EDWARD WIETT ELDRED III was a career officer in the Camden Police Department. His grandparents, Edward and Lydia Eldred, had come to Camden sometime after 1930 and had settled at 231 North 3rd Street by 1942. Edward Eldred III was born in Camden on April 1, 1943 to Alma Edward W. Eldred Jr. His family lived at 362 Dudley Street in the Westfield Acres public housing project in the late 1940s.

After serving in the United States Army Edward Eldred joined the force in 1966. He was living at 1014 Kenwood Avenue in Parkside when, while on duty in 1967, he was involved in a car accident while riding with Officer Robert Bergman.

Edward Eldred married Helen Miller around 1971 and moved to Sicklerville NJ shortly thereafter, where they raised three children.

During his time on the Camden Department, Edward Eldred served in the internal affairs and patrol divisions. He retired as a sergeant in 1994 after serving 28 years.

After a long illness, Edward W. Eldred III passed away on November 28, 2006. He was survived by his wife Helen and three children, Danielle, Courtney, and Stephen.


Camden Courier-Post
March 17, 1966

Keith Kauffman
Edward F. Eldred
Thomas F. Broccoli
Daniel M. Gallucci
Robert F. Whalen
Robert D. Bergman
Timothy J. McCarthy
Henry W. Sanders
Frank Howard

A Graduation
Click on Images to Enlarge

Standing: Unknown, unknown, unknown, Sgt. Joseph McCann
Seated: unknown, unknown, Robert Whalen, unknown, unknown, Ed Eldred,
Frank Howard.

First Row: unknown
Second Row: Joseph McCann (Standing),
Frank Howard is sixth man over.
Third Row: unknown
Fourth Row: Robert Whalen is second from left, Ed Eldred is at far right. 


A CAMDEN patrolman is hurried to a waiting ambulance following the crash of a patrol car against a utility pole at 10th and Federal Streets last night during chase of another car. Patrolman Robert Bergman, 23, of 3148 Waldorf Avenue, the driver, and Patrolman Edward Eldred 3rd, 24, of 1014 Kenwood Avenue, were admitted to Cooper Hospital with moderate injuries. Their condition today was reported satisfactory.

At far right: Officer Mike Lupico


SWIRLING winds yesterday were blamed for "bottoms up" compact car on Admiral Wilson Boulevard. John Sewell, 22, of 1249 Kaighns Avenue, driver of the car, told police the car was picked up by a gust of wind and dropped on its top. Patrolman Edward Eldred reaches for his cap before it's "hats off."· Sewell was winded but uninjured.

October 19, 1970

Fort Dix NJ

Camden Police
receiving training

Click On Image To Enlarge

Standing, from left: unknown, unknown, unknown, unknown, Dennis Stephens, unknown, Ed Eldred, Jack Stinsman, unknown, unknown, unknown, unknown, unknown, Ken Kehoe, unknown, Jimmy Snyder, Daniels
Kneeling: unknown, unknown, Richard Williams, unknown, unknown, unknown, Robert Whalen, unknown, Larry Worrell.


Camden Adds 21 New Foot Patrolmen

Camden City swore in 21 new patrolmen yesterday.

The new policeman were hired under $1.2 million in slate funding provided by the Safe and Clean Streets program for a total of 92 foot patrolmen.

With the 21 new recruits, the city has now hired 60 of the 92 boosting the total police strength to 364 men, according to Public Safety Director David Kelly.        

At the same swearing in ceremony in the office of Mayor Angelo J. Errichetti seven patrolmen were advanced to sergeant and two fire captains were promoted to battalion chief

The new sergeants are Edward Eldred, 30, of Sicklerville, John M. Koslowski, 27, of Audubon, Richard DiAuria, 32, of Pennsauken, Dennis Keegan, 27 of Mantua, and William Murray, 45, Mark Grandsden, 31, and John Phoenix, 43, all of Camden.

The new battalion chiefs are Kenneth Penn, 30, of Williamstown, and James McMaster, 33, of Camden.

The new patrolmen will undergo 12 weeks of police training before going on regular patrol duty.



Camden police check out abandoned garage building on Berkley Street in which stolen auto parts were found when fire­men entered to investigate smoke.

Courier-Post photo by Bob Bartosz 

Smoke bares 'chop shop'

Of the Courier-Post

CAMDEN - City police, capitalizing on a lucky break, think they have put out of business a stolen car "chop shop' operating in an abandoned, city-owned South Camden garage,  

Sgt. Edward Eldred, in charge of the police department's auto theft unit, said yesterday the enterprise was discovered by accident at about 1:30 p.m. on New Year's Eve when firefighters arrived to investigate smoke coming from a one-story cinder-block garage at 456 Berkley Street. The city acquired the building five years ago after its former owner failed to pay property taxes.  

