Vehicle Crash With Entrapment In Ewing Township

May 27, 2022

EWING TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Ewing Township Firefighters, EMS and Police responded to a motor vehicle accident with extrication on West Ingham Avenue near Kelsey Avenue at 1:12 p.m. Firefighters were able to extricate the trapped occupants. EMS transported the injured to a local hospital for treatment. Ewing Township Police is investigating the crash. No further details are available at this time.


Photos by: Brian McCarthy, OnScene News



Shots Fired Near Trenton Firefighters Again

May 27, 2022

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–It was only yesterday when a bullet went flying through a window of a Trenton Fire Station on West State Street. Today a fire department engine calls in shots fired as a Shot Spotter activation comes into Trenton Police in the area of Southard Street and New Willow Street around 1:14 p.m. The firefighters asked for police to respond since they heard several gunshots near their location. Police, Trenton EMS and Captial Health Paramedics responded to the scene. There were reports of a person shot but it was unclear if anyone was hit and transported to the hospital.

Then around 4:47 p.m. in the 1500 Block of West State Street shots were fired but there were no victims found. This was also in the area of Trenton Engine 9 the same area were a bullet flew though the window near the “watch desk” of the fire station yesterday.

Trenton Police are investigating the shootings.

No further information is available at this time.




Trenton Police in the area of Southard Street and New Willow Street around 1:14 p.m. Photos by: Brian McCarthy, OnScene News


Big SNOW, North America’s Only Indoor Ski Attraction, Reopens In Time For Memorial Day Weekend

As a thank you for combatting last September’s fire, Big SNOW’s ceremonial “first chair” honored representatives from various responding fire departments.

May 27, 2022

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ (May 2022) – Big SNOW American Dream, North America’s first indoor, real-snow ski and snowboard center providing guests with year-round winter indoors, reopened today, Friday, May 27. The indoor ski resort is open from 1:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. today. The indoor ski resort suffered a 3-alarm fire on September 25, 2021 and repairs have been completed just in time for Memorial Day Weekend. During the reopening event the venue hosted a snow-studded Beach Party, including DJ entertainment, live ice-sculpting, complimentary photo shoot sessions and an opportunity to meet and ride with athletes from Burton. There were also door prize giveaways throughout the day, including 50% off return visit vouchers.

“We are excited to reopen Big SNOW to guests this Memorial Day Weekend,” said Trish McLeod, Director of Resorts Marketing & Sales, SNOW Partners. “We thank our visitors and team for their patience as we’ve worked diligently to resume the full operation of the facility. We are appreciative of all the hard work that has gone towards this reopening and look forward to welcoming guests back to our slope where we offer endless winter fun right here in New Jersey.”

As a thank you for combatting last September’s fire, Big SNOW’s ceremonial “first chair” honored representatives from various responding fire departments. The venue will also offer discounted tickets to responding firefighters and their families interested in hitting the slopes this summer.

“We are tremendously thankful for the quick response and efforts made by the local fire departments last fall,” continued McLeod. “These complimentary tickets are just a small token of our appreciation. At Big SNOW, every day is a snow day, so we hope to see local firefighters and their families cool off and hit the slopes this summer.”

Ideal for first-timers or those just looking to keep their ski skills intact this summer, Big SNOW offers Snow Day packages that provide everything needed to enjoy a day on the snow. Packages include ski/board rental, outerwear, complimentary access to Terrain Based Learning skills areas and a team of dedicated instructors. This summer also marks the return of Camp BIG’s Summer Series – a four-day camp designed for children ages 5-12 to level-up on their ski and snowboard skills. Participating campers will receive continuous supervision with personalized on-snow instruction, complimentary ski or snowboard equipment rental and outwear rentals, as well as, slope access tickets, daily snacks and a goodie bag.

For more information, guests can visit BigSNOWAmericanDream.com, or keep up with Big SNOW on Facebook and Instagram @bigsnowad



As a thank you for combatting last September’s fire, Big SNOW’s ceremonial “first chair” honored representatives from various responding fire departments. The venue will also offer discounted tickets to responding firefighters and their families interested in hitting the slopes this summer.


Firefighters and NJ State Troopers who responded to the 3-Alarm Fire at Big Snow on September 25, 2021 were honored at Big Snow’s Reopening Today.



Dancer bill that names new management team for environmental education school passes Assembly

May 27, 2022

TRENTON, N.J. – The Assembly on Thursday passed Assemblyman Ron Dancer’s bill that names new management to the nation’s oldest and largest university-based environmental education facility.

The Friends of the New Jersey School of Conservation are named manager under Dancer’s legislation (A3149), taking the reins from Montclair State University, which had managed the New Jersey School of Conservation since 1981. The school is located on 240 acres in Stokes State Forest in Sussex County.

“The Friends has been an indispensable asset to the running of the school, and stepped in when Montclair found it was no longer viable to keep the school open during the Covid-19 pandemic,” Dancer (R-Ocean) said. “The organization submitted a plan to keep the school running. It will be exciting to witness what this new chapter brings to the school and the thousands of teachers and students who benefit from it.”

The Friends has shifted its focus to restoration, preservation and advocacy in recent years. With Montclair out, at the height the pandemic, the Friends reopened the school on a limited basis in the summer of 2020 and secured $1 million from the state Legislature for repairs at some of the 55 buildings that comprise the campus. Partnering with Rutgers University, Ramapo College and Sussex County Community College, the organization plans to upgrade and transform the school into a premier training and research facility. Dancer noted he appreciates Montclair’s role in the transition. 

Dancer’s bill requires the Friends to submit a financial statement annually to the Department of Education, which would be responsible for funding the school. Its plan proposes a $1.72 million budget by FY2025.

“The New Jersey School of Conservation has provided valuable environmental education programs for decades,” Dancer added. “My bill will ensure the school continues to provide that for years to come.”

The bill now heads to the governor’s desk for signing.


Located on a 240-acre tract of land in Stokes State Forest in Sussex County, New Jersey, the School of Conservation is our nation’s oldest and largest environmental education center. NJSOC has a long and celebrated history, beginning in 1949 when officials from the Department of Higher Education, college presidents, the Department of Conservation and Economic Development, politicians, and conservationists worked together to realize the promise of a world-class outdoor education center in an abandoned CCC camp. It played a key role in the development of the environmental education movement, and has served as a model for environmental centers throughout the world. The SOC’s resident programs and summer camps have served more than 400,000 students, teachers, masters and doctoral candidates, faculty and visiting professionals from every walk of life through the nearly 40,000 workshops and environmental education programs offered at the SOC over its 71-year history.




Above photos of past events from the Friends of the New Jersey School of Conservation Facebook Page


Assembly passes Dancer bill that allows wineries on preserved farms to host special events

May 27, 2022

TRENTON, N.J. – The Assembly on Thursday passed Assemblyman Ron Dancer’s bill that will allow wineries on preserved farmlands to continue hosting special occasion events.
 
Dancer’s bill (A4037) reinstates the pilot program allowing those special occasion events for two years once the bill is adopted. The bill also retroactively approves such events held since May 30, 2020, when the program expired and confusion reigned over its status.
 
“Reports from the initial winery pilot program showed it to be a huge success. Not only did it improve farms’ bottom lines, but we saw an increase in overall ‘agritourism,’” Dancer (R-Ocean) said. “My bill helps the state’s agricultural community remain economically viable by permitting more public activities at wineries on preserved farms.”
 
The bill allows wineries on preserved farmland to hold special occasion events, such as weddings or other milestone celebrations, provided the farm produces agricultural or horticultural products. The pilot program was launched back in 2014, and renewed in 2018, with seven of the 19 wineries on preserved farmland participating. 
 
