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Washington Township man who raised fear of ‘another Colombine’ sentenced for weapons arsenal

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: A self-described disabled Viet Nam Air Force veteran who police said amassed an arsenal of weapons and ammunition larger than their very own, raising concerns of “another Colombine,” was sentenced to 70 months in federal prison.

Daniel M. Furesz, 62, an unemployed auto mechanic, was arrested in December 2009 by police who found three dozen weapons in his Washington Township home.

They also found thousands of rounds of ammunition – most of it stored in a refrigerator a gas mask, a Kevlar vest and other implements of destruction that he stashed in a house willed to his sister by their mother, a source with direct knowledge of the investigation told CLIFFVIEW PILOT at the time.

Furesz also had knives, swords, and crossbows, most of which were stashed in closets, local police said. The Bergen County Bomb Squad was summoned after officers found what appeared to be gunpowder. He amassed his arsenal at gun shows in Virginia, a law enforcement source told CLIFFVIEW PILOT .

Furesz has been charged in the past with making terrorists threats against his sister, who called police again this time. The sister “was removing some unregistered vehicles on the property and she was afraid he would do something to her,” another source told CLIFFVIEW PILOT . “It was a scary situation.”

The Westwood High School graduate – who has a history of lewdness convictions on his record – had made bail less than three weeks earlier following his arrest in Hasbrouck Heights.

A Glen Rock resident who was driving south on Route 17 the night of Sept. 11 reported seeing Furesz masturbating in his 1993 Buick LeSabre near Franklin Avenue. A Rutherford police officer took him into custody, and that’s when Hasbrouck Heights found a Smith & Wesson model 60-9, .357 Magnum handgun.

Over nearly 15 years before, Furesz had been arrested no fewer than 15 times, on charges including lewdness, sexual assault, child endangerment and weapons possession. Federal and state laws prohibit felons from having guns of any type.

Earlier in 2009, Furesz tried circulating a petition asking Congress to protect the Second Amendment.

“I am a strong advocate of the National Rifle Association which I must remind you was our first and strongest Homeland Security,” he wrote in his petition, obtained and originally published by CLIFFVIEW PILOT in an exclusive report . “We survived being invaded by Japan because it was told to the Imperial Majesty of Japan that at least one out 3 families in California were armed.”

“[T]here has never been a known incident of a gun jumping off the shelf and shooting someone,” Furesz wrote, in a petition that drew barely a dozen signees. “I implore you to consider stricter enforcement of existing laws instead of making new ones that limit the ownership use and or purchase of new firearms in any caliber and or action.”

A SWAT team was in position during his Dec. 9, 2009 arrest, in case things got tense. A dangerous situation was avoided, however, when Furesz opened the door.

“Do you have any weapons in the house?” Furesz was asked.

“Maybe,” he said.

“No one could have anticipated the magnitude” of what his squad found, Lt. Jack Oppelt said.

Furesz had “more ammunition than the entire police department in Washington Township,” the lieutenant said.

“I don’t know what his intention was,” a law enforcement source told CLIFFVIEW PILOT at the time. “But this could have had the potential for another Colombine, given his history.”

In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Judge Peter G. Sheridan sentenced Furesz to three years of supervised release.

U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman credited agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli’s staff with assembling the case – and gave credit to the Hasbrouck Heights, Rutherford, Garfield, and Washington Township Police Departments “for their important roles.”

Prosecuting Furesz were Assistant U.S. Attorneys John E. Clabby of Fishman’s Criminal Division in Trenton and Lisa M. Colone and Aaron Mendelsohn of the Criminal Division in Newark.

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