On August 30, 2019, David Craft, of Bellmawr, was sentenced to two years probation after pleading guilty to Possession of Child Pornography, confirmed Camden County Spokesperson, Alexandra McVeigh.
On April 26, 2019, detectives from the High-Tech Crimes Unit (HTCU) of the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office and Members of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) – Cherry Hill Office executed a search warrant for Craft’s Bellmawr residence.
An on-site preview of one of his devices led to the charge filed against him. Authorities located numerous digital devices in the home that were taken to the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office’s HTCU Forensic Lab to be analyzed.
Ms. McVeigh explained that Craft was charged with a violation of N.J.S.2C:24-4b(5)biii, to which he pled guilty. “The statute, N.J.S.2C:244b(5)biii, is entitled Endangering the Welfare of a Child; however, that section is broken down into subsections that include possession of child pornography. The charge he pled guilty to, N.J.S. 2C:24-4b(5)biii, is a violation of Endangering the Welfare of a Child, in particular, the third degree offense of knowingly ‘possesses… less than 1,000 items depicting the sexual exploitation or abuse of a child.’”
To provide an extra layer of security for residents who engage in online transactions from websites such as Craig’s List or Facebook yard sale groups, Bellmawr Council approved a Resolution at their August 26, 2019 meeting authorizing the creation of a Safe Exchange Zone.
The Safe Exchange Zone will be clearly marked outside the Police Department by the visitor parking lot at 21 East Browning Road and will be video recorded by state-of-the-art security cameras.
It is recommended that the zone be used during normal business hours (Monday-Friday) because police personnel are not in the police station at all times.
Police officers will not intervene or act as witnesses or negotiators for transactions or purchases.
The exchange of any type of weapons, destructive devices, any illicit items, controlled dangerous substances, or controlled dangerous substance paraphernalia are not permitted on Borough property and may be illegal.
The community is reminded that when making arrangements to complete any online or other face-to-face transaction, the following precautions should be taken:
Complete all transactions during daylight hours, if possible.
Bring a cell phone in case of emergency.
Notify friends or family about the details of the exchange beforehand.
Never invite strangers to your home or agree to meet at a stranger’s home.
Reconsider any transaction with an individual who refuses to meet at a designated “Internet Purchase Exchange Zone.”
Once the Safe Exchange Zone is in place, we will update this story with photographs of its location.
E.M. Burke student, Joseph Siefert, was recognized at the June 22, 2017 monthly Council meeting for winning the Bellmawr Fire Department’s annual fire safety poster contest.
Siefert was congratulated by all of the Councilmen.
Councilman Steve Sauter called Siefert a “great kid” and Councilman Jim D’Angelo added “I’ve never seen anyone so excited to win.”
Also recognized during the meeting were Bellmawr Police officers Corporal John Mader and Patrolman Kevin Lokaj who received Proclamations in recognition for separate incidents they were involved in that resulted in the prevention of serious injury or worse.
Additionally, the Bellmawr Purple Eagles Tiny Division Cheerleader Squad received Certificates for coming in first place during May’s U.S. Finals Cheer and Dance Competition.
Council President Steve Hagerty presided over the meeting because Mayor Frank Filipek was absent.
Hagerty congratulated the police officers and said that Chief William Walsh “runs a great department with a lot of professionalism.”
Hagerty said that Emergency Management officials (police, fire, and EMS) trained at a recent exercise in the Industrial Park and said that there were 91 fire calls and 313 EMS calls in May.
The Fire Department was awarded a Citation of Merit certificate issued through the Governor’s Occupational Health and Safety Awards Program.
This program recognizes that the fire department has taken corrective steps to maintain a quality safety and health program for its members, follows national standards with regard to standard operating procedure, holds annual physicals, training and agility tests along with aggressive random drug testing programs.
“These policies ensure the safety of the members and reduces liability to the Borough,” Hagerty said. “This also ensures that the Department is ready for its next emergency. Congratulations to Chief Jim Burleigh and all the volunteers.”
Additionally, Hagerty said that two Bellmawr EMTs — Leidy Mejia Shicay and EMT-Firefighter Rodney Griffith were recently honored by Runnemede Mayor and Council for saving a life. (Credit: Bellmawr Fire Dept.)
Councilman Paul Sandrock
Councilman Sandrock congratulated all of the recent graduates and the police officers who were promoted and received Proclamations. “The Bellmawr Police Department does an excellent job. All of the officers dedicate their time and do a fantastic job.”
Sandrock read from a report (below) regarding the statistics on the Borough’s vacant properties. “This doesn’t go unnoticed. We’ve increased revenue because of our Ordinances that were established to be more stringent that raise the cost to maintain properties in town.”
Councilman Jamie Casey
“Thanks to Jim [Burleigh] for cracking down on those properties,” Casey said.
He also congratulated the police officers. “Fine job by Chief Walsh,” he said.
As for the recent graduation at Bell Oaks, Casey said: “It was a little different, but nice and everything went well.”
The Municipal Building will be getting more of a “face lift” because the building will be closed on Fridays for Summer hours. Borough workers will be in painting, etc., Casey said.
Councilman Jim D’Angelo
Councilman D’Angelo congratulated the Bellmawr Purple Eagles Cheerleaders for winning their recent competition.
He also congratulated the police officers and said of the Bellmawr Police Department: “It’s one professional outfit. I’m impressed.”
The Rec Department is in the property maintenance business and said crews cut grass and trim trees.
Councilman Bider credited Chief Walsh and his leadership in making the police department what it is. “Thank you for all you have done for many years,” Bider said.
