May 2008
NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife
Monthly Highlights
Bureau of Law Enforcement

Northern Region

Late one evening, Lt. Applegate and CO Sutton responded to a complaint of an individual shooting a turkey within 300 feet of a baited area. The officers began the investigation and turned it over to CO Hutchinson the following morning. After a lengthy interview, the individual led CO Hutchinson into his garage where he surrendered the turkey he killed over bait without a permit, parts from 2 deer he had killed unlawfully during the 2007 season and 97 leg hold traps. All the appropriate summonses were issued.

CO Paul assisted the Bureau of Emergency Response and the Manville Police Department with a 900-gallon oil spill on the Raritan River near Manville, Somerset County. Emergency Response Chief Sweeney commended the officer’s knowledge of the area and ability to coordinate between agencies.

CO’s from the Northern and Central Regions conducted Bear Enforcement Sweeps at Crandon Lakes and Culvers Lake .A total of 534 homes were visited with a total 251 bear feeding surveys completed.

Law Enforcement personnel from the Northern Region, NJ Park Police and technicians from the DEP Bureau of Solid Waste received a NJ Public Service Achievement Award for the work done during the 2007 Bear Enforcement Sweeps. Lt. Panico also received an Exceptional Service Award for an apprehension he made during the 2007 deer season. The apprehension was the conclusion of a three year investigation.

Patrolling the Hudson River area with FTO Kuechler, CO Sutton issued six summonses for Striped Bass violations and one for possessing summer flounder during the closed season.

Early one morning, as they were on their way to an awards ceremony in Trenton for Exceptional Service, Lt. Panico and CO Williamson observed a vehicle driving slowly through a farm field. Both officers knew the vehicle belonged to an individual who they had received numerous complaints on. The officers approached the vehicle and instructed the individual to shut the vehicle off. The individual did not comply at first but was quickly convinced to do so. The officers observed a loaded, uncased shotgun on the seat next to the driver. The individual admitted to be hunting turkeys and did not have a permit. All the appropriate summonses were issued.

CO Paul responded to a call for assistance from the Raritan Valley Community College security officers. The nature of the call involved an individual who was chasing geese on the campus grounds and possibly putting goslings in his backpack. The officer interviewed the individual who admitted to chasing the adult geese away so he could catch the goslings and put them in his pack. The individual claimed he was just trying to protect the goslings from the other geese. The appropriate summonses were issued.

CO Kuechler responded to a complaint of an individual smashing Canada goose eggs. The officer interviewed an individual who admitted to chasing a mated pair of geese away from their nest with firecrackers and then smashing five eggs. The appropriate summonses were issued.

Lt. Applegate and CO Paul responded to a call of a wild turkey trapped in a bedroom on the second floor of a residence. The hen had flown threw a glass window and became trapped inside. A second window was broken as the bird struggled to get out. The officers were able to catch the bird with a blanket and release it unharmed. Unfortunately, there was a considerable mess and damage to the room.

Lt. Applegate responded to a call of a deer being trapped inside the Linen –N- Things store. The deer ran threw a glass window and was running around the store bleeding severely. A customer was able to wrestle the deer to the ground and tie its legs together. Lt. Applegate, assisted by the local PD, was able to remove the deer from the building and to a safe location. The deer was severely injured and bleeding profusely so it had to be destroyed.

Lt. Applegate apprehended an individual for turkey hunting within 300 feet of a baited area at Alexauken Creek WMA.

Northern Region CO’s were extremely busy during trout season issuing numerous summonses for fishing without a valid license, possessing trout during the in-season closure and possessing trout over the daily limit.

Northern Region CO’s investigated many bear feeding complaints and continued to assist the Wildlife Control Unit with bear related incidents.

CO’s Kuechler and Sutton responded to a complaint of a resident trapping and possessing songbirds unlawfully. Two Cardinals were seized from the residence and transferred to The Raptor Trust for rehabilitation. The appropriate summonses were issued.

Central Region

CO Martiak was patrolling the Assunpink WMA when he observed a motor vehicle stopped in the middle of one of the secluded dirt roads. Thinking that the operator was possibly getting ready to dump garbage, CO Martiak approached the vehicle. The operator was sitting in the driver’s seat with numerous empty and full containers of alcohol in the vehicle. The driver admitted that he had been drinking and that he had thrown several cans out of the window as he drove through the management area. Summonses for failing to wear a seatbelt, consumption of alcohol in a motor vehicle, open container in a vehicle, littering from a vehicle, alcohol on a WMA and blocking a roadway were issued to the driver. The owner of the vehicle, who was also the driver’s employer, was called to drive the intoxicated driver home.

