Arrest Made In Ewing Wawa Shooting Incident

January 27, 2023

EWING TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–On Sunday, January 15, 2023, at 3:26 a.m. Ewing Police Officers were detailed to the Wawa convenience store at 1300 Silvia Street for a report of a shooting. The Ewing Police Criminal Investigations Bureau immediately began an investigation into the incident. Using information developed during the investigation, Detective Justin Ubry was able to identify one of the suspects with the assistance of Ewing Police Officers Michael Giovannetti and Joseph Toth, III., who recognized the suspect and his vehicle from previous encounters. An arrest warrant was subsequently signed against Zaccardi Mulkey, 23-year-old male from Trenton, NJ. Mulkey is charged with Aggravated Assault and Weapons Offenses. Mulkey was recently apprehended in Henry County, Georgia, where he is currently in custody while awaiting extradition to New Jersey to face his charges.

Ewing Police would like to acknowledge the following agencies for their assistance in the investigation: Trenton Police Department, Mercer County Sheriff’s Office, Mercer County Tactical Response Team, Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office, United States Marshall’s Office, and Henry County, Georgia Police Department.

The incident remains under investigation. If anyone has any information that may assist with the investigation, please contact Detective Ubry at 609-882-1313 extension 7590 or by email at jubry@ewingnj.org

Anyone with information may also fee free to contact the Ewing Police Tipline at 609-882-7530 or by email at policetipline@ewingnj.org. The tip line should not be used to report crimes in progress or emergencies that require immediate response.



$25,500 Heroin Bust In Robbinsville Warehouse Parking Lot

January 27, 2022

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)–A month-long investigation into narcotics distribution in the Mercer County area has culminated with one arrest and the seizure of $25,500 in heroin, Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri reported.

On Thursday, January 26, 2023, members of the Mercer County Narcotics Task Force, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Robbinsville Township Police Department initiated surveillance in a warehouse parking lot on New Cayton Way in Robbinsville based on information received during the investigation.  At approximately 6:40 p.m., officers observed the target of the investigation, Melvin Leonard, in the driver’s seat of a black Nissan Altima.  He was detained without incident.  Sgt. Tom Paglione utilized his K-9 partner, Indy, to conduct an exterior sniff of the vehicle, which resulted in Indy alerting to the scent of narcotics on the passenger side door.  A search warrant was executed and, inside of the Altima, officers located a reusable shopping bag with a shoe box inside containing approximately 150 bricks of heroin.

Leonard, 34, of East Orange, NJ, was charged with multiple narcotics offense.  The prosecutor’s office has filed a motion to detain him pending trial. 

According to Prosecutor Onofri, the street value of the confiscated heroin is approximately $25,500.

Despite having been charged, all persons are presumed innocent until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.


Melvin Leonard, 34, of East Orange, NJ, was charged with multiple narcotics offense.  The prosecutor’s office has filed a motion to detain him pending trial. 




Former Hillsborough School District Buildings And Grounds Director Admits To Paying Kickbacks For Fraudulent Overtime Payments

January 26, 2023

Trenton, N.J. – A Somerset County, New Jersey man yesterday admitted to paying kickbacks in return for fraudulent overtime payments that he received in connection with his former role as the Director of Buildings and Grounds for the Hillsborough Township School District, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced today.

Anthony DeLuca, 61, of Raritan, New Jersey, pleaded guilty before Senior U.S. District Judge Peter G. Sheridan to one count of embezzling, stealing, and obtaining by fraud more than $137,000 of funds belonging to and under the care, custody and control of the Hillsborough Township School District, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 666(a)(1)(A).

According to the documents filed in this case:

DeLuca, a long-term employee of the Hillsborough Township School District, was promoted to the position of Director of Buildings and Grounds in approximately July 2019, a salaried position that did not entitle him to overtime pay. Nevertheless, shortly after assuming this position, the School District employee to whom DeLuca reported (referred to as “Individual 1” in the Information) began directing DeLuca to claim that DeLuca was entitled receive overtime payments, including for hours which substantially exceeded those that DeLuca actually worked. DeLuca submitted these claims to Individual 1 who then authorized overtime payments for DeLuca in return for cash kickbacks.

DeLuca admitted in court yesterday that upon receiving the overtime payments approved by Individual 1, DeLuca would typically withdraw cash from his bank account to provide kickbacks to Individual 1. DeLuca stated that Individual 1 would designate the location to which DeLuca should deliver envelopes containing the cash kickbacks, including the console of Individual 1’s vehicle and a drawer in Individual 1’s office desk. DeLuca admitted that through this scheme he received in excess of $137,000 in overtime payments to which he was not entitled and that he provided Individual 1 with at least $39,800 in kickbacks between July 2019 and January 2022.

DeLuca faces a maximum penalty of ten years in prison and maximum fine of 250,000. Sentencing is scheduled for June 1, 2023.

U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James E. Dennehy in Newark; the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Ricky J. Patel in Newark; and the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor John P. McDonald, with the investigation leading to the charges.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark J. McCarren of the Office’s Special Prosecutions Division in Newark.

The charges and allegations contained in the Information pertain to Anthony DeLuca and any other individuals referenced are presumed innocent unless and until those individuals are proven guilty.

23-025 

Defense counsel: S. Emile Lisboa IV, Esq., Hackensack, NJ



Police Identify 60-Year-Old Hamilton Man Killed In Yesterday’s Accident In Ewing Township

January 26, 2023

EWING TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Ewing Police have identified Michael Roche, 60, of Hamilton as the victim of yesterday’s accident on Route 31.

Police, Fire and EMS responded to Pennington Road and Summerset Street at 5:48 p.m. for a motor vehicle crash involving a pedestrian. The investigation revealed that Michael Roche, 60, was struck by a single vehicle. He was transported to The Trauma Center at Captial Health Regional Medical Center where he later succumbed to his injuries.

The Ewing Township Police Department and the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office is investigation the crash. Any witnesses are asked to contact Detective Justin Quinlan at 609-882-1313 extension 7512 or by email at jquinlan@ewingnj.org Information can also be sent by text or the confidential tip line to 609-882-7530 or emailed to policetipline@ewingnj.org



New Unit Within Division of Criminal Justice to Investigate and Prosecute Human Trafficking in New Jersey

January 26, 2023

TRENTON – As crimes involving forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation continue to grow nationwide, Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin today announced a new unit within the Division of Criminal Justice (DCJ) that will focus exclusively on investigating and prosecuting these types of human trafficking crimes in New Jersey.

The newly established Human Trafficking Unit will spearhead New Jersey’s fight against human trafficking through aggressive pursuit of criminal networks that trade in people and exploit them for profit. 

 “Human Trafficking is a despicable crime that exploits the most vulnerable members of society, subjecting them to unspeakable emotional, physical, and psychological trauma. Today we are sending a message to those engaged in these heinous acts: your days are numbered,” said Attorney General Platkin. “Our newly created Human Trafficking Unit has but one mandate, to identify and dismantle human trafficking networks operating in New Jersey and bring justice for those they’ve harmed.”

Attorney General Platkin announced the new unit during his remarks at DCJ’s 13th annual Human Trafficking Awareness Event at the Trenton War Memorial today. The day-long event, held each year during January’s National Human Trafficking Prevention Month, brings together members of law enforcement, community partners, advocacy groups, and survivors of human trafficking to educate and raise awareness of this global health issue and collaborate on ways to end it.

“Victims of human trafficking are subjected to the most reprehensible physical and emotional abuse that results in psychological scars that last a lifetime,” said Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police (NJSP). “The creation of the Human Trafficking Unit allows us to partner with the Division of Criminal Justice and shows our dedication to utilize every resource at our disposal to bring these criminals to justice. We remain committed to working with our partners to aggressively target these offenders, but we remind everyone to remain vigilant and report these heinous crimes to law enforcement.”

DCJ Director Pearl Minato said the creation of the Human Trafficking Unit is a game changer. 

“I want to thank Attorney General Platkin for prioritizing our mission to end modern day slavery in New Jersey by providing DCJ with the resources needed to tackle the problem of human trafficking head on,” said Director Minato. “This team of seasoned litigators and investigators, under the leadership of Deputy Director Theresa Hilton, will be capable of pursuing complex trafficking networks across jurisdictional boundaries and bring charges that result in significant prison sentences.”

Deputy Director Theresa Hilton, a veteran litigator with extensive experience prosecuting sex assault crimes, was brought on by the Attorney General in September to oversee sexual and domestic violence prevention policy and criminal enforcement work – a role General Platkin created within the Division of Criminal Justice. In that role she will also now lead the new unit. Prior to joining DCJ, Hilton led the domestic violence unit at the Union County Prosecutor’s Office, where she revamped policies to remove artificial barriers to justice, including those that unfairly placed the weight of prosecutions on the shoulders of victims. 

“I am honored and humbled for the opportunity to lead the Human Trafficking Unit in spearheading statewide efforts to identify criminal trafficking rings, hold perpetrators accountable, and empower survivors with tools for recovery,” said Deputy Director Hilton. “I look forward to working with all levels of law enforcement, government and community stakeholders, and trafficking survivors to bring an end to the scourge of human trafficking in our state.”