Eldred said the firefighters found smoke coming from cutting equipment used to disassemble automobiles.

Bernard Hammond, director of city properties, said he knew nothing of the operation of the garage and that the city does not routinely patrol the vacant buildings it has reluctantly taken over when own fall behind in tax payments. He said the garage is one of between 2,700 and 2,800 properties the city has acquired in that manner. Eldridge said a man was working on a 1979 Pontiac stolen two days earlier in Cinnaminson, when the firefighters arrived. But by the time police were called in, the man had disappeared without a trace.  

Left behind were thousands of parts strewn about the building, ranging from dozens of expensive hub caps to an engine for a pickup truck.  

Eldred theorized that the shop specialized in supplying shady auto body shop operators with stolen engines and other parts for use in repairing damaged vehicles. He said the discovery could have major implications depending on the findings of a representative of the National Auto Theft Bureau who was called to the scene yesterday to search the rubble for hidden manufacturer's serial numbers that could provide clues to where the cars came from.  

Hammonds said the property was purchased at a city tax sale last month by a South Camden man who plans to convert it into a legitimate auto body shop.


Camden Patrolman Bob Lemayski guards truck laden with stolen auto parts discovered when fire fighters responded to smoke coming from a city owned garage, 


Car theft: City force gaining ground on crime

That wasn't always the case.

Statistics compiled by police in Camden city show nearly 300stolen cars had been coming into the city each month late last year and early this year. They were being taken from the many shopping centers, apartment complexes and parking lots throughout the county.

The problem was so pervasive the FBI ranked Camden among its national leaders.

"Stolen cars were coming into the city in caravans," said Captain Ralph Ferrari, commander of the city detective division and the man who formulated the plan that has cut auto thefts by more than 30 percent in the first two months of operation.

Ferrari said the situation got so bad that "something had to done - something aggressive, something ambitious."

Camden's response, "Operation Mattel" was launched January 8.

"We thought the name appropriate since we were dealing with the same thing that made that toymaker famous “Hot Wheels," Ferrari explained.

The clientele was to prove similar, too.

"Unfortunately, we've found a lot of juveniles involved," Ferrari said. "Smart kids, intelligent individuals. If they would exercise their brains, their capabilities in school, they'd probably be great students.

"The kids know they're being used by adults to avoid the risk of arrest. But the prospect of getting anywhere between $100 to $300 a car is a temptation most teenagers can't ignore, especially kids from families of low or no income. The juveniles aren't concerned about being arrested because they know their release is imminent as soon as a parent or guardian shows up."

The "Operation MatteI" task force is headed by Eldred and includes representatives from the Cherry Hill, Gloucester Township and Voorhees police departments, Port Authority Transit Corp., PATCO security officials and Eldred's experienced city squad.

Eldred says the biggest problem is catching the thieves

"We've discovered that we are dealing with quite a sophisticated operation. It has taken some innovation to overcome the contingencies these car thieves have incorporated into their overall plan," he said.

"Target areas have been identified.

Routes to and from these areas are determined in advance. Escape routes are even plotted," he added.

Despite the refinements, the joint effort of "Operation Mattel" is beginning to put a sizable dent in auto thefts, and Eldred attributes this to new techniques developed during the crackdown.

"It used to be that stolen car reports were turned in with the rest of an officer's records at the end of his shift," he explained. "But we've found that issuing an immediate alert and a description of the stolen car as soon as it's received frequently can lead to a quick recovery.

"If a car is not recovered within the first 10 or 15 minutes of its theft, there's a good chance it might never turn up."

Eldred offered the case of Robert Pacheco as an example.

A police raid this month on a pair of connecting garages rented by Pacheco

in Camden uncovered car parts, including a car frame. The frame was traced to a car reported missing barely 48 hours earlier.

"That's how fast they can disassemble a car," Eldred said.

Stealing one is just as easy, according to the police official.

"Car thieves don't even use Slim Jims anymore," Eldred said, referring to the flat metal bars that can release a door lock by being slipped through the rubber gasket of a car's window.

"The thieves have become so proficient with coat hangers that they can be inside a vehicle in 10 to 15 seconds," he said. "Starting a car has become equally easy to a person who knows the mechanics of the operations within a steering column."

Eldred declined to elaborate but said the knowledge he has gained through "Operation Mattel" has enabled him to start a car without an ignition key within 30 seconds.

"These people (car thieves) are so clever that they carry blank keys with them to insert into the ignition in case they are stopped by police who might want to know how the driver got the car going without a key," he said.

Everything is very calculated from beginning to end.

"Car thieves know where they're going and what they're looking for. They get there by using the High-Speed Line or car pooling. Four or five steal an old clunker in town and drive out to the suburbs.

"They abandon the old car, each returning to the city in a newer stolen vehicle.