“Agritourism is a $1 billion industry in the U.S. that has created 9 million jobs since 2007, and continues to grow,” Dancer said. “I am committed to helping this industry grow in the Garden State, and I’m gratified that this goal has strong bipartisan support.”
 
The bill now goes to the governor’s desk for signing.



Laurence Harbor Man Charged With Murder In Yesterday’s Stabbing Death In Jackson, NJ

According to Prosecutors, Tsamas was working for a company hired by Verizon to solicit customers on a door-to-door basis.

May 27, 2022

JACKSON TOWNSHIP, NJ (OCEAN)–Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer and Jackson Township Police Chief Matthew Kunz announced that on May 26, 2022, Michael Tsamas, 32, of Laurence Harbor, was charged with Murder in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:11-3a(1), in connection with the death of Joseph Delgardio in Jackson Township on May 26, 2022. Tsamas was also charged with Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4d, and Unlawful Possession of a Weapon in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5d.

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 is currently lodged in the Ocean County Jail pending a detention hearing.

Prosecutor Billhimer and Chief  Kunz commend the collaborative efforts of 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 leading to Tsamas’ apprehension.

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, 32, of Laurence Harbor, was charged with Murder in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:11-3a(1), in connection with the death of Joseph Delgardio in Jackson Township on May 26, 2022. Tsamas was also charged with Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4d, and Unlawful Possession of a Weapon in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5d.


According to Prosecutors, 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.


No Serious Injuries Reported In Old York Road Crash

May 26, 2022

ROBBINSVILLE – UPPER FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP — Around 9:44 p.m. 9-1-1 calls were received for a crash at the intersection of Old York Road and Herbert Road, NJ State Police and Robbinsville Police responded to the scene. It appeared that a vehicle proceeded though a stop sign on Herbert Road and crossed Old York Road and came to rest on an embankment on the opposite side of Old York Road.

Hope Fire Company of Allentown and Robbinsville Township Fire Department and EMS were detailed for reported injuries. Upon arrival of emergency services, it was determined that the injury was minor, and no transport was needed.

Firefighters stood by while a tow truck from Treat’s Garage, Mackey’s Towing removed the vehicle.

Robbinsville Township Police Department is investigating the accident.

No further details are available.


Fatal Crash On East State Street Extension In Hamilton Township Under Investigation

5/27/2022 UPDATE from Hamilton Township Police Division:

On May 26, 2022 at approximately 9:10 pm, a 2016 Nissan Versa, driven by a 36yoa male from Easton Pennsylvania, was traveling northbound on E. State St Extension near Montana Ave when it entered into the right-side shoulder of the roadway and struck the rear of a 2020 EAS Trailer, owned and operated by David’s Express, of Hamilton NJ, which was parked and unoccupied in the shoulder of E. State St Extension.  The driver of the vehicle was transported to Capital Health Hospital at Fuld where he succumbed to his injuries.  His name is being withheld pending notification to family.

The crash is being investigated by Officers B. Wood, F. LaVacca, and C. Clugsten of the Hamilton Police Traffic Unit.          

Any witnesses are asked to contact the Hamilton Police Traffic Unit at (609)581-4000.    


Original MidJersey.News story here:

May 26, 2022

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Hamilton Police, Hamilton Township Fire Department, RWJ EMS and Captial Health Paramedics responded to East State Street Extension near Montana Avenue for a serious crash where a car rear ended a tractor trailer around 9:15 p.m. The occupant was extricated by the fire department and transported to the Trauma Center at Capital Health Regional Medical Center in Trenton. Hamilton Township Police Division is conducting a serious crash investigation.

The story will be updated as information becomes available.



Photos by: Brian McCarthy, OnScene News


Serious Crash On Pitman Ave In Hamilton Township

May 26, 2022

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Hamilton Police say that on May 26, 2022 at approximately 5:50pm, a 2003 Acura TL, driven by Ashley Williams, 35yoa female from Hamilton, was traveling southbound on Pitman Ave near Rennie St when she lost control of her vehicle and struck a tree.  The Acura continued traveling southbound and Ms. Williams was ejected from the vehicle before the vehicle finally came to a stop.  Her front seat passenger, Cedric Williams, 59yoa male from Hamilton, had to be extricated from the vehicle by members of the Hamilton Fire Division.  Both the driver and front passenger suffered serious injuries and were transported to Capital Health Hospital at Fuld for treatment.  A rear seat passenger, 11yoa male, was uninjured and released to a family member

          The crash is being investigated by Officers C. Clugsten, B. DiBiasi, and F. LaVacca of the Hamilton Police Traffic Unit.

          Any witnesses are asked to contact the Hamilton Police Traffic Unit at (609)581-4000.    



Another Trenton, NJ Firehouse Shot Up By Neighborhood Gun Violence

The last firehouse to be shot was only a month ago, when one firefighter working out on an elliptical trainer in the firehouse gym was struck by gunfire inside the station.


May 26, 2022

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–A month to the day another Trenton Firehouse has been shot up again by neighborhood gun violence.

Trenton Police Department, Detective Lieutenant Bethesda Stokes stated that at 4:26 p.m. police responded to 1519 West State Street for a Shot Spotter activation of eight rounds. Police discovered that Trenton Fire Department Engine 9’s quarters had been struck. No one was injured. 

It was exactly a month ago on April 26, 2022 that a city firefighter narrowly escaped serious injury when he was grazed by a stray bullet while he was on duty working out at the firehouse of Engine 1 and Ladder 1 on Calhoun Street.


Above photos by: Brian McCarthy OnScene News


MidJersey.news has reached out to the Trenton Firefighters Union FMBA Local 6 and 206 for comment.


Statement from FMBA Local 6 President Andres Perez:

Firefighters in the city already have a dangerous job, running into burning buildings and going to EMS calls where violent crimes have been committed. And that is just a small bit of our duties as firefighters in the capital city. While we go to these calls knowing there is danger we take calculated risks to do what’s best for city residents. These risk don’t usually consist of doing our duties at a watch desk and having gunfire erupt and actually hit the buildings and in within the past month actually hit a firefighter. The administration both Fire and the city is usually reactive, however in these cases we have yet to see anything from our administration. This has been all to familiar in recent years with the uptick of crime and gunplay within the city. Both police and fire seem to not have the resources nor the funding to do their jobs efficiently and safely. Even with the previous shooting at Calhoun we have yet to do any proactive measures to help protect Firefighters while within the walls of their respective stations.FMBA Local 6 President Andres Perez


Union Spokes Person for both locals, Kevin Soto who happened to be hit by gunfire working out at the Calhoun Street firehouse during the shooting last month stated:

“What we need is bullet proof windows and some kind of safety for all of us, what are they waiting for? For one of us to be dead? This has got to stop man! Now I can’t go to work without having to worry about if I’m going to make it home to my family just sitting around in the firehouse. We all put our lives on the line every single day to save another life. When we are called upon to perform our duty but we don’t go to work to sit like ducks waiting to get shot. I signed up for this job to save another life and knowing mines can be at risk in the process of doing that duty and I’m ok with that. What I am not ok with is sitting at a firehouse table talking to all my brothers and sisters waiting for the tones to drop and end up getting shot. This needs to stop! Our safety needs to be put first and they need to put up bullet proof windows, etc. around all firehouses and police departments if they care so much about us. Show us and stop giving us a political show and start making moves actions speak louder than words! — Kevin Soto FMBA Locals 6 and 206 Spokesperson and shooting victim from Calhoun Street Firehouse


The photos above show a bullet hole that came though the window near the “watch desk” The watch desk is where firefighters sit and monitor the radio desk for calls to respond to.


