Toms River, NJ

Tactics Used

Auto Seizure
Buyer Arrests
Community Service
Employment Loss
Identity Disclosure
IT Based Tactics
John School
License Suspension
Neighborhood Action
Public Education
Reverse Stings
SOAP Orders
Web Stings

Toms River is a township of about 92,000 residents in Ocean County, New Jersey. Its mainland portion serves as the government seat of Ocean County. Prostitution and sex trafficking are well-documented in the town. For example, in April 2021, Ocean County authorities announced that a man and woman from Toms River were each charged with Promoting Prostitution in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:34-1b(2), as well as and two counts of Money Laundering in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:21-25. Police said they were a married couple. A year-long investigation, conducted by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Economic Crime Squad and Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Special Victims Unit, revealed that a business known as a spa located on Lakewood Road in Toms River was owned and operated by the couple. Although the spa appeared to be operating as a legitimate business, individuals patronizing the spa were offered sex in exchange for money. The investigation also revealed that the couple would deposit monetary proceeds from the spa into several different bank accounts in an attempt to avoid transaction reporting requirements under New Jersey state law. Detectives from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Economic Crime Squad, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Internal Affairs Unit, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Crime Squad, Toms River Township Police Department Detective Bureau, Toms River Township Police Department Patrol Division, and New Jersey State Police executed court-authorized search warrants on the spa and the couple’s residence in Toms River. Detectives also executed court-authorized seizure orders on bank accounts held by the couple, and they were each charged on summonses pending a future court date. In addition to such typical prostitution operations are serious violent crimes associated with the local sex trade, including homicide and setting up sex buyers for robbery.

Tactics focusing on sex buyers have been used to help contain prostitution and sex trafficking locally. For example, in 2019, two dozen alleged child predators, including first responders and college students, were arrested in a New Jersey sting operation for trying to meet underage girls and boys for sex, according to announcements from the state’s attorney general. Most of those charged were arrested at a house in Toms River, where they thought they had arranged a meet up with the children. Specially trained officers had posed on social media sites including Kik, Skout, Whisper, and Grindr as underage girls or boys. After chatting, sometimes for several weeks, all 24 people charged arranged to pay the young people for sexual abuse, the attorney general’s office said. Among the people arrested was a Howell Township, New Jersey police sergeant, Richard Conte, 47. He allegedly attempted to meet a person he believed to be a 15-year-old girl for sex; he had condoms in his pocket when arrested and had said in online chats that he was 19, according to the attorney general’s office. Others arrested included a nurse, a firefighter, college students, and a registered sex offender. The arrests happened between September 5 and 9. All 24 defendants were charged with second-degree luring of a child. Some face additional charges, including second-degree attempted sexual assault on a minor and third-degree attempted debauching the morals of a child. Five men face third-degree charges of attempted sharing obscene materials with a child for allegedly sending photos of their genitals to undercover detectives.

Key Partners

  • Toms River Township Police Department
    • Detective Bureau
    • Patrol Division
  • Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office
    • High Tech Crime Squad
    • Economic Crime Squad
    • Internal Affairs Unit
  • New Jersey State Police

Key Sources

Web-Based Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:

Background on Local Prostitution and Sex Trafficking:

Documented Prostitution-Related Violence in the City:

State New Jersey
Type City
Population 91798
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