Trenton Unveils New Signs Directing Residents and Visitors to More than Three Dozen Eateries in the Chambersburg Restaurant District

Project Updates Signs of the Past to Reflect Trenton’s Culinary Present

December 1, 2021

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Mayor W. Reed Gusciora today announced a joint community and city project to install new directional signs pointing to more than 36 restaurants in Trenton’s historic Chambersburg district.

“Chambersburg is a landmark part of the Capital City, and we want to make it as easy as possible for residents and visitors alike to explore the fantastic food in this vibrant neighborhood,” said Mayor Gusciora. “This is a celebration of what makes Trenton unique and I’m certain these signs will guide patrons to wonderful experiences.”

The City of Trenton’s Division of Economic Development funded this renewal effort as part of its Shop Trenton initiative. The Chambersburg sign project was designed and implemented by Bernard McMullan, the coordinator of Taste Trenton, a restaurant crawl focused on Trenton. The project began with seed funding from the I Am Trenton Community Foundation.

“We recognize that restaurants are among the most challenging and risky businesses. We hope all the restaurants listed on these signs survive for a long time,” said McMullan.

“It was very important to us to celebrate the amazing Latino businesses in Chambersburg,” said Iana Dikidjieva, Vice President and Grants Chair of I Am Trenton. “Updating the signage brings immense benefit and pride to the city.”

“The Latino Merchants Association is pleased to represent the Latino Community and Latino businesses who serve in the city of Trenton,” said Jenna Kettenburg Figueroa, Executive Board Member of the Latino Merchants Association. “We work hard to unify the communities in this city, and we support and encourage good business to provide for our community and to bring revenue to the city that will pour back into the communities we serve.  We are proud of all the thriving Latino restaurants who have found their homes in the Chambersburg restaurant district.”

As part of the project, McMullan mapped out the location of each signpost and identified more than 36 new restaurants in the area. McMullan then removed the names of the old restaurants from each of the 78 existing placards, repainted the signs in a brick-red color that matched the crosswalks along Roebling Avenue, installed new placards as needed to accommodate additional restaurants, and added the new restaurant names to each sign.

The refurbished set of signs and placards now direct residents and visitors to more than three dozen eateries in the Chambersburg restaurant district.

In the next phase of the project, several signs that were damaged and removed will be replaced. Several “Welcome to Chambersburg: Trenton’s Restaurant District” will also be installed on major roads bordering the area.


Photos and video by Brian McCarthy OnSceneNews




Police Catch Juvenile with Gun in Trenton; One More Gun Off the Street

December 1, 2021

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Around 2:00 p.m. police were seen in a foot pursuit of a juvenile in the area Passaic Street. Police report a gun was recovered from a juvenile.

In photos police can be seen with one person in custody and another officer has a handgun that was recovered from Passaic Street.

Former Chief Lending Officer Sentenced to 18 Months in Prison for Making False Statements to United States to Secure Federal Guarantees on Loans for Business in Robbinsville, NJ

In addition to the prison term, Judge Shipp sentenced Bortolotti to three years of supervised release and ordered him to pay restitution of $3.17 million to the SBA.


On Feb. 29, 2012, a consultant from the consulting firm submitted an application to the SBA for a guarantee of approximately $3.75 million on loans totaling approximately $5 million made to a small business located in Robbinsville, New Jersey. The application contained false information related to the creditworthiness of the business. Bortolotti knew the application contained false information, but he nevertheless reviewed and signed the application on behalf of the bank.


December 1, 2021

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)—A Pennsylvania man was sentenced today to 18 months in prison for securing a federal guarantee on certain loans by making false statements to the Small Business Administration (SBA) about the creditworthiness of those loans while serving as the chief lending officer of a New Jersey bank, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced.

James Bortolotti, 53, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Michael Shipp in Trenton federal court to an information charging him with one count of knowingly making false statements for the purpose of influencing the action of the SBA. Judge Shipp imposed the sentence by videoconference today.

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

While serving as the chief lending officer of a New Jersey bank (Bank-1), Bortolotti became aware of a Small Business Administration lending program to incentivize lenders, including banks, to loan money to small businesses by providing a 75 percent SBA-backed guarantee on loans. When a lender applies an SBA guarantee on a loan, the lender must disclose information related to the creditworthiness of the small business. Bank-1 hired a consulting firm to help the bank apply for SBA-backed guarantees.

On Feb. 29, 2012, a consultant from the consulting firm submitted an application to the SBA for a guarantee of approximately $3.75 million on loans totaling approximately $5 million made to a small business located in Robbinsville, New Jersey. The application contained false information related to the creditworthiness of the business. Bortolotti knew the application contained false information, but he nevertheless reviewed and signed the application on behalf of the bank.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Shipp sentenced Bortolotti to three years of supervised release and ordered him to pay restitution of $3.17 million to the SBA.

Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited special agents of the SBA-Office of the Inspector General (SBA-OIG), Eastern Region, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Amaleka McCall-Brathwaite; the FDIC-Office of the Inspector General (FDIC-OIG), under the direction of Inspector General Jay N. Lerner; special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr. in Newark, and special agents of the Federal Housing Finance Agency – Office of Inspector General (FHFA-OIG), under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Robert Manchak, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lee M. Cortes Jr., Chief of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Health Care Fraud Unit in Newark.

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Defense counsel: Rod Honecker Esq., New Brunswick, New Jersey

Former State Trooper Sentenced To 1-Year in NJ State Prison For Unlawfully Stopping And Following Female Motorist in His Patrol Vehicle

December 1, 2021

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Acting Attorney General Andrew J. Bruck announced that a former New Jersey state trooper was sentenced to state prison after pleading guilty earlier this year in connection with an incident in which he stalked a female motorist in his patrol vehicle while on duty.