This is still a developing story check back for further information.



You can read previous MidJersey.News stories on the Calhoun Street Firehouse being shot up here:



Photos by: Brian McCarthy, OnScene News


21 Men Arrested in Undercover Operation Targeting Child Predators Using Social Media to Lure Children for Sex

Charges Stem from “Operation Risky Business,” a Collaborative Investigation Led by the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office, Division of Criminal Justice, New Jersey State Police, and U.S. Homeland Security Investigations

May 26, 2022

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–New Jersey Acting Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin and Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri today announced the arrests of 21 alleged child predators in “Operation Risky Business,” a multi-agency undercover operation targeting individuals who allegedly were using social medial in an attempt to lure underage girls and boys for sexual activity.  The defendants will be prosecuted by the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office and the Division of Criminal Justice.  

The underage “children” were, in fact, undercover officers.  Most of the defendants in Operation Risky Business were arrested at either the undercover residence in Hamilton Township or another meet-up location, including the Hamilton Train Station. Those who went to the undercover house allegedly expected to find their victims home alone. Instead, they found law enforcement officers prepared to arrest them and process any evidence seized.  Those arrested include four Megan’s Law registrants, an injury lawyer from Georgia, an information technology worker, a dump truck driver, and a pastry chef from the Pocono Mountains region. One defendant was arrested and charged in two cases because he was chatting online with two separate undercover officers.

The operation was led by the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Unit, the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice Financial and Cyber Crimes Bureau, and the New Jersey State Police, in collaboration with U.S. Homeland Security Investigations, and additional federal, state and county law enforcement agencies listed below.

“Operation Risky Business is a great example of how successful law enforcement agencies can be when they collaborate across all levels like they did here by proactively investigating and arresting predators who sought to sexually exploit children,” said Acting Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin. “We are committed to working collaboratively in order to aggressively investigate and prosecute sex offenders. But we also need parents to talk to their children about the dangers of social media and let them know not everyone who they encounter online is who they initially claim to be.”

“Not in Mercer.  Not our children.  Not under my watch.  That’s the message we are sending to sexual predators with collaborative efforts like Operation Risky Business,” said Prosecutor Onofri.  “Social media sites have become hunting grounds for individuals looking to exploit children.  Law enforcement will continue to use every investigative tool at our disposal to aggressively pursue and prosecute these predators that attempt to exploit our most innocent victims, but we can’t do it alone.  Parents and guardians can do their part by remaining vigilant.  Talk to your children about the dangers that exist on social media and gaming apps, and monitor their online activity.”

“Through collaborative efforts like this, we are sending a strong message to parents that we must remain vigilant and do our part to protect children by keeping communication open and warning them about the dangers of the Internet,” said Director Lyndsay V. Ruotolo of the Division of Criminal Justice. “We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners across all levels to investigate, apprehend, and prosecute offenders who attempt to sexually exploit children. There is no higher priority than keeping our children safe.”

“Operation Risky Business was a complete success; however, it is also a sobering reminder that there is no shortage of online predators willing to exploit children.” said Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “We remain committed to seeking out these criminals but remind parents and guardians that they need to be aware of the dangers that exist online and do their part to actively monitor and safeguard their children’s activity.”

“HSI is committed to supporting coordinated operations, helping ensure the children of our communities are protected from dangerous predators,” said Special Agent in Charge Jason J. Molina of HSI Newark.

About half of the arrests in Operation Risky Business were made over a four-day period from April 7 through April 10.  The defendants were from New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and one from Georgia.  They are variously charged with offenses including second-degree attempted luring, second-degree attempted sexual assault, third-degree attempted endangering the welfare of a child, and fourth-degree attempted criminal sexual contact.  Arrest warrants for the remainder of the suspects were forwarded to the U.S. Marshals Service, who tracked down the rest of the alleged predators over the last few weeks.

The undercover law enforcement members who conducted the chats with the defendants were specially trained members of the New Jersey ICAC Task Force. The defendants typically initiated contact based on profiles posted on social media platforms by the undercover detectives and agents. The social platforms that were used in these encounters included Kik, Skout, Whisper, Grindr, GROWLr, and MeetMe.  Once chatting began, the undercover officers clearly identified themselves as underage girls or boys.  Despite that information, the defendants allegedly engaged the purported “children” in conversations about sex, and all 21 defendants are alleged to have made arrangements to meet the “children” for sex.  Some of the chats were conducted over a period of several weeks leading up to the “meet-up” week when arrests were made.

Prosecutor Onofri advised parents to familiarize themselves with the apps their children use, as well as signs that their children may be targets of online exploitation.  “Spending an increasing amount of time online, becoming secretive about their online conduct, switching screens or closing tabs or windows whenever a parent is close, using sexual language they would not be expected to know and becoming emotionally volatile, these are all red flags,” he said.

The undercover house was staffed with dozens of law enforcement officers, analysts and attorneys.  Attorneys and detectives drafted search warrants for electronic devices that were seized from the defendants.  These devices were taken to the forensic computer laboratory at the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office for full forensic examinations.  These examinations, which are ongoing, will enable investigators to determine if the devices contain evidence of any prior encounters by the defendants with underage victims, which might constitute additional cases of luring, sexual assault or child endangerment.

The defendants were lodged in the Mercer County Correction Center until detention hearings were held.  Three defendants – Gregory Barger (who is a registered sex offender in Pennsylvania), Justin Wann, and James Hendryx – were ordered detained in jail pending trial.  The other defendants were released subject to stringent pre-trial monitoring conditions, including at a minimum reporting regularly to Pre-Trial Services staff and prohibitions from using the internet except for work or having any unsupervised contact with children under 18.

The following 21 men were arrested in Operation Risky Business and are charged as indicated.  They allegedly believed they were communicating with a minor as described in parentheses.  The prosecuting agency is also specified.


  1. Laurentiu Tonea, 41, East Windsor, NJ.  (Girl, 14)  Tonea is an information technology worker in Edison, NJ.  Charges: Attempted sexual assault, two counts of attempted endangering the welfare of a child, attempted criminal sexual contact, attempted luring.  The Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office (MCPO) is prosecuting.

  2. Richard Parsons, 42, Cumming, GA.  (Girl, 14)  Parsons is an injury lawyer.  Charges: Two counts of attempted endangering the welfare of a child, attempted criminal sexual contact.  MCPO is prosecuting.

  3. Michael Kramer, 52, Philadelphia, PA.  (Girl, 15)  Kramer is a dump truck driver. Charges: Attempted endangering the welfare of a child, attempted sexual assault, attempted possession of child pornography, attempted manufacturing of child pornography.  MCPO is prosecuting.

  4. Robert Franklin, Gloucester City, NJ.  (Girl, 13)  Charge: Attempted endangering the welfare of a child. MCPO is prosecuting.

  5. Jesus Clavel Villa, 49, Trenton, NJ.  (Girl, 14)  Villa is a cook in Trenton.  Charges: Attempted sexual assault, attempted luring, attempted endangering the welfare of a child.  The Division of Criminal Justice (DCJ) is prosecuting.

  6. Moises Cortes Diaz, 35, New Brunswick, NJ.  (Girl, 13)  Diaz is a self-employed painter.  Charges: Attempted sexual assault, attempted luring, attempted endangering the welfare of a child, attempted manufacturing of child pornography.  DCJ is prosecuting.

