Ice-Theft Charges Dropped, Brookdale Student Relieved
The Brookdale Community College student accused of taking a cup of ice is expressing relief now that the charges have been dropped.
Cedric Calero, of Manalapan, was facing a disorderly persons offense in Middletown for an incident that occurred on campus at a Brookdale cafeteria.
Calero had filled up a cup with ice when he was confronted by a cafeteria manager who accused him of theft, then called the police.
Earlier today, the 18-year-old student's lawyer William "Bill" Bajohr notified Calero that the Middletown Prosecutor's Office had dropped the charges.
"I have a feeling it was because of the publicity," Calero said.
"Honestly, I definitely am relieved," Calero said. The first-year student added that, "this kind of situation gave me a bad experience for my first year at college."
Referring to the disorderly persons charge, Calero says he was not aggressive with the manager at any time.
"I made a conscious effort to myself that I was not going to act up in any way," he said. "Internally, I was livid, I was thinking -- this is getting kind of ridiculous."
He explains that he filled up a cup of ice from the cafeteria's self-serve soda station after purchasing fries.
"I don't really drink caffeine or anything," he says, "So I filled it up with ice, sat down and less than two minutes later, the manager approached me."
"The first words he said to me were, 'Did you pay for that drink?'" Calero says, "And my response was, 'No I didn't pay for it and I didn't get a drink'."
Calero says the manager then asked him to follow him and he did. Calero says he took out his money, apologized and offered to pay for the ice. He says the manager denied the offer and told him to wait for the police to get here.
Calero says that even though he was upset that the manager didn't accept his offer to pay and that the police had been called, he made a conscious effort to remain calm and collected. That's why he expressed confusion over the disorderly persons charge.
He says the media attention surprised him and that he's glad it's all over. He adds that since the incident, his family and friends have been making ice jokes to him.