BREAKING NEWS REPORT: Since no “official” police information is available about this shooting we will tell you what we know. If “official” information becomes available the story will be updated and any corrections made at that time.
August 31, 2020
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Over and over again like a terrifying dystopian novel more blood spilled in Trenton as two people were reported shot around 12:30 pm this afternoon.
Trenton Police, Trenton EMS and Capital Health Paramedics responded to South Cook Avenue between Walnut Avenue and Tioga Street where two people were reportedly found shot. EMS treated the victims on scene and two people were transported to the Trauma Center at Capital Health Regional Medical Center. A “Trauma Alert” was called for one of the shooting victims.
From on scene reports children and families were caught again in the vicinity of shootings in the city. There have been 7 murders in August so far 6 have been shootings and 1 was a stabbing.
The carnage goes unabated even though politicians and government officials have said “enough is enough” over and over again.
No other information except radio reports and witness reports was available. If official information is released the story will be updated and corrections made at that time.
Currently at 9:15 am the traffic is backed up from the accident scene to well past Newark Airport and at least 12 miles according to a Google Traffic measurement. The South Bound traffic backup starts in the area of Exit 15E as the outer roadway is closed for the investigation. Google traffic map shows dark red delays. Seek alternate routes if possible.
August 31, 2020
WOODBRIDGE, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–The New Jersey State Police report, a crash occurred this morning at approximately 5:51 a.m. southbound on the New Jersey Turnpike outer roadway in Woodbridge Township, Middlesex County. Preliminary information indicates that in the area of milepost 94.6, a Mercedes and a Ford van were involved in a crash. A female occupant of the Merecedes was pronounced dead at the scene, and a male occupant was airlifted to Robert Wood Johnson in New Brunswick. Outer roadway remains closed and cause of the crash remains under investigation.
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Trenton Police and TEMS responded to the area of 1100 East State Street at 5:30 pm for multiple calls reporting shots fired. A male victim in his 20s was found in the rear of the building with multiple fatal gunshot wounds. The victim Tybree Washington, 24, of Hamilton was pronounced dead at the scene and the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office has not released a name at this time. The Mercer County Homicide Task Force is investigating.
ROBBINSVILLE TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–The Robbinsville Township Fire Department along with Hamilton Township Fire Department responded to an accident on I-195 East Bound near Exit 6 at 4:43 pm. There was a report of the driver being trapped but upon arrival of Robbinsville firefighters it was determined the driver was not entrapped. Firefighters and EMS worked to get the person to the ambulance. The female was transported to Capital Health Regional Medical Center in Trenton.
FORT BRAGG, N.C. – Staff Sgt. Vincent P. Marketta, 33, of Brick, New Jersey, and Sgt. Tyler M. Shelton, 22, of San Bernardino, California, died August 27, from injuries sustained during an aircraft mishap while conducting aviation training on San Clemente Island, California.
“The loss of Staff Sgt. Marketta and Sgt. Shelton has left a scar in this Regiment that will never completely heal,” said Col. Andrew R. Graham, commander of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne). “Their level of dedication to the 160th SOAR (A) and their exemplary service in the Army is the embodiment of what it means to be a Night Stalker and a Soldier. Our priority now is to ensure the Families of our fallen warriors receive our complete support as we work through this tragedy together. We ask that you keep Staff Sgt. Marketta, Sgt. Shelton, their Families and fellow Night Stalkers in your thoughts and prayers.”
Staff Sgt. Marketta, a native of Brick, New Jersey, enlisted in the Army in 2011, as a 15T UH-60 “Black Hawk” Repairer. He was assigned to the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) upon completing Advanced Individual Training, and the Regiment’s extensive training and assessment program in 2012. He spent 18 months as an aircraft repairer in 1st Battalion, 160th SOAR (A). In 2014, Marketta remained in 1st Battalion, 160th SOAR (A) for service as an MH-60M Crew Chief.
While assigned to 160th SOAR (A), Marketta deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM and deployed multiple times to Iraq in support of Operation INHERENT RESOLVE.
He graduated from the Enlisted Combat Skills; Combatives Level 1; MH-60 Maintainers Course; Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape School; MH-60 Non-Rated Crew Member Course; the Basic and Advanced Leaders Courses; and the MH-60 Flight Instructors Course.