Michael Patterson, 30, of Bayonne, N.J., was sentenced yesterday to 12 months in state prison without possibility of parole by Superior Court Judge Andrea Carter in Middlesex County. Patterson pleaded guilty on Aug. 17, 2021 to a charge of fourth-degree tampering with public records. As a result of his guilty plea, Patterson forfeited his position as a state trooper and is permanently barred from public employment in New Jersey.

In pleading guilty, Patterson admitted that he purposely disabled the Digital In-Vehicle Recorder (DIVR) in his troop car to prevent it from capturing a motor vehicle stop he conducted so that he could make advances on the female motorist during the incident in question.

Deputy Attorneys General Adam Gerken and Jonathan Gilmore represented the Office of Public Integrity and Accountability (OPIA) at the sentencing hearing. The New Jersey State Police Office of Professional Standards initially investigated the case and referred it to the OPIA Corruption Bureau.

On Jan. 28, 2020, Trooper Patterson conducted a motor vehicle stop of a female motorist on the New Jersey Turnpike at approximately 9:30 p.m. Patterson let the woman go with a warning, but he conducted a second, unwarranted stop of her vehicle a few minutes later when she exited the Turnpike at Exit 11 in order to make advances on her. Patterson disabled the DIVR in his vehicle to prevent his conduct from being recorded during this stop. The investigation revealed that Patterson subsequently put the victim in fear by following her to her home in his patrol vehicle.

“We are committed to holding law enforcement officers accountable when they abuse their positions of trust,” said Acting Attorney General Bruck. “The New Jersey State Police expect the highest standards of conduct from their troopers, and the vast majority meet those standards each and every day. We owe it to the troopers, and to the public at large, to take strong action when individual officers betray those standards and engage in criminal conduct.”

“One of the primary missions of OPIA is to root out official misconduct that undermines faith in law enforcement and government,” said OPIA Executive Director Thomas Eicher. “This is not the first time we have encountered this type of conduct involving a law enforcement officer, but we hope that our criminal prosecutions will deter such conduct going forward.”

“The New Jersey State Police holds its troopers to the highest level of professional standards of any law enforcement agency in the country through a robust system of checks and balances that is designed to not only hold its members accountable, but to serve as a tool to provide training and counseling through early intervention,” said Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “The conduct revealed in this investigation stands in stark contrast to the core values of the New Jersey State Police and is a betrayal to the public and to the entire law enforcement community.”

OPIA has a toll-free Tipline 1-844-OPIA-TIPS for the public to report corruption. The Attorney General’s Office has an Anti-Corruption Reward Program that offers a reward of up to $25,000 for tips leading to a conviction for a crime involving public corruption. Information is posted at: http://nj.gov/oag/corruption/reward.html.

Defense Attorney: Joseph Surman, Esq., New Brunswick, N.J.






Howell High School Student Arrested in SnapChat Threat

December 1, 2021

HOWELL TOWNSHIP, NJ (MONMOUTH)–A Howell High School student was arrested yesterday within an hour of posting a threat on SnapChat using an AirSoft rifle. Although the AirSoft rifle is not a real firearm it looks identical to an actual rifle. Once the SnapChat was shared members of the community notified the police department of the possible threat. See statements from Howell Police Chief Kudrick and Principial Braverman below.

Messages from Chief Kudrick and Principal Braverman Re: SnapChat post:

CHIEF KUDRICK’S MESSAGE
This evening I was notified of a post on SnapChat. I immediately contacted Principal Braverman. Shortly thereafter I was notified by my road supervisor that they too received the same report from the community. Within an hour, the student was arrested. He was found to be in possession of an AirSoft rifle. The same one depicted in the photo. Although not a real firearm it certainly is identical to an actual rifle.
We thank the community who recognized this potential threat and immediately shared across social media platforms and notified the police department.
This was a poor decision by this juvenile. Although no credible threat of violence is assumed, we will have an increased police presence at the high school tomorrow.
I thank all of you who saw something and said something. My officers, under the supervision of Sgt Encarnacion did an outstanding job.

PRINCIPAL BRAVERMAN’S MESSAGE
Good evening,
In order to avoid further public alarm, and in partnership with HTPD Chief Kudrick, we are informing our school community that we were made aware of threatening remarks made this evening on SnapChat. These remarks were immediately investigated by HTPD and found to be not credible. The student that posted these remarks will not be in school for the immediate future. As always, we are mindful of student confidentiality, but in light of the unrest of the public and our students, and to protect the safety of all students and staff, we are sharing this information. To that end, we join in the request of the Howell Police Department that everyone be mindful not to circulate or interpret rumors or speculative information as true. As always, the health and safety of all our students and staff is our foremost concern. Chief Kudrick and I have spoken multiple times this evening and will remain in close contact regarding this matter.

Mr. Braverman



Missing Persons Located Deceased Near Their Home in Stafford Township

November 30, 2021

STAFFORD TOWNSHIP, NJ (OCEAN)–Stafford Township Police reported that today, at approximately 1:00 p.m., Gary & Lorraine Parker were located deceased in a densely wooded area of Warren Grove in the vicinity of their residence. They were located by the Stafford Township Police Department’s drone. Autopsies will be performed later this week, however no foul play is believed to be involved. Our department sends its condolences to the Parker’s family and friends. We would also like to thank all of the assisting agencies, especially the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, Ocean County Sheriff’s Department, New Jersey State Police, and the Warren Grove Fire Company. Thank you. — Stafford Police Department





Comments Sought from Fishing Community About Offshore Wind Projects

November 30, 2021

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is seeking information from the fishing community to develop guidance regarding mitigation of impacts from offshore wind projects. Comments are due January 7, 2022.

