Warwick man charged with sending nude photos of himself to West Milford girl

| 15 Feb 2012 | 10:09

    Suspect reportedly lived in a park to evade police WEST MILFORD, N.J. — A 28-year-old man from Warwick was arrested last Thursday and charged with multiple counts of crimes against a child after sending explicit communications to a 13-year-old West Milford, N.J., girl. According to Passaic County Sheriff Richard H. Berdnik, Clifford W. Wares was arrested in Smith Clove State Park in Monroe, where he was living as a survivalist. The arrest was the result of a joint criminal investigation by the sheriff's Internet Crime Task Force and the West Milford Police Department. "This is an example of how interagency cooperation can lead to an arrest," said Berdnik. "As a father, nothing is more important to me than getting sexual predators off our streets and in jail." The arrest came after a four-month period where Wares allegedly communicated sexual photographs and messages via the Internet and cell phone to the girl. During the course of these communications, authorities said, the suspect transmitted nude images of himself to the girl and had requested she forward nude images of herself to him. Police believe he contacted the girl using social media. After detectives were able to successfully identify the suspect as Wares, through the assistance of the girl, they learned he was a wanted fugitive by the New York State Police for disseminating indecent material to minors and endangering the welfare of a child. They believe he took on the survivalist role as a way to evade police. "The investigatory techniques used should be commended," said West Milford Police Chief Gene Chiosie. "This is an example of how utilizing witness information and other evidence can yield a significant arrest." With information from the sheriff's office and West Milford Police, the New York State Police initiated a search Nov. 3 on the ground and in the air via helicopter for Wares within the more than 50-acre Smith Clove State Park. They found him at about 12:30 p.m. in the park, where he had set up a campsite. He had a tent for shelter, plastic jugs of water and a fire pit for cooking and warmth. Investigators also discovered a pair of handcuffs, a roll of duct tape and a 10-inch folding knife in the tent. Those items were kept by police as potential evidence. Wares was charged with multiple counts for the crimes of criminal attempt to commit the luring and enticing of a child, sexual assault of a child, endangering the welfare of a child, stalking of a child, criminal coercion, distribution of obscene material to a child and the use of a minor to commit a criminal offense. He was being held in the Ulster County Jail with no bail, pending his extradition to Passaic County, N.J., for criminal prosecution.