"In some cases where a thief believes he might have been spotted, we have discovered that he drives the vehicle to another shopping mall. Then he meanders through the shops until he feels it safe enough to drive home."

Eldred said police don't give up their search for a stolen vehicle after their immediate efforts prove negative and points to one case in which police found a stolen car in a North Camden vacant lot as an example.

"The area was somewhat open and we were concerned that it could aid a suspect's escape, so we disabled the car and waited," he said. "When the suspects encountered difficulty in starting the vehicle we had time to position ourselves and make an arrest."

But things aren't always that easy. "Many times, we have to pursue these people at speeds over 80 miles an hour on city streets," Eldred said. "The latest thing is that when a suspect realizes he has no chance of getting away, he just Jumps out of the car arid lets it keep rolling. "

Even when they abandon the car, the suspects seem to have a pre-planned route of escape on foot.

"They run through vacant buildings and areas that clearly would have to be known to them. It's almost like they rehearse it," Eldred explained.

Remote vacant lots and abandoned buildings in North and East Camden are the most frequent drop areas.

The thieves' favorite makes and models include the most popular domestic autos that have the same or similar body styles. Cars such such as the Chevrolet Monte Carlo, Buick Regal, Oldsmobile Cutlass and Pontiac Grand Prix. The Datsun, Toyota and Mazda are favored among foreign cars.

Once stolen, the cars are driven into some of Camden's abandoned buildings, where they are stripped of accessories such as radios and clocks and other equipment such as batteries and tires. Sometime a fender, bumper or other car part is taken, but that is usually left to "chop shops" in the area.

About 20 percent of the cars stolen end up in chop shops and frequently are never seen again. The bulk are left where they're stripped, according to Eldred.

But progress is being made.

Eldred said "Operation Mattel" has not only improved the recovery rate of stolen cars, but that arrest rates are up as well.

"We are averaging at least six arrests a week," he said.

Most of those arrested, however, are not the major dealers police say are at the center of the stolen car operation in Camden County and the target of "Operation Mattel."


From Left: Unknown, Cliff Leary, Ed Dowhy, Ed Eldred, Unknown, Ron Trabosh, Unknown, Ron Miller


Police notebook

Man, youth charged in hydrant incident  

CAMDEN - A 25-year-old Mount Ephraim man and a Somerdale juvenile were arrested by Camden police yesterday and charged with illegally diverting water from a fire hydrant into a truck used for commercial steam cleaning.

The adult was identified as Dwayne Herbert, of the 900 block of West Bell Avenue. He was released on his own recognizance after being charged. The juvenile was to be released to his parents.

Camden Police Sgt. Edward Eldred said Herbert, an employee of Mobile Wash & Lube Services, a Lindenwold steam-cleaning firm, was first seen diverting water from a hydrant at Front and Mechanic Streets September 25 by an undercover team of investigators from the New Jersey attorney general's office.

The investigators, who were working undercover on a separate investigation, videotaped two incidents in which water was stolen from a hydrant in the area.

The same investigators worked with Camden police in arresting and charging three city employees Friday with using a city backhoe and a city dump truck to illegally dump demolition debris at a city-run trash transfer station.

A fourth man also has been charged in the case, which was not related to the arrest yesterday.

"This proves we won't tolerate law breaking by our employees or by outsiders," said Camden Mayor Melvin R. "Randy" Primas Jr. "We remain very supportive of these investigations because we want to weed out those involved in crime."

Cleveland Fort, who had been dumping the waste, informed investigators of the city employees' involvement in the scheme.

Winter said undercover investigators paid Williams more than $200 to collect and dispose of debris and other waste in a back yard. The location of the back yard was not released.

Perretti said the employees used the backhoe and dump truck to clean up the yard, then dumped the waste at a transfer station. The location of the station, the date of the illegal dumping and the nature of illegal materials were not released.


Friendly chat: South Camden residents Jacqueline and Calvin Aiken chat with Sgt. Edward Eldred at last night's open house at  the city's Police Administration Building. Police Chief Bob Pugh said he plans to continue the meetings once a month.


Courier-Post Staff

CAMDEN - The guests ate cookies, and drank coffee and soda while waiting for the master of the house to give them a tour.

In groups of two and three, newly appointed police Chief Bob Pugh took about 30 guests through the brick building at Federal Street and Haddon Avenue, home to 274 city police­men for part of each day.

Pugh opened the doors of the Police Administration Building from 7 to 9 last night so city residents could learn more about their police. It is a practice he plans to continue on the first Wednesday of each month.

"I'm doing this to continually open up channels to the community so we can learn what your problems are and you can see how we are," Pugh told Calvin and Jacqueline Aiken of South Camden. "For too long this department has told you what the problems are, now we're asking you to tell us."

The Aikens ought to know. Their neighborhood in the 1900 block of Fillmore Street is infested with drug dealers and prostitutes.

