SPARTA, NJ – An anti-Trump Franklin man was charged with several offenses after expressing his political passion in an unlawful way. On July 1, approximately 5:10 a.m. officers picked up Richard Keller, 58 for having continuously dumped garbage on a Sparta resident’s property, police said.
"Some people are very passionate about their opinions," Sparta Lt. John Lammon said.
Keller’s arrest came after an investigation into complaints by a Sparta homeowner that someone was throwing garbage on their driveway. The dumping began about four months ago, according to police but it stopped during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The dumping began again in June, police said, leading to the investigation. The Sparta resident had set up a surveillance camera and caught garbage being thrown from a Kia Soul as it passed his home.
According to police, on June 1, Sparta detectives parked in the Sparta resident’s driveway in an unmarked car. Around 5 a.m. the Kia Soul drove by and once again, garbage was thrown from the car window onto the driveway. Detectives radioed ahead to another officer.
That officer stopped Keller. When the officer asked Keller why he kept dumping the garbage, Keller responded, “I think you know…Because of the flag.”
When the officer asked which flag, Keller “responded angrily ‘The TRUMP flag’,” according to police.
Police said, “Mr. Keller had such disdain for President Trump that it enraged him that someone was displaying a Trump flag. [Keller] decided that he would keep throwing garbage on their driveway to cause them inconvenience.”
Keller was issued summonses for criminal mischief, harassment along with several township ordinances and New Jersey motor vehicle offenses. He was issued a court date and released.