CO’s Martiak and Szulecki were on patrol in Colliers Mills WMA when they came across a vehicle that had driven off the road and crashed into some trees. A DMV lookup on the driver showed that he had a suspended driver’s license. Summonses for careless driving and driving while suspended were issued.

CO Martiak was in route to his station when he observed an individual trying to put out a mattress that was on fire in front of a house. CO Martiak stopped to assist and sprayed the mattress with his fire extinguisher. The man told him that he had pulled the mattress out of the bedroom and that he was afraid that the room may be on fire. He also said that his girlfriend was still in the room. CO Martiak ran upstairs and encountered the woman who didn’t want to leave the house because she wasn’t dressed. CO Martiak threw a blanket around the woman, escorted her from the house and called the fire department and police.

CO Martiak conducted CPR training classes for the Central and Marine Regions.
CO’s Martiak and O’Rourke participated in a Career Day program at the Westhampton Middle School (Burlington Co.).

CO O’Rourke presented Conservation Officer programs at the Palmyra Public Safety Day and the Vincentown Day events.

Lt. Lacroix received a phone call from an informant at 2100 hours on one of her scheduled RDOs reporting a large group of people with a bonfire at the Prospertown WMA. She responded and found 25 people, several small fires and large amounts of food spread around the parking lot. All of them admitted that they had spent the day at Great Adventure and were having a barbecue before heading back home to New York. Lt. Lacroix noticed numerous beer bottles lying on the beach area along with a smoking grill. Everyone denied that it was theirs. She then noticed a purse lying in the sand. One of the women finally admitted that it was her purse. Only one individual was over 21. Summonses for after hours on a WMA and possession of alcoholic beverages on a WMA were issued. After leaving Prospertown, Lt. Lacroix decided to take a ride through the Assunpink WMA before heading back to her station. She observed a vehicle leave the boat ramp area of Assunpink Lake and head north. She followed the vehicle which then pulled into the parking lot at Rising Sun Lake. She waited a short time and then drove into the parking lot. Two men were just setting up their fishing equipment. As she approached one of the men, she could smell alcohol on his breath. The men admitted that they had been fishing at Assunpink Lake and had consumed several beers. Numerous empty and full cans of beer were found in their vehicle. One of the men did not have a fishing license. Summonses for fishing without a license and possession of alcoholic beverages were issued.

Lt. Lacroix has been patrolling the Delaware River area in Trenton during the herring run and Striped Bass closure. She has issued 6 summonses for fishing without a license, 7 summonses for fishing with more than 3 hooks, 2 summonses for littering, 2 for interference and 1 summons for 29 herring over the limit.

Officers from both District 3 and 4 conducted a joint boat patrol on the Delaware River during the herring run and Striped Bass closure. Approximately 100 fishermen were checked on the river that day. During the operation, Officers Martiak and Szulecki who were on boat patrol observed a subject fishing along the riverbank in Trenton. As they approached, the subject hastily left the area on a bicycle leaving behind trash and empty beer cans. Officer Szulecki quickly gave a detailed description of the subject to Officer Mutone who was on patrol in the area. Officer Mutone was able to locate the subject approximately a quarter mile from the scene. The subject readily admitted that he was fishing and had left behind the trash, but continued to give conflicting information about his true identity. After piecing together bits of the truth, the subject was finally identified with the help of Trenton Dispatch and summonses for fish no license and littering was issued.

During that same operation Officer McManus had been watching two individuals who were taking turns fishing and passing a license back and forth. When Officer McManus made the inspection only one person had a license and the other subject vehemently denied fishing that day. Officer McManus had remembered their names from a past encounter and realized that one of the subjects was revoked. It was later revealed that the person who was revoked would use his friend’s license to avoid being caught. Summonses for fishing without a license, fishing while revoked and loaning a license was issued. In addition, one fisherman on a boat was found in violation of procuring a resident license wrongfully.