Comments in writing can be submitted through the Request for Information in the Federal Register. Oral comments can be made at a series of public meetings planned for December.

From the Federal Register,

BOEM, in consultation with the National Marine Fisheries Service and affected coastal states, intends to develop guidance for the mitigation of impacts from offshore wind energy projects on commercial and recreational fishing communities. To initiate the development of this guidance, BOEM is issuing this 45-day Request for Information to obtain input from the public.

Virtual Public Meetings will be held on the following dates, and information can be found here.

  • 12/1 – 10 am EST – East Coast Workshop on Clams and Scallops (Bottom Gear) (Register)
  • 12/2 – 10 am EST – East Coast Workshop on Mobile Gear/Mixed Trawl/Pelagic (Register
  • 12/6 – 10 am EST – East Coast Workshop on Fixed Gear (Register
  • 12/7 – 10 am EST – Recreational Fishing Workshop (Register

Woman Charged with Aggravated Manslaughter in Connection with a Collision Resulting in Two Deaths in North Brunswick

November 30, 2021

NORTH BRUNSWICK, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone and Chief Joseph Battaglia of the North Brunswick Township Police Department announced today that a woman has been charged in connection with a fatal collision that resulted in the death of two nine-year-old children as well as serious injuries to others.

On Thursday, November 25, 2021, at approximately 11:53 P.M., authorities responded to the southbound lane of Route 130 near the on-ramp to Route 1 in North Brunswick Township following the report of a serious crash involving a marked Old Bridge Police patrol vehicle and a Honda Accord. Upon their arrival, authorities located Yokauri Batista-Alcantara, 31, of New Brunswick, and two children at the scene. Batista-Alcantara and the juveniles were transported from the scene to a nearby hospital where the juveniles were pronounced dead.

Authorities also located two Old Bridge Township police officers and an in-custody civilian passenger at the scene. The officers and the passenger were transported to a nearby hospital where they were treated for their injuries.

An initial investigation by Detective Jonathan Berman of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office determined the two police officers were transporting the in-custody passenger to the Middlesex County Adult Correction Center in North Brunswick Township when Batista-Alcantara drove the wrong way down the on-ramp and struck the police vehicle. At this time, reckless driving and alcohol consumption are believed to be contributing factors.

On Friday, November 26, 2021, Batista-Alcantara was arrested and charged with two counts of first-degree aggravated manslaughter, two counts of second-degree vehicular homicide, two counts of second-degree

endangering the welfare of a child, two counts of aggravated assault, and one count of fourth-degree assault by auto.

Batista-Alcantara is presently lodged at the Middlesex County Adult Correction Center where she is being held pending a pre-trial detention hearing in Superior Court.

As is the case with all criminal defendants, the charges against Batista- Alcantara are merely accusations and she is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

The investigation is active and continuing. Anyone with information or video footage of the area is asked to call Detective Jonathan Berman of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office at (732) 745-4328.


Shooting Homicide in Ewing Township Under Investigation

November 30, 2021

EWING TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–The Mercer County Homicide Task Force and the Ewing Police Department are investigating a Monday night shooting death in Ewing Township, Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri reported

At approximately 7:30 p.m. on November 29, 2021, Ewing police were dispatched to Public Storage on Parkside Avenue in Ewing.  Officers arrived on scene and located the victim, identified as 29-year-old Cedric Hennessee Flippin of Trenton, unresponsive on the ground outside of one of the storage lockers.  Detectives located a shell casing nearby and Flippin 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



Other Ewing Township shootings and murders in 2021:







Update: 58-Year-Old, Pemberton Man Killed in Route 130 Motor Vehicle Crash Last Night in Bordentown Twp.

November 30, 2021

BORDENTOWN TOWNSHIP, NJ (BURLINGTON)–The Bordentown Township Police Department is investigating a fatal motor vehicle collision which occurred on November 29, 2021 that resulted in the death of a 58-year-old male from Pemberton Township, NJ.

Preliminary investigation has determined that the victim, David Jenkins – age 58 of 3rd Ave. Pemberton NJ, was traveling northbound on Rt. 130 in the area of Taconic Rd. at approximately 8:08 pm when his 2005 Dodge Caravan collided with a tractor trailer being operated by Eugene Mercer Jr., age – 58, of West Ave. Bridgeport CT.  Jenkins sustained fatal injuries as a result of the collision.

Township Police continue to investigate the cause of this collision and anyone who witnessed or who has information regarding this incident is requested to contact Det. Anthony Nagle at 609-298-4300, ext. 2142.




Cops & Dogs 2022 Police K9 Calendar “Pawtographing” Meet & Greets Announced in West Windsor and Pennington

November 30, 2021

WEST WINDSOR-PENNINGTON, NJ (MERCER)–On Saturday, Dec. 4, 2021, from 10 a.m. to noon Mercer County Sheriff’s Officer Mike Mullen and his K9 partner Bodhi will be at the Dogs & Cats Rule pet store at 800 Denow Road in Pennington, N.J., to “pawtograph” the 2022 Cops & Dogs Police K9 calendar.

Officer Mike Mullen and K9 Bodhi, who appear in the calendar for the month of January, will be available at the store for a “meet & greet” where you’ll be able to ask questions, pet K9 Bodhi and have him pawtograph a copy of your calendar.

On Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. West Windsor Police Sgt. Doug Montgomery and his K9 partner Mackey will be at the Dogs & Cats Rule pet store’s Princeton location at 3495 Route 1 in West Windsor to “pawtograph” the 2022 Cops & Dogs Police K9 calendar.


