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Police & Fire Recent News

Maple Shade Woman Charged With Stealing More Than $600K From Cinnaminson Employer; Arrested Following Traffic Stop in Gloucester City

Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina and Cinnaminson Township Police Chief Richard A. Calabrese announced that a 41-year-old Maple Shade woman has been charged with stealing more than $600,000 from her Cinnaminson-based employer, SEA BOX, Inc., over a one-year period ending in December 2020.

Karen O’Brien was charged with Theft by Unlawful Taking (Second Degree) and Computed Related Activity for the Purpose of Executing a Scheme to Defraud (Second Degree).

She was arrested yesterday following a motor vehicle stop in Gloucester City.

In her possession when taken into custody was approximately $30,000 in cash.

O’Brien, who has been terminated by the company, remains in custody pending a hearing in Superior Court.

Afterward, the case will be prepared for presentation to a grand jury for possible indictment.

The investigation began after SEA BOX officials informed the Cinnaminson Township Police Department late last year that O’Brien had been caught embezzling funds.

The investigation revealed that over a 12-month period, O’Brien, who served as human resources manager, had used the company’s credit card for personal expenses totaling $614,499.

The investigation further revealed that O’Brien allegedly made several purchases of designer clothes, handbags, and other accessories from luxury stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue, Gucci, and Louis Vuitton, among others.

She also allegedly used the company credit card to purchase airfare, rental cars and lodging accommodations for her and others to vacation in Puerto Rico, and even used it to pay for herself and a friend to undergo buttock augmentation procedures at a Las Vegas plastic surgery center.

The case was investigated by the Cinnaminson Township Police Department. O’Brien will be prosecuted by Assistant Prosecutor Michael Sullivan.

All persons are considered innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

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In The Courts Recent News

William Stroemel a/k/a “Wild Willie” Sentenced to Five Year Prison Term for Shooting Neighbor’s Dog

Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina announced that a 65-year-old Maple Shade man has been sentenced to five years in New Jersey state prison for shooting a neighbor’s dog with an air rifle in 2019, causing the animal to be euthanized.

The sentence, handed down yesterday by the Hon. Gerard H. Breland, J.S.C., was the result of a negotiated plea with William D. Stroemel, who pled guilty in April to Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose (Second Degree) and Animal Cruelty (Third Degree).

The investigation began in September 2019 after police were contacted by the owners of Toby, a 9-year-old Pomeranian-poodle mix. They told police that Toby had been discovered howling in pain by a neighbor the previous day.

An examination by a veterinarian revealed that he had been shot in the head.

Toby was euthanized a day after being shot.

The investigation, which was conducted by detectives from the Maple Shade Police Department, revealed that Stroemel shot Toby with an air rifle while the dog was passing his home in the street, and then gave the gun to an acquaintance and asked him to hold it for him.

Judge Breland sentenced the defendant in accordance with the negotiated agreement, even though Stroemel and his attorney argued that the prison term should be reconsidered.

“He admitted that he shot Toby, an innocent, defenseless pet,” Prosecutor Coffina said. “But rather than express true remorse, he attempted to evade the custodial sentence that was agreed upon.”

Assistant Prosecutor Melissa O’Mara stressed to the court that the defendant must be held accountable for his actions.

“Mr. Stroemel is here because he possessed a weapon he could not have, he used that weapon unlawfully in broad daylight and shot a dog in the middle of the street in Maple Shade, killing that dog, and then took that weapon and gave it to somebody else to hide,” she said.

Stroemel, a heavy equipment operator who is also known as “Wild Willie,” was initially charged with weapons offenses following the discovery of a .22 caliber pistol during the execution of a search warrant at his residence. Additional charges were added after a necropsy was performed and the pellet removed from Toby’s head was connected to an air rifle in Stroemel’s possession at the time of the shooting.

As part of the plea agreement, Stroemel must make restitution to Toby’s owners for the cost of the veterinary care and necropsy.

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In The Courts Police & Fire Recent News

$5,000 Reward Offered for Information on Beverly City Homicide

Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina announced that a $5,000 reward has been posted in an effort to gain the public’s help in solving the fatal shooting of a 32-year-old man in Beverly City two months ago. 

The homicide was committed outside of the Delacove Homes public housing project shortly after 10 p.m. on October 23, 2020.

City resident Octavius Williams was shot in the chest, and pronounced dead an hour later after being transported to Virtua Willingboro Hospital. 

“There was a lot of activity in the area when Mr. Williams was shot, so I am quite certain  there were witnesses who could assist our investigation,” Prosecutor Coffina said. “And while I am fully aware of the mentality held by some that actively discourages folks from assisting law enforcement, I am also fully aware that the overwhelming majority of residents do not want a killer roaming their neighborhood. It is my hope that this reward money encourages those with details of this shooting to come forward.” 