Every year, millions of men, women, and children in the world, including in the U.S., are bought and sold for the purposes of forced labor or sexual exploitation. Human Trafficking is a crime whose victims are often hidden in plain sight and signs of human trafficking often go unnoticed because the relationship between trafficker and victim masquerades as consensual romantic or familial relationships or as legitimate employment relationships. Often times, human trafficking victims have been so coerced or traumatized they don’t view themselves as victims at all. For these reasons, it’s difficult to estimate the extent to which the problem exists in New Jersey. However, the FBI considers New Jersey to be a “hub” for this type of activity, in part because the state is positioned between several major metropolitan areas including New York, Baltimore, and Philadelphia.

The Attorney General, DCJ, and NJSP work collaboratively to combat human trafficking through education, collaboration, and prosecution. Those efforts include: training and assisting federal, state, and local law enforcement officers to identify the signs of trafficking and its victims; coordinating statewide efforts to identify and provide services to victims; investigating and prosecuting human trafficking cases; and raising public awareness through public outreach and educational materials.

NJSP administers a NJ Human Trafficking Hotline to identify and intervene in human trafficking cases. Last year, the hot line received 97 tips on suspected human trafficking. All tips are screened and forwarded to DCJ or other appropriate law enforcement entities, including municipal police departments and county prosecutors’ offices.

To better understand and address the problem of human trafficking in New Jersey, the Attorney General and DCJ convened the New Jersey Human Trafficking Task Force (NJHTTF) in 2005. Comprised of state and federal law enforcement agencies, state regulatory departments, advocacy groups, and social service providers, the NJHTTF shares intelligence and insight into where and how traffickers target victims in New Jersey. That information is used to coordinate and drive investigations, law enforcement training, and victim outreach and public awareness efforts.

Since January 2018, approximately two dozen human trafficking cases in New Jersey have been prosecuted by county prosecutors’ offices and the Division of Criminal Justice. The new Human Trafficking Unit was created to enhance and expand New Jersey’s efforts to end human trafficking by assembling a select group of professionals within DCJ who are uniquely qualified and experienced investigate and prosecute these crimes.


Deputy Director Theresa Hilton, a veteran litigator with extensive experience prosecuting sex assault crimes, was brought on by the Attorney General in September to oversee sexual and domestic violence prevention policy and criminal enforcement work – a role General Platkin created within the Division of Criminal Justice. In that role she will also now lead the new unit. Prior to joining DCJ, Hilton led the domestic violence unit at the Union County Prosecutor’s Office, where she revamped policies to remove artificial barriers to justice, including those that unfairly placed the weight of prosecutions on the shoulders of victims. 


Police Seek Public’s Assistance In Neptune Township Fatal Crash

January 26, 2023

FREEHOLDLaw enforcement officials are requesting the community’s help from anyone who may have witnessed a fatal crash on Route 66 in Neptune Township Tuesday night, Monmouth County Prosecutor Raymond S. Santiago announced Thursday.

On January 24, 2023, at approximately 9:56 p.m., the Neptune Township Police Department responded to a crash at the intersection of Route 66 and Neptune Boulevard. The investigation revealed that a 33-year-old female driver was driving a 2014 Honda Civic eastbound on Route 66 through the intersection of Neptune Boulevard. Simultaneously, a 52-year-old male resident of the Wanamassa section of Ocean Township was riding an Ecotric Starfish Electric Bicycle southbound on Neptune Boulevard through the intersection of Route 66 when he collided with the front driver’s side corner of the Civic, propelling him onto the hood and windshield of the vehicle.

The male bicyclist was transported to a local hospital, where he later succumbed to his injuries at 1:13 a.m. on Wednesday, January 25.

The female driver was uninjured in the crash and remained on scene. No summonses or criminal charges have been issued at this time.

The crash is under investigation by members of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, Monmouth County Serious Collision Analysis Response Team (SCART), and the Neptune Township Police Department. Anyone who may have witnessed the crash is urged to contact Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Detective Brian Boryszeswki at 800-533-7443 or Neptune Township Police Department Sergeant James MacConchie at 732-988-8000. 


Mayor W. Reed Gusciora Congratulates Trenton City Council’s Historic Win

January 25, 2023

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Today, Mayor Reed Gusciora congratulated Jasi Edwards, Crystal Feliciano, and Yazminelly Gonzalez on winning the three At-large seats on the Trenton City Council in a decisive victory; the New Jersey Globe and the Trentonian have called the Trenton Council At-Large Run-Off Election in favor of these three councilmembers-elect. In a historic first, women will hold six out of seven elected positions on the Trenton City Council.

With all election districts reporting, Edwards received 1,966 votes, Feliciano received 1,939 votes, and Gonzalez received 1,823 votes. Finishing behind the three winners were Taiwanda Terry-Wilson (996 votes) Alexander Bethea (879 votes), and Kadja Manuel (764 votes). These numbers may change slightly after the remaining mail and provisional ballots are counted.

Mayor W. Reed Gusciora stated, “Over the last four years, political gridlock turned into deadlock. Our administration has always sought compromise and collaboration as we work to revitalize our city’s economy, improve the quality of drinking water, and keep our streets safe. Yaz, Crystal, and Jasi will be incredible advocates for Trentonians, and they’ll join our four city councilmembers as critical partners.”

While it is unclear when the official results of the election will be announced by the Mercer County Clerk and certified by the Trenton City Clerk, it is expected that the winners of the Trenton Council At-Large Run-Off Election will soon thereafter be sworn in. While Mayor Reed Gusciora and four ward representatives currently serving on the Trenton City Council had been sworn in on January 1, 2023, they agreed to delay their inauguration until the entire legislative body had been elected.

As a result, a public inauguration will be held for Mayor Reed Gusciora and the soon-to-be seven member Trenton City Council at the War Memorial Building on February 10, 2023, at 6:00 p.m. Additional information will be made available to the public when the results of the Trenton Council At-Large Run-Off Election have been certified.

Mayor W. Reed Gusciora affirmed, “This recent news is welcomed, but we can only celebrate victory after our shared goals have been achieved. We’re very glad, however, that all elected city councilmembers are committed to producing a renaissance in the Capital City. We’re ready and prepared to move this city forward.”


Serious Head On Crash With Multiple Injuries Reported On Old York Road

January 25, 2023

UPPER FREEHOLD (MONMOUTH) ROBBINSVILLE (MERCER)–Around 7:17 p.m. both Robbinsville and Allentown firefighters were dispatched to Old York Road between New Street and Herbert Road for a head on collision with injuries. Robbinsville Police, NJ State Police, Captial Health Allentown EMS and Paramedics, Robbinsville EMS, Millstone Township Fire/EMS and Monmouth County Paramedics also responded to the scene.

Upon arrival it was found that a person in a car ran head on into a pickup truck and the driver of the car was entrapped. Firefighters from both Hope Fire Company of Allentown and Robbinsville Fire Department worked to free the injured driver. The driver was turned over to EMS and transported to the Trauma Center at Captial Health Regional Medical Center in Trenton. A “trauma alert” was called en route to the hospital.

Occupants from the pickup truck were treated by Captial Health EMS Allentown and also transported to Captial Health Regional Medical Center in Trenton.

New Jersey State Police is investigation the crash and currently the roadway is closed for a serious traffic investigation.

No other details are available at this time.

Update at 10:45 p.m. The Hope Fire Company of Allentown was requested to respond back to the scene to help pry the vehicles apart so they could be towed away.

Old York Road borders both Robbinsville in Mercer County and Upper Freehold Township in Monmouth County.



Two Separate Accidents Reported In Ewing Township On Route 31

January 25, 2023

EWING (Mercer) – Two separate accidents – including one in which a person
was critically injured – occurred within 90 minutes of each other and about
a mile apart along Route 31 this evening (Wednesday, Jan. 25).

The first accident, which involved two vehicles, was reported just before
4:25 p.m. at the intersection of Route 31 (Pennington Road) and Carlton
Avenue, in front of the main entrance to the College of New Jersey. One of
the vehicles flipped and came to rest on its side. Police, firefighters and
EMS personnel responded and found that both drivers had suffered only
injuries and neither was trapped. While EMS personnel from Ewing and
Pennington transported the injured to local hospitals, Ewing firefighters
spread absorbent material on the road to contain mixed automotive fluids
spilled from wrecked vehicles. Firefighters then stood by while the wreckage
was removed by a tow truck.

The collision forced Ewing police to close Route 31 and TCNJ police to close
the college’s main entrance. Those closures created lengthy traffic backups
at the college’s other entrance on Green Lane.

At 5:48 p.m. Ewing police, EMS personnel and firefighters were dispatched to
the intersection of Route 31 and Somerset Street for a reported “pedestrian
struck.” Emergency workers arrived to find a critically injured person down
in the roadway. CPR was performed on the scene before the accident victim
was rushed by ambulance to the trauma center at Capital Health Regional
Medical Center in Trenton. The elderly male pedestrian succumbed to his injuries at the hospital.

Both incidents are under investigation by Ewing police and the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Serious Collision Response Team.

Update on the pedestrian motor vehicle crash below from Ewing Police Department:





Howell Township Man Is Charged In Connection With Fatal Crash In Marlboro Township That Killed 22-Year-Old

An investigation revealed that Walter Decanio, 59, of Howell Township was driving nearly 80 miles per hour and under the influence of alcohol, traveling southbound on U.S. Route 9, when he collided with the side of the Nissan Altima as it passed through the intersection westbound on Route 520.

