 40-pound bags of sea
scallops. Upon searching further another 35 pounds was found in
another exacta. The vessel logbook only reflected the 400 pounds
of sea scallops. Special Agents from NMFS were notified and the
35 pound overage was seized and donated to Atlantic City Rescue
Mission. The case will be handled as a summary settlement for
falsifying the vessel trip report and landing sea scallops in
excess of 400 pounds.
Lt. Brown provided an update on wildlife resource law to troopers
assigned to the Kingwood station of the New Jersey State Police.
Lt. Brown and Capt. Boyle attended the annual Anti-Terrorism Symposium
sponsored by SureFire and the New York office of the US Secret
Conservation Officers assigned M4 carbines requalified at Colliers
Mills. Emphasis was on low light shooting.
A meeting of the Bureau’s defensive tactics instructors
was held to discuss the new training manual. When completed, the
manual will provide a ready reference on the complete range of
Spring firearms training was conducted during this period.
Capt. Boyle attended the Annual Training Conference of the International
Association of Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors. This years
conference was held in West Palm Beach, Florida.
CO’s Dominick Fresco and Tim Williamson completed the NRA
Patrol Rifle Instructor Course at Colliers Mills.