Handgun and Drugs Planted Inside Parked Vehicle in ShopRite Parking Lot

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HANOVER — The Hanover Township Police Department received an anonymous phone call advising that a male was observed in the parking lot of the ShopRite on East Hanover Avenue with a handgun on Sunday, October 4.

This male was allegedly observed placing the handgun under the front seat of his vehicle. The caller also reported that he observed illegal narcotics around this male’s vehicle. Hanover officers responded to the location and found the suspect vehicle and a quantity of suspected cocaine near the vehicle.

When the driver emerged from the store Hanover officers contacted him and obtained written consent to search his vehicle. During the search, officers located a significant amount of additional powder and crack cocaine, a significant amount of heroin, marijuana, and a loaded 9mm handgun.

The driver was promptly placed under arrest and taken to the police station. The suspect was insistent that the drugs and gun were not his and someone else must be responsible.

The arresting officers contacted the Hanover Township Detective Bureau who came in to interview the suspect. This individual was then lodged in the Morris County Jail on charges relating to the possession of the handgun and dangerous drugs.

Sergeant Schauder and Det. Kerri Griffin, of the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office, conducted an investigation and followed up by interviewing associated individuals and reviewing video from both Shop Rite and Chase Bank.

The video showed that someone else did, in fact, plant the handgun and dangerous drugs in the individual’s vehicle.

Further investigation revealed that the suspect was operating a rental vehicle and a review of the rental records led to the arrest of Mr. Henry Patterson, 47, Wharton.

Mr. Patterson was lodged in the Morris County Correctional Facility after being charged with filing a false police report, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, unlawful possession of a weapon, possession of cocaine, possession of heroin, and tampering with or fabricating evidence.

The individual who was originally arrested and charged was released.

Editor’s Note: An arrest or the signing of a criminal complaint is merely an accusation.  Despite this accusation, the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until he or she has been proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.