Thursday, December 16, 2010

Starting a Life of Crime

Police in Jersey City responded last week to a call from the victim of an attempted carjacking.

However, the carjacking was thwarted by the fact that the car in question had a dead battery and the owner was standing next to it with jumper cables in his hands, trying to obtain a jump-start.

Two bright criminals commandeered the victim’s keys and got into his vehicle. They then tried to start the car "with negative results," according to the police report.

Ya gotta love the efficient wording of police reports.

The unsuccessful duo then took off... perhaps looking for a victim whose car was not so obviously broken down.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

"Rest" Room

Police in North Bergen used bolt cutters to free a 61-year-old man who was, police say, drunk and who somehow found himself locked in portable toilet recently.

According to published reports, the man was in the "Johnny on the Spot" toilet for an indeterminate period of time, perhaps overnight.

The porta-potty was locked for transport around 7:40 a.m by Department of Public Works employees who were cleaning up the morning after the annual Winter Fest Parade.

Minutes later, a pedestrian walking nearby heard a call for help from the porta-potty. Police, Rescue and Fire officials responded to the scene.

It was reported that the township is now instructing employees that they are supposed to open the door and look inside, before padlocking a porta-potty.

Good idea.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Urine Trouble, Fella!

As most people know, urinating in public is against the law. Urinating on a police car in public is not only against the law, it is also colossally dumb.

In the wee hours of November 26, police in Hackettstown had responded to an incident along Main Street when they observed a 20-year-old man relieving himself on the police car.

The act earned the guy an arrest and a pending court appearance.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Tunnel Vision

Recently, a dance troupe from Florida was late for a television appearance in Manhattan, stuck in traffic at the New Jersey entrance to the Lincoln Tunnel.

So, rather that sit there, they decided to run through the tunnel on foot.

There were only two problems with this: Foot traffic is prohibited in the tunnel, and the dancers were in their costumes... camouflage costumes.

As a result, Port Authority police wearing their own costumes -- uniforms and guns – interrupted the spontaneous sprint.

But the quote of the month comes from the choreographer for the group. He was quoted as saying that he had no idea there was a problem with running through the Lincoln Tunnel.

"I am from Florida. We don't have tunnels," he said. "Apparently we couldn't do that."

Thursday, November 11, 2010

IDs at NJSLM in AC

On November 16-17-18, representatives from The Badge Company of New Jersey will again have a display at the New Jersey State League of Municipalities’ annual conference in the Atlantic City Convention Center. Stop by booth #240 and say hello.

This is the 95th – 95th! – annual conference. We haven’t been participating since the beginning, but we have been there for more than 30 years.

This year, in addition to seeing our regular display of public safety badges, you’ll see our available non-police badges. Photo ID badges, proximity cards, access cards, visitor badges, and more.

We can make these badges for you or we can provide you with a complete system to make your own ID badges in-house, great for new hires, for student populations, and similar ongoing needs.

It’s part of what we’re doing to ensure that, whatever your needs, "We’ve Got Your Badge."

So come check us out in booth #240. Complete conference and exhibit information is available on the NJLM web site,

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Hapless Burglar

So, let’s say that you are a burglar. You break into homes and steal things. What’s your biggest concern? Getting caught.

Which explains why a burglar took off running when two patrolmen stopped him for questioning on the street in a North Jersey town recently following a reported break-in.

He ran a block or two, vaulted a fence, and hid under a blue tarp covering a boat in a backyard.

However, it is unlikely that he could have chosen a less suitable hiding place. First, the dog that lived at the house began barking at him. Second, the dog’s owner was at home. Third, the dog’s owner was a police captain in that town.

The burglar was taken into custody.

The dog, somewhat ironically named Bandit, was given a hero’s treatment in the local news. But, really, he was just being a dog. And the burglar was just being another dumb crook.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Little Trees, Big Charges

No matter how many of those little tree-shaped air fresheners you put in your car, there are certain odors that they cannot mask.

In our hometown recently, police stopped a car for a registration violation. The officer observed a unusually high number of air fresheners in the car. The officer’s nose then told him that the odor of raw marijuana was in the car as well. At this point, the officer called upon a trained nose – that of a drug detection dog.

The dog found just over three-quarters of a pound of marijuana, sequestered under the rear seat. The driver now faces several drug charges in addition to the original vehicle registration charge.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Lost in Translation

A friend of The Badge Company of New Jersey is an attorney, working often on cases where his client reads, speaks, and understands only Spanish. In these instances a Spanish-language interpreter is assigned to the case.

After a recent court appearance he was sharing an elevator with the interpreter. Making small talk, he asked her if she was a native speaker. She said yes. He then inquired, "Where are you from originally, if I may ask?"

"The Bronx," she replied.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Neck Bone's Connected to the..

A Tampa couple bought a fake skeleton to enhance their Halloween decorations, only to discover it wasn't so fake after all.

