Man Who Found Frein’s Jeep Just Happy To Help

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BLOOMING GROVE TOWNSHIP -- Authorities named Eric Frein a suspect in the deadly shooting of a state trooper after his Jeep was found in a retention pond by a man walking in the woods.

Inside the Jeep, police found identification and shell casings from the rifle they believe was used in the ambush.

We talked with the man who found the vehicle.

Jim Novak has been following the search for Eric Frein closely, knowing he's the reason police connected Frein to the killing of a state trooper.

Novak lives about two miles from the Blooming Grove barracks. He just wanted to help when he went in the woods looking for evidence and what he found was vital to this case.

Novak says he wasn't just out walking his dog last Monday. That's what state police said, describing how he found Eric Frein's Jeep. He says he was looking for evidence.

Novak lives two miles from the Blooming Grove barracks. He was devastated hearing a trooper was shot and killed there.

The Vietnam veteran wanted to help so he headed into the woods behind his house, and had quite a find when he got to a retention pond.

"I spotted it when I was over there and it was just sitting there," Novak said.

A dirt path led from a housing development to this retention pond and down an embankment. Novak saw the Jeep stuck in some swampy water with the door still open.

"I thought possibly it was maybe some kids put a piece of junk in there and that's why I didn't want to call the police right away."

So he waded into that mucky water to get a closer look.

"When I saw the gun case, I thought, you know, that's a nice time to leave," Novak said with a laugh.

Inside police found Frein's driver's license, social security card, and more. State police said it connected Frein to the killing.

Troopers say a search of the area near the Jeep led them to Frein's AK-47 and ammunition.

Novak was wounded in Vietnam and worked as a corrections officer. He says he is certainly happy he could help.

"When you actually shoot someone and kill somebody, a trooper or conservation officer, federal agents, you attack all of us, because those are the guys that watch us."

Novak struggles thinking about the killing of Cpl. Bryon Dickson and the loss for his wife and boys.

Novak walked out of the woods last week and let police do the rest.

"They wouldn't let me trot around with them, not that I would have minded," he said. "If they wanted me to go, I would go.

Jim Novak isn't looking for any credit for his discovery. He just wants to see Eric Frein caught nd if he helped make that happen, he's glad he could do his part.


  • Debbie

    Either way…conspiracy or not…This man totally deserves the $75,000 reward! If it wasn’t for him, we wouldn’t know anything about this killer…let alone try to find him. I just don’t understand how this man hasn’t been caught yet…12 days and counting…..really?? They keep saying that they are getting closer..are they really or just trying to keep face and keep the public more at ease. I have a feeling this man is on his way to Alaska and no where near the woods….just saying!

  • Observed

    I don’t think they are going to find him. They have thousands looking for him and the latest technology……’s not like he’s osama bin laden…….but you gotta admit……..he’s good. Real good. Too bad he doesn’t work w our govt instead of against it.

  • magoo

    Anyone who thinks or expects PSP to tell you exactly what they know when they know it is unrealistic and out of touch of how they must do their jobs. Of course they knew he wasn’t out walking his dog, but why would they tell you that? So every Joe Schmoe in the area could venture into the woods “looking for evidence”? Because based on some of these comments, I wouldn’t put it past some people. They aren’t hiding anything.. They told you who found the Jeep, when, and where. What difference does it make if his dog was with him or not?! It doesn’t. Get a life and let them do their jobs.

  • Peter C.

    I’m starting to think that at some point, someone is going to find his remains up near where the jeep was and an autopsy will show he shot himself the day after the trooper shooting. I think there just chasing deer around Cresco…and possibly a Sasquatch. If he was truly playing “Serbian Soldier” and had it out for PSP I think that he would have taken a few shots at them by now (Pray not of course) Being cold, wet, hungry, sleep deprived, and stinky gets old quick. PSP has to go through the motions though, can’t stop until he’s found. I pray for their safety and feel for the people put out by this.

    • Steve P.

      You’re right, he must have offed himself. Why else would he leave the Jeep with his ID, then leave his weapon and ammo. Unless he had some grand plan to draw them into a set-up and take out more police. But it has been a long time now and nothing happened. Most likely his body will turn up eventually.

  • Lloyd Schmucatelli

    Every jeep I’ve ever owned would’ve made it through that bone dry retention pond like a hot knife through butter!!

    • Troll Hunter

      Just give it a rest already ! You have nothing of interest to offer. People like you live for something like this. It gives you something to do with your meaningless life for a few days.

  • Rose

    I feel that if it wasn’t for Jim Novak finding that jeep and reporting it to the state police, they still might be guessing who was behind this horrible tragedy. In my opinion I think Jim Novak should be awarded the $75,000.

    • Curious George

      I disagree with you. I further believe that Jim Novak is a fraud. Give me proof that he even lives where he claims. I cannot find any.

      • Joe Black

        Curious George, two questions. Is WNEP in on this fraud as well? Are you or any member of your family in law enforcement?

  • K

    They want you to think they found that AK, ammo bag and clips last weekend when it appears they found it that day the jeep was found. The whole we were close is a crock.

    • Joe Black

      Is anyone else concerned that the AK47 was found 20 miles from the current search area near the Jeep. Why is PSP claiming they are convinced he is in the area based on finding the AK47 when it was not found in Barrett or Price Townships?

      • Curious George

        I cannot find anyone named Jim Novak who resides that close to Blooming Grove barracks. This so-called witness needs to be vetted.

    • Lucy

      You’re right because the PSPs main concern is what the public thinks of them. I’m positive they release all details of the case to the public too.

      • Joe Black

        Manipulating public opinion is a major concern for the PSP. Just ask any politician what happens when the public loses confidence in you. You seem to forget that PSP reports to the Governor and he is elected by the people you claim the police don’t care about.

    • magoo

      The article doesn’t say they found them at the same time, it says it lead them to it. They accounted they found the gun on Sunday but of course they had it before then. You can’t expect real time updates on this kind of sutuation.

      • Lucy

        And the guy said he saw a gun CASE in the jeep. Idiots on this site just came to the CONCLUSION a gun was in it. It’s funny to me people think the police is (or SHOULD) updating us minute by minute. There are loads they aren’t telling us because obviously their MAIN purpose is finding him. Let them do their jobs.

    • Joe Black

      He wasn’t out walking his dog as reported. He was looking for and found evidence the police could not find in 3 days of searching. This was a very carefully scripted news release to help PSP save face.

  • Joe Black

    It would appear that Mr. Novaks story does not line up with the propaganda being fed to us by PSP. Thank you Mr. Novak for your honesty and your efforts to bring this dirtbag to justice.

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