Home Police, Fire & Courts Toms River Man Arrested Twice, At Two Wawa Stores in Two Hours,...

Toms River Man Arrested Twice, At Two Wawa Stores in Two Hours, in Mask Disputes

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State officials said Monday that a 70-year-old was jailed following two altercations at two separate Wawa stores within a span of two hours – all over his apparent refusal to wear a mask to comply with state orders aimed at stemming the spread of Coronavirus.

Stephen Breza, 70, of Toms River, was arrested twice on Saturday, April 11, by Toms River police and was jailed after the second incident.

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According to the office of state Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal, at about 11 a.m., Breza allegedly became belligerent when he was told to wear a mask inside the Wawa store at 179 Route 37 East.  He allegedly started “screaming, flailing his arms, and cursing at employees,” the statement said. He then allegedly threatened a customer in the store that he was going to hit him with a pipe. When police arrived, he screamed at officers and resisted arrest, the statement said, but was issued a summons and released.

A short time later, shortly after 1:30 p.m., he went to a second Wawa at 1600 Route 37 East, where he again refused to wear a mask. He allegedly punched a male customer in the face, and when the victim left the store, Breza allegedly went to his car and retrieved a pipe, which he “wielded menacingly,” the statement said.

Breza was arrested again and lodged in jail.  In each case, he was charged with violating the emergency orders, disorderly conduct, and failure to submit to fingerprinting.

In the first case, he was charged with resisting arrest (a disorderly persons offense).  In the second case, he also was charged with second-degree terroristic threats during an emergency and third-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose.