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Freehold Borough Police Officer Salvages Mural Panels

Sgt. Michael Sweetman retrieved remaining artwork.

A Freehold Borough police officer’s swift action saved the 10 remaining panels of the town mural, Freehold Borough Arts Council (FBAC) President Neal Girandola said.

The panels had been removed from 63 East Main St. on Friday, Dec. 30 by a crew working for the building’s owner, Rakesh Kumar of HRS Investments. A painting crew covered the remaining artwork gray on Friday, Jan. 7, leading to an outcry from the FBAC and area residents.

Sgt. Michael Sweetman was on patrol Tuesday morning when he spotted the mural panels through the windows being installed on the building, Girandola said. Sweetman spoke to the project foreman, who received approval from Kumar to release the artwork to the police officer’s custody.

“We have a little bit of preservation of the artwork. We can't thank Sgt. Sweetman enough,” Girandola said. “For them to take the time to do that and care, it says a lot about our police department.”

Girandola retrieved the panels from the on Tuesday afternoon.

The artwork will be on display during a performance by Mission Dance at the on Saturday, Jan 14 from 9 p.m. to midnight, Girandola said.

What business will take root at 63 East Main St. is still undetermined. HRS Investments currently has an application pending with the Planning Board to develop a 7-Eleven on the property. The company also received an approval by the town code enforcement office to reopen the site as a gas station, should the 7-Eleven not be approved, Kumar’s attorney Mark Williams said. The building had been repainted to allow to gas station project to move forward, Williams said. The Planning Board will discuss the 7-Eleven application during a meeting at Borough Hall on Wednesday, Jan. 25 at 7 p.m.

Brian Sullivan January 10, 2012 at 06:13 PM
As the vice president of the Freehold Borough Arts Council and as a resident of the borough, I have to say thank you VERY much to Sgt. Sweetman. You are a hero in this story and you demonstrate why the borough PD is the greatest. Getting this art work back means so much to so many at this point considering the recent events.
jerseyshorething January 10, 2012 at 06:34 PM
I do not think you find too many families who have done more for Freehold than the Sweetmans. Great job Sgt. Mike!
patricia hamilton January 10, 2012 at 06:49 PM
That's what I call "to protect and serve"! Thanks Mike!
Carol January 10, 2012 at 07:38 PM
What a wonderful gesture! jerseyshorething, you're absolutely correct.
Jackie Condie January 10, 2012 at 07:57 PM
This is great news -- kudos to Sgt. Sweetman! Freehold Patch also deserves some credit for giving the Freehold Boro PD some well-deserved but long-overdue recognition from local media for the incredible acts of good that the men and women in uniform do every day around town....
Sydney January 10, 2012 at 10:51 PM
I am always so proud of u daddy and thank u all for the wonderful comments about him!!! It means a lot to not only him but our whole family! :D <3
Brian January 11, 2012 at 12:07 AM
Good job to the officer. Kind of crappy that they want to put a 7-11 or a gas station there. The borough needs a solid business that is not a chain in that spot.
Brian Sullivan January 11, 2012 at 03:10 AM
Just to be clear and with all respect to the other Brian, there are two Brians in this thread of comments.
Jacklyn Corley (Editor) January 11, 2012 at 03:23 AM
Yes - our platform allows people to have the same display names, though different accounts. Sorry for any confusion!
Marc LeVine January 11, 2012 at 01:25 PM
Definition of Hero > Sgt. Michael Sweetman. Thank goodness our town has so many legacy families like the Hammers, Reichs, Coynes, McGackins and Sweetmans to name just a few. I am not surprised that a family member from one of these wonderful Freehold families stepped up to save the day.
tony January 11, 2012 at 02:12 PM
Its good to see someone from town taking a stand and saving those mural it sickens me that they would put a gas station there i hope the towns people show up to the meeting to voice there oppinion
Brian Sullivan January 11, 2012 at 02:21 PM
There needs to be a "like" button for this comment.
Marc LeVine January 11, 2012 at 06:16 PM
Tony. I get it. The pretty mural went down and the drab gray gas station came about to bully the planning board and town into approving an attractive new 7-11. In other words, "replace the ugly gas station with a beautiful 7-11." The town of Freehold Borough should never let a gun be placed at its head.
Richard Berger January 11, 2012 at 10:41 PM
@Marc... don't rule out a 7-11 gas station either...
Lori Saizan March 27, 2012 at 04:30 PM
Glad to hear it- I watched the artwork going up each day on my way to and from work on Main Street, and was so disappointed when I thought it had been summarily painted over. It had begun to look like a nice pocket park at that corner, and was an enhancement to the town. Sorry to see it go.

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