January 25, 2023

FREEHOLD – A local man has been criminally charged in connection with a motor-vehicle collision that claimed the life of a young woman in Marlboro Township early last year, Monmouth County Prosecutor Raymond S. Santiago announced Wednesday.  

Walter Decanio, 59, of Howell Township is charged with first-degree Aggravated Manslaughter while Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol and second-degree Vehicular Homicide for his role in the death of a 22-year-old female resident of Monroe Township (Middlesex County).

Shortly before 2:30 a.m. on Sunday, February 13, 2022, members of the Marlboro Township Police Department and Old Bridge Police Department responded to the intersection of U.S. Route 9 and County Route 520/Newman Springs Road in the Morganville section of Marlboro. At that location, officers located the two vehicles involved in the collision: a 2019 Cadillac XT5 crossover operated by Decanio and a 2018 Nissan Altima.

The female victim sustained multiple severe injuries as the result of the collision and was pronounced deceased a short while later. Decanio was uninjured.

An investigation involving members of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and the Marlboro Township Police Department determined that Decanio was driving nearly 80 miles per hour and under the influence of alcohol, traveling southbound on U.S. Route 9, when he collided with the side of the Nissan Altima as it passed through the intersection westbound on Route 520.

Decanio was also issued summonses for Failure to Observe a Traffic Control Device, Failure to Wear a Seat Belt, Speeding, Reckless Driving, and Operating a Vehicle while Under the Influence of Alcohol. He turned himself in to authorities without incident last week pending a first appearance to take place in Monmouth County Superior Court.

Anyone with information about this matter is still being asked to contact Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Detective Brian Boryszewski at 800-533-7443 or Marlboro Police Department Corporal David Ruditsky at 732-536-0100.

This case has been assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Meghan Doyle. Decanio is being represented by Mitchell J. Ansell, Esq., with an office in Ocean Township.

Convictions on criminal charges of this nature are punishable by up to 20 years in state prison, with such terms subject to New Jersey’s No Early Release Act (NERA), which stipulates that 85 percent of the sentences be served before the possibility of parole.

Despite these charges, every defendant is presumed innocent, unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, following a trial at which the defendant has all of the trial rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and State law.


Long Branch Man Indicted For West Long Branch Shooting

January 25, 2023

FREEHOLDA Monmouth County Grand Jury has returned a three-count indictment against a Long Branch man in connection with a shooting that left one victim injured, Monmouth County Prosecutor Raymond S. Santiago announced Wednesday.

Donte Gibson, 27, of Long Branch, is charged with one count of first-degree Attempted Murder, one count of second-degree Possession of a Firearm for an Unlawful Purpose, and one count of second-degree Unlawful Possession of a Weapon.

At approximately 9:45 p.m. on the night of Monday, October 10, 2022, West Long Branch Police responded to a convenience store on the 800 block of Broadway for a report of shots being fired. It was later discovered that a shooting victim had been dropped off at a local hospital for treatment. The victim sustained injuries to his hip and forearm, and was treated and later released.

This shooting incident was one of three that took place that same day. The two other incidents, both in Long Branch, are still under investigation at this time.  

For anyone with information regarding these shooting incidents, please contact Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Detective Joshua Rios or Brian Migliorisi at 800-533-7443, Long Branch Police Department Detective Nicholas Romano at 732-222-1000, Ext. 2, or West Long Branch Police Department Detective Ryan Buck at 732-229-5000.

The case is assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Matthew Bogner, Director of the MCPO Major Crimes Bureau.

Gibson is represented by Carlos Diaz-Cobo Esq., of New Brunswick, New Jersey.

Despite these charges, every defendant is presumed innocent, unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, following a trial at which the defendant has all of the trial rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and State law.


Jersey Mike’s Hosts Day Of Service On Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day To Benefit Rise And T.A.S.K.

January 25, 2023

EAST WINDSOR, NJ (MERCER)–Mayor Janice S. Mironov and local legislators joined Jersey Mike’s and Prestige New Jersey All-Star United States 2023, chaired by Evelyn McCleod, for a service event to honor the work and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The service project was to designate and promote Jersey Mike’s as a drop off site for residents to bring lightly used clothing, coats, shoes and children’s clothing and warm socks for those in need.  The donations are to benefit area non-profits Rise and Trenton Area Soup Kitchen (T.A.S.K.). Additionally, Jersey Mike’s donated a portion of proceeds from pre-ordering subs for Super Bowl parties to support these area organizations.  Jersey Mike’s East Windsor, located in the East Windsor Township Center Plaza at 319 Route 130 North, will continue to accept donations through the end of February.

Mayor Mironov stated,  “East Windsor Township recognizes service as an important community value and is grateful to Jersey Mike’s and Prestige New Jersey for initiating and partnering on this project to help others. Since 2011, Jersey Mike’s locations throughout the country have raised more than $67 million for worthy local charities.  It is especially meaningful to do so honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King and this “Day of Service”.  We specifically thank Evelyn McCleod of Prestige New Jersey All-Star United States 2023 for all her good work, as well as the Jersey Mike’s hosts, franchise owners Evan Mayer and Gerrit Curran;  Director of Operations Tom Orrok, and General Manager Mike Mariano for their generous support of our local non-profit Rise and the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen, which has served over 6 million meals to County residents.”  

            Assemblyman Dan Benson stated,  “Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is a federal holiday designated as a “National Day of Service”,  and it was great to join together at Jersey Mike’s to support this positive example of community partnership to help those in need.”

Evelyn McCleod, Prestige New Jersey All-Star United States 2023, reminded everyone,  “Service to others isn’t an annual event; it’s a lifestyle!”.  


East Windsor Mayor Janice S. Mironov, Senator Linda Greenstein and Assemblyman Dan Benson join Jersey Mike’s staff and volunteers for a Day of Service.  Pictured (from left to right) are:  Mike Mariano, General Manager;  Leah Martucci, Rutgers Intern – Rise;  Assemblyman Dan Benson;  North Jersey Outstanding Teen Kylie;  Evelyn McCleod, Prestige New Jersey All-Star United States 2023;  Mayor Janice S. Mironov;  Gerrit Curran, owner;  Senator Linda Greenstein;  and Diane McGinn.


Allentown, New Jersey Leukemia Survivor Meets Stem Cell Donor At Gift Of Life Marrow Registry 5K

January 25, 2023

Boca Raton, FL, – Peter Grehlinger, a 61-year-old survivor of Acute Myelogenous Leukemia met the man who saved his life with a blood stem cell transplant, 34-year-old Tory Foster. The heartwarming and emotional introduction took place at the Gift of Life Marrow Registry Steps for Life 5k Run & Walk in Boca Raton January 22, 2023 at the FAU Stadium.

Grehlinger, an engineer, husband and father of two resides in Allentown, N.J. and was thrilled to meet Foster, a father of an 11-year-old son from The Villages, Fla. The two had never met before, as transplants are anonymous for the first year under federal regulations.

Foster, who donated to Grehlinger in August 2021, joined the registry in 2019 at a Misfits Gaming viewing party held at Florida Southern College.

The two were introduced by Gift of Life Steps for Life 5k co-founders and co-chairs Wendy Schulman, Dana Aberman and Donna Krasner. After sharing Grehlinger’s story with attendees, they invited Foster to join them and meet his recipient for the first time. The emotional pair shared a warm hug and were thrilled to finally meet each other.

“With my donors DNA ‘floating around inside of me’, we share a natural bond,” said Grehlinger. “I hope Tory realizes what a great deed he has done.”

“I’ve always wanted to help people, and this was the ultimate way of helping someone,” said Foster. “I was very happy about being able to do something like this for someone. You could be the reason someone sees tomorrow.”

The 13th annual family-friendly race featured a 5k that was chip-timed and certified along with children’s activities including a petting zoo, face painting, bounce house, Superhero Sprint, music, snacks and more.



The event benefited Gift of Life Marrow Registry, a nonprofit registry for blood stem cell and marrow donors facilitating matches between donors and patients. Stem cell and marrow transplants have the potential to cure leukemia, lymphoma, sickle cell, inherited immune disorders, and 70 other life-threatening conditions.

Gift of Life is currently searching for donors for multiple blood cancer patients. Those wishing to join the registry and learn if they are a lifesaving match for a patient can visit https://www.giftoflife.org/register.

“For 30 years Gift of Life has had one mission – to ensure that every patient has a donor available at the time they are needed,” said Gift of Life Founder and CEO, Jay Feinberg, himself a transplant survivor. “Every person fighting to overcome blood cancer deserves a second chance at life. Our donors tell us that saving a cancer patient’s life is one of the most incredible, life-changing experiences possible.”

About Gift of Life Marrow Registry

Gift of Life Marrow Registry is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization headquartered in Boca Raton, Fla. Established in 1991, Gift of Life Marrow Registry is dedicated to saving lives by facilitating blood stem cell and bone marrow transplants for patients battling leukemia, lymphoma, sickle cell, inherited immune disorders, and other blood-related diseases. To learn more about Gift of Life Marrow Registry, visit giftoflife.org.



