YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: A Ramsey patrol officer who picked off a speeding car on Route 17 turned up a double-barreled shotgun, a Mossberg shotgun and a bolt-action rifle with its serial number defaced — wrapped in black garage bags under the spare tire, Chief Bryan Gurney announced today.
Patrolman Michael Parise stopped the 2004 blue Infiniti near Prestige BMW on Route 17 south last Tuesday night.
While reviewing the credentials of the driver and passenger — both from Columbia, South Carolina — Parise repored smelling the odor of burnt marijuana, Gurney said.
“He also saw that both men were extremely nervous and were perspiring during routine questioning,” the chief said.
What’s more, both men “gave conflicting accounts of their destinations and reasons for being in New Jersey,” he said.
As a result, Sgt. Richard Falotico, the tour commander, summoned Mahwah Police Officer Rob Rapp and his K9, “Dome,” for an “exterior sniff” of the vehicle, Gurney said.
Dome “indicated” at least twice along the side of the car, after which Gurney said the suspects refused to a consent to search the vehicle.
So Parise advised both that he would be applying for a search warrant, and that the vehicle was towed to the police garage.
They were released and taken to the nearby Maple Shade Motel pending the results of the investigation.
Once the guns were found, and nearly $2,000 in cash seized, police arrested the pair at the motel.
The driver, Robert Helrigel Jr., 30 (above, left), faces three illegal weapons counts, while 35-year-old Matthew J. Joseph is charged with four.
Both remained held on $50,000 bail each in the Bergen County Jail.
MUGSHOTS: Courtesy RAMSEY PD
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