Each week, Patch takes a peek at some of the more surprising, shocking, stunning and occasionally silly police-related incidents reported throughout New Jersey for "OMGs from NJ PDs."
Some of the reports from this week:
A 'Lion' Can Spread Halfway Around Town Before the Truth Gets its Boots on: Just so you know, there aren't any tigers running loose in Barnegat. In case you were wondering.
That's the word put out by police, who say a massive misunderstanding made its way onto the Internet, causing trepidation throughout town.
Here's how it all started:
Sheriff's officers went to a township home to execute an arrest warrant, and while there, a resident mentioned raising Bengal cats in the basement. The resident was actually referring to a special breed of house cat with semi-wild ancestry—a very active breed that requires lots of space to run.
Thinking the resident meant Bengal tigers and finding the situation odd, the Sheriff's officers gave the Barnegat police a heads up, Barnegat Lt. Keith Germain said. When police checked out the basement, they found a large, empty 7-foot-by-12-foot pen, but were told by Fish and Game that there was no way someone could be keeping a tiger in a residential area—noise complaints, a powerful stench of urine and the need to haul in huge chunks of meat regularly would make it impossible, Germain said.
But a few days later, an investigation near Taylor Lane led an officer to discover several very large paw prints in the woods. Figuring the department should go above and beyond to be sure there was no possibility a large cat was roaming loose, police called in an expert to examine the tracks.
The verdict: They were from a large dog. But by the time it was all sorted out, rumors were flying fast and furious all over the Web.
Also not wandering the streets of Barnegat: lions and bears. At least, last time we checked Facebook.
Will He Beat the Rap? It wasn't the $22,000 worth of credit card purchases at a jeweler's that first made authorities suspicious. It was the explanation the purchaser gave. Kinnelon police said the jeweler became suspicious after the buyer said he was a rapper and needed the jewelry for his entourage. Turns out, police said, he was making the purchases with credit cards stolen from his grandparents—which landed him in the Morris County Jail. Well, a little time behind bars can't hurt his street cred ...
Serving Up a Scam: Toms River police say a woman was defrauding sandwich shops, claiming food she got from them made her ill, and demanding refunds. The only hitch is, police said, she hadn't made orders at the shops at all. The whole thing, according to police, was a load of baloney.
Fences to Mend: It's bad enough when an allegedly drunk driver slams into a fence on your property. But Chatham police say one such driver took things a step further, and then another. From the report on Chatham Patch: The driver "repeatedly rammed his vehicle into a post by a barn on the property, then drove through two separate fences and across a field to get back onto" the road. Looks like someone could use a little direction (we suggest for step one: don't drive drunk).
A Family Affair: Toms River police say a man who fell drunkenly into a construction site and wound up covered in mud might have at least gotten a little help from family—if he hadn't allegedly stolen a ring from one of the family members. Blood may be thicker than water, but after that, it turned out not to be thicker than mud.
It's Not Easy Being Clean: If you're going to vandalize a car (don't, by the way), you probably turn to any one of a number of tools of the trade: spraypaint, keys, even eggs. But soap? West Deptford police say one driver apparently got an unsolicited and uncompleted car wash, when liquid soap was found all over the side of the vehicle. We're not sure what the driver eventually used to wash it off.
Explosive Literature: A North Caldwell family got nervous when a suspicious-looking box, postmarked in Germany, turned up on the family's rear deck, leaning against the back door. Police thought it was odd too — so much so, that they even called in the bomb squad. But X-rays showed nothing dangerous inside. Turns out, all the package had was a few books, ordered by a family member—though no one's quite sure why the box was shipped all the way from Germany. Here's hoping the books have as much dramatic tension as their arrival.