Head on Collision Sends Driver to Trauma Center via Medevac Helicopter

January 25, 2023

Manchester Township NJ – On Tuesday, January 24, 2023, at approximately 3:32 pm, officers from the Manchester Township Police Department responded to the area of County Road 530 near the intersection of Lacey Road to investigate a motor vehicle crash involving two motor vehicles that crashed head on.

Upon arrival at the scene, officers observed a Dodge Magnum in the eastbound lane of County Road 530 and a Toyota Rav4 off the roadway on the eastbound shoulder.  Both vehicles were observed to have extensive front-end damage concentrated on the driver side of the vehicles. The investigation revealed that the Dodge was traveling westbound on County Road 530 when it crossed over the center painted median into oncoming traffic.  At that time, the Toyota was traveling eastbound on County Road 530 and the front driver side of the Dodge impacted the front driver side of the Toyota.

The driver of the Dodge, identified as 25-year-old, Nicholas Briggs of Whiting, NJ, was uninjured from the crash but was transported to Community Medical Center for precautionary reasons due to the seriousness of the collision.  The driver of the Toyota, identified as 61-year-old, Jorie Sanzone of Forked River, NJ, was extricated from her vehicle by first responders and suffered possible internal injuries. She was flown to Jersey Shore University Medical Hospital by Robert Wood Johnson Barnabas Health’s LifeFlight medevac helicopter where she is currently listed in critical but stable condition.

Assisting at the scene were EMTs and firefighters from the Manchester Township Division of Emergency Services, Robert Wood Johnson Paramedics, and firefighters from the Whiting Volunteer Fire Department.  The investigation into this crash is still on going, however, failure to maintain lane appears to be the primary contributing factor.  This crash is being investigated by Ptl. Michael O’Hara of the department’s Traffic Safety section.



Mercer County Paid Nearly $4.5 Million in Fines and Interest for Delinquent Taxes, Investigation Finds

An Office of the State Comptroller investigation reveals Mercer County regularly failed to make timely and sufficient payroll tax payments.

January 25, 2023

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–The Office of the State Comptroller (OSC) released a report today revealing that Mercer County paid nearly $4.5 million in penalties and interest for delinquent tax filings and payments between 2018 and 2021. During this period, the Mercer County Finance Department regularly failed to make adequate and timely payroll tax payments to both the Internal Revenue Service and the New Jersey Division of Taxation.

Employers are required to file quarterly payroll taxes to both state and federal tax agencies. For each delinquent filing, Mercer County was assessed penalties and interest charges. In total, the County incurred $5.5 million in penalties and interest for delinquent taxes. But with abatements of penalties from the Internal Revenue Service, the amount owed and paid was reduced to $4.48 million.

 “Mercer County inexplicably wasted millions of dollars by failing to pay its state and federal taxes on time,” said Kevin Walsh, Acting State Comptroller. “When the government doesn’t pay the bills, the taxpayers pay the penalties.”

OSC’s investigation found that the county finance department, led by Mercer County’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO), lacked basic internal financial controls; it did not have an organizational chart, written policies, or a system of checks and balances to ensure that its financial system was properly managed.

During the investigation, OSC also discovered that the CFO did not have nor did he seek to obtain the statutorily required credentials to hold the position of CFO—for the entire time he was employed by the County. By law, the CFO is required to hold a county finance officer certificate, which involves training courses, prior experience as a finance officer, and certain higher education requirements.  In August 2022, Mercer County informed OSC that the CFO was placed on administrative leave without pay for his failure to secure the credentials.

Appointed by the County Executive, the CFO operated independently, with minimal oversight by his supervisor, OSC found. The County Administrator, who manages day-to-day affairs for county government, told OSC that she gave the CFO substantial discretion in handling departmental operations.  In the absence of effective internal controls monitored by executive level employees, the deference provided to the CFO allowed the waste to go undetected for years. 

Mercer County failed to make timely tax payments for 13 consecutive quarters from July 2018 through September 2021.  During that time, there was only one quarter in which the County was not charged interest due to late payments; during that quarter, the County had instead overpaid by more than $3 million. The IRS automatically applied part of that overpayment to the County’s prior delinquent taxes and returned the remainder.

“The County didn’t take basic steps to prevent these wasteful payments and didn’t catch that its unlicensed CFO wasn’t paying the County’s bills on time,” said Walsh.  “This wasn’t a one-time mistake.  It was a pattern that went on for years.”  

Although OSC made several requests, the County did not provide a complete list of all of its bank accounts, the names of the individuals who had access to accounts, or any documentation establishing how penalties and interest were paid.  

OSC recommended changes to increase financial oversight and prevent future waste.  The County has agreed to implement OSC’s recommendations and has formed a Finance Committee to oversee the operations of MCFD.



Investigation of Waste at Mercer County Finance Department

Introduction

An Office of the State Comptroller (OSC) investigation has found that Mercer County incurred and paid nearly $4.5 million in penalties and interest for delinquent tax filings and payments between 2018 and 2021, resulting in waste that was paid by Mercer County taxpayers. During that time period, the Mercer County Finance Department (MCFD) consistently made insufficient and untimely payroll tax payments to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the New Jersey Division of Taxation (Division of Taxation). For each delinquent filing, Mercer County was assessed penalties and interest that could have been avoided.

In the course of the investigation, OSC also discovered that the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) for the County lacked the statutorily required certificate to serve as CFO. OSC also found that MCFD’s operations contravene best practices for the management and operation of a public entity’s finance department, creating additional risk for fraud, waste, and abuse.

In order to avoid penalties and interest and to ensure that taxpayer funds are protected, OSC makes six recommendations to Mercer County at the conclusion of this report.

Background

A. Mercer County Government

Mercer County operates under a county executive form of government with a Board of Commissioners serving as the County’s legislative body and a County Executive administering county operations.1 The Board consists of seven members elected to three-year staggered terms.2 The Board is responsible for (1) adopting the County’s Administrative Code; (2) passing ordinances and resolutions; (3) reviewing, modifying, and adopting all operating and capital budgets; (4) evaluating and studying the County’s annual budget before final approval; and (5) entering into contracts with municipalities in the county.3

The County Executive is elected to a four-year term of office.4 The Office of the County Executive is responsible for oversight of the County’s various departments. Department heads are appointed by the County Executive, with advice and consent from the Board.5 Within the Office of the County Executive, the County Administrator manages the day-to-day operations of the County.

B. County Chief Financial Officer

New Jersey law requires every county to appoint a CFO who is responsible for the proper financial administration of the county.6 The CFO’s statutory duties include, among other things, (1) acting as custodian of all public funds; (2) developing a system of internal controls to protect assets and ensure proper accounting compliance; and (3) complying with IRS regulations regarding employee payroll and vendor payments.7 County CFOs are appointed for three-year terms and must hold a county finance officer certificate issued by the Division of Local Government Services (LGS), a division within the state Department of Community Affairs.8 Requirements to obtain a certificate include certain higher education requirements, experience as a county finance officer, and satisfactory completion of various training courses.9

The Mercer County CFO is appointed by the County Executive and serves as Treasurer and Director of the Finance Department. In addition to the CFO’s statutory duties, the Mercer County CFO is responsible for providing accounting records and preparing the county’s annual financial statements, preparing the annual budget, and providing for long-term capital financing for county entities. 10

C. Federal and State Payroll Taxes

Employers, including governmental entities, must pay federal and state payroll taxes based on a percentage of an employee’s compensation. The employer is responsible for withholding the correct amount of payroll taxes from each employee’s paycheck and remitting the funds to federal and state taxing authorities, along with the employer’s share of the payroll taxes.11 These federal and state tax deposits must be remitted to the taxing authorities in a timely manner after each payroll cycle.  The due date for the payroll tax deposits is based on the employer’s size and the frequency of payroll cycles.12 Employers are required to prepare and file quarterly payroll tax returns with the federal and state taxing authorities. The returns are due on the last day of the month following the end of the quarter. The return calculates quarterly payroll taxes, reconciles payroll taxes due to amounts previously paid, and identifies additional taxes that must be paid and refunds owed to employers.13

D. Payroll Tax Penalties

Employers that do not timely file payroll tax returns are subject to a penalty.14 For federal payroll taxes, the penalty is set at five percent of the unpaid taxes for each month or part of a month that a tax return is late, and is capped at 25 percent of the employer’s unpaid taxes. If the employer’s return is more than 60 days late, the minimum failure to file penalty is $435 or 100 percent of the tax required to be shown on the return, whichever is less. A failure to file penalty is capped after five months. 

Employers that do not pay the tax reported on their return by the due date are subject to a separate penalty, known as a “Failure to Pay Penalty.”15 This penalty continues until the delinquent tax is paid, up to a maximum of 25 percent of the unpaid tax. In addition to the failure to pay penalty, the IRS also charges interest on any unpaid payroll tax until the balance is paid in full.16

The Division of Taxation also charges penalties and interest for the late filing and payment of state payroll tax returns. Like the IRS, the Division of Taxation imposes a late filing penalty of five percent of the unpaid tax for each month or part of a month a payroll tax return is late, capped at 25 percent of the total unpaid tax.17 The Division of Taxation also charges a five percent late payment penalty for the underpayment of taxes in addition to interest on the unpaid balance due.18

Methodology

OSC’s investigation was initiated upon receipt of a confidential complaint in 2021. OSC is authorized to conduct investigations concerning alleged fraud, waste, abuse, or mismanagement of State funds, designed to provide increased accountability, integrity, and oversight of county and municipal governments. To conduct its investigation, OSC obtained and examined numerous documents, including IRS account transcripts for quarterly payroll tax returns for the period of 2018 to 2021.

