Thursday, June 21, 2007

MTPD Press Release



Prepared by Detective Lt. Joseph C. Capriotti

On June 20, 2007 at about 4:00AM, Middletown Twp. Police Officer Kimberly Best was patrolling on the southbound side of Highway 35 when she passed a silver colored car parked off the highway with all of its lights out and a person outside the car. The car was parked near the tree line adjacent to Monmouth Cycles, a motorcycle dealership.

Officer Best had to travel past the car to turn around to come back and investigate the car and while doing so called for additional police assistance. As she was coming back northbound on the opposite side of the Hwy. 35 to return to the motorcycle dealership she saw a motorcycle operated by a person wearing a baseball hat leave the dealership southbound on Hwy. 35.

When the motorcycle approached the intersection of Hwy. 35 and Apple Farm Road the driver made an illegal U-turn in the southbound lane and began traveling north in the southbound lane until it met up with the silver colored car she originally saw parked off the highway. The motorcycle then made another U-turn in the southbound lane and began following the car south on Hwy. 35. Officer Best radioed the direction of travel of the two suspicious vehicles to other police officers who were coming to assist. As she was broadcasting this information, Middletown Police headquarters received a burglar alarm activation from the motorcycle dealership.

Corporal Ralph Flannigan, who was further south on Hwy. 35 and saw the motorcycle and the car approaching but prior to reaching Cpl. Flannigan, the motorcycle made an illegal U-turn through the barrier at Rt. 35 and Pine Street and proceeded northbound at a high rate of speed. Officer Lawrence Seymour was traveling south on Rt. 35 and saw the motorcycle on Rt. 35 north at an estimated 100 miles per hour.

The officers radioed for additional assistance to intercept the motorcycle further north on Rt. 35 as attempts to pursue the motorcycle at such high speed would have been dangerous and futile, especially since it was raining and the roadway was wet. Police officers positioned themselves along Rt. 35 in an attempt to maintain visual contact with the motorcycle as it proceeded north on Rt. 35. Officer Seymour was the last officer to see the motorcycle in the area of Cherry Tree Farm Road and Rt. 35 until Officer Brian Dilworth located the motorcycle lying on its side and abandoned at the bottom of the entrance ramp at the Target Department Store on Rt. 35 at Palmer Avenue.

Middletown, Holmdel and Hazlet officers searched the immediate area and requested the assistance of a tracking K-9 from the Hazlet Township Police Department. Hazlet Officer Kevin Geoghan and his K-9 partner, Memphis, responded to the scene. Memphis picked up the fresh scent from the motorcycle and tracked across Palmer Avenue to a gas station where Nicholas Ventarola, age 19 of Staten Island, NY, the operator of the motorcycle, was found lying under some bushes. Ventarola was arrested by Officer Best with assistance from Middletown Officers Lawrence Seymour, Brian Dilworth, Anthony Bumbico and Donald Coates and Sergeant Charles Terefenko. Officers from Hazlet and Holmdel also assisted with the arrest.

Continued investigation at Monmouth Cycles by Officer Best and Officer Seymour revealed the motorcycle, a 2005 Suzuki GSX, had been stolen from the dealership through on opening in a fenced in area.

Detective First Class Jeffery Barner was assigned to conduct the follow up investigation. He was able to identify other conspirators involved. At approximately 8:00PM Lucian Acosta, age 25, of Staten Island and John Vaccaro, age 24, also of Staten Island were arrested by DFC. Barner at Middletown Police HQs and charged with conspiracy to commit theft. Vaccaro was released on his own recognizance. There was a warrant for Acosta issued by the Superior Court in Monmouth County for failing to appear for a court appearance stemming from an incident in 2006. He was held on $10,000 bail.

Nicholas Ventarola was charged with Eluding, Resisting Arrest, Theft of Movable Property (motorcycle) and numerous motor vehicle violations. He was held on $100,000 bail with a ten percent option.

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