Mount Olive Man Charged with Aggravated Arson

Acting Morris County Prosecutor Fredric M. Knapp and Mount Olive Police Chief Mark Spitzer   announce that  Douglas J. Scherr, 33 years old, of Budd Lake in the Township of Mount Olive, New Jersey, has been charged with two counts of Second Degree Aggravated Arson related to a fire that occurred on May 2, 2014.

On May 2, 2014, at approximately 3:13 a.m., emergency personnel were dispatched to Apartment 8A of 33 Eagle Rock Village, Budd Lake, in the Township of Mount Olive on a call of a smoke condition with an audible fire alarm.  In response to this call, law enforcement officers responded to Apartment 8A and encountered heavy smoke.  The fire department responded to the location and was able to extinguish a fire in the kitchen area of the apartment.  The source of the fire was determined to be a glass candle that was underneath a chair with clothing draped over it.  Throughout the apartment, officials located multiple propane tanks that were venting a flammable substance into the apartment.  Officials were able to evacuate the adjacent apartments and no one was injured.   Officials were also able to extinguish the fire and rendered the location safe.  The fire was caused by a deliberate incendiary act allegedly committed by Scherr.

Investigation revealed that the lessee of Apartment 8A is Douglas J. Scherr.  He was not present at the scene at the time that emergency personnel responded. 

Scherr was arrested in New York State on the afternoon of May 2, 2014.  He will be held there pending formal extradition proceedings. 

On May 2, 2014, the Honorable Mary Gibbons Whipple, J.S.C. authorized a warrant-complaint charging Scherr with two counts of Aggravated Arson, crimes of the second degree.

Judge Whipple set bail at $100,000 full cash, bond or property without a ten percent option.

Acting Prosecutor commended Detective/Supervisor Christoph Kimker of the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office Arson-Environmental Unit and Detective/Corporal David Turner of the Mount Olive Police Department for their work in regard to this matter.

Anyone with information relating to these charges is urged to contact the Mount Olive Police Department at 973-691-0850 or the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office Arson-Environmental Crimes Unit at 973-285-6200.

Acting Prosecutor Knapp and Chief Spitzer thank the Arson-Environmental Crimes Unit of the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office, the Mount Olive Police Department, the Morris County Sheriff’s Office-Criminal Investigation Section, as well as the New York State Police and Chenango County (NY) Sheriff’s Department. 

The charges and allegations are merely accusations, and the defendant is considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Any inquires regarding this press release may be directed to First Assistant Prosecutor/SDAG Thomas A. Zelante at 973-285-6252 or [email protected]

County Prosecutors Association of the State of New Jersey Announces Scholarships

The County Prosecutors Association of New Jersey announces the availability of the Oscar W. Rittenhouse, Andrew K. Ruotolo, Jr., Harris Y. Cotton and the John H. Stamler Memorial Scholarships. The County Prosecutors Association of the State of New Jersey Committee, a nonprofit corporation, annually awards scholarships to law students, college and graduate students.  Each scholarship is a one-year grant in the amount of up to $2,500.00 paid directly to the recipient.  Scholarship recipients from previous years are ineligible.

To be eligible for the Oscar W. Rittenhouse Memorial Scholarship, an applicant must be a New Jersey resident accepted for admission to a law school.  The applicant must have an interest in pursuing a career as a prosecutor.  The applicant must also demonstrate financial need.

To be eligible for the Andrew K. Ruotolo, Jr. Memorial Scholarship, an applicant must be a New Jersey resident accepted for admission to a law school or graduate school.  The applicant must exhibit an interest in, and commitment to, enhancing the rights and well-being of children through child advocacy programs.  The applicant must also exhibit financial need.

To be eligible for the Harris Y. Cotton Memorial Scholarship, an applicant must be a New Jersey resident accepted for admission to a law school.  The applicant must have an interest in pursuing a career as a prosecutor with an emphasis in Domestic Violence or Hate Crime prosecutions.  The applicant must also demonstrate financial need.

To be eligible for the John H. Stamler Memorial Scholarship, an applicant must be a New Jersey resident and sworn law enforcement officer seeking educational advancement on a college or graduate level to improve his or her effectiveness as a law enforcement officer.  The applicant must also demonstrate financial need.

Applications must be postmarked by July 15, 2014.  Personal interviews of finalists will be conducted.  Applicants will be notified of the Committee’s decision in September, 2014.  Anyone interested in receiving an application can download same at www.cpanj.info.

Parsippany Man Charged with Robbing Santander Bank in Boonton

Acting Morris County Prosecutor Fredric M. Knapp and Town of Boonton Police Chief David J. Mayhood announce the arrest of Harry E. Schnitzer, 70 years old of Parsippany, New Jersey on a charge related to a robbery that occurred on April 30, 2014 at the Santander Bank in Boonton, New Jersey.

On April 30, 2014, at approximately 10:08 am, Harry E. Schnitzer is alleged to have entered the Santander Bank located at 405 Main Street in Boonton, New Jersey.  Once inside, Schnitzer allegedly demanded money and at one point threatened to get his gun.  Schnitzer then fled the bank on foot. 

In response to this incident, the Major Crimes Unit of the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office and the Boonton Police Department began an investigation into the identity of this assailant.

On May 1, 2014, the Honorable Robert J. Gilson, J.S.C. authorized a warrant-complaint charging Harry E. Schnitzer with a crime related to this incident. 

The defendant was charged with the crime of Robbery, a crime of the first degree.

Judge Gilson set bail at $200,000 full cash, bond or property without a ten percent option. The defendant was remanded to the Morris County Correctional Facility.

The investigation revealed that Schnitzer was formerly employed with the Essex County Sheriff’s Office where he retired in 2002 as a Lieutenant.

Acting Prosecutor Knapp stated “the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Detectives and the Boonton Police Department Detectives worked tirelessly to make this arrest. Classic and effective investigative efforts were successfully utilized to apprehend this alleged offender.”

Acting Prosecutor Knapp commended Supervising Assistant Prosecutor Matthew Troiano, Sergeant Steven Brylinski and Detective Kathryn Kutepow of the Major Crimes Unit along with Boonton Detective Leroy Harris. 

Acting Prosecutor Knapp and Chief Mayhood thank the Major Crimes Unit of the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office, the Boonton Police Department, the Parsippany Troy-Hills Police Department, the Morris County Sheriff’s Office-Criminal Investigation Section and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The charges and allegations are merely accusations, and the defendant is considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Any inquires regarding this press release may be directed to First Assistant Prosecutor/SDAG Thomas A. Zelante at 973-285-6252 or [email protected]