Prosecutors said Monday that they would be seeking a 15 month-long prison term for a 36-year-old man who carved a swastika into his neighbors’ lawn in the Leisure Village senior community off Route 70 in Lakewood.
Scott F. Cooney, 36, who also lives in Leisure Village, pleaded guilty Monday before Judge James M. Blaney to one count of bias intimidation, said Al Della Fave, spokesman for the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office. The plea stems from Cooney’s Aug. 13, 2014 arrest, when he was charged after victimizing his neighbors for “several months,” Della Fave said.
The dispute between Cooney and the neighbors culminated in an incident where Cooney used a lead pipe to carve a swastika into his neighbors’ front lawn.
“The victims, not wanting to provoke a confrontation, stayed safely within their home” during the incident, Della Fave said.
After Cooney left, the homeowners went outside and photographed the swastika before calling police.
At the time of his arrest, Judge Francis R. Hodgson set bail at $25,000. Cooney initially posted bail, however it was revoked after Cooney violated an order banning him from having any contact with his victims. The no contact order remains in place, Della Fave said, though Cooney has remained incarcerated since his bail revocation on June 5.
Cooney faces a maximum of 18 months in prison.