An Ocean County grand jury returned an indictment last week against a man who allegedly terrorized his neighbors with anti-Semitic and anti-gay taunts and carved a swastika on their lawn.
Scott Cooney, 45, of Lakewood, was indicted Dec. 17 on one count of bias intimidation, the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office announced Monday. The indictment stems from an Aug. 10 incident in which Cooney’s neighbors called police and reported months’ worth of verbal harassment and threats.
On the day they called police, the neighbors said they saw Cooney on their front yard using what appeared to be a lead pipe to carve something into their lawn. The victims, not wanting to provoke a confrontation, stayed safely within their home, said Al Della Fave, spokesman for the prosecutor’s office. Once Cooney left, he said, the neighbors went outside to find that he had carved a swastika into the lawn. The victims took a photo and immediately responded to the Lakewood Police Department.
Lakewood Police Detective Leroy Marshall conducted the investigation that ultimately led to the arrest.
Little Egg Harbor Man Pleads Guilty to Bias Intimidation
Separate from the Lakewood case, the prosecutor’s office announced that a Little Egg Harbor man, David Smith III, 25, entered a guilty plea in another case of bias intimidation that also included a charge of resisting arrest.
Smith admitted to an incident during which he hurled racial slurs at a black man who was walking by his house in 2012. The racial slurs caused a physical altercation with both the victim as well as police who were called to the scene, prosecutors said.
Smith is facing 270 days in the Ocean County Jail along with probation, anger management, substance abuse counseling and community service. His sentence is pending.