Middletown, NJ –Middletown Twp. Chief of Police R. Craig Weber announced an arrest in connection to a series of incidents of vandalism to a number of houses of worship within the township. Arrested on this date is Natalee A. Hamilton, 34, of Middletown. Hamilton is charged with four counts of Criminal Mischief, three counts of Aggravated Assault on a Law Enforcement Officer, and one count of Resisting Arrest.
“This series of crimes committed against houses of worship is deeply disturbing, especially as it occurred during the pandemic when so many people have relied upon their faith for comfort and support in these very difficult times.” stated Chief Weber. “I would like to acknowledge and commend our Detective Bureau for their dedication and outstanding investigative efforts in identifying and apprehending the individual responsible for these crimes.”
The locations victimized include Westminster Presbyterian Church located at 94 Tindall Road, New Monmouth Baptist Church at 4 Cherry Tree Farm Road, and Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses at 743 Leonardville Road. In each case of vandalism, the suspect smashed out the building windows with rocks. The vandalism first occurred at Westminster Presbyterian Church on June 1st. New Monmouth Baptist was vandalized on July 14th. All three houses of worship were attacked on July 19th, 2020. On Sunday July 26th, Westminster Presbyterian church was victimized a third time. The initial incidents occurred during overnight hours. However, the July 26th incident at Westminster Presbyterian Church happened during broad daylight, occurring at approximately 11:05a.m, while parishioners were still present at the church.
The charges stem from the attacks that occurred at the three locations on July 19th and the July 26th attack at Westminster Presbyterian Church. The defendant was processed and subsequently lodged in the Monmouth County Correctional Institution in Freehold.
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The matter is being treated as a possible bias crime and is still under investigation by Detective First Class Darrin Simon. Any additional organization that may have been the victim of vandalism or anyone with information pertinent to this investigation is asked to call the Middletown Police Detective Bureau at (732) 615-2120.
Any persons arrested or charged with offenses are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Additionally, except in specific circumstances, arrest and complaint information and names of those charged may be released.