A state hospital in New Jersey has been fined $63,000 after police discovered a stockpile of weapons in an unlocked close. The weapons were found on July 28, when the local police were called to Hudson Regional Hospital to investigate a bomb threat. The threat turned out to be a hoax, but they conducted a thorough search of the campus just to be safe. That’s when a team of bomb-sniffing dogs led the officers to a closet with 39 firearms, including 11 handguns of various calibers, 27 rifles/shotguns, and an illegal assault rifle with a high-capacity magazine.
The police determined that the cache of weapons belonged to Reuven Alonalayoff, the hospital’s marketing director. The weapons were kept in an unlocked closet in his office, according to the police. They then arrested Alonalayoff on one count of illegal possession of an assault firearm and two counts of illegal possession of a high-capacity magazine.
The Secaucus Police Department declined to comment any further as to why Alonalayoff had the weapons in his possession or what he intended to do with them. The officers noted that he was arrested at Newark Liberty International Airport with assistance from the United States Department of Homeland Security Investigations.
“The unsecured storage of a large cache of weaponry, especially in this location, certainly creates a risk to public safety,” Secaucus Police Chief Dennis Miller said. “I commend the efforts and professionalism of all the police personnel involved in this investigation and am thankful this situation was resolved without anyone being harmed.”
The New Jersey Health Department fined Hudson Regional Hospital $63,000 for failing to immediately notify the department of the bomb threat, the discovery of the firearms, and for failing to implement policies and procedures to maintain a safe hospital environment.
According to a letter dated November 30, the police discovered that Alonalayoff had carried the firearms into the hospital months before the search. He did so by carrying them in cases wrapped in plastic. The security team failed to inspect or question Alonalayoff on the contents of the cases when he carried them in “because of familiarity” with him, the department noted.
The police also wrote that one of his assistants accidentally discovered the weapons while Alonalayoff was away because the closet door had been left ajar, but she failed to report the firearms to anyone. She later told investigators that it was none of her business.
The health department fined the hospital $1,000 a day for failing to implement safety measures starting on July 11, the last day Alonalayoff was in the office, and ending on September 9, when the hospital finally “educated security staff on policies and procedures to maintain a safe hospital environment.” Those fines totaled $61,000. The hospital was charged an additional $2,000 for the bomb threat and the firearm discovery.
“Hudson Regional Hospital designed a corrective action plan in response to a notice from the Department of Health concerning an incident where firearms were discovered in the hospital,” said Ron Simoncini, hospital spokesperson. “The DOH accepted our plan, which was implemented and is in force, preventing any such incidents from occurring in the future. The DOH notified us of its penalties for the infraction, which we are remitting in due course.”