OSC conducted interviews with multiple current and former employees of MCFD, as well as the Mercer County Administrator. OSC attempted to interview David Miller, the Mercer County CFO during the period under review, about the operations of MCFD and the issues identified in this report. Mr. Miller through his attorney represented to OSC that if interviewed he intended to exercise his right against self-incrimination under the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

OSC sent discussion drafts of this Report to Mercer County and Mr. Miller to provide them with an opportunity to comment on the facts and issues identified during this review. In preparing this Report, OSC considered the responses received and incorporated them where appropriate.

Findings

A. From  2018 to 2021, Mercer County Incurred Nearly $4.5 Million in Penalties and Interest for Late Payroll Tax Filings and Payments.

1. Penalties and Fees Related to Federal Taxes

From October 2018 through the end of 2020, the County incurred over $900,000 in penalties due to its failure to file timely federal payroll tax returns, ultimately paying nearly $830,000 after an IRS abatement of $73,000.19 In 2018, the County filed its fourth quarter payroll tax return nine months late.  The County failed to file even one timely payroll tax return for 2020. On average, the 2020 quarterly returns were filed five months late, with the third quarter return filed over seven months late and the fourth quarter return filed almost nine months late.  This resulted in the IRS assessing late filing penalties of almost $700,000, with the County paying $600,000 after receiving an IRS abatement.  IRS Account Transcripts dated May 18, 2022 indicated that the County as of that date had not filed the 2021 fourth quarter payroll tax return and, as a result, may be subject to additional penalties and interest. 

Mercer County also incurred “Failure to Pay” penalties for 13 consecutive quarters from July 2018 through September 2021. This resulted in Mercer County paying over $2.7 million in penalties after the IRS abated almost $1 million in penalties for late payments for the same period.

From July 2018 through March 2021, the County also incurred over $363,000 in interest charges and paid over $334,000 after an IRS abatement.  During that time, there was only one quarter in which the County was not charged interest due to late payments.  For that one quarter (the third quarter of 2019), the County overpaid its tax liability by more than $3 million. The IRS automatically applied part of that overpayment to the County’s prior delinquent taxes as far back as 2015 and refunded the remaining amount.

2. Penalties and Fees Related to New Jersey State Taxes

During the course of this investigation, OSC requested information about penalties and interest Mercer County paid to the Division of Taxation in excess of its payroll tax liabilities, but the County did not provide any responsive records.  As a result, OSC obtained from the Division of Taxation directly a summary of penalties and interest incurred and paid by the County since 2009.  OSC found that between 2018 and 2021, the County paid $599,889 in penalties and interest.

3. MCFD Did Not Maintain Any Written Policies and Procedures Governing the Filing and Payment of Payroll Taxes

OSC requested MCFD’s written policies and procedures governing the filing and payment of payroll taxes and was informed that MCFD did not maintain any. As a result, OSC obtained information about MCFD’s payroll tax processes through interviews with MCFD employees.

As part of the payroll process, MCFD’s accounting software generates paper checks for MCFD to pay its payroll taxes.  However, according to MCFD employees, Mr. Miller regularly instructed the payroll clerk to void these checks and, instead, submit the federal tax deposit through the IRS’s automated phone system. MCFD employees also reported that Mr. Miller would take the voided state payroll tax checks and wire the payments to the taxing authority himself.

MCFD employees could not identify a reason why the payroll tax deposits and returns were not timely filed. Rather, one witness reported that Mr. Miller described the penalties and interest as simply “the cost of doing business.” Further, despite several requests, the County did not provide a complete list of all its bank accounts, the names of the individuals who had access to the accounts, or documentation of how the penalties and interest were paid.  

B. The County CFO Did Not Possess the Certificate Necessary to Serve in That Role.

By statute, an individual must hold a county finance officer certificate issued by LGS to serve as a County CFO.20 OSC’s investigation revealed that Mr. Miller did not hold, or even apply for, a county finance officer certificate during his entire tenure as Mercer County CFO.21 As a result, Mercer County was without a properly credentialed CFO for over a decade.

C. MCFD Failed to Follow Best Practices in the Operation of the Department and Was Inadequately Staffed.

Best practices for the management and operation of a public entity’s finance department include, among other things, reliance on a formal organizational chart; the use of written policies and procedures for each task performed by the department (e.g., the filing and payment of payroll taxes); the segregation of department duties; and thorough documentation of the responsibilities of each position within the department.22 Executive level employees should actively oversee the implementation of internal controls developed to ensure integrity in the management of public funds, monitor the performance of those controls, and work with a committee to oversee the department’s operations.23

OSC’s investigation found that the County and MCFD failed to follow these best practices, creating a risk for fraud, waste, and abuse. MCFD does not have an organizational chart clearly defining the department’s reporting structure, identifying the positions available within the department, and listing the current staff members. MCFD also does not have written policies and procedures establishing internal controls and the segregation of duties that provide checks and balances on employees involved in approving expenditures of public funds. 

The County Administrator — the Mercer County representative responsible for overseeing MCFD — told OSC that she was unaware of any written policies or procedures guiding the operation of MCFD.  When asked specifically about policies governing the segregation of department duties, the County Administrator stated that an employee’s formal job title and the duties assigned to that title ensure department duties are effectively segregated.  When questioned further, however, she acknowledged that the formal job titles and duties do not necessarily correspond to the work MCFD employees perform or ensure the segregation of duties. Further, although the County Administrator stated that she held monthly meetings with all department heads, she provided Mr. Miller with substantial discretion with regard to his administration and operation of MCFD with no direct oversight of the department’s day-to-day operations.

In its response to a draft of this report, the County asserted that Mr. Miller was responsible for the daily operations of the Finance Department and was expected to bring issues of concern to the attention of the County Administrator.  Any discretion provided to department leaders over the daily operations of their respective departments, however, does not relieve county management of the duty to proactively ensure that county departments are operating efficiently, preventing waste, and adhering to best practices.

Additionally, annual independent audits of the County repeatedly noted issues regarding a lack of adequate staffing within MCFD. The auditor noted that inadequate staffing levels resulted in untimely reconciliations and untimely compliance with audit requirements. At least twice, the external auditor discussed with the current and former County Administrators a need for additional staff in the finance department to ensure the County remained current with its audit requirements. The auditor stated that the annual audits were consistently delayed because the County did not provide the necessary documentation in a timely manner. In 2019, the external auditor recommended that the County hire a Deputy CFO.

In its response, the County stated the County Administrator was made aware in 2019 that the independent auditor recommended that MCFD hire additional staff.  The County also claimed that it took steps to hire one additional staff member, a Deputy CFO, at that time. The County, however, did not actually hire a Deputy CFO until May 2022, almost three years after receiving the recommendation from the independent auditor.  The County reported that the delay in hiring a Deputy CFO from 2019 to 2022 was due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Recommendations

Based upon the facts uncovered in its investigation, OSC makes the following six recommendations intended to promote more efficient government. In its response to OSC’s draft report, the County agreed to implement OSC’s recommendations, and indicated the County has already formed a Finance Committee to oversee the operations of MCFD.

  1. Filing and Payment of Federal and State Taxes. The County should ensure that it files all taxes, including payroll taxes, in a timely manner and pays the amounts due within the timeframe required by taxing authorities.   The County should also identify all outstanding tax penalties and, when applicable, promptly request abatements for those penalties. 
  2. County Employee Credentials and Licenses. The County should ensure that all employees who require a license, certificate, or other form of credential to perform their job duties possess those credentials and maintain them in good standing. The County should also adopt written policies and procedures directing the County Office of Personnel to annually verify that employees possess and maintain in good standing the credentials necessary to perform their job duties. 
  3. Development of an Organizational Chart for the Finance Department. The County should adopt an organizational chart that clearly establishes the department’s reporting structure and includes a current list of positions, employees, and supervisors.
  4. Development of an Accounting Procedures Manual. The County should develop an accounting procedures manual. The manual should establish a clear segregation of duties and a system of checks and balances to ensure financial systems are properly managed and that issues identified in this report, such as the untimely filing of tax returns and paying payroll taxes, are avoided. A comprehensive accounting manual will also aid in the training of new employees.
  5. Establish a Committee to Oversee MCFD Operations. The County should establish a committee to oversee MCFD, including its financial reporting practices, internal department controls, and compliance with laws and regulations affecting the department.
  6. Increased Oversight of the CFO. Prudent financial management requires periodic review of the Mercer County Finance Department by an individual outside of MCFD and within the Office of the County Executive and the Board of Commissioners. The County CFO should be required to submit operational reports on a monthly basis that include expenditures and revenues. The monthly report should include a list of all tax liabilities and payments for that month and disclose penalties and interest.

Firefighters Extinguish Car Carrier Fire On I-295

January 23, 2023

EWING TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Firefighters from Ewing Township, Trenton Mercer County Airport and Pennington responded to a car carrier with at least five vehicles on fire this morning on Interstate 295 near Scotch Road. Firefighters quickly knocked down the flames and remained on scene for extensive overhaul. Traffic was reportedly backed up into Pennsylvania during the firefight and cleanup process. No other details are available at this time.