They bought the skeleton for $8.00 at an estate sale, thinking it was made of plastic. But as they set up their decorations, they got the creepy feeling the bones were real. They called the Sheriff's Office.

The county medical examiner determined the bones were from a professionally prepared human anatomical skeleton, likely used for a medical school.

The couple won't be getting their $8 skeleton back. Trafficking in human bones is illegal.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Sounding the Alarm

Recently, during a high school reunion in Bergen County, a returning classmate took the accompanying photograph, a nostalgic reminder of her youth. If you are of a certain age you remember these fire alarm call boxes.

Originally installed before the widespread use of telephones, these boxes used a telegraph system to relay the alarm to the firehouse. Pull down the white door to activate the box, in which a spring-loaded wheel would then tap out a telegraph code that indicated the location of the box. When the firemen arrived, the assumption was that someone would still be at the box to direct them to the fire... or that visible smoke would be sufficient to direct them to the blaze.

The systems began to be considered as outdated once every residence had a telephone, and moreso today with the near-universal adoption of cell phones. But these boxes remain in use in certain cities and towns. The systems continue to work under circumstances where telephone and cell phone service might not, and they prevent any misunderstandings that might arise from the great variety of languages spoken in immigrant communities.

This October 2010 photograph shows that this 150-year-old technology still has its place in modern firefighting.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Cuff Him

The headline read, Mall Security Officer Handcuffs Self by Accident. And immediately we knew that we had a blog entry.

It happened at the popular Quaker Bridge Mall on Route 1 in Lawrenceville. For reasons not reported, a 19-year-old security guard working at Macy’s cuffed himself with his own handcuffs... and then could not remove them.

Police were called. Ultimately, fire department bolt cutters were used to free the hapless security guard.

Incidentally, the mall does not refer to such personnel as "security guards." They are titled "loss prevention officers." Perhaps this is a good idea, since people who trap themselves in their own handcuffs are not likely to provide shoppers with any real sense of security.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The New Penalty For Littering

In today’s news:

South Brunswick, N.J.– A woman driving through South Brunswick tried to throw her cigarette out the car window, but instead the still-burning tobacco fell inside the vehicle, setting it on fire, police said.

At 9 a.m. Monday, police responded to a 911 call of a car burning and found the 1998 Honda Civic fully engulfed in flames, authorities said.

The 19-year-old driver from nearby Rocky Hill told police she had been smoking a cigarette before the fire and tried throwing it out the window. Moments later she realized she missed when she felt heat on her back and saw the car fill with smoke, police said.

She pulled over and escaped without injured, but the car was destroyed in the fire. It was extinguished by the Monmouth Junction Fire Department in South Brunswick, police said.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Don't Mess With The Old Guy

When a group of four thieves tried to steal a safe from the home of an 88-year-old resident of Kenilworth this past year, the World War II veteran took them on – and won.

The man has difficulty walking and typically uses a cane. But when he saw thieves trying to make off with his safe, "I ran right out there. I dropped my cane and I just went in action," he was quoted as saying.

Fueled by an adrenaline rush the man landed a few punches on one of the thieves. "They went through hell trying to get me away from them," he reported. When he yelled to his wife to call the police, the battered burglars took off.

Police subsequently recovered fingerprints and DNA evidence from the man’s home.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

One-Wheeled Renegades

We have all seen them – fearless motorcyclists popping wheelies on the Interstate, followed typically by a burst to great speed.

Modern sport bikes are compact, sleek, and powerful. And, as police know, no match for a Crown Victoria. A number of stories have hit the media recently about bikers "taunting" officers and then zipping off into anonymity, because the motorcycles are so much quicker than the cars.

The situation appears to be more acute in states where dashboard cameras are not commonly fitted to officers’ cruisers. In one particularly egregious instance in the state of Washington, an officer crashed heavily while chasing several bikes at high speed. The riders then stopped, and, far short of rendering any assistance to the badly injured officer, continued to taunt him before riding away.

There was no dash camera in the cruiser and the officer was able to provide only a partial license plate.

The current budget crisis facing departments nationwide is often cited as the reason all patrol cars do not have dashboard cameras, but even in good times dash cameras represent a costly investment. Still, more and more agencies are findings ways to fund the cameras because of their clear benefit to officer safety and public safety.

Many police officers are motorcycle enthusiasts themselves, and so they have a certain level of empathy for all riders. And most motorcycle enthusiasts ride responsibly. But the high visibility showboaters are giving all riders a lawless, brainless image.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Bicycling in Boise

The photo depicts part of an event known as Boise Bike Week, taking place in Boise Idaho.

Previously we have blogged about the need for motorists and bicyclists to share the road. In doing so we noted that, under New Jersey law, bicycles are considered to be vehicles just like cars and trucks. As such they are to be operated in a manner consistent with traffic laws, and motorists are to treat them as they might treat any other vehicle.

