Rifle, ammunition allegedly recovered from heavily armed man taken into custody after incident at Sayreville strip club on Sept. 11


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SAYREVILLE – Police officers safely apprehended a well-armed man who was wearing a ballistic vest on Sept. 11.

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Around 4:04 p.m., police were dispatched to the Visions Gentlemen’s Club located on Route 35 in the Melrose section of Sayreville after receiving a call that an employee was inside with a firearm, according to information provided by Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey and Chief John Zebrowski of the Sayreville Police Department.

Kevin Smith, aka Kevin Papalia, 32, of Keyport, was subsequently identified as the person possessing the firearm at the establishment. Police allegedly observed Smith exit the building and drive away. At the time, Smith was reportedly wearing a ballistic vest and military style helmet, and was carrying a firearm, according to the statement.

Smith was reportedly stopped a short distance from the club where he allegedly surrendered, according to officials. A black tactical ballistic vest was removed from the defendant’s body, and police recovered a helmet, and an AK-47 style firearm, along with a loaded magazine for that weapon, officials claimed in the statement.


After being taken into custody, Smith was transported to Raritan Bay Medical Center in Perth Amboy. Traffic on Route 35 at the Victory Bridge was diverted during the investigation, according to the statement.


After securing the scene, officers allegedly recovered a second tactical vest and several loaded, large capacity magazines from inside the manager’s office of the gentleman’s club. Furthermore, officers also additionally recovered a rifle, more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition, and body armor from Smith’s residence in Keyport.

“On Sept. 11, a day in America’s history where we show our support for our first responders, we are indebted to the police officers involved in this matter for their extraordinary efforts to preserve life and keep the community safe,” Carey said in the statement.

Zebrowski commended the actions of his officers saying, “This incident quickly unfolded and the decision not to immediately confront this individual was the right choice. The restraint utilized by the responding officers defused a potentially tragic confrontation.”


Smith was charged with unlawful possession of a firearm, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, unlawful possession of large capacity magazines, and unlawful use of a body vest.

The investigation is active and continuing. Anyone with information should call Capt. Jack Fitzsimmons, Division Commander of the Sayreville Police Department, at 732-525-5409.

Carey thanked the Keyport Police Department for its assistance in the matter.



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