  7. Joseph Roman, 31, Denville, NJ.  (Girl, 14)  Roman is unemployed and a registered sex offender.  Charges: Attempted sexual assault, two counts of attempted endangering the welfare of a child, attempted manufacturing of child pornography.  MCPO is prosecuting.

  8. Emanuel Rodriguez, 25, Trenton, NJ.  (Girl, 14)  Charges: Two counts of attempted endangering the welfare of a child, attempted manufacturing of child pornography. MCPO is prosecuting.

  9. Gregory Barger, 37, Morrisville, PA.  (Girl, 14)  Barger is a self-employed painter and a registered sex offender in Pennsylvania.  Charges: Attempted sexual assault, attempted luring, attempted endangering the welfare of a child, attempted kidnapping.  MCPO is prosecuting.

  10. Justin Wann, 35, Paulsboro, NJ.  (Girl, 14)  Wann is a self-employed painter.  Charges: Attempted sexual assault, attempted luring, attempted kidnapping, attempted criminal sexual contact, attempted endangering the welfare of a child.  MCPO is prosecuting. (Also see # 16 for second case)

  11. Frank Duggan, 54, Bordentown, NJ.  (Girl, 14)  Duggan is unemployed.  Charges: Attempted sexual assault, attempted luring, attempted endangering the welfare of a child, attempted manufacturing of child pornography.  DCJ is prosecuting.

  12. Nestor Alonso Chappuis, 37, Hamilton, NJ.  (Girl, 14)  Chappuis is unemployed and a registered sex offender.  Charges: Attempted sexual assault, attempted luring, attempted endangering the welfare of a child.  MCPO is prosecuting.

  13. Evan Sluka, 27, Blakeslee, PA.  (Girl, 14)  Sluka is a chef in Stroudsburg, PA.  Charges: Attempted sexual assault, attempted luring, attempted endangering the welfare of a child, attempted criminal sexual contact.  DCJ is prosecuting.


  14. James Hendryx, 26, Hamilton, NJ.  (Boy, 14)  Hendryx is unemployed.  Charges: Attempted sexual assault, attempted luring, attempted endangering the welfare of a child.  MCPO is prosecuting.

  15. Kyle Zang, 31, Stewartstown, PA.  (Girl, 14)  Charges: Two counts of attempted endangering the welfare of a child, attempted manufacturing of child pornography.  MCPO is prosecuting.

  16. Justin Wann, 35, Paulsboro.  (Girl, 14)  Wann is a self-employed painter.  Charges: Four counts of attempted endangering the welfare of a child.  MCPO is prosecuting.  This second case is based on an additional chat with another undercover officer.

  17. Christopher Baez, 36, New York, NY.  (Girl, 14)  Baez is a restaurant worker.  Charges: Two counts of attempted endangering the welfare of a child, attempted manufacturing of child pornography.  MCPO is prosecuting.

  18. Joseph Zekas, 49, Williamstown, NJ.  (Girl, 13)  Charges: Attempted sexual assault, attempted criminal sexual contact, attempted endangering the welfare of a child.  MCPO is prosecuting.

  19. Taylor Picillo, 29, Hamilton, NJ.  (Boy, 14).  Picillo is employed by a solar energy equipment supplier in Rocklin, CA.  Charges: Attempted sexual assault, attempted luring, attempted endangering the welfare of a child, resisting arrest.  MCPO is prosecuting.

  20. William Oldham, 45, Williamstown, NJ.  (Girl, 14)  Oldham is a fence installer. Charges: Two counts of attempted endangering the welfare of a child, attempted manufacturing of child pornography.  MCPO is prosecuting.

  21. Charles Amer, 50, Maple Shade, NJ.  (Girl, 13)  Amer is a warehouse laborer and a registered sex offender.  Charges: Attempted endangering the welfare of a child, attempted luring.  MCPO is prosecuting.

  22. Yohann Rigogne, 41, Philadelphia, PA.  (Girl, 14)  Rigogne is unemployed.  Charge: Attempted endangering the welfare of a child.  MCPO is prosecuting.

Second-degree charges carry a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000, while third-degree charges carry a sentence of three of five years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.  Fourth-degree charges carry a sentence of up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

Prosecutor Onofri commended all of the individuals and agencies who conducted Operation Risky Business.  He thanked the members of the ICAC Unit who led and coordinated the operation for the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office, particularly Sergeants Joe Paglione and Michael Castaldo, under the direction of Chief of Detectives Jessica Plumeri.  He also thanked Assistant Prosecutor Alycia Beyrouty, chief of ICAC, and Chief Jillian Carpenter of the state Division of Criminal Justice Financial and Cyber Crimes Bureau.

He further commended all of the members of the New Jersey State Police who worked on Operation Risky Business, under the direction of Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, particularly Lieutenant Stephen Urbanski and Detective Sergeant Paul Sciortino, and all of the special agents of U.S. Homeland Security Investigations – Cherry Hill Field Office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jason J. Molina, particularly Supervisory Special Agent John Fitch.

Prosecutor Onofri also thanked the following federal, state and county agencies that assisted in Operation Risky Business:

  • New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice Financial and Cyber Crimes Bureau
  • New Jersey Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force
  • U.S. Department of Homeland Security
  • U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
  • Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Mercer County Sheriff’s Office
  • Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Camden County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Mercer County Central Motor Pool

The charges against the defendants in Operation Risky Business are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.  Because they are indictable offenses, they will be presented to a grand jury for potential indictment.



Three Individuals Indicted For Scheme To Defraud U.S. Department Of Defense


Linda Mika, 70, and Paul Mika, 74, both of Jackson, New Jersey, and Kenneth Mika, 50, of Ewing, New Jersey, are charged by indictment with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and five counts of wire fraud in connection with the scheme. Kenneth Mika was additionally charged with two counts of making false statements.


May 26, 2022

TRENTON, N.J. – Three New Jersey, individuals were indicted today for their role in a years-long scheme to defraud the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) by providing military equipment parts that were not authorized under the governing contracts, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced.

Linda Mika, 70, and Paul Mika, 74, both of Jackson, New Jersey, and Kenneth Mika, 50, of Ewing, New Jersey, are charged by indictment with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and five counts of wire fraud in connection with the scheme. Kenneth Mika was additionally charged with two counts of making false statements.

According to documents filed in this case:

From at least March 2016 through April 2020, the Mikas conspired with each other and others to defraud the DoD and one of its combat logistic support arms, the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), by engaging in a pattern of unlawful product substitution. Paul Mika was the founder and owner of Monmouth Marine Engines Inc. (Monmouth Marine), a maritime equipment and servicing facility, which, as an approved federal contractor, also entered into contracts with DLA to supply DoD contracting entities with replacement hardware for DoD’s military branches. Linda Mika, Paul Mika’s wife, and Kenneth Mika, Paul and Linda Mika’s son, were employees of Monmouth Marine.

The Mikas, on behalf of Monmouth Marine, obtained contracts with the DoD by falsely claiming that the military parts they contracted to provide would be exact products furnished by authorized manufacturers or suppliers. Once awarded the contracts, however, the Mikas sourced non-conforming substitute parts at a significantly reduced cost to fill the contracts. They did this to maximize their profit margin while also suppressing fair competition in the bidding of federal contracts. Upon receipt by Monmouth Marine, the non-conforming parts were then shipped to DLA in packaging disguising the parts’ identities in an effort by the Mikas to deceive DLA and its unwitting downstream purchasers.

During an audit of Monmouth Marine conducted in February 2020, Kenneth Mika falsely stated to DLA auditors that Monmouth Marine had been authorized by certain representatives of the Defense Contract Management Agency to substitute parts under DLA contracts. Kenneth Mika repeated these false representations to FBI and Defense Criminal Investigation Service agents in July 2020.