Now comes news that Boise has passed new ordinances that begins to tilt the balance of power toward the bicycle.

The City Council approved three pieces of bicycle-related legislation on January 12 of this year. Among the new requirements is that "the operator of the motor vehicle overtaking [a] bicycle traveling on the right side of the roadway shall not turn to the right in front of the bicycle at an intersection, alley, or driveway until such vehicle has overtaken the bicycle and has sufficient clearance to safely turn without requiring the bicyclist to brake or take evasive action to avoid a collision with the vehicle."

More significantly, it is now a misdemeanor to "intimidate or harass or cause another person to crash, stumble, or fall because that other person is walking along the roadway or operating a bicycle along the roadway."

We don’t know whether these new ordinances were inspired by increased bicycle traffic or intended to stimulate increased bicycle traffic. But at the very least the ordinances appear to recognize that motorists are in big heavy machines, while bicyclists are astride small light machines.

You can read the law at

Monday, August 2, 2010

Never Mind

On July 7, a resident of a nearby town called 9-1-1, reporting that her two-year-old daughter was missing. The caller reported that her daughter was last seen in or near the driveway about 15 minutes earlier.

Nothing will strike fear into the heart of a parent more than a missing child, and police and other first responders dread such calls because of the potential for an unbearably sad outcome.

Police were on the scene within minutes and launched a search. An officer with a K-9 search dog was dispatched as well.

After a few minutes of searching, the child was located in a upstairs bedroom of the residence, asleep.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Tragically Dumb

In Washington State, north of Seattle, the Sedro-Woolley Fire Department this week responded to a report of a fire and explosion in which two people had been severely burned.

Upon arrival at the scene, the responders found no fire nor building damage. But two badly burned men were found and flown to the Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

Fire officials learned that the explosion was the result of a practice known as “barrel riding,” in which a 55-gallon drum with fuel in it is lit with a rider on top, causing the barrel to be propelled forward.

Authorities said the men poured about four gallons of methanol racing fuel into a 55 gallon barrel, replaced the 2-inch closure and attempted to light the fuel through the 3/4-inch closure while the two men sat on the barrel.

The barrel did not behave like a rocket. Instead, it exploded, sending one end of the barrel some 120 feet and critically burning the two barrel riders.

Three days later, one of the two men succumbed to his injuries, while the other remains in intensive care.

This is a head-shaker. So dumb. So sad.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A Real Undercover Operation

In Flemington recently, police were called to a neighborhood one night on a report of two men smashing the windows of parked cars. When an officer arrived, he saw men matching the description, but they fled when they saw him. The officer gave chase.

One of the men went into an apartment building and, according to police, "ran into his bedroom, hopped into bed and pulled the blankets over him."

Sure, that’ll work. They’ll never find him there. He should be safe from monsters, too.

The man was taken into custody and charged with criminal mischief, eluding police and hindering his apprehension.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

New Jersey Traffic

Morning commuters on Route 80? No, it’s the "Demolition Derby" that is part of the Cumberland County Fair each July. This year’s fair included two Demo Derbies, the second of which was this past Saturday.

Demolition derbies are a dubious but durable activity, having been around generally as long as there have been automobiles. Smoking, steaming cars crashing into one another may seem to be the antithesis of today’s "green" movement, but it has a certain effectiveness in ridding the roads of "clunkers."

It also brings out the latent redneck in all of us. Sometimes a little stupid fun is a good thing.

But in order to have the fun, safety personnel need to be at the ready. To share the workload, in recent years the Cumberland County Fair has had on hand the Seabrook Fire Company, Lower Township EMS, Laurel Lake Fire and Rescue Squad 13, Hopewell-Stow Creek Fire Company, Millville Fire Department, Millville Rescue Squad and Upper Deerfield EMS Squad 34.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Chill Out

For a hot July day, a glimpse of winter.

This letter carrier is shown upholding the unofficial credo of the Postal Service, "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds."

This letter carrier is also carrying pepper spray, the white canister toward the bottom left in this photo, with which postal employees fend off unfriendly dogs.

Pepper Sprays are one of our signature products here at the Badge Company of New Jersey, sold under our Pepper Defense Products brand name. The products are used not only by letter carriers, but by police, corrections officers, and more. Our home page for Pepper Defense Products is here:


Photo by Mark Hertzberg

Friday, June 25, 2010

4th of July (on the 5th)

When the Independence Day holiday falls on a weekend, as it does this year, typically the holiday is observed on the Friday or the Monday closest to the 4th. This year, Monday, July 5th will be the day on which many communities and most businesses observe the holiday.

At the Badge Company of New Jersey, we are no exception. Our offices will be closed on July 5th, although this is not a luxury afforded to the bulk of our customers – police, fire, and public safety agencies. Theirs is a 24/7 occupation.

This Independence Day weekend you will likely find us at the Lebanon Borough 4th of July parade, the oldest 4th of July parade in New Jersey. At that parade, as at virtually every 4th of July parade across the country, we are afforded an opportunity to salute the men and women who work in the public safety field.