Staff Sgt. Marketta’s awards and decorations include the Distinguished Flying Cross; Air Medal with V device; Air Medal with C device; Air Medal; Army Commendation Medal with C device (2OLC); Army Commendation Medal; Army Achievement Medal (1OLC); Army Good Conduct
Medal; Afghanistan Campaign Medal (Campaign Star); Inherent Resolve Campaign Medal; Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal; Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon (Numeral 2); Army Service Ribbon; NATO Medal; Combat Action Badge; and the Basic Aviator’s Badge.
Sgt. Shelton, a native of San Bernardino, California, enlisted in the Army in 2016, as a 15T UH-60 “Black Hawk” Repairer. He was assigned to the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) upon completing Advanced Individual Training, and the Regiment’s extensive training and assessment program in 2017. He was assigned to 1st Battalion, 160th SOAR (A) where he spent eight months as an MH-60M Repairer. In 2018, Shelton remained in 1st Battalion, 160th SOAR (A) for service as an MH-60M Crew Chief.
While assigned to 160th SOAR (A), Shelton deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.
He graduated from the Enlisted Combat Skills; Combatives Level 1; MH-60 Maintainers Course; Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape School; MH-60 Non-Rated Crew Member Course; and the Basic Leaders Course.
Sgt. Shelton’s awards and decorations include the Army Good Conduct Medal; Afghanistan Campaign Medal (Campaign Star); Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon; Army Service Ribbon; and the Basic Aviator’s Badge.
Both Staff Sgt. Marketta and Sgt. Shelton will receive the Meritorious Service Medal posthumously.
ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)–Just after 3 pm NJ Office Of Emergency Management, Urban Search and Rescue, New Jersey Task Force 1 returned to the area as the passed through the NJ Turnpike toll booths on their way back to their headquarters.
The team was activated for response to Hurricane Laura in the early morning hours of August 27, 2020. The team traveled south to stage near Atlanta, Georgia until needed. Early this morning the Federal Emergency Management Agency – FEMA adjusted the Federal response to local needs and NJ-TF1 received demobilization orders and begun the process of heading home.
NJ-TF1 deployed as a Type 1 Team consisting of 80 team members, three tractor-trailers, two box trucks, five F-450 utility vehicles, two crew carriers, an F-250 towing vehicle, two passenger vans, two utility terrain vehicles, and a fleet service truck. A water rescue component of six boats with trailers and a water support trailer were also deployed.
Local members known to MidJersey.News are:
Hamilton Township Fire Department:
Jarred Pierson, Jason Ryan, Kinte Holt, Brad Ladislaw, Jeff Barlow and Joe Flynn.
West Windsor Emergency Service, and West Windsor Police Department:
MARLBORO TOWNSHIP, NJ (MONMOUTH)–Marlboro Township Police Department advises that Ryan Road in the area of Cloverleaf Road is closed due to a motor vehicle crash. A telephone pole was snapped and live wires are down in the roadway. JCP&L crews are in route to the scene. A detour will be in place and officers are on location. There are reports that power is out in the area as well. Please avoid the area if possible.
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Trenton Police and TEMS responded to North Montgomery Street and Allen Street around 1 am for a male shot in the ankle. TEMS transported the person to the trauma center at Capital Health Regional Medical Center. No further information is available about the shooting.
BREAKING NEWS REPORT: This is a breaking news report, if and when further information becomes available from official sources, the story will be updated and corrections if needed will be made at that time.
EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–The East Brunswick Police Department is seeking the public’s assistance with identifying a juvenile male suspected of stealing a package.
On 8/27/20 a juvenile male was utilized in the theft of a package, located on the front porch of a residence. After retrieving the package, the juvenile male enters a tan vehicle, possibly a Lexus or Toyota.
If anyone can identify the suspect or has any information regarding this incident or similar incidents, please contact Det. Alexander Danese (732-390-6990 x7118 or firstname.lastname@example.org). Anonymous confidential tips are accepted by dialing 732-4EBTIPS (328477) or by emailing email@example.com
ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)–Around 9:54 pm the Robbinsville Township Fire Department was sent to I-195 west bound at the NJ Turnpike overpass for a serious motor vehicle crash.
Upon arrival Robbinsville firefighters and EMS found a vehicle into the bridge safety wall that keeps vehicles from driving off the bridge. The crews treated the person and Robbinsville EMS took the victim to the Trauma Center at Capital Health Regional Medical Center in Trenton. A trauma alert was called en route to the hospital.
