ROXBURY, NJ – He lied to a clerk in Tennessee when he tried to get a driver’s license.
That, according to Tennessee authorities, is what led to the arrest of Richard Allen Ziegler on charges of engaging in multiple sex acts with children in Roxbury almost four decades ago.
They said the incident that ended Ziegler’s 30-year-long escape from New Jersey justice took place July 1 in Huntsville, Tenn. On that day, Ziegler went to the Scott County Clerk’s Office and filled-out an application for a Tennessee driver license, said the Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security (TDSHS).
“On the application, Ziegler indicated he did not have, nor ever had a Tennessee driver license, certificate for driving, learner permit or an ID,” said the TDSHS in a statement. But that wasn’t true, said the agency.
“An investigation later revealed Ziegler to have had a Tennessee license under the name of Allen Richard Richards, originally issued in 1991 and having expired in 2014,” said the TDSHS.
It said Ziegler “signed the application in front of a sworn Scott County deputy clerk, as part of a material statement in an official proceeding.” The clerk gave Ziegler the license, but it seems police were made aware of the discrepancies and began a probe.
Cold Case Turns Hot
They said the investigation led Tennessee Highway Patrol Criminal Investigations Division (CID) Sergeant Jonathan Scott to learn about the allegations against Ziegler in Roxbury.
Authorities here contend Ziegler, between Dec 1, 1981 and May 31, 1987, engaged in multiple sexual acts with two separate victims in Roxbury. One was between the ages of 10 and 12 at the time and the other was between 10 and 15, according to police.
They said Ziegler was living with the children “and had assumed responsibility” for their care.
Scott arrested Ziegler - charging him with Aggravated Perjury and Driver License Fraud – and notified Roxbury police and the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office.
New Jersey authorities subsequently charged Ziegler with first-degree Aggravated Sexual Assault, three counts of second-degree Sexual Assault; third-degree Aggravated Criminal Sexual Contact and two counts of second-degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child, said the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office.
The prosecutor’s office said it was pursuing extradition proceedings in Tennessee seeking the return of Ziegler to New Jersey for prosecution.