But outside of regular business hours, you can always get in touch with us via e-mail or telephone. The e-mail is always "on" and our telephone system will take messages at any hour of the day or night.

May you have a safe and enjoyable Independence Day weekend.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Definition of a Cop

When Steven Cucciniello, a 20-year veteran of the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office, was sworn in as the new Chief of Detectives for the office in October of last year, Prosecutor John L. Molinelli read a line from Cucciniello’s original resume from the New York City Police Department, where Cucciniello was a Midtown patrol officer before joining the Prosecutor’s Office in 1989.

"Maintain the peace, uphold the law, issue summonses, make arrests," Molinelli said, reading from Cucciniello’s old resume.

If that does not distill law enforcement down to its fundamentals, nothing does.

Maintain the peace. Uphold the law. Issue summonses. Make arrests. These are the core elements of the job.

This is not to imply that Cucciniello was qualified for his new job solely on his understanding of these basics. He holds a masters degree in criminal justice from Rutgers University, and has a history of success with investigations of narcotics and gangs. These contribute to his being well-suited to his new position.

But still. Have you ever seen such a succinct – and accurate – summation of a cop’s job? Maintain the peace. Uphold the law. Issue summonses. Make arrests.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Police Security Expo

Each June, we set up our display at the Police Security Expo in Atlantic City. We were there for the first one, and this will our 24th consecutive Expo.

This year, the Expo takes place June 22 and 23, and this year, the event organizers included on the official event promotional materials a photo of Badge Company General Manager Bob Marlow showing a badge to a prospect. It’s the photo in the lower right-hand corner of the cover page, shown here.

Anything and everything related to law enforcement supplies and equipment can be seen at this show – but not by just anyone. The show is open to law enforcement professionals, only, not the general public. Show information is available at

We will be in booth 322 as always. Stop by and say hello. Check out our badge samples and leather products, and pick up a catalog or two. We'll have some special sale items as well. We look forward to meeting you!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Cops and Confectionaries

A stereotype firmly entrenched in our culture is cops and donuts.

Officers generally do not take insult at this – except when it is intended as an insult, which occurs too often when someone feels aggrieved.

But we were reminded of the stereotype today not because we know of anyone who is aggrieved, and we did not observe a police car at a donut shop. Rather, we were reminded of the stereotype because unbeknownst to us previously, apparently today is National Donut Day. And National Donut Day apparently dates back to 1938, when it was created by the Chicago Salvation Army as a fund-raiser.

Well, speaking of fund-raisers, a number of local police departments across the country have in recent years been promoting "Cops and Donuts" fundraising events, turning the stereotype into a positive force.

Then there is the Cops & Doughnuts shop in Clare, Michigan, pictured above. According to an Associated Press story, this store is owned by nine full-time employees of the Clare police department. The Cops and Doughnuts shop came about when the owners of the 113-year-old City Bakery in Clare were on the verge of closing and the officers stepped up.

Demonstrating some marketing savvy and a sense of humor, the police-owners of the Cops & Doughnuts shop have mugs and T-shirts available bearing the tagline Cops & Doughnuts, 100 Percent Cop-Owned as well as phrases such as You Have the Right to Remain Glazed.

Happy National Donut Day.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Somerville Remembers

In Somerville, New Jersey, this week, a memorial commemorating two fallen police officers was unveiled, and in our view it is more significant than most.

The monument honors Officer Julius Sauter, who was shot and killed on February 3, 1917, and Officer Manning T. Crow, who was shot on January 19, 1899. That’s right, Somerville has not forgotten men who made the ultimate sacrifice 93 and 111 years ago!

Also significant is the fact that these two officers remain the only Somerville officers to have been slain since the department was founded. It has been 93 years since the last Somerville officer was killed on the job. May this remarkable record continue.

At the time of the unveiling of this memorial, it was noted that Officer Sauter was killed while attempting to save a man from committing suicide. The suicidal man turned his weapon on Sauter and fatally shot him before taking his own life. Officer Crow was shot after confronting burglars in a butcher shop. But get this: After sustaining the wound, Officer Crow walked back to the police station to inform other officers about the incident! Sadly, he died shortly afterwards.

A cynic might say that it took Somerville nearly 100 years to commemorate the sacrifice of these two officers, but we disagree: Somerville should be praised for not forgetting these officers from the last century and the century before that.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

It’s Good News, But it’s Sad

The City of Newark marked its first murder-free month in more than 40 years this past March. This is certainly good news, and it reflects well on the city’s efforts to improve its policing and to improve its community relations.

But it nonetheless strikes us as sad that this simple statistic – that a month passed without a homicide – is news. How sad that homicide in Newark is so, shall we say, normal, that its absence is news.