Each count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and wire fraud is punishable by a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a maximum $250,000 fine. Each count of making false statements is punishable by a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a maximum $250,00 fine.

U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents of and the U.S. Department of Defense, Office of Inspector General, Defense Criminal Investigative Service, Northeast Field Office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Patrick J. Hegarty; and special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Michael Messenger with the investigation leading to today’s indictment.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric A. Boden of the U.S. Attorney=s Office Criminal Division in Trenton.

The charges and allegations contained in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

22-200 

Defense counsel:

Linda Mika: Dennis C. Carletta Esq., Cedar Grove, New Jersey
Kenneth Mika: Eric W. Moran Esq., New York
Paul Mika: Timothy R. Anderson Esq., Red Bank, New Jersey






Governor Murphy Announces Free Entry to State Parks Beginning Memorial Day Weekend

May 26, 2022

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER) – Governor Phil Murphy announced today that, as of Memorial Day Weekend, entry to all New Jersey state parks, forests, and recreation areas will be free of charge this summer. Presented in the FY 2023 budget proposal, the one-year state parks fee holiday is one of several fee waivers and programs designed to advance affordability and opportunity in New Jersey.

Park entrance fees will be waived for all visitors, regardless of state residency. Anyone who already purchased a 2022 annual State Park Pass will automatically receive a full refund. Other individual park fees remain in place, including but not limited to camping, interpretive programs, and mobile sport fishing permits.

“Presented in our FY2023 budget, the bold steps we have taken toward a more affordable Garden State will ensure access to our state parks for everyone – residents and visitors alike,” said Governor Murphy. “While incentivizing tourism and economic activity in our local communities, the fee holiday also promotes access to green, open space; thriving waterways; and the many natural wonders that make us proud to call New Jersey our home. We thank the Department of Environmental Protection for its devoted environmental stewardship, which enables each and every New Jerseyan to enjoy the physical and mental health benefits that safe outdoor activities provide.”

Commissioner of Environmental Protection Shawn M. LaTourette also shared news of the state parks fee holiday during the annual State of the Shore event in Asbury Park today. With the arrival of the Memorial Day weekend, Commissioner LaTourette kicked off the summer outdoor season this week with visits to the Jersey shore and lakeshores, including Hopatcong State Park.

“From High Point State Park in Sussex County to Cape May Point State Park in Cape May County, the state park system provides endless opportunities for recreation – from swimming, hiking and kayaking, to picnicking, exploring nature and experiencing our rich history,” said Commissioner LaTourette. “Whatever your passion or interest, there is a state park in New Jersey for you. We look forward to a great season.”

The New Jersey State Park System, comprised of more than 50 sites and 453,000 acres, draws millions of visitors each year and is a key contributor to the state’s summer tourism economy. 

Lifeguards at Island Beach State Park, the only oceanfront swimming beach under the State Park Service’s administration, will go on duty at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 28. 

Lakefront lifeguards are anticipated to be on duty in mid-June at nine swimming areas throughout the state park system. Park users may check the current operating status of their favorite swimming area at State Park Service’s website

The State Park Service continues to recruit lifeguards at all swimming areas throughout New Jersey. Salaries start at $17.50 per hour at lakefront beaches, while oceanfront guards at Island Beach State Park start at $18.50 per hour. Prior experience is not necessary, but candidates must pass running and swim tests prior to employment. Apply today by visiting nj.gov/dep/workinparks



2021 file photo



AG: Company and Its Owner Ordered to Pay Over $10 Million For Defrauding Timeshare Owners

William Andrews Burns LLC (WAB) and its owner, William O’Hanlon, operated a telemarketing scheme that preyed on timeshare owners, many of whom were elderly, and many of whom had been previously victimized by other scams.

“These defendants took advantage of consumers – many of them senior citizens – by taking their money in exchange for what turned out to be empty promises,” said Acting Attorney General Platkin. 

May 26, 2022

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER) – Acting Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin and the Division of Consumer Affairs announced today that a lawsuit by the State has resulted in a New Jersey-based timeshare rental and resale services company and its owner being ordered to pay over $10 million – including $9.32 million in civil penalties – and being permanently barred from doing business in New Jersey.

In a five-count lawsuit filed in Essex County Superior Court last November, the State alleged that William Andrews Burns LLC (WAB) and its owner, William O’Hanlon, operated a telemarketing scheme that preyed on timeshare owners, many of whom were elderly, and many of whom had been previously victimized by other scams.

Specifically, the State’s lawsuit alleged, WAB cold-called timeshare owners and used high-pressure sales tactics and misrepresentations to persuade them to pay WAB large upfront fees in exchange for WAB’s offer to rent or resell their timeshares. The advance fees ranged from $594 to $2,899, and were typically deducted directly from consumers’ bank accounts.

The State’s complaint alleged that WAB touted a “Money Back Guarantee,” and assured consumers there was virtually no risk in signing up for its services.

Among other things, the defendants guaranteed owners they would receive thousands of dollars in rental income for each week WAB rented out their timeshares for them, and promised to refund their advance payments within 180 days if WAB failed to deliver. However, the complaint noted, the State was unable to identify a single timeshare owner who received rental or sale income after signing on with WAB, and most refunds never materialized.

“These defendants took advantage of consumers – many of them senior citizens – by taking their money in exchange for what turned out to be empty promises,” said Acting Attorney General Platkin. “In New Jersey, we have strong laws against this kind of predatory conduct, and we are committed to using them to hold dishonest companies and individuals accountable.”

“Many timeshare owners end up stuck with significant, long-term financial burdens that were not disclosed to them when they signed up,” said Acting Director of Consumer Affairs Cari Fais. “These defendants are being held accountable for exploiting an already vulnerable group of consumers – many of them elderly – by promising help that was never provided. We are committed to protecting New Jersey consumers from such devious conduct, and to imposing strong penalties on unscrupulous businesses that engage in such tactics.”

The State began its investigation after reviewing more than 50 consumer complaints about WAB.

The investigation revealed more than 100 complaints from consumers around the U.S. — including some from elderly consumers who did not even own timeshares. (In one instance, the company collected $2,865 from a 94-year-old consumer to rent a timeshare the consumer no longer owned, and on another occasion convinced an elderly consumer who had never owned a timeshare to pay $1,999 for rental services.)

In addition to its other allegations, the State’s complaint alleged that WAB offered unwanted collection services to consumers who had purchased its offered rental or resale services—without disclosing that such services involved an additional fee.

As part of these collection services, the defendants promised to recover money for consumers from companies that had operated other timeshare-related scams. Instead, WAB tried to pocket chargebacks from consumers’ credit card companies by fraudulently posing as a friend of the consumer – a friend ostensibly helping the consumer review past statements and obtain reimbursement for alleged unauthorized credit card transactions.

The State’s complaint alleged WAB and O’Hanlon violated the Consumer Fraud Act and state advertising regulations by engaging in unlawful conduct that included:

  • representing on phone calls to consumers that WAB would rent or sell the timeshares and provide that income to the consumers, when such was not the case;
  • withdrawing funds from consumer bank accounts without authorization to do so; and
  • advertising in emails, text messages, and telemarketing calls a money back guarantee, but then refusing to provide requested refunds when they failed to rent or resale consumers’ timeshares.