The reward money will only be given if the intelligence provided leads to an arrest and a conviction.

Those who have information concerning this homicide should call Burlington County Central Communications at 609-265-7113, or send an email to reward@co.burlington.nj.us. 

The reward money is being made available from the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Law Enforcement Trust Account, which is funded by seized money and the sale of seized assets such as motor vehicles, real estate and personal property that were generated as proceeds of, or utilized in connection with, criminal activity. 

The investigation is being conducted by the Prosecutor’s Office and the Beverly City Police Department. 

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In The Courts Recent News

Chesterfield Woman Charged With Stealing More Than $60K From Youth Football & Cheerleading Program

On December 10, 2020, Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina and Mansfield Township Police Chief Ronald G. Mulhall Jr. announced that a Chesterfield woman was charged with stealing more than $60,000 from a youth football and cheerleading program while serving as the organization’s treasurer over a five-year period that ended last year.

Stacy Cassidy, 45, of Monmouth Road, was charged with Elements of Computer Theft (Second Degree), Misapplication of Entrusted Property (Third Degree), Theft by Deception (Third Degree), and Forgery by Uttering (Fourth Degree).

She was lodged in the Atlantic County Justice Facility pending a hearing tomorrow in Superior Court in Mount Holly.

The investigation began earlier this year after members of the Northern Burlington Junior Greyhound Athletic Association contacted law enforcement officials with suspicions that Cassidy had been embezzling funds from the organization and using them for personal expenses while serving as treasurer between January 2015 and December 2019.

The investigation revealed that during that period, Cassidy made 542 unauthorized transactions totaling $60,654.28. She used the money to help pay for her mortgage, cell phone bill, groceries, gas, and home heating oil, among other items.

Included in that activity were 84 unauthorized ATM cash withdrawals totaling more than $21,000 that coincided with family vacations on cruises and to Disney World.

The investigation further revealed that, in an attempt to conceal the scheme, Cassidy restricted access to account statements, fabricated reports misrepresenting the organization’s financial position, and forged documents to falsely indicate that insurance premiums had been paid and coverage was being maintained.

A search warrant was executed this morning at Cassidy’s residence. She was taken into custody with the assistance of the Chesterfield Township Police Department and the New Jersey State Police T.E.A.M.S. Unit.

Cassidy will be prosecuted by Assistant Prosecutor Joseph Remy, supervisor of the BCPO Financial Crimes Unit.

The case was investigated by the Prosecutor’s Office and the Mansfield Township Police Department. The lead investigators are BCPO Detective Nicholas Schieber and Mansfield Township Police Detective Ken Allen.

All persons are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Categories
Police & Fire Recent News

33-Year Old Little Egg Harboar Woman Charged With Creating Fictitious GoFundMe Campaigns

Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina and Pemberton Township Police Chief David King announced on October 8, 2020 that a 33-year-old Little Egg Harbor woman has been charged with creating a fictitious GoFundMe campaign to raise money for the funeral of her 4-year-old son, who she claimed died of cancer, but in reality had been adopted by a Pemberton Township couple after she signed away her parental rights.

Holly Garcia, of Lake Champlain Drive, was charged with Computer Criminal Activity (Second Degree) and Attempted Theft by Deception (Third Degree).

She was taken into custody September 24 and released last week following an initial appearance in Superior Court in Mount Holly. The case will now be prepared for presentation to a grand jury for possible indictment.

The investigation began in June after a couple from Pemberton Township who recently adopted Garcia’s 4-year-old son contacted police to say that his photo was being used in a GoFundMe campaign seeking $5,000 for funeral expenses for a child who had reportedly died from cancer.

The investigation revealed that Garcia created the campaign. Further investigation determined that Garcia had created multiple fictitious GoFundMe campaigns seeking money for the following: an urn for her dead son’s ashes; assistance for her 4-year-old son who is going blind in one eye (and whose father had died); assistance for her unborn child; a stroller for her two-month old son, who was born premature; and assistance raising rent money for an apartment, because she claimed she was four months pregnant and homeless.

The total amount requested by Garcia through all of the campaigns was $11,350. The campaigns were ended by the company after being notified by law enforcement that they were not legitimate. Garcia did not receive any contributions before they were taken down.

Garcia will be prosecuted by Assistant Prosecutor Joseph Remy, supervisor of the BCPO Financial Crimes Unit. The investigation was conducted by the Pemberton Township Police Department, with assistance from the BCPO Financial Crimes Unit. The lead investigator is Pemberton Township Police Detective Joshua Danka.

All persons charged with crimes are presumed innocent until proven otherwise in a court of law.