READINGTON TOWNSHIP, NEW JERSEY – About 80 cases of Monster energy drink were stolen at the Quick Chek Festival of Ballooning, and five volunteer firefighters were charged with the theft, Readington Township police announced today, Friday.
Another man was charged with stealing a 40-foot-high Monster energy drink inflatable display from the festival, which was held at Solberg Airport.
On Monday, July 30, the day after the festival ended, a representative from the Coca-Cola Co. contacted Readington Township Police to report the thefts. The victim explained he was the vendor for Monster energy drink during the festival and discovered that approximately 80 cases of the drink and the inflatable display were missing. The annual event ran July 27-29 this year.
A month-long investigation by the Readington police led to the identity of several witnesses and subsequently charges against six people, Sgt. John Insabella said. The police identified five of those charged as volunteer firefighters in Readington Township.
The Readington Fire Company is employed by the Balloon Festival to provide fire protection services at the event, police reported. Of the suspects charged, three are members of Readington Fire Company. They are Jordan Kaplan, 24, of Branchburg, Nicholas Magos, 25, of Branchburg and Lawrence Fogg, 69, of Flemington, police said. The remaining two firefighters are charged from the East Whitehouse Fire Company, police said: Shawn Brownlow, 22, and Casey Brownlow, 21, both of Whitehouse Station.
The two Brownlows, along with Kaplan, Magos and Fogg were each charged with disorderly persons theft, and released on their own recognizance pending a court action.
Jeffrey Becker, 22, of Annandale in Clinton Township was identified as the person who had taken the display, police said. He was charged with third-degree theft and also released pending his court date.