Sgt. Montgomery and K9 Mackey, who appear in the calendar for the month of December, will be available at the store for a “meet and greet” where you’ll be able to ask questions, pet K9 Mackey and have him pawtograph a copy of your calendar. Proceeds from calendar sales will benefit the Capital K9 Association which is a non-profit organization providing bullet proof vests and canine equipment for working police dogs.


John Baer, a former NYPD police officer and photographer of the Cops & Dogs calendar will also be at the store to discuss the calendar and answer questions about K9 photography.
The calendar can be purchased for $14.95 at the Dogs & Cats Rule pet store or online at: www.copsanddogs.com.



BREAKING: Serious Crash Investigation on Route 130 in Bordentown Township

UPDATE from Bordentown Township Police:

The Bordentown Township Police Department is investigating a fatal motor vehicle collision which occurred on November 29, 2021 that resulted in the death of a 58-year-old male from Pemberton Township, NJ.

Preliminary investigation has determined that the victim, David Jenkins – age 58 of 3rd Ave. Pemberton NJ, was traveling northbound on Rt. 130 in the area of Taconic Rd. at approximately 8:08 pm when his 2005 Dodge Caravan collided with a tractor trailer being operated by Eugene Mercer Jr., age – 58, of West Ave. Bridgeport CT.  Jenkins sustained fatal injuries as a result of the collision.

Township Police continue to investigate the cause of this collision and anyone who witnessed or who has information regarding this incident is requested to contact Det. Anthony Nagle at 609-298-4300, ext. 2142.

November 29, 2021

BORDENTOWN TOWNSHIP, NJ (BURLINGTON)–Sometime around 8:15 p.m. the Bordentown Township Police Department, Bordentown Fire Departments and EMS responded to Route 130 and Taconic Road for a serious accident. From the scene it appeared that a tractor-trailer was either making a U-turn or left turn from south bound Route 130 to north bound route 130 and a vehicle collided with the box section of the tractor-trailer. There were unconfirmed reports of possible fatalities. The U-turn/left turn is marked “Trucks Over 4 Tons No U-Turn”

This is a breaking news report once official information becomes available from authorities, corrections and updates will be made.


130 NB @ Taconic Rd. closed due to motor vehicle collision.

Be advised that Rt. 130 northbound at the intersection of Taconic Rd. is currently closed due to a motor vehicle collision investigation. Traffic is being detoured and we ask motorists to seek an alternate route at this time.


61-Year-Old Pedestrian in Critical Condition After Being Struck in Toms River

November 29, 2021

TOMS RIVER, NJ (OCEAN)–On Monday, November 29, 2021, at approximately 4:58 p.m., Toms River Police units were dispatched to the intersection of Vaughn Avenue and Windsor Avenue for a reported pedestrian struck. The initial investigation revealed Carl Cereghini, 61 of Toms River, entered the roadway in attempt to cross when he was struck by a vehicle travelling north on Vaughn Avenue. As a result of the accident, Mr. Cereghini sustained serious injuries and was flown to Jersey Shore Medical Center where he is listed in critical condition.

The driver of the vehicle stated that Mr. Cereghini entered the roadway in front of them leaving no time for the driver to stop or avoid hitting him. There were no signs of impairment of the driver who did not sustain any injuries as a result of the accident.

The accident remains under investigation by Toms River Traffic Safety Officer Ryan Fitzgerald.


Pennington Avenue Apartment Building Quickly Extinguished in Trenton

November 29, 2021

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER) – A fire on the top floor of an apartment building in the 100 block of Pennington Avenue was quickly extinguished by city firefighters Monday night, Nov. 29, 2021. It was about 8:25 p.m. when Trenton firefighters were sent to 144 Pennington Avenue in response to multiple 911 calls reporting smoke and flames visible from the three-story structure. Dispatched as part of the initial assignment were Engines 1, 10 and 8, Ladder 1, Rescue 1, and the North Battalion Chief. The first-arriving company, Rescue 1, reported fire showing from the top floor. The “All Hands” signal for a working fire was issued and the balance of the first alarm – Engine 6, Ladder 4, the South Battalion Chief and Special Services 1 – was sent to the scene. Firefighters made an aggressive interior attack and were able to knock down the bulk of the fire in just minutes. The blaze was officially placed under control at 9:07 p.m. There were no immediate reports of any injuries. The American Red Cross was requested to respond to assist displaced residents with housing.

68-Year-Old Union Beach, NJ, Man Sentenced to 7+ Years in Prison for Knowingly Receiving Child Pornography

FBI began investigating Christopher Jensen, 68, for assuming the identity of a 17-year-old boy in order to entice and solicit an underage girl to send nude and sexually explicit images over the internet.

November 29, 2021

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–A Monmouth County, New Jersey man, was sentenced today to 87 months in prison for knowingly receiving child pornography, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced.

Herman Christopher Jensen, 68, of Union Beach, New Jersey, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Peter G. Sheridan to a one-count information charging him with knowingly receiving child pornography. Judge Sheridan imposed the sentence today in Trenton federal court.

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

FBI began investigating Jensen for assuming the identity of a 17-year-old boy in order to entice and solicit an underage girl to send nude and sexually explicit images over the internet. Jensen did this by creating a fake Facebook account, purporting to be a teenaged boy named “Kevin Bennett.” From January 2018 through about August 2018, Jensen used the “Kevin Bennett” Facebook account to communicate with the minor victim frequently, causing her to believe that she was involved in a romantic relationship with “Kevin Bennett.”

