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Some Concern Still Exists at Ocean County Mall After Incident with Drugs, Gun

Even though arrests were made and security increased after the incident last week in the JC Penney parking lot, we asked some patrons their concerns at Ocean County Mall.

“Tis the Season,” said John Alexander of Toms River when asked his feelings on the involving drugs and guns in on December 13.

“It isn’t going to stop me from coming to the mall,” he said, and perhaps that is true for many people this time of year. However, some shoppers are more concerned and Alexander, "although not too worried" did expect to add additional security patrols to what he feels are currently “non-existent.” 

When contacted about a possible increase in security at the mall, Denise, a mall employee who declined to give her last name, said that "security is always increased around the busy holiday season and if any shopper has a concern all they need to do is approach the Guest Services kiosk in the mall or at any of the stores."

When asked if mall security would walk concerned shoppers to their cars in the evening if requested, she said to “just ask.”

Toms River Patch had some additional questions about mall operations, which were deferred to the public relations firm representing the mall. Calls placed to the firm since Friday were not immediately returned.

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Update Dec. 20: The Ocean County Mall released a statement on holiday security, and said: "The safety and security of our shoppers, retail tenants and employees is our top priority at Ocean County Mall. As the holiday shopping season is one of our busiest times of year, we adjust our mall security and local police presence to compensate for our extended mall hours and increased pedestrian and vehicular traffic on our properties."

The mall maintains a close relationship with local law enforcement, but the exact number of security was not released as that could compromise security, according to the mall.

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At , Alexis, a cashier working the day the robbery happened, said she’s “not worried; our security guys are really good here.”

Aside from the mall having extra security guards on hand for the influx of shoppers, a spokesperson for the Toms River confirmed that Toms River Police have added officer patrols to the mall parking lots since the Dec. 13 incident.

That afternoon, two men fled from the back seat of a car in the JC Penney parking lot, swiping prescription drugs and cell phones. They ran to a second car and were chased by the men from the first car. Another man sitting in the second pulled a black semi-automatic gun on his persuers. With the coordination of South Toms River police, four men were arrested after the incident.

Terry Foote, a longtime resident of Toms River, was pleased to hear of an increased police and security presence, but said she is "more nervous about going to the mall after what happened last week and [she] won’t go in the evening unless [she] is with someone else.”

The Dec. 13 incident wasn't targeting shoppers, but the Toms River Police Department still warned it's always wise — no matter what time of year — to be aware of your surroundings.

While the mall is especially busy at this time of year, "all patrons of the mall should be alert of their surroundings and their possessions at all times,” said the spokeswoman.

. December 20, 2011 at 12:51 AM
Unfortunately, there are security concerns everywhere you go today. You just aren't safe anywhere.
Clyde December 20, 2011 at 01:18 AM
Get the mall rats away from the doors.
Alan K December 20, 2011 at 01:27 AM
Mall? What's a mall? Online is the way to shop.
Dominick Puma December 20, 2011 at 01:49 AM
There shouldn't be though. Hire more people to do the job right. The mall's now a days don't want to pay decent money for the right job. They expect someone to jump through hoops for pennies. Doesn't work that way folks. Take the right steps to keep the trash away. Send a strong message. One officer at a time answers a call for help. He or she has no idea what he might me in for once he gets to the scene. Team up people. Strenth in numbers. Have you seen some of the pack rats that hang out now a days. SEND THE RIGHT MESSAGE and your mall will make more money because people will feel safer at your mall.
Seriously? December 20, 2011 at 02:53 AM
Ocean County Mall is a slum. The only thing that will make it equal to or better than Freehold or Eatontown is to raze the entire place and start fresh.
Shore Skeptic December 20, 2011 at 02:55 AM
Seriously?
dave December 20, 2011 at 10:53 AM
let everybody carry a gun,let's even the playing field
theresa December 20, 2011 at 02:25 PM
Amen to that!!!!!!!!!!
Joseph Herbert December 20, 2011 at 02:55 PM
We really need a Judge Roy Bean to sit on the Court, north of the Toms River, a half dozen life sentences for three bangers, maybe a hanging or two. Not the humaine drug induced death. Death happens to us all eventually and if there's no pain, there's no lesson.
Garcia December 20, 2011 at 03:19 PM
I have growing concerns about this entire geographic area. Every day it's something else, another crime being perpetuated on the citizens of Ocean County. Seeing headlines like: "71 Year Old Woman Dragged Through Supermarket Parking Lot" are sadly becoming COMMON PLACE along with ones about bank robberies, gas station robberies, break-ins, etc etc etc the list goes on and on - all you have to do is read the paper on a daily basis to see that the crime in this area is growing at an alarming pace! I moved out of state in 2005 and returned last year, when I returned I was shocked at the increase in crime here. I agree judges need to be tougher in their sentencing but at the same time we need to look at what it is that is at the core of this disturbing trend. We as a society are turning farther and farther away from the moral premises this country was founded upon. I think we are seeing the results of the demoralization of the United States of America played out everyday in our headlines. (cont'd)
Garcia December 20, 2011 at 03:21 PM
(cont'd) People are become "dehumanized" as they sit behind their computers and turn their fellow human beings into "Avatars" they they feel free to attack without a second thought to the human being on the receiving end. The personal attacks I have witnessed right here in the comments section of The TR Patch are absolutely hideous and uncalled for at times. It got so bad in the comments section of the APP that they did away with "anonymous" commenting and switched to FB comments in the hopes of bringing back some civility. I think that civility and empathy for our fellow human beings is quickly disappearing from our society. This errosion of civility and empathy allows people to commit these crimes without a second thought for the person or entity they are violating.
Garcia December 20, 2011 at 03:26 PM
If respect is not being taught and modeled in the home children are unlikely to learn it on the streets. We need to end the utter selfishness and self-centeredness that is erroding this country from the inside out. We need to turn back to standards of decency and teach ou children right from wrong. So many broken homes and broken lives, children basically raising themselves, is it really any wonder? "America is like a healthy body and its resistance is threefold: its patriotism, its morality, and its spiritual life. If we can undermine these three areas, America will collapse from within." Josef Stalin Wake up people, before it's too late!!!
Rachel Tomasi December 20, 2011 at 04:09 PM
So true....,Ty for taking the time to post that. And I've been feeling down on my kids but tho they may fight amongst themselves a lot lately they do know the decencies toward others I taught them and they wouldn't steal, cheat or purposely hurt another. I'm able to b home with them due in part to Illness tho. Whets a mom to do that has to work 2 and 3 jobs to put a roof over her kids heads? I think we need more community ctrs for after school and really an overhaul to much of our current ways. And even being home my kids have seen some real trashy things or at least heard about em. Idk if that's our times or the geographic area but I think it's the former. Since I'm a Bennie lol I tend to blame TR N NJ. But really I think it's beyond that. So sad in an age where so much good has been discovered do much bad has gone hand in hand. Happy Holidays to all and STAY SAFE!!!

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