New Jersey State Police are investigating.
No further information was available about the accident.
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Governor Phil Murphy today signed Executive Order No. 181, which permits gyms and health clubs, as well as amusement and water parks, to reopen their indoor premises to the public on Tuesday, September 1 at 6:00 a.m., provided these facilities comply with the health and safety standards issued by the Department of Health.
“Gyms are among the most-challenging indoor environments to prevent the transmission of COVID-19,” said Governor Murphy. “Given where we are in this fight and the overwhelming personal responsibility demonstrated by gym owners and gym members over the past several months, we can confidently take this important step on our road back.”
“Exercise is very important for the body and the mind, but it needs to be done in a healthy environment to protect not only those in the facility, but the community at large,“ said Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli. “Given the potential for transmission indoors, this guidance provides strict guidelines for staff and customers to follow closely to stay healthy while enjoying their workout or class.”
Under the Department of Health’s Executive Directive, gyms and health clubs who reopen will be required to adhere to the health and safety standards listed in the “Guidance for Health Clubs/Gyms/Fitness Centers”. These standards, which will also apply to other recreational businesses that offer fitness classes and activities, include the following, among others:
Limit occupancy of any indoor premises to 25 percent of the stated maximum capacity;
Conduct a temperature screening and questionnaire of staff and clients upon entrance to the facility;
Limit indoor group activities (e.g., classes) to no more than 1 individual per 200 square feet of accessible space or less, with all individuals being able to maintain 6 feet of distance from other individuals during the entire class;
Require workers and customers to wear cloth face coverings at all times, except where doing so would inhibit that individual’s health, such as when in the water and in other situations where the presence of a mask would pose a risk to the individual’s health, or where the individual is under two years of age;
Demarcate six feet of distance between equipment, or blocking off equipment (e.g. every other machine) to maintain six feet of distancing between individuals using equipment;
Require that reservations, cancellations and pre-payments be made via electronic or telephone reservation systems to limit physical interactions;
Limit occupancy in restrooms to avoid over-crowding;
Inform clients to arrive dressed to workout/train and bring their own hand towel, water, yoga mat, boxing gloves, and any other equipment;
Not permit the use of showers, with the exception of gyms with pools, which can have individually partitioned showers or communal showers with installed barriers/partitions at least six feet apart;
Limit locker room use to hand washing and restroom use only; and
Adopt infection control practices and enhanced sanitization protocols.
Activities such as swimming in an indoor pool, tanning, outdoor dining, pick-up of food or beverage, and retail sales, which are otherwise permitted but which are not governed by the guidance, remain subject to applicable standards outlined in Executive Orders, Executive Directives and guidance.
For a copy of Executive Order No. 181, please click here.
For a copy of the Department of Health’s Executive Directive, please click here.
For a copy of the Department of Health’s Guidance for Health Clubs/Gyms/Fitness Centers, please click here.
BORDENTOWN TOWNSHIP, NJ (BURLINGTON)–The New Jersey State Police have arrested Jason Reeves, 40, of Trenton, N.J. and seized $2000 worth heroin, fentanyl, and crack cocaine during a traffic stop in Bordentown Township, Burlington County.
On Monday, August 24, at 8:20 p.m., Trooper Francis Morris stopped Reeves for a traffic violation southbound on Interstate 295 at milepost 55.7 in Bordentown Township.
During the stop, Tpr. Morris discovered that Brown was in possession of 226 wax folds heroin, fentanyl and crack cocaine. The wax folds seized by troopers were marked with various different stamps. Drug traffickers market their “brand” of drug by ink-stamping the outside of a wax fold with a unique image or phrase such as “Road Runner” and Scorpion King ” which are examples recovered from the motor vehicle stop.
Jason Reeves was charged with possession of CDS, posession of CDS with intent to distribute and distribution of prescription legend drugs. He was released pending a future court date.
Charges are mere accusations, and the accused is considered innocent until proven guilty.
Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina and Riverside Township Police Chief William T. Eliason announced that a New York developer who purchased a historic Riverside commercial building to create luxury apartments in the seven-story landmark has been charged with using the credentials of a potential subcontractor to fraudulently gain approval for electrical permits from the township construction office.
