Business & Finance

Cook to Springfield Patriot Chamber: Delays in Security Camera Videos Hamper Police Investigations

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Springfield Patriot Chamber of Commerce Credits: Robert Kopacz
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SPRINGFIELD, NJ - Delays in delivery of security camera video from local bank branches are causing delays in police investigations, according to Springfield Township Chief of Police John Cook.

Cook was speaking in the course of his standard report on police activity to the Springfield Patriot Chamber of Commerce meeting on the morning of June 21, 2018 at Sofia’s Restaurant on Morris Avenue. He called out major banks like Bank of America and TD Bank for the delays, while reporting on an armed robbery which took place several days prior, in broad daylight, in the parking lot of the Bank of America branch in Springfield.

The victim, who had just used the ATM, was accosted by the perpetrator, who said he had a gun. Cook noted that even if the perpetrator did not in fact have a gun, it would still be considered armed robbery because of the threat of a gun.

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“We find it very frustrating when we can’t get something immediately,” noted Cook, stating that although the robbery was several days ago, the police department had still not obtained the bank’s security camera video.

Cook explained that the delay is due to bureaucratic red tape on the side of the bank to process the request for the release of the tapes, underscoring that this delayed the investigation and jeopardized the ability to apprehend the perpetrator.

He made a general request to the Chamber members to do all they might be able to do to convince the banks to move more quickly in the processing of those releases.

Cook also reported on other crimes which took place in the Township, one with a humorous twist.

Cook reported that the police responded to a suspicious vehicle report  from Staples, regarding two people throwing clothing out of their car onto the parking lot. They told the police they were doing so to find the keys to the car, which had gotten lost somewhere inside. It turned out that the car did not belong to them, but to a friend who was in jail. An investigation determined that the license plates on the car did not belong to that car, resulting in the car being impounded.

Within an hour, the same individuals were caught trying to find unlocked cars in the TGI Fridays parking lot. The male’s female companion was found hiding in the TGI Friday’s  dumpster with brand new footwear. A subsequent investigation determined they had shoplifted the footwear from Skechers on Route 22. The pair were then arrested for shoplifting.

The reports then turned to community events. Library director Dale Spindel, in announcing a full calendar of library Summer events, highlighted the Give and Take Jugglers, a juggling act, on Saturday, June 23rd, at 11:00 a.m. She also highlighted Zoo Jersey, a program where live animals are brought to the library, and the Summer Reading Program for children. Individuals need not be residents of Springfield to attend.

Springfield Historical Society President Margaret Bandrowski reported that last week, on Flag Day, June 14th, the Sons of the American Revolution conducted a ceremony at the cemetery on Mountain Avenue, which is the oldest burial ground in town.

The Historical Society will also be holding an open house this coming Sunday June 24, 2018, at the Cannonball House, commemorating the Battle of Springfield on June 23, 1780. The Sons of the American Revolution will be presenting a wreath at the ceremony.

The Battle of Springfield was the last major battle in the North in the Revolutionary War.

Looking further ahead to the coming year, Bandrowski reminded the Chamber that the Township will be celebrating the 225th anniversary of the founding of Springfield next year. Although the Township was founded in April, the celebrations will be held in June so that students will be off from school and able to attend the festivities.

In other reports at the Chamber meeting:

●     In a treasury report, Chamber Co-Chair Scott Seidel reported $7,500 in a separate bank account for the Summer Concert Series, $4,250 in a separate account for the Fall Festival, and $29,491 in the Chamber’s regular account.

●     Chamber Co-Chair Scott Seidel announced the need of more sponsors for the Summer Concert Series. Noting that $5,000 is a “nice” sponsorship, providing the sponsor with numerous opportunities to put their business in front of concert attendees.

●     Seidel also called on the Chamber membership for volunteers to help with the Fourth of July celebrations in the Township, noting that more volunteers were needed. Hours of service were from 4;00 p,m. to  9:00 p.m.

●     Co-Chair Mike Scalera gave updates on the the Business Improvement District Streetscape project along Mountain Avenue, as well as progress on the Saks and Gomes properties.

●     Bobby Abraham gave an update and solicited both volunteers and sponsors for the Township’s upcoming Fall Festival.

●     Reporting in his role as Acting Township Administrator, John Cook announced the start of the farmer’s market on the grounds of the Springfield Public Library on July 2, 2018. The market will also feature live music, with the band to be announced.

The meeting was sponsored by Samaritan Outreach Services, Inc., which provides community, neighborhood development and improvement services. It is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization.

There will be no Patriot Chamber meetings in July and August. The next Chamber meeting will take place on September 20, 2018. Check TAPInto Springfield for updates.

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