2013-04-17 / Front Page

Freehold detectives earn kudos from chief for recent efforts

BY CLARE MARIE CELANO
Staff Writer


Freehold Borough detectives (l-r) Shaun Hobbs, Richard Schwerthoffer and John Reiff have been kept busy lately investigating incidents of robbery, burglary, theft and individuals receiving stolen property. 
ERIC SUCAR staff Freehold Borough detectives (l-r) Shaun Hobbs, Richard Schwerthoffer and John Reiff have been kept busy lately investigating incidents of robbery, burglary, theft and individuals receiving stolen property. ERIC SUCAR staff FREEHOLD — The Freehold Borough Detective Bureau has been solving crimes and closing cases and doing it quickly, according to Police Chief Glenn Roberts, who said he is “very proud of the detectives for their work.”

Roberts said the members of the Detective Bureau, under the direction of Detective Lt. Michael Sweetman, have been busy solving cases and apprehending criminals — usually within a day or two after a crime has been committed.

The Detective Bureau is composed of Sweetman, Detective John Reiff, Detective Richard Schwerthoffer and Detective Sgt. Andrew DeMuth, who joined the bureau on April 1.

Investigator Shaun Hobbs has assisted the Detective Bureau from time to time, according to Roberts.

“My detectives have been doing a phenomenal job under the direction of Detective Lt. Michael Sweetman,” Roberts said, adding that the addition of DeMuth “will only enhance the efficiency and productivity of the bureau.”

“Crime statistics always go up or down,” Roberts said. “They are constantly fluctuating. What is really important to focus on is how we close our cases. My detectives have consistently been closing out cases, especially in recent months, bringing charges and arresting criminals.”

Roberts said that in recent months the borough’s detectives have investigated and solved robberies, burglaries, thefts and incidents of people receiving stolen property.

Sweetman, who has been overseeing the Detective Bureau since July 2012, described some of the recent incidents the bureau has handled.

He said Patrolman Eduardo Santana was dispatched to La Nueva Placita, 52 Throckmorton St., on March 28 when the owner reported his business had been burglarized. Reiff was called in to investigate and eventually was able to identify a suspect, Luis Colon-Rosario, 35, of Freehold Borough, after reviewing video surveillance tapes.

A warrant was issued for Colon- Rosario’s arrest and he was subsequently apprehended by Patrolman Brian Rugger.

Colon-Rosario was charged with the theft of a large number of packs of cigarettes, as well as the theft of $100 from the store’s cash register and $2,111 from the store’s safe. He was also charged with burglary and criminal mischief. Colon-Rosario was placed in the Monmouth County jail in default of $85,000 bail.

In another incident, Jordan Ellis, 20, of Freehold Borough, was charged with multiple counts of robbery, unlawful possession of a weapon and possession of a weapon for unlawful purposes on March 14. Reiff was the investigating officer on this case.

Ellis is accused of attempting to get an 18-year-old male to give him his money on Lafayette Street. When the teenager refused to hand over his money, Ellis allegedly threatened the young man with a handgun and the teenager gave him $50.

Sweetman said Ellis and the teenager knew one another and that from Jan. 14 through March 14, Ellis forced the young man to take him to the bank and withdraw money on at least 20 occasions. Ellis is alleged to have threatened to hurt the teenager’s family if he did not comply.

Sweetman said Ellis allegedly took approximately $3,000 from the teenager since January. The young man reported the incidents to police on March 14. On March 15, Ellis was apprehended and charged by Patrolman James Richmond and taken to the county jail in default of $300,000 bail, with no 10 percent option.

In another incident, Carl Irby, 44, of Freehold Borough, and Troy Jackson, 48, of Lakewood, were apprehended and charged with receiving stolen property on Feb. 15. Sweetman said the two men are accused of taking jewelry and rare coins from a couple in Spring Lake in the eastern part of the county.

Sweetman said that while Schwerthoffer was reviewing precious metals receipts from gold-buying business in the borough, he noticed some inconsistencies and two names that were familiar to him, which raised suspicion and prompted him to investigate further.

Schwerthoffer found two receipts for rare coins that were turned in one day apart and then launched an investigation to see if there was any wrongdoing. He determined that both individuals who had presented receipts worked for the same moving company.

He called the moving company and was informed that both men were working on the same day, moving the same client from Spring Lake to Pennsylvania.

Schwerthoffer contacted the couple, who were able to identify from Schwerthoffer’s description several items that belonged to them, including jewelry and rare coins, that they had not realized were missing due to moving.

The items were recovered and returned to the couple. Irby and Jackson were apprehended, charged and taken to the county jail.

Sweetman said that without Schwerthoffer’s diligent efforts, the arrests would not have been possible and the rare pieces would most likely have been melted down and lost forever.

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