After receiving complaints from fishermen stating that fishing access at the North Branch of the Metedeconk River was posted prohibiting trespass, Officer Tonnesen was assigned to investigate. Upon arrival it was very apparent that the entire area along Bennetts Mills road was posted. After photographing and identifying the individual responsible, Officer Tonnesen made contact with the land owner. While on the subjects property the officer noticed a hose coming from a septic tank that led down to the trout stocked waters of the Metedeconk River. It was also evident that a large quantity of asphalt and concrete debris was recently deposited in his back yard to fill in the wet lands. After confronting the land owner and checking tax maps it was determined that the subject did not own all the property that was posted and had no permits to fill in the wet lands. New Jersey State Coastal Enforcement Officers were notified and are now investigating the illegal landfill. Officer Tonnesen has charged the subject with illegally posting the lands of another and pumping a deleterious substance into the river. The signs have since been removed.

Officer Mutone has been very busy this month. During a three day period she apprehended sixteen individuals for fishing without licenses. The heightened enforcement efforts within the central region could be one of the factors that may have led to the recent increase in license sales.

As Officer Tonnesen walked along the shore of Lake Pohatcong located in Tuckerton he observed a fishermen catch a trout and then put it in a plastic bag that was on the ground. The officer in an undercover role engaged the subject in conversation and asked how the fishing was. With that said the subject nervously looked around, reached down and pulled up a concealed stringer which held an additional nine trout and with a smile said, “It’s great”. Between the fish in the bag and the ones on his stringer the subject was in possession of nineteen trout. Needless to say, the fisherman wasn’t very happy when Officer Tonnesen identified himself as a Conservation Officer. The appropriate summons was issued.

On one recent Sunday morning within a three hour time period Officers McManus and Mutone issued a total of thirty one summonses for the illegal operation of ATV’s on the Forked River Wildlife Management Area. Lt. Sich who was on scene signaled another group of five riders to stop and was not surprised when they ignored his instructions and fled the area. One ATV rider drove through the brush in an attempt to escape but became wedged between two trees. After a lengthy interview the subject eventually identified the other riders and Officer Tonnesen was able to apprehend them at their transport vehicle.

Southern Region

CO Ely was contacted by Belleplain Forest Park Police regarding a turkey that was shot from the road just outside the park. The park police had witnessed two suspects, an adult and a juvenile shoot a large male turkey from their vehicle. CO Ely conducted an investigation and with the cooperation of the park police charged both occupants multiple fish and wildlife charges.

CO Ely is conducting two investigations regarding the killing of several large “tom” turkeys by suspects that shot from their vehicle and killed the birds in the yard of rural homes. In one case two occupants of a black SUV shot and killed two “tom” turkeys in the front yard of a home. The resident, an elderly woman, ran out of her house yelling at the individuals that were trying to retrieve the gobblers. The suspects grabbed the largest bird and ran back to the car and drove off. The second case had a driver of a silver SUV shoot a turkey in the side yard of a home, run over, pick the bird up and flee. The home owner observed the suspect but remained hidden in the home. Both investigations are on-going.

CO Batten with CO Vazquez utilized a new turkey decoy, obtained from the West Jersey Chapter of the Turkey Federation. The decoy was delivered to the Southern Region on Thursday and successfully used on Saturday. Set up in the fields of the Bevans WMA, the decoy was shot at from a vehicle by the driver, the lone occupant of the vehicle. Appropriate summonses were issued.

CO Vazquez conducted a routine patrol of various Atlantic County WMAs. During this patrol CO Vazquez apprehended 8 individuals riding ATV’s on the grounds of the Great Egg Harbor River WMA (Hamilton Section). Seven summonses were issued for operation of ATV’s and having unregistered vehicles on Fish and Wildlife property.

CO Ely was contacted by a private hunting preserve regarding an individual trespassing and killing a turkey on their posted ground. CO Ely conducted an investigation that identified the hunter and showed that he did not possess the proper license or permits. Upon interviewing the suspect CO Ely obtained a confession regarding the illegal hunting and killing of a turkey on the private preserve. Numerous summonses have been issued.

District 5 officers had a variety of turkey hunting violations this month:

In the first case Lt. Honachefsky, with CO’s Risher and Toppin set up on a baited turkey blind, in Pittsgrove Twp., Salem County. The hunters arrived but did not utilize the blind and instead set up about 300 ft. away from the blind and bait. The hunters were inspected, and denied that the bait was theirs. One hunter was found to be hunting without a valid permit.

CO Stites utilized the newly donated turkey decoy with CO’s Risher and Toppin, in an attempt to apprehend road hunters in Lower Alloway Creek, Salem County. The officers soon had a hunter approach the turkey decoy, and fire at the decoy from the roadway. It is interesting that this hunter had been apprehended by CO Risher last year while road hunting for deer. Appropriate complaints were signed in both of these cases.

