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Lacey Township Man Pleads Guilty to Theft

Lacey Township

By: Kafi Rosenbaum

According to officials, in May 2021, the Toms River Township Police Department (TRPD) was contacted by the Ocean County Department of Consumer Affairs with regard to a complaint lodged by a Toms River resident against Jeffrey Crawford, 50, of Lacey Township, who was trading as Hercules Renovations, LLC.

A subsequent investigation by the Toms River Township Police Department Detective Bureau determined that the victim homeowner entered into a contract with Crawford in September 2020 to remodel the first floor of his residence, for which the homeowner gave Crawford a down payment of $115,000.

Officials say that while Crawford sporadically performed some work on the property, he abandoned the job in March 2021 only after causing extensive damage to the residence.

Further investigation by the TRPD has revealed that a significant portion of the monies tendered by the homeowner to Crawford were utilized for Crawford’s own personal benefit rather than for the completion of the project.

Specifically, Crawford expended more than $40,000 on gaming activity in Atlantic City and approximately $30,000 on other personal items.

In total, Crawford misappropriated approximately $70,000 of the monies provided to him by the victim homeowner to perform the contract.

On October 14, 2021, Crawford was taken into custody at Toms River Township Police Department Headquarters.

He was released on a summons pending a future appearance in Ocean County Superior Court.

Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer has announced that on October 23, 2023, Crawford pled guilty to the crime of Theft by Failure to Make a Required Disposition of Property before the Honorable Dina M. Vicari, J.S.C.

At the time of Crawford’s sentencing on January 12, 2024, the State will be seeking a term of three years in New Jersey State Prison, along with approximately $70,000 in restitution to the victim.