Raphael S. Weiss, 60, of East 18th Street in Brooklyn, was charged with Computer Criminal Activity (Second Degree), Impersonation (Second Degree), 36 counts of Forgery/Making (Third Degree), and 36 counts of Forgery/Uttering (Third Degree).
He was taken into custody this morning at the Riverside Township municipal building and lodged in the Burlington County Jail in Mount Holly pending a hearing in Superior Court. The case will now be prepared for presentation to a grand jury for possible indictment.
The investigation began after a contractor who was negotiating with Weiss to be the electrician of record on the Keystone Watch Case Co. redevelopment project noticed that electrical work had begun at the North Pavilion Avenue site, even though no formal agreement had been finalized and he had not applied for any permits.
After being denied access to the construction site by Weiss, the electrician went to the township construction office and was told that 36 permits had already been issued in his name and in the name of his business for work to be done at the property. Further examination revealed that the electrician’s signature had been forged on the permits, which were applied for by Weiss, and a counterfeit version of the contractor’s state-issued embossing seal had been used to make an imprint.
It is alleged that Weiss initiated the scheme as a way to reduce construction costs by fraudulently utilizing the credentials of the licensed electrician to obtain the necessary permits, then hiring unlicensed, unqualified laborers to complete the work at a much less expensive rate.
Not only was the action illegal, but it also jeopardized the safety of the project, as demonstrated by the fact that the electrical work completed after the fraudulent permits were obtained failed to pass inspection.
The Keystone Watch Case Co. building was constructed in 1908 and manufactured gold cases for watches. The company employed more than 1,000 employees in 1918, making it the largest watch case manufacturer in the world. The business was treasured as a strong engine in the local economy, with many employees living close enough to walk to work.
The company closed in 1956, and the building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977. It was purchased in 2016 by Brooklyn-based SimShabs Capital Partners LTD, of which Weiss is owner and president.
The plans submitted by Weiss to Riverside Township indicated that the iconic landmark, which has a prominent, highly visible clock tower rising above the roofline, would be converted into 64 luxury apartments.
“This is a heartbreaking setback for Riverside officials who for years have been working to jumpstart a renaissance in their township, with this property as the centerpiece,” Prosecutor Coffina said. “This defendant has dimmed the hopes of an entire town by his selfish actions for illegal, personal financial gain, and he will face strong penalties as a result.”
Weiss will be prosecuted by Assistant Prosecutor Andrew McDonnell, supervisor of the BCPO Financial Crimes Unit.
The investigation, which remains active, is being conducted by detectives from the BCPO Financial Crimes Unit and the Riverside Township Police Department. The lead investigators are BCPO Detective Nicholas Schieber and Riverside Lt. Louis Fisher.
All persons are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
Data will help inform whether the Department of Justice will initiate investigations under the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA) regarding New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Michigan’s response to COVID-19 in public nursing homes
August 27, 2020
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Today the Justice Department requested COVID-19 data from the governors of states that issued orders which may have resulted in the deaths of thousands of elderly nursing home residents. New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Michigan required nursing homes to admit COVID-19 patients to their vulnerable populations, often without adequate testing.
For example, on March 25, 2020, New York ordered: “No resident shall be denied re-admission or admission to [a nursing home] solely based on a confirmed or suspected diagnosis of COVID-19. [Nursing homes] are prohibited from requiring a hospitalized resident who is determined medically stable to be tested for COVID-19 prior to admission or readmission.”
“Protecting the rights of some of society’s most vulnerable members, including elderly nursing home residents, is one of our country’s most important obligations,” said Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Division Eric Dreiband. “We must ensure they are adequately cared for with dignity and respect and not unnecessarily put at risk.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control, New York has the highest number of COVID-19 deaths in the United States, with 32,592 victims, many of them elderly. New York’s death rate by population is the second highest in the country with 1,680 deaths per million people. New Jersey’s death rate by population is 1,733 deaths per million people – the highest in the nation. In contrast, Texas’s death rate by population is 380 deaths per million people; and Texas has just over 11,000 deaths, though its population is 50 percent larger than New York and has many more recorded cases of COVID-19 – 577,537 cases in Texas versus 430,885 cases in New York. Florida’s COVID-19 death rate is 480 deaths per million; with total deaths of 10,325 and a population slightly larger than New York.
The Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division is evaluating whether to initiate investigations under the federal “Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act” (CRIPA), which protects the civil rights of persons in state-run nursing homes, among others. The Civil Rights Division seeks to determine if the state orders requiring admission of COVID-19 patients to nursing homes is responsible for the deaths of nursing home residents.
On March 3, 2020, the Attorney General announced the Justice Department’s National Nursing Home Initiative. This is a comprehensive effort by the department, led by the Elder Justice Initiative and in strong partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that uses every available tool to pursue nursing homes that provide substandard care to their residents. As announced on April 10, 2020, the department is also investigating the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke, Massachusetts, where COVID-19 has taken the lives of at least 76 residents. https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/federal-investigation-conditions-nursing-home-veterans-massachusetts-announced
The data requests and Soldiers’ Home investigation are not accusations of fault or wrongdoing by the states or any other individual or entity, and the department has not reached any conclusions about these matters.
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–A Mercer County, New Jersey, man was sentenced today to 120 months in prison for his role in a large drug trafficking conspiracy that distributed more than one kilogram of heroin in Trenton and the surrounding area, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.
Davias Taylor, a/k/a “Vicey,” 28, of Trenton, previously pleaded guilty before Chief U.S. District Judge Freda L. Wolfson to an information charging him with one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin. Chief Judge Wolfson imposed the sentence today in Trenton federal court.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
In October 2018, Taylor and 25 other members of a drug trafficking conspiracy operating in Trenton were charged with conspiracy to distribute heroin. On Feb. 27, 2020, a grand jury returned a 10-count second superseding indictment charging Jerome Roberts, a/k/a “Righteous,” a/k/a “Lee”; David Antonio, a/k/a “Papi,” a/k/a “Pop,” a/k/a a/k/a “Santiago Ramirez”; Timothy Wimbush, a/k/a “Young Money”; Taquan Williams, a/k/a “Trip”; Jubri West; Dennis Cheston Jr., a/k/a “Beans”; and Wayne K. Bush with various crimes relating to the drug-trafficking conspiracy, as well as firearms offenses. To date, 23 defendants have pleaded guilty in connection with their participation in the conspiracy.
From as early as October 2017 to October 2018, the defendants and others engaged in a narcotics conspiracy that operated in the areas of Martin Luther King Boulevard, Sanford Street, Middle Rose Street, Southard Street, Hoffman Avenue, and Coolidge Avenue in Trenton, and that sought to profit from the distribution of heroin and numerous other controlled substances. Through the interception of telephone calls and text messages pursuant to court-authorized wiretap orders, controlled purchases of heroin, the use of confidential sources of information, and other investigative techniques, law enforcement learned that defendants Jakir Taylor and Jerome Roberts obtained regular supplies of hundreds of “bricks” of heroin from defendant David Antonio, to whom they referred as “Papi.” The investigation revealed that during the conspiracy, Davias Taylor met David Antonio and introduced him to his conspirators, Jakir Taylor and Jerome Roberts, so that Antonio could supply the conspiracy with significant quantities of heroin. Davias Taylor himself also obtained and redistributed significant quantities of heroin for profit.
In addition to the prison term, Davias Taylor was sentenced five years of supervised release.
U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the FBI, Newark Division, Trenton Resident Agency, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr.; special agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, Newark Division, Trenton Field Office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Charlie J. Patterson; officers of the Trenton Police Department, under the direction of Police Director Sheilah Coley; officers of the Princeton Police Department, under the direction of Chief of Police Nicholas Sutter; officers of the Ewing Police Department, under the direction of Chief of Police John P. Stemler III; officers of the Burlington Township Police Department, under the direction of Police Director Bruce Painter; and detectives of the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Scott A. Coffina, with the investigation leading to today’s sentencing. He also thanked officers of the New Jersey State Police, under the direction of Superintendent Col. Patrick J. Callahan; detectives of the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Angelo Onofri; officers of the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office, under the direction of Sheriff John A. Kemler; and members of the New Jersey State Board of Parole for their assistance in the case.
The government is represented by J. Brendan Day, Attorney-in-Charge of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Trenton Office, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexander Ramey of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Criminal Division in Trenton.
This case was conducted under the auspices of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) and the FBI’s Greater Trenton Safe Streets Task Force, a partnership between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to enhance the identification, apprehension, and prosecution of individuals involved in gang-related activities, violent crime, and drug distribution in and around the greater Trenton area. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking, weapons trafficking, and money laundering organizations and those primarily responsible for the nation’s illegal drug supply.