Jensen requested nude and semi-nude photographs from the victim minor through Facebook’s messenger service. As time went on, Jensen received increasingly explicit videos depicting the minor victim engaging in sexually explicit activity. In August of 2018, Jensen revealed to the minor victim that he was not, in fact, the 17 year-old teenager he purported to be, but instead an adult named Chris Jenson. The victim continued to communicate with Jensen via the “Chris Jensen” Facebook account. In December 2018, the minor victim traveled to New Jersey to live with Jensen.

On Dec. 19, 2018, local authorities became involved in the matter causing the removal of the victim from Jensen’s residence.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Sheridan sentenced Jensen to lifetime supervised release.
Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited special agents and task force officers of the FBI and the Red Bank Resident Agency’s Jersey Shore Gang and Criminal Organization Task Force, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr., with the investigation leading to today’s sentencing. She also thanked the Union Beach Police Department, under the direction of Chief of Police Michael J. Woodrow, for its assistance with the investigation.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Perry Farhat of the Government Frauds Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Criminal Division in Newark.

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Defense counsel: John C. Feggeler Esq., Matawan, New Jersey

Two Ewing Residents Arrested in Connection to Ewing Murder

November 29, 2021

EWING TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri announced today that an investigation conducted by the Mercer County Homicide Task Force and the Ewing Police Department has resulted in charges being filed against two Ewing residents in connection to last week’s murder of Mark Hudson Jr.

Tyshawn Smith, 23, is charged with murder, possession of a firearm for an unlawful purpose and unlawful possession of a handgun.  Brianne Novak, 21, is charged with hindering apprehension for providing false information to the police.  Both Smith and Novak were arrested at their respective Ewing residences on Saturday, November 27, by members of the Mercer County Tactical Response Team.  The prosecutor’s office has filed a motion to detain Smith pending trial.

At approximately 3:30 p.m. on Monday, November 22, 2021, Ewing police were dispatched to Hudson’s residence in the 200 block of Douglas Avenue for a person shot.  Upon arrival, officers located the victim suffering from gunshot wounds to his chest and left hand.  Hudson was transported to Capital Health Regional Medical Center and pronounced dead a short time later.

The murder remains under investigation and anyone with information is asked to call HTF Detective Jennifer Eyster 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.



Crunch Fitness Grand Opening in East Windsor

November 29, 2021

EAST WINDSOR, NJ (MERCER)–Mayor Janice S. Mironov and Council Members Peter Yeager, Alan Rosenberg and John Zoller joined facility executives Regional Sales Director Pam Farish-Ozoroski, General Manager Joseph Sidoti and Assistant Manager Katherine Guzman for the Grand Opening event for Crunch Fitness located in the Windsor Crossing Shopping Center directly across from The Home Depot.

Mayor Mironov stated, “East Windsor is excited to welcome Crunch Fitness, which offers a wide variety of exercise equipment and options, and a variety of health and wellness programs, including personal training and group fitness classes.  Their convenient location and extensive class schedule provides residents in the area with another avenue to maintain a year-round fitness routine.”

The original opening of Crunch Fitness in February 2020 was interrupted by the pandemic, generating this grand opening celebration.  Crunch Fitness, a 24,203 square foot facility, features state-of-the-art workout equipment, specialized high-intensity interval training equipment, free range of motion weights, cardio equipment, group fitness classes, circuit training, free weight and heavy weight areas, and other guest amenities including on-site childcare, saunas, steam rooms, tanning and massage beds.  Crunch Fitness offers over 200 fitness classes including cycling, barre, Pilates, yoga and Zumba classes, and they also sell a variety of meal replacement low glycemic, less sugar and lower calorie meal-in-a-cup menu items, as well as blended shakes and kids options.  Crunch Fitness has locations in the United States, Australia, Canada, Costa Rica, and Spain, including 21 locations in New Jersey.

Current hours of operation are Monday thru Thursday from 5:00 A.M. to 10:00 P.M., Friday from 5:00 A.M. to 9:00 P.M., and Saturday thru Sunday from 7:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M.  Registration for classes is required and available 22 hours to 30 minutes prior to a class on the Crunch app or at members.crunch.com website. Call (609) 371-7111 or visit http://www.crunch.com/locations/east-windsor for additional information.


Florida man arrested by police after TSA catches him with loaded gun at Newark-Liberty International Airport security checkpoint

November 29, 2021

NEWARK, N.J. – A Florida resident was arrested by the police after he was stopped with his handgun at a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) security checkpoint at Newark Liberty International Airport on Friday, Nov. 26. 

A TSA officer stopped the man with his gun among his carry-on items as they entered a checkpoint X-ray unit. The man told officials that he meant to declare the gun with his airline so that it would be transported with checked baggage, but that he forgot to do so. The gun was unloaded and packed in a hard-sided case with a box containing 35 bullets, which would be how firearms should be packaged and then declared to the airline.

Instead, when TSA officers spotted the gun, they alerted Port Authority Police, who responded to the checkpoint and arrested the man.

Firearms caught at the Newark-Liberty International Airport Checkpoints, 2019 to 2021*

Newark Airport2017201820192020*2021*(As of 11-28-21)
Guns caught at the checkpoints614111113

*Significantly fewer travelers due to the pandemic.


TSA reserves the right to issue a civil penalty to travelers who have guns and gun parts with them at a checkpoint. Civil penalties for bringing a handgun into a checkpoint can stretch into thousands of dollars, depending on mitigating circumstances. This applies to travelers with or without concealed gun carry permits because even though an individual may have a concealed carry permit, it does not allow for a firearm to be carried onto an airplane. The complete list of civil penalties is posted online. If a traveler with a gun is a member of TSA PreCheck®, that individual will lose their TSA PreCheck privileges.

When an individual shows up at a checkpoint with a firearm, the checkpoint lane comes to a standstill until the police resolve the incident. Guns at checkpoints can delay travelers from getting to their gates.

