Last evening, (June 20, 2019) during the Township meeting, the Lacey Township Police Department honored five of our Police Detectives. Chief Michael C. DiBella and Lieutenant Christopher Cornelius honored Detectives Brian Flynn, Kymberly Gudgeon, Keith Pearce, Samuel Della Sala, and Adam Ewart with the Gallantry Star. The Gallantry Star Award is for the arrest of a person who is a major physical threat to the Community at Large.
The arrest stemmed from a Bank Robbery that occurred at the Kearny Bank, 630 Route 9 North in Lanoka Harbor, on May 29, 2019. A male suspect, dressed in dark clothing, approached the bank tellers and demanded money. The suspect fled on foot with a large sum of cash and entered a wooded area adjacent to the bank. After a thorough search of the area the suspect was not located. During the days following the Kearny Bank robbery, all of the above Lacey Township Police Detectives worked tirelessly together to identify a suspect. Ultimately their investigation led to the identification of a suspect and a search warrant was issued.
On Thursday evening, June 6, 2019, the search warrant was executed at the Ocean Gate residence of the accused, Robert Fitzpatrick, Jr,. The search warrant led to the discovery of evidence and ultimately Fitzpatrick was arrested. In addition to the Kearny Bank robbery in Lacey Township, the investigation by the above detectives led to additional criminal charges against Fitzpatrick involving the robbery of Bank of America in Toms River on April 25, 2019, and the robbery of the Wells Fargo Bank on April 9, 2019 in Manchester Township.
The Lacey Township Police Department is extremely proud of these detectives for all of their hard work involving all three bank robberies.
Assisting agencies included the FBI, New Jersey State Police, the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, the Ocean County Sheriff’s Department, the Ocean County Regional SWAT Team, the Toms River Township Police Department and the Ocean Gate Police Department. A sincere thank you to all of these assisting agencies.
-Chief Michael C. DiBella