We can only hope that the March milestone is just that, a milestone along the way to an ongoing and lasting decrease in the city’s homicide rate. A lasting decrease – that’s the news story we look forward to seeing.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Christ in a Crosswalk

From the Associated Press:

The victim might have forgiven the woman who ran him down in a Massachusetts crosswalk, but police haven't.

Police say a Pittsfield woman has been cited for running down a man named Lord Jesus Christ as he crossed a street in Northampton on Tuesday.

The 50-year-old man is from Belchertown. Officers checked his ID and discovered that, indeed, his legal name is Lord Jesus Christ. He was taken to the hospital for treatment of minor facial injuries.

Police say 20-year-old Brittany Cantarella was cited for failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk.

As the saying goes, you just can't make this stuff up.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

He Bombed On Broadway

Okay, maybe that is too flip a headline, considering the potential carnage that could have resulted had the Times Square car bomber been successful this past weekend.

Thankfully, the would-be bomber was not able to build a bomb that worked. And, thankfully again, solid police work had the guy in custody in not much more than 48 hours after his smoldering handwork was discovered.

Still, it is a reminder that the bombings we hear about half a world away could indeed happen here. New York City residents have carried a reputation for indifference that is traced often to the infamous Kitty Genovese murder of 1964. But the events of September 2001 changed that. Last weekend, a street vendor first alerted a mounted officer about the suspicious SUV. No longer indifferent, New Yorkers – and Americans everywhere – now strive to find the appropriate measure of vigilance without paranoia.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Digital Disappearance

Ahh, the electronic age in which we live.

If you submit a badge request via the link on our products page that allows you to design your own badge, and you do not hear back from us within one business day, call us. The computer ate your inquiry.

For reasons we have yet to divine, a certain number of electronic inquiries are no longer reaching us. Some are, some are not. Frustrating, to us, because it represents lost business, and to you, because you need badges!

So, please, kindly follow up with a phone call if you do not get a timely response, while we continue to search for the electronic thief.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Emergency Cigarettes

From the Police Blotter:

A 20-year-old man called 911 because a convenience-store clerk would not sell him cigarettes without an ID.

The customer told the officer who responded that he thought police might be able to verify his age to the clerk.

The officer informed the customer that was not a proper use of the 911 system.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Cells in Cells

Here is a product from a New Jersey company that has caught our attention.

It is called the "Bloodhound," and it is designed to enable officers to scan real-time for unauthorized cell phone activity in correctional facilities. Given that cell phones smuggled into prisons is a significant and growing problem – prisoners continue to conduct their lawless activities by phone – this is a terrific product.

Aside from being able to detect cell phone activity, the device can detect the exact location of the caller using a direction finding antenna.

How serious is cell phone activity in correctional facilities? According to the manufacturer of this product, Berkeley Varitronics Systems in Metuchen, in 2008 corrections officers confiscated 847 contraband cell phones in Maryland prisons, 2,809 cell phones in California prisons and 1,861 cell phones in Mississippi prisons. That’s more than 5,500 phones in one year in only three states!

You can learn more about this product at .

Friday, April 9, 2010


From the Police Blotter in a southern New Jersey town:

A Carmel Road resident reported two screens cut on her gazebo. The cuts were in the shape of smiley faces. She believed that the vandalism took place on Thursday night.

Well, at least it is a better grade of vandalism than the symbols of hate that have been seen elsewhere...

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Service Was A Crime

Charges have been dropped against a group of college students who, maintaining that the service they received was "lousy," refused to leave a tip in an eastern Pennsylvania restaurant last year.

Because they were a group of eight, the restaurant added an 18% gratuity to the check. The collegiate diners paid the bill but refused to leave the tip, with the result that the restaurant called the cops. The police took two of the group into custody and charged them with theft of services.

Upon review of the case, the District Attorney recommended that the charges be dropped, based largely on the simple notion that we all understand: Tips are optional. True, one should generally tip less, not zero, for poor service, but while the restaurant’s service may have been inadequate its response appears to have been excessive.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Creep Show

The strange-looking character in the photo is Rodney Alcala, who this week was given a death sentence in a California courtroom, for five murders committed in the 1970s.

While the thought of this guy being a serial killer is disturbing enough, just as disturbing is the news that in 1978 he appeared as one of the bachelors on television’s then-popular "Dating Game." This was in the midst of his killing spree, as some of the murders occurred before and some following his game show appearance.

In 1972 he had been convicted in the rape and beating of an eight-year-old girl, which tells us a great deal about how lax the screening process was at the "Dating Game."

The "Dating Game" was, in many ways, a precursor to today’s popular "reality" shows. Unlike game shows prior to that time, the "Dating Game" did not simply award prizes of cash and merchandise, it awarded actual dates to the winning "bachelorette" and bachelor.

Which causes us to wonder: How much better is the pre-show vetting process for today’s "reality" shows?

