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New Jersey couple charged with animal cruelty impersonated animal rescue employee: police

By Web Staff

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    EVESHAM TOWNSHIP, New Jersey (KYW) — A South Jersey couple, previously arrested for endangering the welfare of a child and animal cruelty, have been charged again for impersonating an animal rescue employee and assisting with the crime.

Evesham police said Tuesday that 35-year-old Rebecca Halbach posed as an employee of a local animal rescue, where she was presumably helping facilitate with adoptions and care of animals. She had help from 32-year-old Brandon Leconey.

However, Halbach was not an employee, nor was she a volunteer with the animal rescue she claimed to be a part of.

The investigation also found that Halbach failed to provide proper adoption and care for the animals that were given to her. Halbach was charged with animal cruelty for this in August.

Halbach is charged with theft by deception and computer crimes. Leconey was charged with conspiracy to commit theft by deception and conspiracy to commit computer crimes.

Now, Evesham detectives are investigating more computer crimes the couple committed while Halbach was posing as an animal shelter employee. Police anticipate more charges to come related to these crimes.

Halbach and Leconey were, again, held in the Burlington County Jail in Mount Holly pending a first appearance in Superior Court.

During their investigations into the couple, detectives discovered a burglary and theft had been committed at the couple’s home, on the 600 block of East Main Street while they were incarcerated.

Officials allege 54-year-old Kelli Bowen entered the home without permission from the owners and took items from the couple’s home. Bowen was later arrested and charged with burglary, theft and trespassing.

In August, Evesham Township police said more than 30 dead dogs and nine injured canines were found inside the couple’s home. The injured dogs were taken to the Mt. Laurel Animal Hospital in “extremely poor health,” and one of them had to be euthanized.

“Yeah, I mean, it’s pretty bad,” said Evesham Police Chief Walt Miller after the discovery.

Investigators said a 9-year-old child was also found inside the home and was removed because of unhealthy conditions. The child was taken into the care of the New Jersey Division of Child Protection and Permanency.

Miller said police found about 70 more dogs in holes in the backyard covered with a tarp, possibly dead because of malnourishment. Police believe as many as 100 dogs may have died at the home.

Miller said Halbach received over $7,000 in compensation for her crimes.

This investigation is ongoing, anyone with information regarding this crime is asked to contact the Evesham Police Department at 856-983-1116 or their confidential tip line 856-983-4699.

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