Photos by: Mercer County Airport Fire Department and Ewing Police





Mack Brothers From Hamilton And Trenton, Charged With Murder, Burglary And Multiple Weapons Offenses

January 23, 2023

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri announced today that an investigation conducted by the Mercer County Homicide Task Force and the Trenton Police Department has resulted in charges being filed against two brothers in connection to last week’s shooting homicide of Donnell Williams.

Leon Mack, 31, of Hamilton, is charged with murder, burglary, and multiple weapons offenses.   His brother, Prince Mack, 29, of Trenton, faces the same charges as an accomplice for transporting his brother to Williams’ residence.  Both men were taken into custody on Friday at Leon Mack’s Hamilton residence by members of the Mercer County Tactical Response Team, HTF and the Trenton Police.  The prosecutor’s office has filed motions to detain both defendants pending trial.

At approximately 4:07 p.m. on Monday, January 16, 2023, Trenton police responded to an apartment in the 100 block of South Overbrook Avenue on a report of an unresponsive male.  Upon arrival, officers located the apartment’s resident on the living room floor with an apparent gunshot wound. The victim, identified as Donnell Williams, 29, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Despite having been charged, every defendant is presumed innocent until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.


Leon Mack, 31, of Hamilton, is charged with murder, burglary, and multiple weapons offenses.   His brother, Prince Mack, 29, of Trenton, faces the same charges as an accomplice for transporting his brother to Williams’ residence.  Both men were taken into custody on Friday at Leon Mack’s Hamilton residence by members of the Mercer County Tactical Response Team, HTF and the Trenton Police.  The prosecutor’s office has filed motions to detain both defendants pending trial.


Prince Mack, 29, of Trenton


Leon Mack, 31, of Hamilton


Two Occupants Rescued From Burning Building In Seaside Heights

January 20, 2023

SEASIDE HEIGHTS, NJ (OCEAN)–Yesterday, police and firefighters were dispatched to 325 Webster Avenue for a report of a structure fire around 10:30 p.m. when Seaside Police & Ocean County Radio Room received a report of flames coming out the roof of a house. Seaside Heights Police were first on the scene and confirmed a working fire and with entrapment. Police forced entry in the rear of the structure and removed the two occupants without any harm. The occupants were then taken to Tri-Boro EMS ambulance for evaluation. Firefighters quickly laid a water supply line in from the hydrant and stretched a line to the front of the structure and quickly knocked down the flames. The cause of the is under investigation by the Ocean County Fire Marshal’s Office.

Photos and video by: Ryan Mack, Jersey Shore Fire Response



Two Woman From Brick Township Hording House “Puppy Mill” Back In Jail After Breaking Terms Of Pre-Trial Release

January 20, 2023

BRICK TOWNSHIP, NJ (OCEAN)–Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office has filed motions to revoke the pre-trial release of Aimee Lonczak, 49, and Michele Nycz, 58, both of Brick Township.  On December 3, 2022, Lonczak and Nycz were arrested and charged with Animal Cruelty and Endangering the Welfare of a Child. 

On December 2, 2022, Officers from the Brick Township Police Department were summoned to a residence on Arrowhead Park Drive in reference to an anonymous complaint that the residents at the address were running a puppy mill.  While speaking with the residents, Lonczak and Nycz, in the driveway of the residence, responding Officers could smell a strong odor coming from the residence and heard barking.  Officers were subsequently permitted to enter the residence and immediately detected a strong odor and unsanitary conditions.  Additionally, the Officers observed stacks of animal crates on top of each other with dogs and cats in the crates.  Because of the conditions, the Officers were forced to exit the residence and requested that a Hazmat team respond.  Rescuers in Hazmat equipment subsequently removed approximately 129 dogs and 43 cats located in the residence, and six dogs and one cat living in a vehicle parked outside the residence.  Lonczak and Nycz – who resided at the residence with Lonczak’s 16 year-old child – were both taken into custody at the scene and transported to the Ocean County Jail pending a detention hearing.

Following a detention hearing on December 8, 2022, the Honorable Wendel E. Daniels, J.S.C. (retired and temporarily assigned on recall), released Lonczak and Nycz under the conditions that they were to have no contact with animals and not return to the residence without written approval from the Court.  Judge Daniels likewise order that Lonczak have no contact with her 16 year-old daughter unless authorized by the Department of Child Protection and Permanency and the Family Part of the Superior Court, and that Nycz have no contact with the 16 year-old juvenile.  On January 10, 2022, Nycz attempted to have the no-contact order with the juvenile lifted; that request was denied by the Honorable Linda G. Baxter, J.S.C. (retired and serving on recall).

On January 19, 2023, the Brick Township Police Department was contacted by management of the Ocean County Animal Shelter in Stafford Township.  Management from the shelter reported that Lonczak and Nycz were at the shelter demanding the return of their dogs.  They were also in the company of Lonczak’s daughter.  The shelter ultimately refused to turn over the dogs to the defendants. 

“The actions of the defendants on January 19, 2023 violate the pre-trial release conditions imposed by Judge Daniels on December 8, 2022.  As such, we have filed motions to revoke the pre-trial release of both Lonczak and Nycz.  Based on their actions yesterday, we will be requesting that these defendants be detained pending trial,” Prosecutor Billhimer stated. 

The motions are pending a hearing date in Ocean County Superior Court.

The charges referenced above are merely accusations and the press and public are reminded that all defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

R.P.C.  3.6(b)(6).



Laurence Harbor Man Indicted For Aggravated Manslaughter And Weapons Offences In Jackson, NJ

January 19, 2023

JACKSON TOWNSHIP, NJ (OCEAN)–Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that on January 18, 2023, Michael Tsamas, 33, of Laurence Harbor, was indicted by a Grand Jury sitting in Ocean County on the charges of Aggravated Manslaughter, Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose, two counts of Unlawful Possession of a Weapon, and two counts of Possession of a Prohibited Weapon, in connection with the death of Joseph Delgardio in Jackson Township on May 26, 2022.

On May 26, 2022, at approximately 6:15 p.m., Officers from the Jackson Township Police Department responded to the area of West Veterans Highway and Conor Road in reference to a 911 call stating that a male was lying in the roadway in a pool of blood.  Responding Officers found Joseph Delgardio, 44, of Jackson Township, with a severe wound to his neck.  At the time of the Officers arrival, Mr. Delgardio was already receiving first aid CPR from Fire Department personnel.  Life-saving measures were unsuccessful, and Mr. Delgardio was pronounced deceased at the scene.

An investigation by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit, Jackson Township Police Department, and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit, revealed that Tsamas was working for a company hired by Verizon to solicit customers on a door-to-door basis.  Tsamas knocked on Mr. Delgardio’s door in an attempt to solicit his business.  Mr. Delgardio told Tsamas that he was not interested, and Tsamas left Mr. Delgardio’s residence.  A short time later, Mr. Delgardio confronted Tsamas on the street and a physical altercation ensued.  During the altercation, Tsamas removed a knife from his pocket and stabbed Mr. Delgardio in the neck. 

Tsamas was taken into custody without incident at the scene, and thereafter transported to the Ocean County Jail.  Tsamas was subsequently released from the Ocean County Jail as a consequence of New Jersey Bail Reform.

Prosecutor Billhimer acknowledges the diligent efforts of Assistant Prosecutor Victoria Veni who presented the case to the Grand Jury on behalf of the State, and commends the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Crime Unit, Jackson Township Police Department, and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit, for their collective and cooperative assistance in connection with this investigation.

The charges referenced above are merely accusations and the press and public are reminded that all defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

R.P.C.  3.6(b)(6).


Michael Tsamas, 33, of Laurence Harbor


TAVI Allentown Arts Series Presentation: Was Molly Pitcher from Allentown?

January 19, 2023

ALLENTOWN, NJ (MONMOUTH)–The iconic vision of Molly Pitcher at the Battle Monmouth has been shared with history students for generations. Although part of Revolutionary War lore, questions about Molly abound: Who was she? Where did she come from? Is the story we’ve all been told true?

Resident historian John Fabiano will delve into the legend of Molly Pitcher on Sunday, February 5, 2023 beginning at 3:00 p.m. at Crossroads Youth Center, 75 South Main Street, Allentown, NJ 08501. Mr. Fabiano’s free presentation, “A Servant at Mrs. Watkins’ – Molly Pitcher’s Local Origin,” is part of the “Allentown Arts” series presented by The Allentown Village Initiative (TAVI) focusing on the history and arts of Allentown, New Jersey.

Fabiano, who serves as the Executive Director of the Monmouth County Historical Commission, has spent years researching Molly Pitcher and the role she played at this pivotal battle in the War for Independence. Passing centuries have created the challenge of separating fact from fiction to reveal the amazing story of a determined local woman.

TAVI is a volunteer-driven 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose focus is on local history education and historic preservation, natural resource protection, economic development, and the arts and culture. A quaint and quiet town of 1,800 residents set apart from the bustle of urban New Jersey, Allentown is conveniently located just minutes from Exit 7a on the New Jersey Turnpike, one hour south of New York City, and less than an hour north of Philadelphia.

