Toms River police statement on the man with a 500 pound pig and turtles


On Monday July 8, 2019 at approximately 7:00 AM Joseph Kelly, 56 of Toms River, arrived at Police Headquarters and parked his vehicle in a restricted “police personnel only”  parking area at the department. Mr. Kelly then contacted a Toms River Township EMS employee and claimed he was at the police department to turn himself in. 

Officers responded to the area and located Mr. Kelly seated in his vehicle with a loaded shotgun across his lap. He was immediately taken into custody without incident or injury to himself or the officers. Mr. Kelly also had his pet German Shepard in the car with him, the dog was brought to the Toms River Animal Facility to be cared for. (The dog was not injured.)

Based on Mr. Kelly’s action, officers then responded to his residenceon Egret Drive to check on the safety and wellbeing of anyone who may be in the home. The residence was unoccupied, however various types of firearms and ammunition were left out in the open throughout the home. 

A search warrant was obtained for the residence which resulted in the seizure of a quantity of firearms, as well as ammunition.  Officers encountered what was believed to be a military antipersonnel device and an unknown powder inside the home.

 As a result of these discoveries the New Jersey State Police Bomb Unit and the New Jersey State Police Hazardous Materials Teams were summoned to the location to assess the safety of the items being seized.  The anti-personnel device was later determined to be an inert training device.  

The powder located in the home was determined to be an opioid. Officer’s also located a pet pig in the residence, as well as, several turtles. The pig and turtles were taken by Toms River Animal Control personnel and transported to the township’s animal control facility where they remain while Mr. Kelly awaits his hearing. 

Mr. Kelly was later transported from the Toms River Police Department Jail to Community Medical Center for a medical assessment.  On Monday evening he was released from Community Medical Center and lodged in the Ocean County Jail pending a hearing under New Jersey Bail Reform Guidelines. Based on the investigation Mr. Kelly was charged with a number of weapons offenses and possession of CDS (Controlled Dangerous Substance). He was additionally charged with the unlawful possession of a loaded shotgun, as well as defiant trespassing for his earlier actions at Police Headquarters.  

The investigation was led by the Toms River Police Uniformed Patrol Division, as well as our Detective Bureau. Assisting were the New Jersey State Police, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, Toms River Office of Emergency Management, Toms River Animal Control Personnel and Silverton and East Dover Fire Companies. 

The media and the public are reminded that criminal charges are accusations only.  Every criminal defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in court.


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