Passengers are permitted to travel with firearms in checked baggage if they are properly packaged and declared at their airline ticket counter to be transported in the belly of the plane. Guns are absolutely not permitted to be carried onto planes. Checked firearms must be unloaded, packed in a hard-sided case, locked, and packed separately from ammunition. TSA has details on how to properly travel with a firearm posted on its website. Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality and travelers should check into firearm laws before they decide to travel with their guns. Travelers should also contact their airline as they may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition.

Nationwide, TSA officers detected 3,257 firearms on passengers or their carry-on bags at checkpoints last year, although the total number of passengers screened at airport checkpoints across the country fell by 500 million compared to 2019 due to the pandemic. The result was that twice as many firearms per million passengers screened were detected at checkpoints in 2020 compared to 2019. In 2020, TSA caught approximately 10 firearms per million passengers as compared to about five firearms per million passengers in 2019.  Of the guns caught by TSA in 2020, about 83 percent were loaded.



Overturned Vehicle in Manchester, Driver Flown to Trauma Center

November 29, 2021

MANCHESTER TOWNSHIP, NJ (OCEAN)–On Saturday, November 27, 2021, at approximately 6:04pm, officers from the Manchester Township Police Department responded to the area of Pinewald Keswick Road and Crestwood Parkway in the Whiting Section of town to investigate a motor vehicle accident involving an overturned Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV).

Upon arrival, officers observed a 2015 Jeep Patriot on the eastbound dirt shoulder of Pinewald Keswick Road, overturned resting on a utility pole. The sole occupant/ driver, was ejected from the vehicle and found lying in close proximity to the vehicle. The investigation revealed that the Jeep Patriot was traveling eastbound on Pinewald Keswick Road when it ran off the roadway to the right. The Jeep continued eastbound on the dirt shoulder striking roadway signs and brush before overturning and coming to final rest against a utility pole. Due to the vehicle overturning and the driver not properly seat belted into the vehicle, the driver was ejected from the vehicle through the front passenger side window.

The driver of the Jeep, 64-year-old, Robert Casper of Whiting, NJ, suffered head trauma and was flown to Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune by medevac helicopter, where he is listed in critical but stable condition.

Assisting at the scene were EMTs from the Manchester Township Division of Emergency Services, Paramedics from Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, and volunteer firefighters from the Whiting Volunteer Fire Company. The investigation into the crash is still ongoing, but at this point, failure to maintain lane and failure to wear a seatbelt are the contributing factors of the crash. The crash is being investigated by Patrolman Conner Yatauro of the department’s Traffic Safety section.

UPDATED: Trenton Investigates and Finds Large Sewer Leak Behind Luther Towers; Source is Obstruction in Line from Nearby Colonial Gardens Apartment Complex


Typically, Trenton Sewer Utility personnel are not permitted to operate on private property. However, given the serious potential public safety risks involved, they went above and beyond, not only finding the cause but alleviating it as well.


November 28, 2021– Updated November 29, 2021

UPDATE:

The Trenton Mayor’s Office says, There are no issue with the City-managed mainlines in the area. The problem is on non-city property.

The cause appears to have been a sewer line obstruction originating from 455 W. State St at the Colonial Gardens Apartment Complex. City sewer personnel were able to successful clean out the obstruction, which has abated the problem for now. They have also successfully contacted the building manager and advised him on additional measures to properly clean the lines and prevent this issue from happening again.

Typically, Trenton Sewer Utility personnel are not permitted to operate on private property. However, given the serious potential public safety risks involved, they went above and beyond, not only finding the cause but alleviating it as well.

While there does not appear to be any risk to nearby residents at this time, the City of Trenton is also deploying health and housing inspectors to the site to assess the sewage leak and any other issues. The N.J. Department of Environmental Protection has also been contacted as well.


TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–After a tip last night on Trenton Orbit Facebook Group, the City of Trenton Sewer Department was investigating a reported large sewage leak on West State Street.

Mayor Reed Gusciora was seen with the Trenton Sewer Department working to locate the reported large sewage leak on West State Street this morning. After the investigation it was determined that the leak was behind the Luther Towers at 489 West State Street, and later determined to be at 455 West State Street at the Colonial Gardens Apartment Complex. The Mayor reports that Luther Towers was notified at the time, then notified Colonial Gardens Apartments as well as the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection about the issue.

In a Facebook statement Mayor Reed Gusciora said:

“Hope you are still enjoying your holiday weekend. I ventured out to the woods behind Luther Towers on West State Street. Appears to be a sewage break that caused a spill. We have notified NJDEP and I was out with Trenton’s Sewage Authority to inspect. We also notified Luther Towers of their responsibilities. If anyone needs to report any sewage issues, please call us at 609-989-3180 or after hours, 609-989-4000. We are hear to serve. Thanks to the person(s) who reported the matter to us. God bless.”


Photos and video by Brian McCarthy OnSceneNews


Armed Robbery, Car-Jacking in Toms River

November 27, 2021

TOMS RIVER, NJ (OCEAN)–On Friday, November 26, 2021 at approximately 4:10 PM multiple police units were dispatched to the area of Route 37 and Route 166 for a robbery in progress involving a handgun. Upon arrival, officers spoke with the victim who stated that his vehicle was stolen at gunpoint from the parking lot of 10 Route 37 East. He further stated that he knew the suspects involved and had agreed to give one of them a ride to Auto Zone after their vehicle had broke down.

Once at Auto Zone, the victim’s acquaintance exited the vehicle and walked toward the store. The passenger door opened moments later and another male entered the vehicle and brandished a handgun demanding the victim’s belongings. The victim fled the vehicle and ran to a neighboring lot where notified police.