For more information, visit www.allentownvinj.org and follow TAVI on Instagram @tavi.nj and Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/allentownvinj


Family’s Dream Of Owning A Home Now A Reality In Hamilton Township, Thanks To Bloomberg And Habitat for Humanity

January 18, 2023

Hamilton, NJ (MERCER) – Habitat for Humanity of South Central New Jersey and Bloomberg were excited to come together and hand the keys of a new, affordable home to its new homeowner. Habitat staff, volunteers, and board members were joined by Hamilton Mayor, Jeff Martin, and Bloomberg representatives in dedicating the newly built home to a local, hardworking family ready to start the New Year on new footing.

Nestled in the residential neighborhood behind the Hamilton West High School, just two doors down from another Habitat home stands The Boone Family’s new home. The community has been a focal point of Habitat’s work in recent years, thanks to the support of the township. Mayor Martin spoke on the extent of their partnership, thanked his staff, Bloomberg, and congratulated the homeowner. He said, “Congratulations. It always is an exciting day when you get to close and move into your home, and to know as a parent, that you’re providing for your family, for your kids, to grow up somewhere safe.”

The four-bedroom home was built in partnership by Habitat SCNJ, a local affordable housing organization, and Bloomberg, a financial, software, data, and media company. Bloomberg supported the project financially with a full house sponsorship of $150,000 as well as enough volunteer power to construct the home from the foundation to the front door. In total, 176 Bloomberg employees contributed 1,780 hours over the course of a year.

Habitat SCNJ’s Chief Development Officer, Annie Fox, spoke about the partnership fondly, “This is our second home built alongside Bloomberg, and although we saw some setbacks with the pandemic, we’re so thankful that they remained dedicated to supporting the Habitat mission. We’re both really proud of what we’ve built for Tye and her children and are excited to hand her the keys to her new home.”

New Habitat Homeowner, Tye, has balanced working as a nurse, caring for her three children, and meeting the sweat equity requirements for the Affordable Homeownership Program over the course of six months. Now, she and her family are ringing in the New Year with a place of safety and comfort all of their own. And like all Habitat homes, The Boone Family will purchase the home with an affordable, 30-year mortgage with payments that are 30% of their household income; this includes principle, taxes, and insurance. Not only that, but the home is deed restricted for 30 years to benefit any future homeowners as well.

Tye reflected on her homeownership journey and shared, “It was a realization one day, I was paying too much for rent when I couldn’t even sit on my porch with my baby to play peacefully.”

But when she began looking for an affordable and permanent place for her family, Tye quickly faced an uphill battle. Rent prices were soaring, and many qualification standards set by landlords were unrealistic for her meet as a single-income household.

“Then I came across a Habitat post on Facebook and applied to the program. I was determined to get better for my babies. When I was told I was approved for the program, I was speechless, excited. I really couldn’t believe it. I never thought I would be a homeowner.”

Tye is the first new homeowner of 2023 year for Habitat SCNJ, and one of 520 families to access permanent housing solutions through the organization over the last 35 years. More affordable homeownership projects are underway in Hamilton, Hightstown, and Bordentown where low-income families will soon purchase as well as numerous repair projects to help families live safely and healthily in their homes.

To see photos of the home dedication ceremony and other projects by Habitat, check out @HabitatSCNJ on Facebook and Instagram. Be sure to find all that Habitat has to offer by visiting www.HabitatSCNJ.org for more information on the organization’s services, active projects, and current events.


Trenton Man Charged In Connection To Body Found In Trash Bag

January 18, 2023

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri announced today that an investigation conducted by the Mercer County Homicide Task Force and the Trenton Police Department has resulted in charges being filed against a Trenton man in connection to last month’s discovery of a decomposed body in a garbage bag.

David Gibson, 44, of Trenton, is charged with disturbing or desecrating human remains, tampering with evidence, and hindering.  The prosecutor’s office has filed a motion to detain Gibson pending trial.  Gibson is the tenant of 615 Beatty Street who was evicted in November.  He is accused of placing the victim in the garbage bag after the victim was deceased, moving the trash bag to a different area, concealing the victim’s remains, and not contacting authorities. 

On December 23, 2022, a decomposed body in a garbage bag was located at a property in the 600 block of Beatty Street in Trenton by the landlord.  An autopsy was performed by the Middlesex Regional Medical Examiner’s Office, and the cause and manner of the victim’s death are pending further testing.  A tentative identification of the victim has been made, however that identification is pending DNA confirmation.

The investigation is ongoing.  Anyone with information is asked to contact the Mercer County Homicide Task Force at (609) 989-6406.  Information can also be emailed to mchtftips@mercercounty.org.

Despite having been charged, every defendant is presumed innocent until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.




Shooting Homicide in Trenton Under Investigation

January 18, 2023

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–The Mercer County Homicide Task Force and the Trenton Police Department are investigating a shooting homicide in the city, Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri reported.

At approximately 4:07 p.m. on Monday, January 16, 2023, Trenton police responded to an apartment in the 100 block of South Overbrook Avenue on a report of an unresponsive male.  Upon arrival, officers located the apartment’s resident on the living room floor with an apparent gunshot wound. The victim, identified as Donnell Williams, 29, was pronounced dead at the scene.

No arrests have been made and the investigation is ongoing.  Anyone with information is asked to contact the Mercer County Homicide Task Force at (609) 989-6406.  Information can also be emailed to mchtftips@mercercounty.org.


Names of the 2023 Homicide Victims

  1. 1/16/2023 Donnell Williams, 29, Trenton, Shooting.


74-Year-Old Freehold Township Man Sentenced To 8 Years For Possession And Distribution Of Child Sex Abuse Materials

January 18, 2023

FREEHOLDA Freehold Township man was sentenced to a total of eight years in state prison in connection with the 2017 possession and distribution of child sexual abuse materials, Monmouth County Prosecutor Raymond S. Santiago announced Wednesday.

On Friday, January 13, 2023, before Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Jill G. O’Malley, James Simmons, 74, of Freehold Township was sentenced to four years in a New Jersey State Prison on a third-degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child, Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Materials charge. Simmons also received eight years on a second-degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child, Distribution of Child Sexual Abuse Materials charge. These two sentences will run concurrently. Upon release, Simmons faces mandatory Megan’s Law registration and Parole Supervision for Life.

Simmons was convicted of the charges on July 20, 2022.

A July 2017 investigation by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, along with NJ Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force and the Freehold Township Police Department, revealed that Simmons was found to be in a possession of a USB thumb drive with over 100 videos depicting the sexual abuse of a child, along with peer-to-peer file sharing programs from equipment located at his residence on Harding Road in Freehold Township.

This case was handled by Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Stephanie Dugan. Simmons is being represented by George B. Somers Jr., Esq., of Princeton.


$130,000 Settlement With Scrap Metal Company Beacon Metals Over Alleged Inaccurate Scale Shortchanging Customers

Beacon Metals, a scrap metal company with locations in Freehold and South Amboy.

January 18, 2023

TRENTON, NJ – Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin announced yesterday that the State has reached a $128,838 settlement with Beacon Metals, a scrap metal company with locations in Freehold and South Amboy. The settlement resolves allegations the company shortchanged consumers at its South Amboy location by using an inaccurate scale that provided short weight readings. A total of $112,952 of the settlement will go towards civil penalties with the remainder being used to cover the Division of Consumer Affair’s investigative costs and attorneys’ fees.

In July of 2021, the Division’s Office of Weights and Measures (“OWM”) inspected Beacon Metals’ truck scale at its South Amboy location and found it produced short weight readings. OWM learned that a company had tried to service the scale in January of that year and recommended it be replaced because it was inaccurate. But Beacon Metals did not install a new truck scale until two weeks after OWM’s July inspection. OWM identified nearly 16,000 transactions in which consumers were shortchanged because of the faulty scale.

“Consumers were deliberately cheated out of their money with the use of a scale Beacon Metals knew was not working correctly for six months” said Attorney General Platkin. “Through this settlement we are showing all metal buying businesses, whether scrap or precious, that their scales better be accurate, or we will catch them.” 

“Some people make their living on collecting and selling scrap metal,” said Division of Consumer Affairs Acting Director Cari Fais. “They deserve every single dollar they are owed for what they bring in to scrap yards and to know they are not being ripped off and shortchanged by their buyers.”

Under the terms of the Consent Order entered with the Division, Beacon Metals, among other things, agreed to:

  • Comply with all applicable state and federal laws, rules, and regulations, including the Consumer Fraud Act, the Weights and Measures Act, and the Scales, Instruments and Devices Regulations;
  • Not engage in any deceptive conduct;
  • Maintain devices in proper working condition as required by the Scales, Instruments and Devices Regulations; and
  • Not buy or sell goods based on weight or measurement by use of a weight or measure that has not been properly tested or sealed. 

Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Koziar in the Division of Law’s Affirmative Civil Enforcement Practice Group, handled the matter for the state. Investigator Bryan Thomson of the Office of Weights and Measures handled the investigation for the Division of Consumer Affairs.

Consumers who believe they have been cheated or scammed by a business or suspect any other form of consumer abuse can file an online complaint with the State Division of Consumer Affairs by visiting its website or calling 1-800-242-5846 to receive a complaint form by mail.




