Everyone’s heard the old stereotype about cops and their love of doughnuts. But why would cops go on a two-day stakeout for doughnuts?
It’s probably not what you’re thinking. In this case, the officers were staking out , trying to collar the person responsible for doughnut dumping.
Yes, doughnut dumping. Two years' worth, in fact, according to Camden County Park Police.
It seems someone has been regularly dumping 50-pound bags of doughnuts—sprinkled, glazed, jelly-filled and everything in between—at Newton Lake, usually along the banks or on fishing piers. The weekly area newspaper, The Retrospect, first reported the problem.
While authorities surmised the doughnut dumper could be leaving the treats thinking they would feed the resident geese and birds, officials warned the food was actually very harmful to the lake’s wildlife. Plus, wrappers and other trash were usually part of the dumps.
So Camden County Park Police went on a two-day stakeout of the lake and found the suspect at the cream-filled center of the dumping mystery: Santosh Dey, of Oaklyn, who works at a nearby Dunkin’ Donuts.
Det. Gerald Torres spotted Dey allegedly dumping doughnuts—in three bags that also contained trash and hairnets—at 6:15 a.m. Thursday. Dey told officers he wanted to feed the wildlife, but police found that account full of holes. Dey now faces charges of dumping food in county parks and feeding wildlife. The charges carry total fines of $150, plus court costs. The matter will be heard in Collingswood Municipal Court.
Dey was charged only in Thursday's dumping incident, according to authorities. County police plan to talk to the Dunkin' Donuts store owner about previous incidents, but no charges are pending.
Camden County officials credited residents’ reports for bringing attention to the dumping and helping solve the case. The Retrospect’s reports contained several residents who witnessed the doughnut piles. Then, earlier this month, a county resident emailed the county freeholder board to complain about the doughnuts, plus to provide a description of the mystery dumper’s car and habits.
That email prompted the lake stakeout.
“It’s this kind of observation and involvement by residents that helps us keep the parks safe and clean for everyone,” Freeholder Jeffrey Nash, liaison to the Parks Department, said in a statement. “We have rules and regulations that protect and preserve the parks for everyone’s use, but we depend on residents to make us aware when they see bad things happening so that we can respond.
"We applaud the work of the Camden County Park Police and of the concerned resident who took the time to check things out and email us.”
Residents who notice any other odd goings-on at county parks should report the issue to Camden County Park Police at 865-309-0006, ext. 5300.