On Wednesday, January 3, 2018, at 5:07 a.m., the Lacey Township Police Department responded to the Lacey Business Park, located on Challenger Way in Forked River in reference to a power outage. Upon arrival, officers located damage to a utility pole. An investigation revealed that an unknown person or persons used a chain attached to a vehicle to pull the electrical service wire from the utility pole. As the tension was applied, a primary wire severed and caused an attached transformer to explode. Damage was also discovered to a nearby business that was supplied by the power wires. The damage is estimated at $20,000.
Lacey Township Police Detectives were able to identify the vehicle involved as a dark-colored pickup truck, and determined that the incident occurred at 4:15 a.m. At approximately 12:oo p.m., a business owner in the area reported a black Ford pickup truck stolen from his parking lot. Officer John D. Simonson then observed the vehicle traveling on Newark Avenue in Forked River, and attempted to make a motor vehicle stop. The driver failed to stop and continued to elude police as it entered a wooded area near Argo’s Farm on Lacey Road, just west of the Garden State Parkway in Forked River. A short time later officers located the abandoned pickup truck approximately two miles south of Lacey Road in the woods. A New Jersey State Police helicopter responded to assist with air patrol while a K-9 Unit from the Ocean County Sheriff’s Department searched the wooded area in an attempt to locate the suspects.
The Ocean County Sheriff’s Department Crime Scene Unit processed the pickup truck for latent fingerprints and DNA. At approximately 3:50 p.m., a citizen traveling on the Garden State Parkway in Forked River contacted police and reported two male subjects on the center median. Officers responded to the area of Llewellyn Parkway in Forked River, a road that runs adjacent to the Garden State Parkway on the east side. Upon arrival the Officers located two men walking on Serpentine Drive. Investigation at the scene led to the arrest of 23-year-old Eric Anderson, of Newark Avenue in Forked River, and 25-year-old John Clifton, of Raleigh Drive in Toms River, NJ. Both suspects were charged with burglary, theft of a motor vehicle, criminal mischief, and resisting arrest. Additionally, Eric Anderson was charged with eluding police. They were both lodged in the Ocean County Correctional Facility to await a bail hearing.