Photo courtesy Michael Goulding

Monday, March 29, 2010

Clutch Play

From the Philadelphia Inquirer, earlier this year:

Stick Shift Thwarts FedEx Hijackers

In an apparently ill-conceived caper, several men briefly hijacked a FedEx van yesterday afternoon and tried to navigate it through rush-hour traffic in Center City before abandoning the easily recognizable vehicle and fleeing.

The plan – if there was a plan – did not include an accomplice who could drive a manual transmission, police said.

At least two assailants, one with a firearm, seized the van around 4 p.m. at 16th and Pine Streets and attempted to drive it before forcing one of two FedEx employees to operate the stick shift for them, police said. The other employee was able to get away and call for help.

The hijackers bailed out at 11th and Market Streets and possibly fled in a burgundy sedan, police said. The men may have initially emerged from the sedan to take the van and the sedan then followed the van, but investigators were still trying to sort out witness accounts.

"Our guys are both safe," said FedEx spokesman David Westrick, who thanked police for responding quickly.

Westrick chuckled when he noted that the suspects "had some trouble driving a standard clutch vehicle."

Police spokesman Lt. Frank Vanore said he personally speculated about an inside job, but was more inclined to believe that the perpetrators "weren't the brightest thieves."

Friday, March 26, 2010

What Was She Thinking?

Here in bucolic western New Jersey, police recently arrested a man for failing to register as a sex offender when they found him walking along Route 22 with an 11-year-old boy at one in the morning.

The officers determined that the man was a known sexual offender but that he had failed to register his whereabouts as required by law.

Both the man and the boy told the officers that they were headed back to the man’s room in a nearby motel, to spend the night.

Creepy, right? Well, it gets worse. Police telephoned the boy’s mother, who said that she was aware that her son was going to spend the night with the man, but that she did not know that he had a record as a sex criminal. Well, pardon us for asking, but what was she thinking?

Monday, March 22, 2010


A man in Arizona was convicted recently of impersonating a police officer. Driving a black Ford Crown Victoria with some police equipment installed, including emergency lights and a siren, he pulled over a motorist and advised him to "slow down."

What he did not know that the motorist was an actual police officer, who took note of the man’s license plate. As it turned out, the police officer was not the first motorist stopped by this genius; a member of the state liquor board had been stopped, too.

The best part of this story, we think, is that fact that this guy lived in the town of Surprise, a suburb of Phoenix. We’ll bet he got a surprise when he found out that it was a police officer he stopped.

Friday, March 12, 2010

The Nose Knows

In the picture is Monroe Township police officer Thomas Lucasiewicz, who recently uncovered an extensive marijuana-growing operation by sniffing it out.

According to news reports, Officer Lucasiewicz detected the unique odor of burning marijuana while on routine motor patrol. The weed growers, having cleverly established clandestine growing rooms in several suburban houses, stupidly burned unusable plants in the fireplace of one of the homes. This filled the neighborhood not with the pleasant wintertime scent of a wood fire, but with the distinctive scent of burning marijuana. Which Officer Lucasiewicz noticed as it permeated the dashboard vents of his patrol car.

Officer Lucasiewicz tracked the source of the odor to the chimney of a house on Spotswood-Englishtown Road. Ultimately this led to the uncovering of a marijuana-growing enterprise encompassing 3,370 plants in five houses in four adjoining towns.

Oh – that badge that Officer Lucasiewicz is wearing? It is from the Badge Company of New Jersey. Monroe Township is a customer going back more than a decade.

(Photo by Patti Sapone, courtesy of The Star-Ledger)

Thursday, March 4, 2010


In southern New Jersey recently, a woman lost control of her car and ended up in two feet of water. She was rescued from the car by police and fire personnel.

A happy ending, right? Well, the story does not really end there. You see, then there was the matter of retrieving the car. Which is why these two men are wearing odd-looking bright orange suits:

The suits are "Cold Water Immersion Suits," which enabled these two members of the local fire company to enter the frigid waters and attach winch cables to the tow hooks on the car. Just another item of unique equipment that enables public safety workers to do their jobs.

But think about it: Would you like to wade into a pond on a 30-degree March day? Even with one of these specialized suits, you likely would prefer to stay on shore. But it is just another part of the job for police officers and firefighters, and in the case of firefighters, often they are unpaid volunteers.

A reminder that there is waay more to these jobs than typically comes to mind.

(Photos by Lukas K. Murray, courtesy of the Gloucester County Times.)

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Other Actor

We asked readers to identify the actor portraying a cop in the photo accompanying the “Another Nice Mess” entry below this one. We received about as many incorrect answers as correct ones.

It is Edgar Kennedy, one of the most frequently seen actors in the films of Laurel and Hardy. He often played a police officer, but no matter what type of character he was playing, his character was slow to fully anger, instead just getting more and more frustrated and annoyed until he can no longer contain himself. This became known as the "Slow Burn."