"He has swept up piles of needles and condoms right near our house many times," Jacqueline said, nodding toward her husband as the couple waited their turn for a tour.

"Our neighborhood is really bad. We've got drug dealers with walkie-talkies warning each other when the cops are coming," she said. "You can't even walk to church without somebody trying to sell you drugs or asking you if you want to have sell"

The Aikens said they have been threatened many times, but still they stand strong.

"Just to come here tonight we had to get somebody to sit in our house or else they'll (drug users) steal everything."

Most of the people at the open house were afraid to give their names, because as one woman from Parkside said, "the druggies will come after us."

When their turn came, Chief Pugh told Jacqueline and Calvin that Camden could use a few more residents like them.

"I have to rally around people like this; I need them out there," Pugh said.

While meeting with the chief in his office, the Aikens told Pugh that problems in their neighborhood were worsening, again.

"It was getting better when you stepped up the patrols," Calvin explained. But, he said, the drug dealers have caught on to police activity in the neighborhood and have found ways around it.

"We need to make a change in that area and we're working on that," Pugh assured the couple.

For the first time in a long time, Jacqueline said, she is optimistic about her neighborhood.

"We approve of most of what he's (Pugh) doing," she said.

Jacqueline supports Chief Pugh's efforts so strongly that she carries a picture of him in her wallet.

"I cut this out of the Courier," she said comparing it to a wall photo of Pugh. "I even have a picture of him in my Bible. 

The Police News of New Jersey - June/July 1985

Camden Local #35 recognizes efforts of Auto Task Force

CAMDEN- During the year 1984, the City of Camden was plagued with an increasing number of auto thefts.

This was not a problem confined to the ·City but also a stated and national problem.

During the year 1984, Camden' received 1834 auto theft reports. Also during that year 1984, 1075 autos had been stolen outside the city and recovered in Camden. 

In January 1985, with the cooperation of other police agencies in the Camden County area" a special Auto Theft Task Force was put into operation to combat this problem.

The following Police Departments assigned their men on a full-time basis: Camden Police Department Sergeant Edward Eldred, Detective Clifford Leary, Patrolman Ronald Miller, and Patrolman Edward Dowhy; Cherry Hill Police Department Patrolman Blair Smith; Gloucester Township Police Department Detective Ronald Trabosh; and Patco High Speedline Police Detective Robert Stanley and Patrolman Carlton Clark.

During the time the Task Force was in operation, the. Unit recovered 54 stolen cars, made 33 arrests, served 10 warrants, and, closed 4 garages being used a "chopshops".

The detectives and patrolmen involved in this Task Force worked long, hard hours, and dedicated themselves to making the operation a success.

They were extremely successful in gaining knowledge and information on the adults and juveniles involved in the theft and stripping of stolen autos in the City.

For their dedication and success in their assignment, Camden Local No. #35 recognized their efforts and presented each of them with an award.

The Police News of New Jersey - June/July 1985

Pictured from left to right: Patrolman Edward Dowhy and Patrolman Ronald Miller, Camden City Police Department; Detective Ron Trabosh, Gloucester Township Police Department; Detective Clifford Leary and Detective Vince Foster, Camden City Police Department; Detective Bob Stanley, Delaware River Port Authority Police Department (PATCO); Patrolman Blair Smith, Cherry Hill Police Department; Detective William Olson, Camden City Police Department and Detective Carlton Clarke, - Delaware River Port Authority Police Department (PATCO). Missing from photo Is Patrolman Donald Smith, Camden City Police Department.


Of Sicklerville, NJ on November 28, 2006. Aged 63 years.
Beloved husband of Helen (nee Miller). Devoted father of Danielle of Sicklerville, Courtney of Maple Shade and Stephen of Williamstown. Dear brother of Janet Eldred and Donna Beideman of Bellmawr.
Born and raised in Camden, Ed later moved to Sicklerville with his family where he has lived for the past 34 years. He served in the United States Army and then worked for the Camden Police Department for 28 years where he retired from in 1994 as Sergeant. Among his hobbies, Ed enjoyed antiquing and coin collecting, but his true passion was the time spent with his wife of 35 years and his children. Ed will be remembered as a loving, hard working and devoted man who will be truly missed by all who loved him.
Viewing Saturday morning 8:15 to 10:15 AM in the McGUINNESS FUNERAL HOME, 573 Egg Harbor Rd., Sewell (Washington Twp.), NJ 08080. Funeral Mass 11 A. M. in St. John Neumann R. C. Church Sicklerville. Interment St. Mary's Cemetery, Williamstown. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in Ed's memory may be made to St. Jude's Shrine, 512 W. Saratoga Street, Baltimore, MD 21201. Tributes & memories may be shared at: www.mcgfuneral.com
'The Lifetime Tribute Funeral Home'

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