BRICK — Police in Brick Township were much busier than usual last week, according to a statement released by the department.

A total of nine people were arrested and charged with various crimes in the area of a known crime hotspot, the area of Wawa on Brick Boulevard. 

In the evening hours of Tuesday, November 12th, officers observed three men selling perfume in the parking lot of the Wawa. A subsequent investigation revealed that one of the subjects, Andres Rodriquez, 26, of East Brunswick, had an active warrant for his arrest. 

Officers took Rodriquez into custody and released the others on their recognizance with summonses for soliciting without a permit. 

On the same night, officers observed Shannon Kieffer, 33, of Toms River take merchandise from the Wawa without paying for them. She then left the store and entered the backseat of a vehicle and left the scene. 

Officers stopped Kieffer's vehicle and found that she was also in possession of a prescription legend drug. Further investigation revealed that Tyler Bartholomew, 26, of Brick had a synthetic controlled dangerous substance and a container of someone else's urine. In addition to drug charges, he was charged with possessing a device to defraud the administration of a drug test. 

The arrests didn't stop on Tuesday night, according to police. On the morning of Friday, November 15th, four more people were apprehended by police. 

Officers observed a drug transaction take place in the same area of the previous incidents. Eugene Samuels, 39, of Toms River and Ashley Rose, 33, of Toms River were charged with multiple counts of possession of a prescription legend drug. Additionally, Samuels was charged with possession with intent to distribute. Both were lodged in the Ocean County Jail, pending a court hearing. 

A short while later, police noticed a vehicle pulling into the parking lot of the Wawa and the driver entering the store, only to leave with a sample of coffee. K-9 Officer Scott Smith observed the driver, Renee Simonovich, 32, of Brick talking on her cell phone while she was driving and initiated a traffic stop as a result. She was found to have a plethora of drugs and paraphernalia. She was arrested and charged with possession of crack, methadone, heroin, and paraphernalia with intent to distribute. 

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While in the same area, officers observed a subject that was previously on their radar, Jason Feliciano, 32, of Manchester. Officers where aware that Feliciano's driver's license was suspended and that he had an active warrant for his arrest. Officers moved in and subsequently found prescription legend drugs in his possession, thus adding charges to his record. 

On Saturday, November 16th, officers arrested two more subjects. 

Ronnie Ferrigno, 29, of Berkeley Township, was placed under arrest for shoplifting from the Wawa. He was processed and then released on a summons. 

Officers also observed a male subject distribute controlled dangerous substances. An investigation resulted in the discovery of prescription legend drugs and evidence of shoplifting. Albert Pettit, 33, of Jackson, was taken into custody and charged with distribution and possession of a prescription legend drug and shoplifting; he is lodged in the Ocean County Jail. 

A 'prescription legend drug' is a drug that, by law, can only be obtained by a prescription and has a label stating "Caution: Federal Law Prohibits Dispensing Without a Prescription." Some labels only have "RX" written on the bottle. 

A total of nine people were arrested on various charges, all of which originate from the same location: 116 Brick Boulevard — Wawa. This area has become increasingly prevalent in crime, police say. An added police presence resulted in these arrests and hope to send a clear message to those who are thinking about committing criminal activity in the township, a statement by James Riccio, Brick Township Police Chief, said. 

Mark Anthony is a reporter with Townsquare Media: Mark.Kowalski@townsquaremedia.com

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