He appeared in nearly a dozen Laurel and Hardy films, and twice he was the duo's director. During his career he also appeared with Charlie Chaplin and the Marx Brothers.

Here is another photo of Kennedy as the put-upon police officer:

Friday, February 19, 2010

Another Nice Mess

The following story from western Pennsylvania made the news recently:

Carlos Laurel, 31, and Andre "Sug" Hardy, 39, of Lincoln Street, face eight charges related to cocaine trafficking. Police arrested Laurel and Hardy after they showed up at a Kingston residence and allegedly delivered 50 bags of cocaine to the unidentified occupant Tuesday at about 5:53 p.m. Police estimate street value of the cocaine was $2,500.

Laurel and Hardy were taken to Luzerne County Correctional Facility for overnight arraignment.

Here's a trivia quiz: Who is the actor dressed as a cop in the photo?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


"Dumbth" is a word coined by the late humorist Steve Allen.

In a northern New Jersey town recently, police responded around 1:00 AM to a residence on a request for medical assistance for a man who had been injured in a fall. A subsequent investigation revealed that the involved party had in fact been injured in a motor vehicle crash that had occurred shortly before the call. This resulted in the arrest of the 22 year-old subject on charges of driving while intoxicated, careless driving, leaving the scene and failing to report a motor vehicle accident.

When you do a stupid thing – driving while drunk – there is no way you are going to "get away with it" when you crash your car. To attempt to do so is to exhibit dumbth.

Monday, February 15, 2010


The photos below are just some of those taken by California photographer Sarah Regnier at the San Benito County Jail in Hollister, California.

They are among the many compelling photos on her site, They’re not all about prison, they cover an eclectic range of subjects.

You may recall our earlier blog entry about the wedding photos taken in a closed prison, but a prison setting is the only common thread between that post and this.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

What's That White Stuff?

As we write, it is snowing heavily in New Jersey. Schools, highways, and offices have been closed throughout the day. We have more than a foot of newly-fallen snow outside our window, and it is still snowing.

It snows more often in New Jersey than it does in South Carolina, which may explain this "dumb criminal" item from last Monday:
A man accused of breaking into or attempting to break into more than a dozen vehicles Saturday remained in the Spartanburg County jail Sunday in lieu of $45,000 bond.

The man was charged with eight counts of carbreaking and five counts of tampering with a vehicle after 18 vehicles in and around the Rogers Mill Subdivision were reported entered or tampered with between 7 and 9 p.m. Saturday.

According to an incident report, authorities were able to track the man's steps in the freshly fallen snow to his home, where he was arrested.

From the Spartanburg Herald Journal.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Best Bridge by a Dam Site

In the immediate post-World War II period, massive construction projects were almost the norm in the United States, the most widely evident of which was the Interstate Highway system. But the Interstates have now been around for so long that they have become a part of what is referred to as "our crumbling infrastructure," and projects of that scale and scope seem much fewer and much less frequent.

Which is why we are fascinated by the Hoover Dam Bypass Project, a huge undertaking to re-route and modernize Highway 93 where it crosses the Colorado River at the border between Nevada and Arizona.

The main route between Las Vegas and Phoenix, Highway 93 has long been a winding two-lane road through the region, limited by the fact that it passes literally atop the Hoover Dam, built in the 1930s. Highway 93 is exceptionally scenic, and as a result it is also a popular tourist road in addition to being the main thoroughfare that it is.

We have driven across the top of the Hoover Dam several times through the years, but the next time we are in the area we will likely drive over the new bypass, a spectacular 1900-foot long concrete arch bridge nearing completion some 900 feet above the river, and 1500 feet south of the dam. A modern, multilane highway 93 will follow much straighter approaches to this new bridge, unclogging the Hoover Dam bottleneck.

In the photo above you can see the bridge taking shape while the old Highway 93 winds below. You can also see the cable-strung gondola cranes used in the construction and get a sense of the sheer size of this project.

There is a web site devoted solely to this project, , and it includes web cam shots of the project as it progresses.

Don’t worry, you will still be able to drive across the Hoover Dam if you wish, the old road will remain open for this popular tourist attraction. But through traffic and truck traffic will soon travel via the new bypass.

The total construction budget is $240 million dollars, and remarkably, that budget was developed in 2001 and the project is on track to be completed later this year without exceeding that original budget.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Potty Mouth

Generally, people outside of law enforcement have no idea what sort of hazards an officer may face while on the job... Such as:

New Brunswick -- A city man arrested for fighting was taken to police headquarters, where he took a mouthful of water from a toilet and spit at an officer, police said.

In this case, we think the criminal got the more unpleasant portion of this, but still...

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Getting Political

One of our regular blog readers has asked, why don’t we weigh in on political issues?

Okay, here goes:

Buy your political campaign materials from The Badge Company of New Jersey.

That’s right, in addition to supplying products for public safety personnel, we also supply campaign products for elected public officials. Or, more accurately, we supply materials to meet the needs of those who wish to be elected or re-elected to public office.

