Monday, January 16, 2012

Pequannock Jewelry Store Owner Allegedly Aided Burglar

English: Handcuffs Handcuffed Handcuff Hinge H...Image via WikipediaPequannock saw a rash of home burglaries in late 2011, most of which followed a pattern of broken rear windows and stolen jewelry.  These burglaries tapered off during the holiday season.  Thus concerns about burglaries within the township are understandably at a high.

In what is presumed to be an unrelated case, on December 23rd 2011, a local jeweler was accused of aiding a burglar by purchasing stolen jewelry from him, then attempting to conceal this from the police by failing to provide a record of the transaction.  The $6,500 in jewelry was later determined to have been taken from a West End Ave home by a 15 year old boy who was a friend of a member of the family.

The Pequannock Police Blotter reported the following:
Having information the jewelry may have been sold at a local jewelry store in Pompton Plains, the detectives went to Johnny’s Jewelers, 589 Newark Pompton Turnpike in Pompton Plains, NJ. During the investigation, the jeweler denied ever purchasing jewelry from juveniles, but eventually admitted to buying jewelry from the detective’s suspect. Numerous pieces of stolen jewelry were located at the jewelry store that belonged to the West End Ave homeowner...the jeweler had never provided local police with the jewelry transaction as required by township ordinance...on December 21, 2011, Det. Mandeville responded to Johnny’s Jewelers and charged the owner, Johnny Sebastian, 49 years of age from Spring Valley, NY with two township ordinance violations for Failing to Provide Purchase Records and Purchasing Jewelry from a Juvenile.

Two Code Violations may seem a light punishment for what amounts to enabling and obscuring burglary within a community already struggling with the problem, but according to township ordinance 178.01:
...the offender shall be subject to imprisonment in the county jail for any term not exceeding ninety (90) days or by a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1000.00), or by a period of community service not exceeding ninety (90) days.

With no minimum sentence declared, a judge has great latitude in sentencing, though it's hoped consideration would be given the fear and suffering these kinds of crimes engender.  The jeweler could also face a number of legal issues regarding the revocation of business licenses and permits and possible fees for violations of the same.


Christopher Lotito is a member of the Pequannock EnvironmentalHistoric District, and Flood Control Advisory Commissions as well as the author of  "Torrent," a book about flooding in the region.  Lotito's personal mission is to reduce new taxes, drastically reduce flooding, and preserve more green spaces for our children.  Christopher Lotito Profile

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