Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that on March 31, 2023, Jorge Euxaque-Ballesteros, 26, of Toms River, pled guilty before the Honorable Kenneth T. Palmer, J.S.C., to Attempted Theft and Aggravated Arson in connection with separate incidents that occurred in Lakewood Township on April 9, 2021 and January 19, 2022 respectively. At the time of Euxaque-Ballesteros’ sentencing on May 19, 2023, the State will be seeking a term of five years New Jersey State Prison as to each offense; the sentences are to run concurrently.
On April 9, 2021, Officers from the Lakewood Township Police Department responded to a residence on Congress Street for a report of an individual attempting to steal a bicycle that was locked up at the residence. The victim was able to provide a description of the suspect to police. A short time later, Officers located a male in a nearby wooded area, later identified as Euxaque-Ballesteros, who matched the description provided by the victim. Further investigation revealed that Euxaque-Ballesteros was, in fact, the individual who attempted to steal the bicycle. Euxaque-Ballesteros was placed under arrest and transported to the Ocean County Jail. He was subsequently released as a consequence of New Jersey Bail Reform.
On January 19, 2022, at approximately 2:00 a.m., Officers from the Lakewood Township Police Department and Lakewood Township Fire Department were dispatched to a business on Cross Street in reference to a sprinkler system alarm. Firefighters were able to extinguish a fire in the basement of the business. An investigation conducted by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Arson Squad, Ocean County Fire Marshal’s Office, Lakewood Township Police Department Detective Bureau, and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit, determined that the cause of the fire was incendiary by an unknown person using an open flame to ignite cardboard and paper in the basement. Subsequent investigation revealed that Euxaque-Ballesteros – a former employee of the business who was recently terminated – was responsible for setting the fire.
Later in the day, Euxaque-Ballesteros was taken into custody in Toms River by Detectives from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Arson Squad and Lakewood Police Department. He was transported to Lakewood Police Headquarters, processed, and transported to the Ocean County Jail where he has been lodged since his apprehension.
Prosecutor Billhimer acknowledges the diligent efforts of Senior Assistant Prosecutor Meghan O’Neill and Senior Assistant Prosecutor Jamie Schron who handled the cases on behalf of the State, as well as the as the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Arson Squad, Ocean County Fire Marshal’s Office, Lakewood Township Police Department, Lakewood Township Police Department Detective Bureau, Toms River Township Police Department, and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit, for their cooperative assistance in connection with both investigations resulting in Euxaque-Ballesteros’s apprehension, guilty pleas, and soon his state prison sentence.