In addition to monetary relief totaling more than $10 million, the relief secured in the default judgment includes, among other things:

  • A finding that the acts and practices of WAB and O’Hanlon constitute multiple instances of unlawful practices in violation of the Consumer Fraud Act and Advertising Regulations.
  • A finding that O’Hanlon is personally liable for WAB’s violations.
  • A permanent injunction against WAB and O’Hanlon from owning, operating or otherwise managing any business or other entity in the State that advertises, offers for sale, sells, and/or performs rental and sales assistance services for timeshare owners (“rental services”), and/or services to collect or recover money for consumers who allegedly lost money in previous scams (“collection services”).
  • A permanent injunction against WAB and O’Hanlon from advertising, offering for sale, selling, or performing such rental services and/or collection services within the State of New Jersey.
  • An order permanently canceling WAB’s certificate of formation in the State of New Jersey.

Deputy Attorneys General Monica E. Finke, Stephanie M. Asous and Erica Salerno of the Consumer Fraud Prosecution Section within the Division of Law’s Affirmative Civil Enforcement Practice Group represented the State in the matter. Investigator Walter Kaminski of the Office of Consumer Protection within the Division of Consumer Affairs conducted the investigation.

***

The mission of the Division of Consumer Affairs within the Department of Law and Public Safety is to protect the public from fraud, deceit, misrepresentation, and professional misconduct in the sale of goods and services in New Jersey through education, advocacy, regulation and enforcement. The Division pursues its mission through its 51 professional and occupational boards that oversee 720,000 licensees in the state, its Regulated Business section that oversees 60,000 NJ registered businesses, as well as through its Office of Consumer Protection, Bureau of Securities, Charities Registration section, Office of Weights and Measures, and Legalized Games of Chance section.  




Victim of Shooting Arrives At Capital Health With Gunshot Wound To Leg

May 25, 2022

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Trenton Police say that at 7:21 p.m. police responded to 38 N. Hermitage Ave for a Shot Spotter activation of five rounds. A short time later a male arrived at the Trauma Center at Capital Health Regional Medical Center with a gunshot wound to the leg. The victim is in stable condition. Police are investigating the shooting anyone with information is asked to contact Trenton Police Department.


File Photo by: Brian McCarthy



Firefighters Quickly Knock Down Fully Involved Welding-Repair Van Fire At Amazon Warehouse In Robbinsville

Firefighters kept flames from spreading to nearby trailers; a burn victim was treated and transported to hospital.

May 24, 2022

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)–At 7:10 p.m. the Robbinsville Township Police Department received several 9-1-1 calls reporting a fully involved vehicle fire at the Amazon Warehouse on New Canton Way near Gordon Road. Responding police and firefighting units reported a large column of smoke coming from behind the warehouse in the truck parking area. Robbinsville Township Fire Department and Hope Fire Company of Allentown arrived on location and quickly knocked down the flames coming from a welding repair van. Firefighters kept flames from spreading to other trailers in close proximity to the fire. A small amount of firefighting foam was used to help snuff out stubborn spot fires during overhaul. Robbinsville EMS treated a burn victim believed to be the welder that was making repairs to a trailer. That person was transported to Capital Health Regional Medical Center in Trenton, NJ. The Robbinsville Township Fire Marshal is investigating the fire. The fire was contained to the van and immediate area, there was no damage to the warehouse or nearby trailers. The parking lot was shut down during the firefight and returned to normal operation after the fire was extinguished.




Police Investigate Stabbing Near Intersection Of Lalor And Beatty Streets In Trenton

May 24, 2022

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–According to Trenton Police Detective Lieutenant Bethesda Stokes, at 2:02 p.m. Police received a 9-1-1 call reporting a stabbing at the intersection of Lalor and Beatty Streets. The victim was stabbed in the chest two times. Trenton Police, Trenton EMS, Captial Health Paramedics and Trenton Fire Department all rendered aid to the victim. The condition of the victim is not known at this time. Police say that the suspects are two Hispanic males. The investigation is active. If you have any information related to the stabbing please contact Trenton Police Department


Photos and video by: Brian McCarthy, OnScene News



State Police and Partners Arrest 17 Fugitives, Including Individuals Wanted for Violent Crimes in Mercer County

May 24, 2022

Trenton, NJ (MERCER)–The New Jersey State Police Fugitive Unit coordinated a two-day cooperative mobile deployment that led to five firearms recovered and the arrest of 17 fugitives in Mercer County. This deployment is part of a comprehensive initiative to reduce violent crime statewide.

Detectives from the New Jersey State Police Fugitive Unit, Crime Suppression Central Unit, K-9 Central Unit, Real Time Crime Center Central Unit, Gangs & Organized Crime Central Unit, and Cyber Crimes Unit, along with members of the United States Marshals Service NY/NJ Regional Fugitive Task Force, the New Jersey Department of Corrections Special Operations Group, Mercer County Sheriff’s Office, and the Trenton Police Department conducted a two day Mobile Deployment Initiative (MDI) in the Mercer County area. The targets for the operation were identified through various investigative means including street-level intelligence, patrol advisories, and information provided by the various units within the New Jersey State Police’s Intelligence Section, Mercer County Sheriff’s Office, Trenton Police Department Intelligence and an analysis of current crime trends in the City of Trenton, provided by the Real Time Crime Center Central Unit.

From Thursday, May 12, to Friday, May 13, a total of 17 fugitives wanted by state, county, and local law enforcement agencies were apprehended at various locations in Mercer County. Those arrested were wanted for crimes including weapons/firearms offenses, aggravated assault, robbery, burglary, and various drug offenses. During the two-day initiative, five firearms were recovered and all suspects were lodged at Mercer County Jail.

“By working together to locate and apprehend dangerous fugitives we help reduce crime and make our communities safer,” said Acting Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin. “I commend the New Jersey State Police and our federal, state, county, and local partners for their work in this proactive crime suppression effort.”

“The New Jersey State Police works closely with our law enforcement partners, and we are committed to keeping our communities safe,” said Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “We target these violent offenders to get them off our streets and make sure they are swiftly brought to justice.”

Charges are mere accusations, and the accused are considered innocent until proven guilty.


Man Sitting On His Porch And Two Vehicles Struck By Gunfire In Drive By Shooting

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)—Trenton Police say that at 11:12 p.m. last night May 23, 2022, police responded to a Shot Spotter Activation for 5 rounds at 38 Walnut Avenue. Detective Lieutenant Bethesda Stokes said that it appeared that two vehicles were traveling on the street opened fire and struck two parked vehicles and a man sitting on his front porch. The man was struck in the left arm and was transported to the Trauma Center at Capital Health Regional Medical Center with non-life-threating injuries.

The investigation is still active and anyone with information is asked to contact Trenton Police Department.



Three Shot On MLK Boulevard In Stable Condition At Captial Health Regional Medical Center

May 23, 2022

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Trenton Police Detective Lieutenant Bethesda Stokes stated, that at 9:21 p.m. police responded to a call for gun possession in the area of the 700 Block of Martin Luther King Boulevard near Trent Street. While police were on scene at a park, they were advised that three individuals arrived at the Trauma Center at Capital Health Regional Medical Center with gunshot wounds. Victim #1 sustained a graze wound to the left leg and is in stable condition. Victim#2 sustained graze wound to the abdomen and left hand and two gunshot wounds to the right leg and is in stable condition, Victim #3 sustained 2 gunshot wounds to the left leg and is also in stable condition.

This is an active investigation. Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to contact Trenton Police Department.