It started with campaign buttons, a natural outgrowth of our badge business. But it has expanded to include virtually all kinds of campaign promotional materials – bumper stickers, lawn signs, posters, banners, rally placards and more.

Whether you are running for the local school board or for statewide or nationwide office, we can help. Your political convictions will remain your own, but we can help get your message out there.

Monday, January 25, 2010


A history buff in Pennsylvania who re-creates 19th century cannons accidentally fired a two-pound cannonball through a wall in his neighbor’s house in September of last year.

When he fired the cannonball outside his home it ricocheted and hit a house some 400 yards away. The cannonball, about two inches in diameter, crashed through a window and a wall before landing in a closet. No one was injured.

The man apologized and said that he would stop firing the cannons on his property, but police charged him with reckless endangerment, criminal mischief, and disorderly conduct.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

They’re Cousins, Identical Cousins

From the Police Blotter column:

A bouncer reported an underage girl tried to use a fake ID to get into a bar. She attempted to use a friend’s ID — a friend who had just entered the same bar and who had handed the same bouncer the same ID.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

What Rhymes With #@!&*?

In the news this week is a report of a woman in northern New Jersey being charged with disorderly conduct for cursing at a school principal during a school forum. The woman has since said that she regrets her outburst, but school officials reportedly have said that they are prosecuting her to show that people can't get away with calling principals vulgar names.

Immediately this reminded us of a case from decades ago, in which a man frustrated with judicial delays cursed at a court clerk over the telephone. He, too, was then charged. He was convicted, but on appeal his conviction was overturned. The basis of the reversal was that cursing often springs forth spontaneously, from emotion. Memorably, the ruling judge issued his opinion entirely in rhyme. We can’t claim to remember it verbatim, but we recall:

Can you curse when hitting your thumb with a hammer
Without risk of spending a month in the slammer?
When the bank computer errs and bounces your checks
Should your language be confined to Aw Gees and Oh Hecks?

Perhaps the North Jersey woman can cite this legal precedent.

Friday, January 8, 2010


Yes, that’s President Obama shaking hands with Bob King this past December.

Who is Bob King? Well, you probably haven’t heard of him, but he’s a friend and colleague of ours. When President Obama paid a visit in December to the Allentown, Pennsylvania, company at which Bob works, Bob was offered the opportunity to meet and speak briefly with the President. Politics aside, who wouldn’t jump at that chance?

Bob told us, President Obama decided to visit a working class city, and I guess Allentown is as good as any being fourth largest in Pennsylvania. At our company initially they didn't confirm he would be here, but we noticed five or six big black Suburbans driving around throughout the week and people walking through the plant and roof areas. The sniffer dogs canvassed the site also. On the day he arrived we noticed six snipers with awesome looking rifles in position.

We were the last stop that day, Friday the fourth as I recall. Everyone that was on site had an option to shake hands with him and actually say a couple things. I made a comment that I saw him giving a speech the night before and although Fox didn't have anything nice to say I thought he did a hell of a job.

It was an opportunity that was too convenient to miss, getting paid to wait less than an hour to meet the President! It was kind of surreal standing there next to someone that important.

We live in a celebrity-obsessed culture, and President Obama is frequently portrayed more as a celebrity than as someone who can truly affect our lives. But any President – Democrat or Republican – can truly affect our lives, and having the opportunity to share just a minute with a sitting President is a rare opportunity indeed.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Dumb Begets Dumb

According to a published report from last year, a New Jersey resident became a guest in the Northampton County jail in Pennsylvania, for having done a dumb thing followed by another dumb thing.

He was arrested for drunken driving. His car was impounded. He then later went to the impound lot after hours and tried to remove his vehicle.

Police spotted him inside a tow truck at the impound lot. He told the officer that he was trying to move the tow truck in order to get his vehicle.

Police rewarded his bright thinking by holding him in lieu of $20,000 bail.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Eagle Has Landed (briefly)

Here is something that you do not see in New Jersey every day. A bald eagle.

The bird was spotted not in the rural regions of the northwest portion of the state, but in suburban Clark, a few blocks from the Garden State Parkway. The photo was taken by an eagle-eyed resident of the neighborhood on December 9, 2009.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

2010 Moron of the Year

The new year has scarcely begun and already we have our first nominee for Moron of the Year.

Across the country, new laws took effect on January first. Among these were bans on texting while driving in three states, bringing to 19 the total number of states that outlaw this practice. One of the states in which the law has now taken effect is New Hampshire.

In reporting this story, the Associated Press included the opinion of a New Hampshire resident:

Tina Derby, 42, of Warner, N.H., said she has no intention to stop texting while driving, despite the possible $100 fine she could receive.

"I’d better start saving my money," she said.

The Associated Press article does not go any further toward explaining why Ms Derby thinks this way, but based on the above information she is our first nominee for Moron of the Year.