The Borough is looking to install a drop-box in central location(s) where residents can take their old flags so a proper ceremony can be done. Many people do not know where to put them, Bider said. “Paul [Sandrock] brought up this idea.”
As for the ongoing Recreation Enhancement project that is going on across from Larc School on Creek Road, Bider said plans are in the works to build a memorial/monument for all wars in the far back.
Bider also said there is now a drop box outside of Borough Hall so people can pay their taxes, water, and sewer bills after hours using a check or money order.
With regard to Resolutions #06:143-17 – $6,000 Private donation shuttle bus and #06:143-17 $23,578.64 Clean Communities Grant, Bider said: “This money is appreciated from Shop-Rite and Clean Communities.”
Regarding the shuttle bus, Councilman Hagerty also thanked Joe Ciano for his help in orchestrating it.
Speaking about the audit, Bider said it should be completed shortly. “A report will be given to the finance committee, sent to the State, and put on Bellmawr.com. We will go over in public any recommendations that the auditors may have,” he said.
As for the tax sales that are now being done online, Bider gave a quick summary. “For taxes, water, sewer, maintenance, advertising, etc., we collected $166,223. [It] was all done under the new procedure and worked tremendously.”
To view the agenda items and the supporting Resolutions, click the image below.
Councilman Sandrock abstained from the bill list and Councilman Sauter abstained from the bill list for those items pertaining to pest control.
A Bell Road resident complained about the traffic on Bell Road saying it has gotten “atrocious.” The resident had letters from her neighbors and said cars speed down the street, despite there being a sign that says 15 mph.
She said her cars have been hit and other neighbors put in driveway space.
Eighteen-wheelers travel down Bell Road at all times of the day and night, even though there is a “no trucks” sign, she said. “It’s not acceptable and they’re not supposed to do that.”
She added: “Something has to be done. It’s worse now with the construction. [Bell Road] is being used as cut-through.”
Chief Walsh said: “We can put the speed sign out there and it will give us a count. I will have the officers out there in the next couple of weeks spot-checking and stopping trucks out there.”
Mark Sharp complimented Code Official Jim Burleigh for helping him get the information he needed about flood insurance.
Sharp also asked Borough Administrator Josh Tregear about the possibility of arranging a tour of the Bellmawr Waterfront front area for an environmental engineering student.
Resident Carmella Risica had a letter containing suggestions for Mayor Frank Filipek and she requested that her letter be read over.
She also spoke about the recent primary election saying: “It was not something I was proud to say that I was from Bellmawr.”
Addressing Council, Risica said: “I am looking at everyone. You represent us. The fighting has to stop. It’s not necessary. You need to find a way to come together. Get a neutral person and sit down and work it out.”
Risica also had a letter from her parents concerning Jim Burleigh that she read aloud and requested that it be placed in Burleigh’s file.
In part, the letter expressed “sincere gratitude” to Burleigh, Councilmen Jim D’Angelo and Ray Bider, the Recreation Department, and Public Works secretary Kim Gallagher for helping with a situation.
Risica said that once Burleigh became aware of a complaint that involved a neighbor, he took the time to speak with her parents.
“Jim responded within minutes of an email that was sent on June 11. Jim came out on the 12th and worked with that neighbor…and was able to foster a line of communication with my parents for the neighbors on Cedar Avenue,” she said.
She continued: “I have to say — He handled the situation like a pro, drove by … and called us. The next thing I know the Recreation Department is out there cutting the lawn.”
There was also a discussion about the rebuilding of Bellmawr Park Fire Department’s membership, which will be the subject of an upcoming article.
Bellmawr Police Department’s Captain Scott Parker graduated from the Mid-Atlantic Law Enforcement Executive Development Seminar (MALEEDS) on June 16, 2017, in Princeton, New Jersey.
The 25th session of MALEEDS consisted of 60 men and women from law enforcement agencies in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.
MALEEDS hosts its annual training conference at Princeton University each year since 1993. This unique educational opportunity is designed to provide leadership training for police chiefs and law enforcement executives.
MALEEDS is recognized as one of the premier selective law enforcement leadership training programs in the nation.
“While we pride ourselves on our high level educational program, the MALEEDS Executive Board also provides nightly networking opportunities to continue the learning experience outside of the classroom and encourages our attendees to foster relationships that will allow them to better themselves and their agencies,” said MALEEDS President Chuck Davall, Jr.
MALEEDS, one of 26 FBI LEEDS regional command colleges, is a highly successful and selective program that provides insight into some of the many challenges facing today’s police executives. Participation is by invitation only and is awarded through an exceptionally competitive application process. Class size is limited in order to maximize the interaction between instructors and attendees during this comprehensive training program.
This energetic and sophisticated educational program is proudly cosponsored by the Newark, New York, and Philadelphia Divisions of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), along with active and retired law enforcement officers from the former Princeton Borough (NJ) and the Princeton Township (NJ) Police Departments, the Princeton University (NJ) Department of Public Safety, and the River Vale (NJ) Police Department.
Upon successfully completing MALEEDS, graduates become part of the larger FBI-Law Enforcement Executive Development Association (FBI-LEEDA) organization. FBI-LEEDA provides leadership training to police officers throughout the year and has an annual training conference each spring.
“We are extremely pleased with the success and development of Mid-Atlantic LEEDS and we will strive to continue to bring the best executive level training and networking to law enforcement executives from the tri-state area,” said John DeVoe, a Detective Sergeant with the River Vale Police Department who is a member of the MALEEDS Executive Board.
For more information on the Mid-Atlantic Law Enforcement Executive Development Seminar, click here.