An Ocean City Beach Patrol lifeguard was charged Wednesday with "possession of a prohibited device" after a co-worker tipped off police Tuesday about a homemade smoke grenade stored in a car parked at 36th Street and Central Avenue.
Zachary Kranefeld, 21, of Millville, was issued a summons Wednesday on charges of possessing the device and released.
The discovery of the grenade on Tuesday afternoon caused a brief spectacle as police blocked access to the roads nearby, and a bomb squad from Atlantic City detonated it on the beach as a precaution.
Kranefeld had reportedly learned to build the device on the Internet.
Ocean City police received the tip about 3 p.m. Tuesday (Aug. 6). The Ocean City Police Department, Cape May County Prosecutors Office, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Cape May County Sheriff’s K-9 Unit and Atlantic City Bomb Squad were called to assist with the investigation, according to Ocean City Police Capt. Steve Ang.
The investigators interviewed Kranefeld and searched his car on Tuesday before the the Atlantic City Bomb Squad secured the device. Investigators also searched houses in Millville and Strathmere where Kranefeld lived.
Kranefeld is a graduate of Millville High School and a full-time student Alfred University in New York. A former member of the Upper Township Beach Patrol, Kranefeld made the Ocean City Beach Patrol in 2012.Possessing or using prohibited devices is a third- or fourth-degree crime in New Jersey — usually not punishable by jail time on first offenses.
It's not clear yet what job action will be taken against the city employee.