A 35-year-old Pequannok man has been charged with criminal mischief and defiant trespassing after an argument led to him slashing tires on an SUV and a trailer. The motive was an argument where someone told him to stop driving his four-wheeler on their property. He apparently was not happy with this and retaliated by slashing the property owners tires. He was apprehended by police after someone took a picture of him with their cell phone at the scene of the crime. An officer was able to identify the man from the photo and questioned him at his home. They then inspected his four wheeler and arrested him for criminal mischief and defiant trespassing, two disorderly persons offenses.
A criminal mischief charge in New Jersey is governed by N.J.S. 2C:17-3 which provides in pertinent part:
§ 2C:17-3. Criminal Mischief
a. Offense defined. A person is guilty of criminal mischief if he:
(1) Purposely or knowingly damages tangible property of another or damages tangible property of another recklessly or negligently in the employment of fire, explosives or other dangerous means listed in subsection a. of N.J.S.A. 2C:17-2; or
(2) Purposely, knowingly or recklessly tampers with tangible property of another so as to endanger person or property, including the damaging or destroying of a rental premises by a tenant in retaliation for institution of eviction proceedings.
b. Grading. (1) Criminal mischief is a crime of the third degree if the actor purposely or knowingly causes pecuniary loss of $ 2,000.00 or more.
(2) Criminal mischief is a crime of the fourth degree if the actor causes pecuniary loss in excess of $ 500.00 but less than $ 2000.00. It is a disorderly persons offense if the actor causes pecuniary loss of $ 500.00 or less.