HOWELL – Two male juveniles from Howell have been charged in connection with a neighborhood crime spree that included vandalism committed at a park in neighboring Freehold Township.
Howell police reported that at 2 p.m. Sept. 26, two 16-year old males, both residents of Howell, were arrested and charged with burglary, theft and criminal mischief for crimes they allegedly committed during the past month in the Pointe O’Woods residential development off Bergerville Road and in other areas of the township.
According to police, the investigation is ongoing and more arrests are expected to be made.
The juveniles who were taken into custody on Sept. 26 are accused of breaking into a maintenance garage at Pointe O’Woods and stealing a golf cart which they took for a destructive joy ride. Police said the youths ran over several street signs in Pointe O’Woods and then headed to a park in Freehold Township.
Peter R. Valesi, the township administrator in Freehold Township, said, “The driver knocked down a section of split rail fence at the portion of Michael J. Tighe Park on Jackson Mills Road, hit garbage cans that were full, drove the cart on the (street) hockey rink, where no damage was done, and then drove over to the Georgia Road section of the park and hit more garbage cans that were full.”
According to Valesi, there was minimal damage at the park and an attendant picked up the garbage in both locations.
“The section of split rail fence had to be replaced, which ran about $70. All of the 20 garbage cans were fixable,” Valesi said.
Police said the two juveniles are also suspected of pouring tar down a storm drain, ripping street signs out of the ground, throwing lawn ornaments onto roofs and throwing outdoor furniture into the Pointe O’Woods pool.
The golf cart that was stolen from Pointe O’Woods was found abandoned in a nearby residential community. Police said the golf cart sustained extensive damage.
The incidents occurred on or around Aug. 21, Aug. 24 and Sept 17.
Police said patrols in the area were increased in an attempt to deter future crimes and to apprehend the individuals responsible for the vandalism.
A letter was distributed by the Pointe O’Woods management association alerting residents to “several profound acts of escalating vandalism and theft” and asking residents to call police with any information they might have about the incidents.
Detectives Eric Encarnacion, David Gilliland and T.J. Hurley investigated the cases and developed suspects that resulted in the arrests, according to police. The two juveniles who were arrested were processed and released to the custody of their parents. The case has been forwarded to the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Juvenile Division for review.