An anonymous complaint was made to the Southern Region that alleged that 2 hunters had killed multiple turkeys in Gloucester County and failed to tag the birds. The complainant could not give a specific hunting location where the hunters might be found, so Lt. Honachefsky and CO Kille set up on each hunter’s homes in hopes of following the hunters to their intended hunting spot. The hunters met at the residence that Lt. Honachefsky had under surveillance. The hunters drove to a farm field and commenced their hunt. CO Kille was dropped off in the field to watch the hunt. After about 2 hours in the field, Honachefsky, and Kille, along with CO Toppin decided to inspect the hunters. The inspection was completed and the 2 hunters were found to have the proper permits. The hunters were next interviewed in regard to the alleged complaint. Both hunters initially denied killing and failing to tag any turkeys, but eventually admitted that they had indeed killed birds and failed to tag them. One of these two hunters was not named by the anonymous complainant, so the officers asked about the person who was not present. They soon admitted that that hunter had also failed to tag a bird. The 3rd hunter was contacted and asked to meet the officers in the field. In the end all 3 hunters admitted to killing 3 turkeys in the wrong zone and failing to tag the birds. The appropriate complaints were issued and the hunters forfeited the parts of the illegally killed birds.

Marine Region

CO Jones received information from New York State Environmental Conservation Officers in reference to four New Jersey Depuration clammers working in New York State waters. The New York ECOs apprehended these clammers approximately 0.5 mile inside New York. New Jersey depurators are required to work in New Jersey and in areas approved by NJDEP, Bureau of Water Monitoring. This is a violation of their depuration permit along with a complete disregard of a letter originally sent with their permits from Captain Chicketano. CO Jones issued each clammer a summons for clamming outside of approved areas while in the depuration program. If convicted each clammer faces a fine of $0-500, 0-30 days in jail and a three-year permit suspension. Additionally, the New York ECOs issued these clammers a total of 14 summonses which included; taking shellfish in New York waters without a permit, taking shellfish from uncertified waters and possessing untagged clams.

CO Dravis has received several complaints regarding an individual taking summer flounder from a rental boat in the Shark River during the closed recreational season. After several attempts CO Dravis apprehended the individual, who happened to be a juvenile, along with an adult partner with four summer flounder possessed out of season. The juvenile was issued a written warning, and the adult was issued a summons for the four fluke.

On May 4th CO Petruccelli received a complaint in reference to an individual who was illegally retaining tautog during the recreational closed season on Nummy Island in Middle Twp, Cape May County. Upon arrival CO Petruccelli observed the fisherman catch and retain two tautog. CO Petruccelli made contact with the individual on the bridge and discovered the man’s wife was waiting at the base of the bridge in their car. CO Petruccelli directed the man to meet him at his car. There CO Petruccelli recovered an additional five tautog which were also taken in violation of the closure. Five of the seven fish measured less than the legal size limit of 14”. CO Petruccelli issued the appropriate summons for the possession of tautog during the closed season and possession of undersized tautog. A check of summons track revealed that this same individual had been apprehended, charged and convicted with the same violations in May 2000 in Egg Harbor Twp. by Lt Canale.

Lt. Canale attended a Cooperative Enforcement Program Meeting hosted by NOAA NMFS Office for Law Enforcement in San Diego, CA. The two-day meeting was a national meeting attended by all participating states involved in the Joint Enforcement Agreement (JEA) Program. The meeting is a semi-annual event to coordinate the direction of the program and discuss the effectiveness of its administration.

Training Unit Highlights
The spring session of the bureau’s quarterly firearms qualifications and training was concluded during this report period. This session consisted of tactical training with both handgun and shotgun in and around vehicles as well as other obstacles. Several Regional Firearms Instructors assisted with the training.

The Spring Precision Rifle Qualifications has been conducted during this time with both the Bureau’s Law Enforcement Scoped Rifle Shooters as well as the Wildlife Control Representatives.

Captain Brown assisted with the Northeast Wildlife Conference held recently at the Sea View Resort in Galloway.

Captain Brown conducted a course in Basic Firearms for Wildlife Control Representatives. This training is mandated by law and enables the Wildlife Control Representatives to utilize the various firearms needed to perform their job functions.







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Last Update June 14, 2008