Authorities recently charged a Belleville, N.J. man with 3rd Degree Criminal Impersonating following his role in placing at least one illegal clothing donation bin in Berkeley Heights, said Prosecutor Theodore J. Romankow.
Michael Arpaio of 34 Brighton Avenue in Belleville, DOB 10/24/53, was served a summons on July 25, 2012 while in Federal Prison at Fort Dix on an separate charge.
An investigation was launched by the Union County Prosecutor’s Office earlier this year after complaints were received questioning the validly of clothing bins around the county. Detectives were able to identify Arpaio as a person responsible for placing bins at locations in the county. In his dealings with landowners who agreed to house the bins, Arpaio represented himself as a retired law enforcement officer, said Romankow. A search later revealed that Arapaio has no previous law enforcement experience or employment.
During the investigation it was revealed that in certain instances charitable clothing bins places in various municipalities around Union County were being used for personal financial gain.
Currently nine of the county’s 21 municipalities currently have an appropriate ordinance that details the parameters relating to the placement and pedigree of charitable clothing bins. The fraudulent bin promoted by Arpaio was located in a church parking lot.
“It is troubling that certain individuals would seek to undermine the good and generous acts of others,” said Romankow. “When donating to a bin we urge people to carefully read the signage and make sure they are comfortable with where their donated items will eventually wind up.”
The investigation is continuing into additional fraudulent bins in Union County continues, said Romankow. Anyone with information is urged to call (908) 527-4500.
These criminal charges are mere accusations. The defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.