Manahawkin Man Charged with Destroying State Wildlife Refuge Acreage
An off-roading escapade that New Jersey environmental regulators say cost a farmer five acres' worth of soybeans means trouble for a Manahawkin 25-year-old and a companion.
Rudolf Licwinko and Patrick Dolan, 20, of Closter, are accused of driving a pickup through soybean fields in the Assunpink Wildlife Management Area in Upper Freehold earlier this month.
Authorities say that the farmer leases the land from the state, and that they'll seek restitution for the crops and for land damage.
Mark Chicketano, acting Chief of the state Department of Environmental Protection's Bureau of Law Enforcement, says that the Division of Fish and Wildife holds a zero-tolerance stance toward off-roading in wildlife refuges.
"In this case, a farmer suffered an economic loss of his crops and compaction of soil on prime farming grounds," Chicketano said in a prepared release. "In most cases, these vehicles destroy habitat for wildlife."
Both face third-degree counts of destruction of agricultural property, careless driving and operating a vehicle off the established roadway of a state wildlife management area. Licwinko was also cited for driving with a revoked license.
The DEP's hotline to report illegal off-roading in state parks and wildlife sanctuaries is 877-WARNDEP (877-927-6337). There is information about its Bureau of Law Enforcment at its web page.