A man who was upset that his deceased friend’s hockey jersey was not hanging at a Toms River hockey arena caused a disturbance at the rink, prompting a phone call to police over claims the man appeared to be targeting a group of Jewish men who were playing hockey there.
TLS reports a group of hockey players from the local Jewish communities today are thanking the Toms River Police Department for their quick actions, and for taking the alleged incident very seriously.
“The rink managers realized he was up to no good – they became fearful and called the cops,” the coordinator said.
The man reportedly left a short time later, just moments before multiple police officers arrived and locked down the arena.
The officers surrounded the arena and remained there for the remainder of the game, and then escorted the parties out, while gathering information from the players.
Several of the players from Jackson were even escorted back to their homes, the coordinator said.
“They were definitely overprotective, but it’s really nice,” the coordinator said. “In light of what goes on in public places with crazy people, they’re taking it seriously.”
But it turns out the man may not have been a Neo-Nazi, according to police.
Police said they were dispatched to the Winding River Ice Rink in reference to a disorderly man causing a disturbance during a Jewish Men’s Hockey Club Game.
“Employees at the ice rink stated that a white male with a shaved head and multiple tattoos entered the rink and walked past the employees while making obscene hand gestures,” Spokesman Ralph Stocco said. “He approached the ice area while taunting and making gestures towards the players. He then ripped off his shirt and continued to yell, prior to leaving in a white pickup truck 5 minutes later.”
“Initially, the officers were told that the man may have been showing a swastika tattoo once his shirt was removed. The police officers spoke to the employees; however they all add that they did not hear any specific comments made by the man in reference to the players. Several players were spoken to and they all confirm that the man was definitely out of sorts and aggressive but they heard no specific language, comments, or threats being that they were on the ice enjoying the game.”
At around 2 am, police officers located the suspect in the area of Route 37 and Route 166.
“When asked about the incident at the hockey rink, the man stated he was in the area and stopped to see if his deceased friend’s jersey was still hanging at the rink. The Jersey was not observed and this agitated him.
Additionally, he was not satisfied with the skill of the players on the ice. He then taunted them, at one point ripping off his shirt to show his many hockey related tattoos. He voluntarily showed his tattoos to the officers and in fact does not appear to have any swastikas on his torso. The officers believed that the man had no knowledge of the Jewish league on the ice at the time and his arrival was random. The man was permitted to leave and the incident will be assigned to detectives who will review the case to determine the appropriate charges, if any, to be signed against the individual.”
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