2022 “Click It or Ticket” Seatbelt Enforcement Campaign

A Record 145 NJ Law Enforcement Agencies Statewide Receive HTS Grants to Participate in the Enforcement Crackdown Amid Alarming Uptick in Deaths on New Jersey Roadways

May 23, 2022

TRENTON – As fatal crashes continue to climb in New Jersey, Acting Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin and the Division of Highway Traffic Safety (HTS) today announced the start of New Jersey’s annual “Click it or Ticket” enforcement mobilization targeting drivers and passengers who don’t buckle up. This year, a record 145 law enforcement agencies have received HTS grants totaling more than $890,000 to help pay for enforcement initiatives during the two-week campaign.

Beginning today, state, county, and local police departments throughout New Jersey will join law enforcement agencies across the country in carrying out the national enforcement mobilization targeting unbuckled drivers and passengers. The campaign will run through June 5.

The launch of the enforcement campaign comes as New Jersey –along with states across the nation– experience alarming rises in fatal crashes and traffic deaths. Data tracked by the New Jersey State Police shows that 2021 was the deadliest on New Jersey roadways in more than a decade, and this year is shaping up to be even worse for fatal crashes and highway deaths.

“Wearing a seat belt is the single most effective way to prevent death and serious injury in a car crash,” said Acting Attorney General Platkin. “Educating the public on the importance of buckling up is critical to our ongoing efforts to reverse the alarming uptick in fatal crashes and prevent the senseless loss of lives on New Jersey roadways.”

Last week, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that 42,915 people died in motor vehicle crashes in 2021 – the most since 2005 and an average of 117 deaths every day. Crash deaths rose by 10.5% in 2021 compared to the year before, making it the largest annual percentage increase in the nearly five-decade history of NHTSA’ Fatality Analysis Reporting System.

In New Jersey, the numbers paint an equally grim picture. Fatal crashes in the Garden State climbed to 672 last year – 21% higher than the year before – and the number of lives lost in those crashes rose nearly 20% to 702. Taken together, the number of crashes and deaths are the highest recorded in New Jersey since 2007. Preliminary year-to-date data show that crashes and fatalities are up more than 15% from May 22, 2021, putting the state on track for another sharp increase by year’s end.

As part of the State’s ongoing efforts to reverse this troubling trend, HTS made an additional 10% in grant funding available to bolster statewide participation in the 2022 Click It or Ticket campaign. The increase in funding was made possible through additional federal highway safety funding states received to combat the rise in traffic fatalities. This year, a record 145 New Jersey law enforcement agencies have received grants to help pay for increased road patrols, seat belt checkpoints, and other enforcement initiatives during the Click It or Ticket campaign. All police departments in New Jersey are invited to support the campaign, whether they receive grant funding or not.

“The instant you buckle up, you cut your risk of a fatal injury in a crash nearly in half. Yet preliminary data shows that 38 percent of all motor vehicle occupants killed in crashes last year were not wearing their seatbelts – the vast majority of them drivers. That has to change,” said Eric Heitmann, Director of the Division of Highway Traffic Safety. “Our law enforcement officers see firsthand the consequences of not buckling up. Click It or Ticket is their chance to motivate people to buckle up before it’s too late. If you aren’t wearing your seatbelt during this enforcement campaign, expect to be pulled over and ticketed.”

Across the campaign, participating law enforcement agencies will be taking a “no-excuses” approach to seat belt enforcement, writing citations throughout the day and with a particular focus on nighttime enforcement. In New Jersey, the maximum penalty for a seat belt violation is $46.  

Last year, law enforcement agencies participating in the Click It or Ticket campaign issued 9,755 seatbelt citations statewide, wrote 3,936 speeding tickets, and made 555 impaired driving arrests.

This year, HTS will spend more than $20 million on programs and initiatives to enhance traffic safety and improve driver behaviors, including law enforcement training, public outreach and education, and grant funding for statewide mobilizations to enforce laws on impaired driving, distracted driving, and seatbelt usage.

Those initiatives include:

  • January 2022 launch of a multi-media campaign aimed at raising awareness of the risks associated with driving impaired. Historically, over 25% of fatal crashes in New Jersey involve someone who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • April 2022 launch of statewide multimedia campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of distracted driving, which is the leading cause of ALL crashes, as well as traffic fatalities in NJ. Also in April, HTS released findings of a 2021 study commissioned by HTS and conducted by Rowan University that provides insight into distracted driver behavior and identifies key factors that contribute to it. The findings will be used to develop strategies for addressing and mitigating distracted driving through enforcement and education.
  • Since a significant number of NJ’s traffic fatalities are pedestrians, HTS is continuing to partner with the NJDOT, local traffic management associations, planning organizations, and advocacy groups to implement pedestrian safety programs, as well as placing sustained, year-long, pedestrian safety enforcement and education grants in our municipalities.

To learn more about the Click It or Ticket mobilization, please visit www.nhtsa.gov/ciot


A Record 145 NJ Law Enforcement Agencies Statewide Receive HTS Grants to Participate in the Enforcement Crackdown Amid Alarming Uptick in Deaths on New Jersey Roadways



Flyers For Another “Pop-Up Party” Called “Beach Linkup Part 2” Circulating On Social Media

May 23, 2022

LONG BRANCH, NJ (MONMOUTH)–An Instagram accounts named @sosactivated and @percc30_dickk have posted flyers for Beach Linkup Part 2 to be held in Long Branch on Sunday June 19, 2022. This past weekend a Beach Linkup was held where 11 adults and 4 juveniles were arrested causing a public safety emergency and a curfew to be ordered in Long Branch at 9:00 p.m.

A large-scale gathering encouraged by a flyer posted on social media caused thousands of people to arrive in the town of Long Branch, specifically, areas in and around Pier Village. The majority of those people arrived by train. At certain points the crowd was estimated to be several thousand people. A public safety emergency ensued as a result of multiple fights breaking out throughout parts of the city involving the partygoers.

Similar flyers for a similar event called Beach Linkup Part 2 are circulating on Social Media.


Previous MidJersey.News story here:


Below current flyers for Beach Linkup Part 2 as currently circulating on Social Media:




10th Annual Senior Safety & Awareness Day Held At Robbinsville High School

May 23, 2022

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)–The Senior Class at Robbinsville High School participated in the 10th Annual Senior Safety & Awareness Program on Friday, May 20, 2022.  Each year the program varies in speakers or morning event scenarios.  The event has been interrupted for the past two years due to the pandemic.  

Students listened to a young person’s road to recovery and had the opportunity to ask him questions about his downfalls and decisions to seek help. 

A video was made by faculty and staff who volunteered to share how a loved one’s addiction has impacted their own lives. 

The second part of the program involved various stations: personal defense training for all students, trauma resulting from poor judgment, hands-on lessons about drunk, high, and distracted driving, as well as fire safety and prevention.  Vehicle safety, including ride-sharing and hired transportation, was included also included in response to the past tragic loss of one of the high school’s graduates.  

This year’s Annual Senior Safety and Awareness program was funded with the generosity and grants from Police Benevolent Association, Robbinsville C.A.R.E. – Community Addiction Recovery Effort, and the Robbinsville U Got Brains Group.  Robbinsville Township, and Police and Fire Departments willingly donated personnel and materials and worked one on one with the students.  The program is organized by the Principal, School Resource Officer, Student Assistance Coordinator, Facilities Coordinator, and teacher volunteers. 

The program’s aim is to make a big impact on the students and the future decisions they will make as the Prom is here and college is just around the corner.


Above photos provided


Above photos from Robbinsville Township Fire Department Facebook page.



Social Media “Pop-Up Party” Leads To Long Branch Curfew; 11 Adults, 4 Juveniles Arrested

LONG BRANCH, NJ (MONMOUTH)–The Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office says, a social media flyer calling for a ‘pop-up party’ on Saturday resulted in thousands of people converging in Long Branch, creating a public safety emergency that resulted in a 9 p.m. curfew imposed by the city, Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Lori Linskey announced.