The suspect exited the parking lot in the victim’s vehicle, and continued westbound on Route 37 toward Manchester. Manchester Township Police were immediately notified and quickly located the vehicle traveling west on Route 37 near Lakehurst. Manchester officers stopped the vehicle in the parking lot of 401 Route 70, Lakehurst. The driver, Devin Copley-Clevenger, 20 of Lumberton, was taken into custody without incident.

A search of the vehicle was then conducted which yielded a loaded 9mm handgun with a high capacity magazine. The Ocean County Sheriff’s Department Crime Scene Unit responded to process the vehicle.

Mr. Copley-Clevenger was charged with first degree robbery, first degree car jacking, second degree unlawful possession of a weapon, second degree unlawful possession of a weapon, and fourth degree unlawful possession of a high capacity magazine. All charges were approved by The Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office.

The incident remains under investigation by Detective Seaman. If you have information regarding this incident, please contact tseaman@trpolice.org.

Criminal charges are accusations only. Every criminal defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in court.


Pedestrian Struck in Toms River

November 27, 2021

TOMS RIVER, NJ (OCEAN)–On Friday, November 26, 2021 at approximately 6:00 PM police units were dispatched to Hooper Ave, near the intersection of James Street for a reported pedestrian struck. While attempting to cross Hooper Avenue, Ebony Shepherd, 34 of Johnstown PA, climbed over the Jersey Barrier from east to west and was struck by an oncoming vehicle. Ms. Sheperd was transported to Community Medical Center and subsequently airlifted to Robert Wood Johnson Hospital in New Brunswick due to the severity of her injuries.

The driver of the vehicle exhibited no signs of impairment and was not injured as a result of the crash. Ocean County Sheriff Department’s CSI Unit also assisted at the scene. The accident remains under investigation by Traffic Safety Officer Mark Nater and Patrolman Will Resetar.


AG’s Office Investigating Fatal Collision Involving Civilian and Police Vehicles

November 26, 2021

NORTH BRUNSWICK, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–The Attorney General’s Office is conducting an investigation of a fatal vehicle collision that occurred on November 25, 2021 in North Brunswick, N.J. Two children sustained fatal injuries. The decedents’ identities are not being released at this time.  

According to the preliminary investigation, the fatal incident occurred on November 25, 2021 at 11:35 p.m. at the intersection of Route 1 and Route 130 in North Brunswick, N.J. Two vehicles were involved in a collision. The first vehicle was operated by a civilian driving on the wrong side of the highway, and also contained two children. The second vehicle was a marked Old Bridge Police Department vehicle driven by an Old Bridge police officer, and which contained a second Old Bridge police officer and a civilian. Both children in the civilian vehicle died from injuries sustained in the crash. Both officers and the civilian within the police vehicle sustained injuries.

This investigation is being conducted pursuant to Attorney General Directive 2019-4, which implements the statutory requirement that the Attorney General’s Office conduct the investigation of any death that occurs during an encounter with a law enforcement officer acting in the officer’s official capacity or while the decedent is in custody, and which establishes clear standards and procedures for conducting such investigations. Per Section II.H.3 of the Directive, the investigation will be bifurcated, with the AG’s Office investigating the conduct of the officers involved in the collision, and the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office investigating the conduct of any other parties that may be responsible. 

The investigation is ongoing and no further information is being released at this time.


Vehicle Overturns on Route 130 in Hamilton

November 25, 2021

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–At 9:25 p.m. Hamilton Police recieved multiple calls reporting an overturned vehicle on Route 130 near Horizon Center and Sprit of 76 Boulevard. Hamilton Township Fire Department and RWJ Hamilton EMS responded to the scene for reported entrapment. Upon arrival there was no entrapment. Hamilton Fire Department stood by until 10:22 p.m. until the vehicle could be up righted and towed away. Hamilton Township Police is investigating the crash. No further information was available.


Fully Involved Vehicle Fire On I-295 in Lawrence Township

November 25, 2021

LAWRENCE TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–A vehicle fire disrupted traffic on Interstate 295 in Lawrence Township Wednesday evening, Nov. 24. Pennington Borough Fire Chief Jim DeForte was driving through the area when he spotted the fire on the northbound side of I-295 near Milepost 69.6, just north of the Exit 69 (Lawrence Road/Route 206) interchange, about 7 p.m. DeForte radioed for Lawrence Township firefighters to be dispatched. The vehicle was fully-engulfed in fire, so Pennington Fire Company’s 3,500-gallon tanker was also dispatched in case additional water was needed above the 500 gallons carried aboard Lawrenceville Fire Company’s first-due apparatus, Telesquirt 23. Northbound traffic was reduced to one lane while firefighters extinguished the blaze. Slackwood Fire Company also responded to assist. There was no reported injuries.


Trenton Police Officers Begin Executing New De-Escalation Training Out in the Field 

November 24, 2021

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Acting Police Director Steve E. Wilson today announced that Trenton Police officers have successfully begun integrating new state training into their de-escalation efforts to help take suspects into custody without anyone being harmed. 

On Nov. 10, 2021, officers responded to reports of a suspect smashing car windows with a gun. Upon arrival, officers observed Dashawn Bashir Smith-Murphy, 27, of Trenton, standing next to a black shotgun. Officers used their new de-escalation training to disarm and take Smith-Murphy into custody without anyone being harmed.

On Oct. 16, 2021, officers were dispatched to 590 New York Avenue after receiving reports of a man with a firearm holding a woman captive. Officers surrounded the apartment and conducted negotiations, which resulted in Eric Hardmon, 37, of Bronx, NY, opening the door and being taken into custody without incident. Officers entered the apartment and located a female inside the bathroom unharmed. 

