BERKELEY HEIGHTS — Authorities recently charged a Belleville man with criminal impersonating following his alleged role in placing at least one illegal clothing donation bin in Berkeley Heights, said Prosecutor Theodore J. Romankow.
Michael Arpaio, 58, was served a summons on July 25 while in FCI Fort Dix, a federal prison in Burlington County, on a separate charge.
The Union County Prosecutor’s Office launched an investigation earlier this year after receiving complaints questioning the validly of clothing bins around the county. Detectives identified Arpaio as a person allegedly 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, according to the prosecutor’s office.
“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.”
During the investigation, it was alleged 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 allegedly promoted by Arpaio was located in a church parking lot.
The investigation is continuing into additional fraudulent bins in Union County continues, said Romankow. Anyone with information is urged to call 1-908-527-4500.
These criminal charges are mere accusations. The defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.