A large-scale gathering encouraged by a flyer posted on social media caused thousands of people to arrive in the town of Long Branch, specifically, areas in and around Pier Village. The majority of those people arrived by train. At certain points the crowd was estimated to be several thousand people. A public safety emergency ensued as a result of multiple fights breaking out throughout parts of the city involving the partygoers.

Law enforcement officials from the Long Branch Police Department, Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, Monmouth County Emergency Response Team (MOCERT), Monmouth and Middlesex Rapid Deployment Forces (RDF), Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office, New Jersey State Police, Department of Corrections and NJ Transit Police, all responded to the area. One flash bang and the deployment of smoke was used by Department of Corrections officers assisting in limited situations in response to fights taking place and bottles and rocks being thrown where the crowd would not disperse. The vast majority of those present left peacefully after the announcement of the curfew. 

“I would like to thank all of our local law enforcement agencies and our state partners for their response to today’s incident. Responding agencies worked in unison to create a swift, professional, and tactical response to what was evolving as a dangerous situation. We appreciate the efforts of Long Branch City Officials issuing tonight’s curfew in response to the public safety situation. Their efforts are to be commended.” Linskey stated.

As of 11:30 p.m. last night after the incident concluded, there were 11 adults and 4 juvenile arrests stemming from the fights that took place. One police vehicle was vandalized, but there were no significant injuries or property damage reported at this time. The person who damaged the police vehicle has been arrested.


Items Posted to TikTok:

@ric02suave

WE OUTSIDE SATURDAY MAY 21st BEACH LINK UP 😎🌊LOCATION – PEAR VILLAGE LONG BRANCH NJ 🏖12pm -UNTIL TELL FRIENDS TO TELL A FRIEND

♬ We Outside – Tory Lanez



A copy of the flier circulated on TikTok


Man Shot Dead And Another Shot In Arm, In West Hanover Street Shooting – Update

UPDATE of MidJersey.News story from earlier this morning:

May 22, 2022

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office, Public Information Officer, Casey DeBlasio stated that at approximately 1:00 a.m. on Sunday, May 22, 2022, Trenton police received three Shot Spotter activations for multiple locations in the 100 block of West Hanover Street.  Upon arrival, officers located an adult male lying on the sidewalk suffering a gunshot wound.  He was transported to Capital Health Regional Medical Center and pronounced dead a short time later.  The victim has been identified as Ali Abdullah, 25, of Trenton.

While officers were on scene, a second shooting victim arrived at Capital Health Regional Medical Center by private vehicle.  The 30-year-old male suffered a gunshot wound to his shoulder area and was taken into surgery.  He is currently in stable condition.

The majority of the scene was located on the side of 142 West Hanover Street in the State of New Jersey parking lot.  Numerous shell casings were located on the sidewalk next to the location.  Two vehicles were parked in the lot, and one had been struck numerous times.

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. Tips can also be emailed to mchtftips@mercercounty.org


Names of the 2022 homicide victims in the City of Trenton:

  1. 2/15/2022 Antwone Barnes, 37, of Trenton, Stabbing
  2. 2/23/2022 Leonardo Fernandez, 32, of Trenton, Stabbing
  3. 3/01/2022 Shimon Nesmith Jr., 19, of Trenton, Shooting
  4. 3/03/2022 Helen Nelson, 73, of Trenton, Physical Assault
  5. 3/15/2022 Albert L. Barnes, 46, of Trenton, Shooting
  6. 3/25/2022 Sequoya Bacon-Jones, 9, of Trenton, Shooting
  7. 3/31/2022 Tahaad Goss, 16, of Trenton, Shooting
  8. 4/07/2022 Jaquir Queen, 26, of Willingboro, Shooting
  9. 4/09/2022 Leroy Davis, 31, of Trenton, Shooting
  10. 5/01/2022 Jamir McNeil, 25 of Trenton, Shooting
  11. 5/22/2022 Ali Abdullah, 25, of Trenton, Shooting


Photos by: Brian McCarthy, OnScene News




Ewing Police Vehicle Involved In Crash; Other Driver Made Illegal Turn In Path Of Police Vehicle

May 22, 2022

Update to last night’s story:

EWING TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Ewing Township Police say that on Saturday, May 21 at approximately 9:20 p.m., a Ewing Police vehicle was involved in a two car motor vehicle crash in the 1600 block of Olden Avenue. Preliminary investigation has indicated that the driver of the second vehicle made an illegal turn into the path of the Ewing officer. The officer was not responding to an emergency at the time of the crash. Two parties were transported to local hospitals with complaints of pain. The Ewing officer was also transported to a local hospital with minor injuries and was later released. Investigation is still underway at this time and anyone with information regarding the crash is encouraged to contact the investigating officer, Sgt. Vagnozzi at 609-882-1313.



Trenton Police Investigate Double Shooting On West Hanover Street

UPDATE:

May 22, 2022

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)—Trenton Police Spokesperson, Detective Lieutenant Bethesda Stokes stated that at 1:02 a.m. Police responded to 153 W. Hanover Street for a Shot Spotter activation. When police arrived they located a black male not breathing on the side of 142 W. Hanover Street. Trenton Police started CPR, Trenton Firefighters, TEMS and Capital Health Paramedics arrived and took over CPR. The person was transported to the Trauma Center at Capital Health Regional Medical Center and a “trauma alert” was called en route to the hospital. Police also located a second victim shot in the shoulder and also transported to the hospital. Police found numerous shell casings at the scene during the continuing investigation. Anyone with any information related to the shooting is asked to contact Trenton Police Department.


Photos by: Brian McCarthy, OnScene News


Developing: Crash in Ewing Township Involving Vehicle With MG Plates

UPDATE HERE:

May 21, 2022

EWING TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Sometime around 9:30 p.m. a crash occurred in the 1500-1600 Block of N. Olden Avenue (CR-622) in Ewing Township involving a municipal government vehicle and a car. It was unclear if there were any injuries, and the airbags were deployed on the vehicle with MG plates. The car suffered rear end damage and came to rest in the driveway of Pizza City. Ewing Police diverted traffic onto Arctic Parkway until the crash was cleared from the roadway. This is a developing story and when information becomes available the story will be updated. Check back for updates.


Firefighters Extinguish Construction Dumpster Next To House In East Windsor

May 21, 2022

EAST WINDSOR, NJ (MERCER)–Around 1:34 p.m. East Windsor and Hightstown Fire Departments were dispatched to a dumpster fire in the first block of Compton Drive. First arriving firefighters found a well involved construction dumpster next to a house with exposure issues and called for a full first alarm sending additional apparatus from Robbinsville and other departments to the scene. Firefighters quickly knocked down the flames but remained on scene to overhaul the fire. East Windsor Police, East Windsor Rescue Squad as well as Fire Police were also on scene. No further details are available at this time.



Car Overturns On Route 1, Crashes Into Gas Station In West Windsor

May 21, 2022

WEST WINDSOR, NJ (MERCER)–West Windsor Police, Emergency Service and West Windsor firefighters responded to U.S. Route 1 North Bound near Washington Road (CR-571) for an overturned vehicle into a gas station at 9:40 a.m. There were initial reports of entrapment and vehicle fire but upon arrival the occupants of vehicle were out of vehicle and was not on fire. The crash took out a gasoline pump and firefighters used an absorbent to help control the spilled gasoline. The vehicle was up righted and towed away. West Windsor Police Department is investigating the crash.