Day: December 18, 2019

West Windsor Man Under Indictment for 40 Burglaries

December 18, 2019

TRENTON — A Mercer County grand jury returned a nine-count indictment this week charging Billy M. Woodard, 54, in connection with five residential burglaries in Mercer and Middlesex counties, Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri announced.  The charges include three counts of burglary in West Windsor Township and two counts of burglary in Plainsboro Township.

In September 2019, a Mercer County grand jury returned a 55-count indictment charging Woodard with 19 burglaries in West Windsor, four in Robbinsville, six in Princeton, four in Lawrence and two in Hopewell.  He was also indicted on many third- and fourth-degree theft charges related to the burglaries.

Assistant Prosecutor Kathleen M. Petrucci presented both cases to the grand jury.

Prosecutor Onofri stated that, between June 2018 and May 2019, West Windsor Township and surrounding jurisdictions were inundated with a rash of residential burglaries.  A comprehensive and massive investigation was conducted by the West Windsor Police Department’s Detective Bureau, under the leadership of Chief Robert Garofalo, to determine if they were the acts of the same person or persons, and to identify those responsible and apprehend the culprits.  The exhaustive efforts led to identifying Woodard as the lone actor in more than 20 residential burglaries during the aforementioned time frame. In almost every single case, the burglaries took place while the residents were at home and asleep.

During the extensive investigation, lead West Windsor Detectives Eric Woodrow and Jason Jones sought assistance from the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office Special Investigations Unit (SIU).  Ultimately, Woodard was apprehended during the commission of a residential burglary in Lower Makefield Township, Pennsylvania, on May 30, 2019. He remains in custody in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and is charged with numerous burglaries in that jurisdiction.

“Although Woodard has been linked to 22 residential burglaries in West Windsor Township, the investigation is ongoing,” Chief Garofalo said.  “The Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office and the WWPD ask residents to continue your vigilance and be observant and considerate to your neighbors.  If you feel something is abnormal in your community, please don’t hesitate to contact your local police department immediately.”

Prosecutor Onofri and Chief Garofalo thanked the following agencies for the support and resources provided during the investigation:

  • West Windsor Police Department
  • Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Hopewell Township Police Department
  • Lawrence Township Police Department
  • Princeton Police Department
  • Robbinsville Township Police Department
  • Plainsboro Township Police Department
  • Lower Makefield Township (PA) Police Department

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

A Mercer County grand jury returned a nine-count indictment this week charging Billy M. Woodard, 54, in connection with five residential burglaries in Mercer and Middlesex counties, Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri announced. Photo provided by: Mercer County Prosecutors Office

Chris Smith’s TICK Act and End Neglected Diseases Act to become law

Two major health bills authored by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) were attached to an end-of-year, must-pass spending package today and will become law by the end of the week.

The first bill—the TICK Act—creates a “new whole-of-government national strategy to combat Lyme” and other tick borne diseases.  It authorizes $150 million in federal funding for Centers of Excellence and important Lyme initiatives at the local level.

“It’s taken 21 years—and over a dozen bills I’ve introduced in Congress beginning with the Lyme Disease Initiative Act of 1998 to get here.” Smith said. “This marks a major victory for hundreds of thousands—especially and including children—who suffer from this horrific disease.”

Smith introduced the TICK Act earlier this year joined by Rep. Colin Peterson (D-MN) in the House and Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) and Tina Smith (R-MN) in the Senate. As included in the end-of-year bill, the legislation is now named for former Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC) who tragically passed away from a tick-borne disease in October.

“The national strategy provision coupled with $150 million for research, prevention and treatment programs will enable additional federal agencies to step up and coordinated their efforts in the fight against Lyme,” said Smith, the co-chair of the House Lyme Disease Caucus. “The new law will open doors to innovative therapies, treatments, better diagnosis and more accurate information for doctors, and their patients with Lyme.”

“With a whole-of-government approach, all patients, including those suffering with chronic Lyme will get more answers and hopefully relief from this debilitating disease.”

According to the  Department of Health and Human Services 2018 Report to Congress, there are approximately 300,000 new cases of tick borne disease each year—with an estimated 40,000 new cases annually in New Jersey alone.

Smith’s second bill to become law this week, the End Neglected Tropical Diseases Act(HR 3460), supports the treatment, control, and elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs). It ensures that that United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID’s) programs effectively integrate NTD treatment, control and elimination efforts with other development issues, such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, water and sanitation and education.

“More than 10 million Americans living in extreme poverty—and 1.4 billion people worldwide—are currently infected with at least one of these awful, but preventable diseases which blind, disable, disfigure and sometime kill victims” Smith said.  “My bill breaks down silos and integrates critical therapies USAID is already doing to help those suffering from NTDs such as West Nile Virus, Zika, dengue or severe dengue fever, leprosy, scabies and soil-transmitted helminthiases (STH) (roundworm, whipworm, and hookworm).”

Photo from Chris Smith Press Release from C-Span