“The TPD is committed to using every resource available to peacefully resolve criminal disturbances, and it wasn’t long before our officers started taking advantage of the training they just started over a month ago,” said Acting Director Wilson. “These are the types of situations where this training is incredibly useful and can help achieve the best possible outcome for both our officers and the residents they are sworn to protect.”

The TPD started de-escalation and active bystandership training programs at Mercer County Community College this Fall. One of the training programs is Integrating Communications, Assessment, and Tactics (ICAT). ICAT is a training guide for diffusing critical incidents. It provides responding police officers with the tools, skills, and options they need to safely defuse a range of critical incidents. ICAT instructs officers on critical thinking, crisis intervention, communications, and tactics. 

The second training program is the Active Bystandership for Law Enforcement (ABLE). This program seeks to create a law enforcement culture that supports peer intervention. ABLE training promotes the idea that it is the responsibility of every officer to act to prevent mistakes, address misconduct, and promote their fellow officers’ health and well-being.

Criminal Sexual Contact on Moore Street in Princeton

November 24, 2021

PRINCETON, NJ (MERCER)–Princeton Police report that on Tuesday November 23, 2021 at 6:14 p,m,, the Princeton Police Department was dispatched to the area of Moore Street and Park Place for a report of a criminal sexual contact. The victim stated she was walking south on Moore Street and crossed Park Place. While she was on the sidewalk on the southwest corner of the intersection of Moore Street and Park Place, the suspect approached her from behind and grabbed her buttocks. The suspect then ran west on Park Place.

The victim described the suspect as a Hispanic male, possible in his 30’s, 5’04” tall with a medium to slightly heavy build, wearing a dark colored beanie style winter hat, a white surgical mask and a navy blue jacket.

It is unknown if this incident is related to the prior criminal sexual contacts that occurred in the past. At this time, there is no additional information available. When more information is available, we will put out an additional press release.

We are asking anyone who may have witnessed the incident or has additional information, to contact Det. Don Mathews at (609) 921-2100 extension 2137.


Search and Rescue Underway in Stafford Township, 100+ Searching Woods Off Rt 539 for Two Missing Persons

There is currently a search and rescue being conducted in the wooded area of 539/Warren Grove Rd in Barnegat & Stafford Township. HUNTERS please be extremely vigilant of 100+ searchers walking through the area.

November 24, 2021

STAFFORD TOWNSHIP, NJ (OCEAN)–On Tuesday, November 23,2021, the Stafford Township Police Department initiated an investigation into two missing persons from Warren Grove identified as Gary & Lorraine Parker. The department’s ATV Unit with the assistance of the Ocean County Sheriffs Department ATV Unit have been conducting off-road searches of the Warren Grove area. The NJSP Aviation Unit assisted as well. At this time, we are not seeking assistance in this search. However, if anyone has any information on the whereabouts of Gary & Lorraine Parker, please contact us at (609) 597-8581 or Detective Sergeant Neil McKenna at (609) 597-1189 X8440.



Early Morning 2-Alarm Fire Burns Apartments in Ewing Township

November 24, 2021

EWING TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Ewing Township firefighters were dispatched for apartments on fire in the area of 451 of Silvia Street at 1:17 a.m. First arriving firefighters found heavy fire showing exterior decks Side A (front), second and third floors at 485 Silvia Street. A second alarm called on arrival of Chief 33 sending mutual aid to the scene from Lawrence, Hamilton, Pennington and Hopewell.

No further details are available at this time. This is a breaking news story and once details are released the story will be updated.






Nearly 600 Firearms Collected as Result of Twin Gun Buybacks

November 23, 2021

FREEHOLD, NJ (MONMOUTH)–A combined total of nearly 600 firearms have been collected for destruction as the result of a pair of gun buybacks hosted by the Prosecutor’s Office and partner agencies over the last month, Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Lori Linskey announced Tuesday.

Monmouth County was one of nine counties statewide to host separate gun buybacks across the state on Saturday, October 23; as a result, a total of 360 firearms were collected at the Second Baptist Church of Asbury Park, including 159 handguns, 133 rifles and shotguns, and three assault weapons.

Prompted by the healthy demand, a second event was held this past Saturday at the Bethel AME Church in Freehold; as a result, a total of 234 more firearms, including 144 handguns, 67 rifles and shotguns, and two assault weapons were collected.

Between the two events, more than $66,000 was paid out to participating citizens turning in 594 unwanted weapons.

“It’s abundantly clear that these gun buyback events are both popular and effective, and we plan to continue hosting them in the years to come,” Acting Prosecutor Linskey said. “Every last firearm turned in is a firearm that will never be used to harm someone.”

Saturday’s event was co-sponsored by the Prosecutor’s Office, the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office, under the leadership of Sheriff Shaun Golden; the Freehold Borough Police Department, under the leadership of Chief Craig W. Dispenza; the Freehold Township Police Department, under the leadership of Chief George K. Baumann; and the Bethel AME Church, under the leadership of the Rev. Ronald L. Sparks.

The Asbury Park event was co-sponsored by MCPO, the Monmouth County Board of County Commissioners, the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office, the Monmouth County Police Chiefs Association, and the Asbury Park Police Department.

The New Jersey Office of the Attorney General coordinated the Oct. 23 gun buybacks, which made history – Acting Attorney General Andrew J. Bruck announced several days later that nearly 3,000 firearms were turned at sites across the state that day, making it the most successful single-day event of its kind in state history. Thousands more firearms were turned in during gun buybacks held across the state in previous years.

The gun buybacks in Asbury Park and Freehold marked Monmouth County’s first such events since 2017.