A Monmouth University varsity baseball player allegedly broke into an Ocean Township house to steal a backpack, shoes and an Xbox video game controller at 5 a.m. last Sunday, according to a warrant for his arrest.
Anthony Brienza, 19, of Marlboro was charged for robbery, burglary, theft and possession of glass marijuana pipes. Surveillance video showed him entering the house on Old Farm Road through an unsecured door, trying to dismantle the surveillance system, grabbing items from the home and fighting with the homeowner in the master bedroom, police said.
The scuffle took place once the homeowner discovered Brienza inside his closet. He subdued Brienza and prevented him from fleeing as Ocean Township Police arrived. The homeowner, who said he did not know Brienza, was not injured during the encounter, according to the incident report.
Though the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office requested Brienza be held without bail at the Monmouth County Jail, Superior Court Judge Paul X. Escandon ordered his release in a fiery virtual detention hearing, as reported by the Asbury Park Press.
Escandon ruled Brienza must report to a probation officer, refrain from alcohol or drugs and undergo a substance evaluation.
“If you so much as spit on the sidewalk or violate any of these conditions, you’re going right back to jail,” Escandon reportedly told him.
Additionally, Escandon told Brienza that he was kept up all night after reading reports of a case “so bizarre and disturbing,” and that if the scuffle played out differently, Brienza “could have had had his head blown off,” according to APP.
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Josh Axelrod may be reached at JAxelrod@njadvancemedia.com.