Red Bank Man Charged With Numerous “Upskirting” Involving Juveniles

January 18, 2023

FREEHOLD, NJ (MONMOUTH) – A local man charged late last year with taking “upskirting” photos of two women in a Shrewsbury Borough supermarket has been rearrested and charged with numerous similar additional offenses, including eight involving victims who are believed to be juveniles, Monmouth County Prosecutor Raymond S. Santiago announced Tuesday.  

Christopher W. Cox, 33, of Red Bank is charged with eight counts of second-degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child, nine counts of third-degree Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Materials, nine counts of third-degree Invasion of Privacy, two counts of fourth-degree Criminal Sexual Contact, and a single count of fourth-degree Possession of a Large-Capacity Gun Magazine.  

An investigation involving members of the MCPO Special Victims Bureau and the Shrewsbury Borough Police Department has revealed the following facts:

Shortly before 4 p.m. on Thursday, October 20, 2022, a man later identified as Cox was seen entering the ShopRite of Shrewsbury on Shrewsbury Avenue, and shortly thereafter he began following female shoppers around the store, using his cell phone in a manner indicating that he was surreptitiously taking photos of them from behind. Cox was then seen exiting the store and leaving the area in a white Dodge Durango.  

About a week later, shortly after 9 a.m. on Thursday, October 27, 2022, Cox was pulled over on Newman Springs Road in Red Bank. After initially obeying a command from an officer to exit his vehicle, Cox then quickly reentered the SUV and sped away from the scene, with the officer releasing his grip on him in order to avoid getting dragged by the vehicle. Cox was located in Little Silver shortly thereafter and taken into custody without incident.

The investigation ultimately led to the seizure of the aforementioned large-capacity gun magazine and numerous digital video files in Cox’s possession, most depicting girls and women being surreptitiously filmed from below using a cell phone placed in a grocery basket, duffel bag, or other means of conveyance. The incidents took place at the following times and locations:

  • Shortly before 4 p.m. on Wednesday, November 10, 2021 at the ShopRite Wines & Spirits on South Avenue East in Westfield (Union County);
  • Shortly before 6:15 p.m. on Wednesday, November 10, 2021 at the ShopRite supermarket on West Grand Street in Elizabeth (Union County);
  • Shortly before 1:15 p.m. on Monday, May 30, 2022 at the ShopRite of Shrewsbury;
  • Shortly before 4 p.m. on Friday, July 1, 2022 at an unspecified Walmart;
  • Shortly after 12:30 p.m. on Monday, July 4, 2022 at the ShopRite supermarket at the intersection of routes 36 and 71 in West Long Branch;
  • Shortly after 2:45 p.m. on Monday, July 4, 2022 at an unspecified Foodtown supermarket;
  • Shortly before 1:45 p.m. on Saturday, September 10, 2022 at the Whole Foods supermarket on Route 35 in Middletown; and
  • Shortly before 1:45 p.m. on Sunday, September 18, 2022 at the ShopRite of Shrewsbury.

The investigation further determined that Cox has recently been employed as a plumber. The Criminal Sexual Contact charges against him are connected to incidents taking place on Friday, November 11, 2022 and Monday, January 2, 2023 in which he surreptitiously videotaped himself rubbing his pelvic area on clients while in their homes, in one case exposing himself and performing a lewd act.

This case has been assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Ryan Lavender of the Special Victims Bureau. Cox is being represented by Christian Fleming, Esq., with an office in East Brunswick.

Cox was last arrested during a traffic stop in Shrewsbury Borough on Thursday, January 12. A detention hearing in this case has been tentatively scheduled to take place on Thursday, January 19. The State has filed a motion to keep Cox detained as the case against him proceeds.

“The conduct being alleged and the frequency of the incidents associated with the charges announced today are equally concerning and disturbing,” Prosecutor Santiago said. “We are urging anyone who believes they may have been a victim of Mr. Cox to please come forward and tell us what they know.”

A recent photo of Cox is being released along with this press release. Anyone with information about this matter is urged to contact MCPO Detective Sgt. Shawn Murphy at 800-533-7443 or Shrewsbury Borough Police Department Detective Daniel DeCristofaro at 732-741-2500, Ext. 230.

Anyone who feels the need to remain anonymous but has information about this or any crime can submit a tip to Monmouth County Crime Stoppers by calling their confidential telephone tip-line at 1-800-671-4400; by downloading and using the free P3 Tips mobile app (available on iOS and Android – https://www.p3tips.com/1182), by calling 800-671-4400, or by going to the website at www.monmouthcountycrimestoppers.com.

Convictions on second-degree criminal charges are punishable by up to 10 years in state prison.

Despite these charges, every defendant is presumed innocent, unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, following a trial at which the defendant has all of the trial rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and State law.


Christopher W. Cox, 33, of Red Bank is charged with eight counts of second-degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child, nine counts of third-degree Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Materials, nine counts of third-degree Invasion of Privacy, two counts of fourth-degree Criminal Sexual Contact, and a single count of fourth-degree Possession of a Large-Capacity Gun Magazine.  


Leader Of Trenton Drug Trafficking Conspiracy Gets 19 Years In Prison

January 18, 2023

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER) – A Trenton man was sentenced yesterday to 228 months in prison for his role as the leader of a significant drug trafficking conspiracy that distributed more than one kilogram of heroin in Trenton and the surrounding area, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced.

Jakir Taylor, aka “Jak,” 32, previously pleaded guilty before Chief U.S. District Judge Freda L. Wolfson to Counts One and Seven of the first superseding indictment charging him with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin and possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. Chief Judge Wolfson imposed the sentence today in Trenton federal court.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

From October 2017 to October 2018, Taylor and others engaged in a large narcotics conspiracy that operated in the areas of Martin Luther King Boulevard, Sanford Street, Middle Rose Street, Southard Street, Hoffman Avenue, and Coolidge Avenue in Trenton, and which sought to profit from the distribution of heroin and numerous other controlled substances. Taylor and conspirator Jerome Roberts obtained regular supplies of hundreds of “bricks” of heroin from conspirator David Antonio, whom they referred to as “Papi.” Taylor and Roberts agreed to obtain from Antonio a “motherlode” supply of as many as 1,500 bricks – approximately 1.5 kilograms of heroin – in a single delivery. Taylor said that he intended to “flood the streets” of Trenton with this large supply. Taylor also admitted that he and his conspirators possessed at least one firearm to assist his drug trafficking operations, and on multiple occasions during the conspiracy Taylor actively sought to obtain additional firearms from other sources. During coordinated arrests on Oct. 25, 2018, law enforcement arrested Taylor, Roberts, Antonio, and other defendants, and recovered more than 1.4 kilograms of heroin from Antonio’s residence.

In addition to the prison term, Chief Judge Wolfson sentenced Taylor to five years of supervised release.

In October 2018, Taylor, and 25 other individuals were charged by criminal complaint with conspiracy to distribute heroin. On Apr. 11, 2019, a grand jury returned a nine-count superseding indictment charging Taylor and eight other defendants with conspiracy to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin and various other drug and firearm offenses. Twenty-three of the 26 defendants charged in the complaint have pleaded guilty. The remaining three were convicted after trial in October 2021.

U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents of the FBI, Newark Division, Trenton Resident Agency, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James E. Dennehy in Newark; special agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, Newark Division, Trenton Satellite Office, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Bryan Miller; officers of the Trenton Police Department, under the direction of Acting Police Director Steve Wilson; officers of the Princeton Police Department, under the direction of Chief of Police Nicholas Sutter; officers of the Ewing Police Department, under the direction of Chief of Police John P. Stemler III; officers of the Burlington Township Police Department, under the direction of Police Director Bruce Painter; and detectives of the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor LaChia L. Bradshaw, with the investigation leading to today’s sentencing.

He also thanked officers of the N.J. State Police, under the direction of Superintendent Col. Patrick J. Callahan; detectives of the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Angelo Onofri; officers of the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office, under the direction of Sheriff John A. Kemler; and members of the N.J. State Board of Parole for their assistance in the case.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys J. Brendan Day and Alexander Ramey of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Criminal Division in Trenton.

This case is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at https://www.justice.gov/ocdetf.

The charges and allegations against the remaining defendants are merely accusations and those defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

23-018

Defense counsel: Jerome A. Ballarotto Esq., Trenton


Car Fire On I-195 In Upper Freehold Township

January 16, 2023

UPPER FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP, NJ (MONMOUTH)–Firefighters from Hope Fire Company responded to I-195 west bound in the area of mile post 10 for a car fire last night January 15, 2023, at 7:43 p.m. When firefighters arrived, they found a car fire with a well involved engine compartment. Firefighters pulled a hose line and quickly extinguished the fire. No additional details are available about the fire.


Bystander photos and video



Person Evaluated After Fall Into Frigid Assunpink Lake As Skiff Overturns

January 16, 2023

UPPER FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP, NJ (MONMOUTH)–At 2:16 p.m. the New Jersey State Police, Hope Fire Company/Upper Freehold Firefighters, Conservation Officers, and Captial Health-Allentown, all responded for a report of an overturned kayak with a person in the Assunpink Lake in the Assunpink Wildlife Management Area. Upon arrival a small boat-skiff was found near the island and the person was able to make it back onto the skiff. The skiff was brought ashore, and the person was transferred to emergency medical services to be evaluated after being pulled from the frigid water. It did not appear that there were any injuries in the incident. No other details are available at this time.