The “Daily News” reported that a Pennsylvania gun store owner, John Cramsey, 50, was arrested on Tuesday, June 21, 2016, along with Dean Smith, 53, and Kimberly Arendt, 29. The three individuals were arrested for a series of weapon charges at the Holland Tunnel. Cramsey claimed he was heading to Brooklyn to rescue a teenage girl he believed was being held against her will. All three suspects were held on $75,000 bail and were denied the option to put down 10 percent, as a bond, in order to be released.
During the weapons bust, the three people were pulled over by Port Authority officials at the Holland Tunnel around 7:30 a.m. The NYPD chief stated the runaway teen, Cramsey was looking for was found in Bayside, Queens. According to BBC News, Cramsey’s truck was pulled over on the New Jersey side of the Holland Tunnel full of various weapons, ammunition, and protective gear, including helmets and bullet-proof vests.
A close friend of Cramsey, Lyn Baker argued he was shooting a promotion for his gun range, Higher Ground Tactical. This information explained why his vehicle was filled with weapons. At the same time, this information did not change the fact Cramsey brought weapons across state lines from Pennsylvania, to New Jersey, with the intention of crossing into New York, through the Holland Tunnel. Cramsey stated, he received the phone call from the at-risk teenager and dropped everything to come to her aid. Cramsey told the Holland Tunnel officials he planned to extract the teenage girl.
Baker and Cramsey are the co-founders of a group that provides support to families of people suffering from opioid and heroin addiction. In February 2016, Cramsey’s daughter was found dead from an apparent overdose in Allentown, Pa. The “Lehigh Valley Live” announced, Cramsey’s lawyer, James Lisa, believed his client deserved a break. This is because Lisa commended Cramsey’s motives, even if he felt Cramsey did not take an appropriate line of action. It is clear Cramsey broke the law when he brought those weapons to the Holland Tunnel.
Baker also stated Cramsey was disappointed he got the other two people into the situation at the Holland Tunnel. Lisa also argued the amount of support for Cramsey should warrant a reduction in his punishment. This is due to the belief Cramsey was only pulled over at the Holland Tunnel because his vehicle was covered with advertisements for his gun store and shooting range. At the same time, the Port Authority officers at the Holland Tunnel reported the truck had a cracked windshield and the weapons were in plain sight, which permitted the search of the vehicle. The gun bust at the Holland Tunnel led to the arrest of all three suspects.
It has been speculated, the Port Authority officers at the Holland Tunnel only searched the vehicle because of the gun logos, due to the fear of another active shooting incident. The attorneys for all three suspects collectively focused on the idea the initial search of the vehicle was illegal. This fact would make the findings of the search inadmissible in a court of law. The reality that the NYPD found the supposed runaway teenager in a different borough than Cramsey’s intended destination, has raised the question of his true intentions.
Smith’s lawyer, Mario Blanch, feels the charges should be dropped for his client since it was not his vehicle. Blanch continued to argue the search of the vehicle was illegal. This illegal search during the gun bust would make the arrest of the three suspects at the Holland Tunnel pointless.
It has been discussed how the death of Cramsey’s daughter has created sympathy for the trio. It has also been noted the group’s Facebook page is full of claims from their members. These people know that Cramsey tends to act quickly without taking the time to think things through. The group’s page has exceeded 1,000 members. The real question is, why did Cramsey fail to call the authorities before he headed into a potentially dangerous scenario?
It is difficult to know if Cramsey simply forgot to remove the weapons from his vehicle but it is easier to understand he should not have brought those weapons to the Holland Tunnel. This has been suggested, since Cramsey claimed he had those weapons in the vehicle because he was prepared to find this teenage girl by any means necessary. “The Morning Call” explained on June 29, the bail for Cramsey and Smith was upheld by a New Jersey Superior Court. Additionally, it was decided on July 9, 2016, the bail for Arendt was also to be upheld. All three have still been denied the option for a 10 percent bond. The Holland Tunnel officials claim their actions were justified.
By Kristina Lasher
Daily News: Runaway girl who the trio of heavily armed Pennsylvania residents stopped at Holland Tunnel tried to ‘rescue’ is back with her mother
BBC News: Rescue mission gone wrong in father’s vigilante war on heroin
Lehigh Valley Live: Gun dealer busted at Holland Tunnel: ‘His motives are absolutely genuine’
The Morning Call: Bail stands for Lehighton woman arrested with John Cramsey at Holland Tunnel
Image Courtesy of stephen velasco’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License