Morristown police blotter: The calls never take a holiday

Mayhem never takes a holiday, as these recent Morristown police reports illustrate.


Responding to a report of someone running on the NJ Transit tracks early on Jan. 4, 2014, police encountered an agitated man who described himself as a Marine.

David Phelan, 24, of Hawthorne emerged from the woods into a Morris Street parking shortly before 3 am “covered in snow,” reported Officer Eric Petr.

When directed to stop, David responded with an obscenity, according to the Officer, who pushed him unto the hood of the patrol car and handcuffed him because of his “erratic and escalating behavior.”

morristown police badgeAll the while, Officer Petr said, David cursed him and vowed to see him later “to settle this.”

“He then stated that he was a United States Marine and he had killed the Taliban, so we all could go —- ourselves,” said the Officer, noting David’s odor of alcohol and bloodshot, watery eyes.

From the back seat of a patrol car, David continued “screaming and yelling about how —-ed up I was and how he was a battle hardened Marine and he would ‘—- us up.’”

Profanities were aimed at Officers Darius Harrison and Jesse Dickerson when they arrived to remove David from the patrol vehicle. When he refused to pipe down, he was arrested on a disorderly conduct charge. He tried to pull free of Officer Petr’s grasp, the Officer said.

At police headquarters, David resisted the Officer’s efforts to remove the handcuffs, and was uncooperative during a search and fingerprint scan, Officer Petr said.

The screaming and yelling resumed in David’s holding cell.

“I observed him on a security video pounding on the cell door with his hands and he started kicking it,” the Officer reported. “Phelan then tried to pull the cell’s bench and toilet away from the wall.”

When those efforts failed, David began kicking and smacking the door once more.

“He then took some toilet paper and folded it up and placed it on his forehead,” and began ramming his head into the cell door’s plexiglass window.  Officers Petr and Adam Khoudja placed leg restraints on the man to prevent self-injury.

In addition to disorderly conduct, David was charged with defiant trespassing and released to his father.


Officer Eric Petr answered an evening call on Jan. 3, 2014, expecting to find a man with a broken leg in a Madison Avenue parking lot.

Instead, he found a “highly intoxicated” Brian T. Leopold lying there.

“He advised his leg was not hurt, he had actually walked out of the emergency room earlier in the day,” Officer Petr reported.


The 35-year-old Chester man allegedly told police he was thirsty.

“Once he left the ER he had bought a bottle of vodka and walked around town all day” drinking it, according to the police report.

As the Morristown Ambulance Squad placed Brian on a stretcher, an opened pint of Smirnoff was found “with a small amount of vodka remaining it it,” Officer Petr reported.

Brian was charged with drinking in public.


A Tennessee woman will have an expensive souvenir of her Morristown visit, if found guilty of urinating in bushes near the United Methodist Church.

Officer David Gizzi issued the ticket to 24-year-old Ashley Missner-Crane of Knoxville just before 1 am on Dec. 29, 2013.

“During bar closing hours the church parking lot is a commonly used area for individuals to urinate,” the Officer reported.

Public urination in Morristown carries a $500 fine upon conviction.


Police charged Loyda Castro-Tosta, 34, of Morristown, with assault with a deadly weapon “for purposely attacking her boyfriend with a wooden stool and causing him to suffer a laceration to his head” at 3:49 am on Dec. 29, 2013.

Municipal Judge Michael Noonan set bail at $5,000 and the defendant was taken to the Morris County Jail in lieu of that amount, police reported.


John E. Lawrence, 45, and Andre W. Booze, 44, both of Morristown, were arrested in the afternoon of New Year’s Eve in a Flagler Street apartment and charged with possession of heroin, cocaine, syringes and other drug paraphernalia, reported Officer Scott Weaver.

Charges include drug distribution within 500 feet of public housing. The suspects were remanded to the Morris County Jail in lieu of $50,000 bail set by Municipal Judge Gary Troxell. But first, Andre was taken to Morristown Medical Center for treatment of chest pains.


After being arrested early on New Year’s Night for allegedly refusing to leave the Iron Bar, a Summit man “intentionally slammed his head against the door” at police headquarters and then faked a seizure, reported Officer Darius Harrison.

While sitting on the bench in the processing room, Gary Conger, 27,  “appeared to start heaving a seizure,” the Officer said.

The Morristown Ambulance Squad took the man for evaluation at Morristown Medical Center, where he “advised that he had faked his seizure,” Officer Harrison reported.

Gary was charged with disorderly conduct and defiant trespass, and then handed over to the hospital staff. The arrest occurred at 12:35 am on Jan. 1, 2014.


A Manville man involved in a New Year’s car mishap told police he only had consumed “a couple beers,” but a blood-alcohol reading was more than twice the legal limit, reported Officer Joseph Heuneman.

“I’m so nervous,” Nicholas Pankowski, 22, told police when asked to perform a standard sobriety test after a 1:37 am crash on Morris Street on Jan. 1, 2014. He nearly toppled over during one such test, losing his balance and stumbling backwards, according to the police report.

Nicholas told police he was coming from a nearby motel in search of food police when he backed his Volkswagen into a parked vehicle.

“I observed the damage on the Volkswagen ran nearly the entire length of the passenger side and the damage to the other vehicle was the front left bumper, which contradicted Mr. Pankowski’s account of the incident,” Officer Heuneman reported.

Back at police headquarters, a breath test yielded a reading of .18, police said. The legal threshold for intoxication is .08.  Nicholas was charged with drunk driving and making an unsafe lane change.


We’re not exactly sure what it means when police “assist you to the ground”… and we hope we never find out.

But Rudolph Collier did.  The 25-year-old Plainfield man was engaged in a verbal dispute with another man outside the Morristown Diner at 2 am on Dec. 28, 2013, according to Officer David Gizzi.

“The dispute then started to become physical, at which time I intervened,” the Officer reported. “I then announced my presence as a Police Officer, and assisted Collier to the ground,” where he was arrested on a charge of disorderly conduct.


Police arrested a Denville man, Freddy Castano, 23, after observing him allegedly attempting to strike another man near the Taco Truck restaurant at 1:52 am on Dec. 28, 2013.

A bystander had approached Officer Brian LaBarre to report that the suspect was accosting two men.  One of those men said they were seeking a bite to eat after a night of drinking when Freddy started tailing them and muttering  “incoherent phrases,” according to the police report.

When confronted, Freddy then tried to enter a passing vehicle driven by a woman who did not appear to know him, the witnesses told police.

Officer LaBarre said he saw the suspect attempt to strike one of the men with an open hand.

“I immediately grabbed Castano and pushed him into my patrol unit,” the Officer reported. “Belligerent and agitated,” Freddy told the Officer that “those guys should get the —- out of here.”

Freddy continued yelling at those men; after producing a Florida driver’s license, he said he never lived in New Jersey and, then stated he had been homeless on Morristown streets for several months, according to the police report.

At headquarters, the suspect began berating another prisoner and police had to handcuff him a second time to control him, they reported.  Eventually, Freddy was charged with disorderly conduct and hindering apprehension, and was released.

Officer Yeison De Los Santos assisted Officer LaBarre.



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