The charges and allegations against the remaining defendants are merely accusations and those defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–A Hamilton Township man has been arrested and charged with possessing and distributing thousands of files of child pornography, Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri reported.
Arnulfo Santana Jr., 21, of Hamilton, NJ, is charged with two counts of second-degree endangering the welfare of a child for possession with the intent to distribute and distribution of child pornography, as well as one count of third-degree possession of child pornography. Santana is being held in the Mercer County Correction Center in Hopewell pending a detention hearing.
“We want offenders to know we are out there online, protecting our children,” Prosecutor Onofri said. “We will use every investigative tool at our disposal to aggressively pursue and prosecute these predators that attempt to exploit our most innocent victims.”
An investigation into the sexual exploitation of children online ensued after the prosecutor’s Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Unit received a cyber tip. On Thursday morning, ICAC detectives, with assistance from the prosecutor’s Special Victims Unit and Homeland Security Investigations, executed a search warrant at Santana’s Hamilton home and took him into custody without incident.
Jaylin Evans, 20, was arrested and charged with Aggravated Assault, Terroristic Threats, Criminal Mischief, Unlawful Possession of a Weapon, False Imprisonment, Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose, Simple Assault, Possession of a Large Capacity Magazine.
August 27, 2020
TOMS RIVER, NJ (OCEAN)–On Wednesday August 26, 2020 at approximately 12:00 PM multiple police units responded to the Main Street Apartments in reference to a civil matter involving a handgun. The victim stated suspect Jaylin Evans, 20 of Lakehurst, pointed a handgun at her during an argument. He then struck her in the head and pushed her into the walls of the residence, blocking her path and not allowing her to leave, stating numerous times that he would kill her. Before fleeing the residence, he damaged the victim’s cellular phone and television.
Police officers located the suspect in a neighboring apartment and he was placed under arrest. A consent to search the apartment was signed by the tenant and revealed a backpack owned by the suspect. Inside the backpack was a loaded 9MM handgun which had an extended magazine. An additional magazine containing 4 rounds was located in the backpack as well. Jaylin Evans was arrested and charged with Aggravated Assault, Terroristic Threats, Criminal Mischief, Unlawful Possession of a Weapon, False Imprisonment, Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose, Simple Assault, Possession of a Large Capacity Magazine. He is lodged on Ocean County Jail.
The media and the public are reminded that criminal charges are accusations only. Every criminal defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in court.
HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–On August 26, 2020 at approximately 2:21 PM, Hamilton Police were dispatched to the area of the Hamilton Township Library located at 1 Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. Way, on a report of a male calling 9-1-1 multiple times claiming he was going to shoot somebody on August 27, 2020. Officers checked the area but were unable to locate anybody. Officers checked the phone number and were able to find a subscriber name. Detectives then located the subscriber and were able to identify the male on the phone as William Gonzalez-Abad. Gonzalez-Abad was later located and placed under arrest. He is charged with Terroristic Threats and Improper Use of Emergency 9-1-1.
Anyone with any information regarding this incident is asked to contact Detective Tom Clugsten of the Hamilton Police Division’s Criminal Investigations Section at 609-581-4027 or the Hamilton Police Crime Tip Hotline at 609-581-4008.
Despite having been charged, every defendant is presumed innocent until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–On August 25th, 2020, following an extensive investigation by the South Brunswick Police Department and the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, an arrest was made relating to numerous cases of cyber harassment committed between January 15th and April 9th, 2020.
Sudeep Khetani, 34, of Kendall Park, made several hundred calls to numerous local restaurants using false phone numbers, ordered thousands of dollars worth of food without intent to pay for or pick up the food, and used harassing, threatening, sexually explicit, and biased comments against employees who answered the phone. In addition, Khetani is a suspect in similar incidents in several surrounding townships.
South Brunswick Police Department Chief Raymond J. Hayducka praised Detective Tim Hoover’s tenacity in the case. “Detective Hoover filed many subpoenas, conducted numerous interviews, and exhausted all investigative means to bring this case to a successful conclusion. His hard work put an end to Khetani’s alarming actions.”
Khetani’s actions came at the height of the pandemic when many local restaurants were struggling to stay afloat, causing additional hardship to their owners.
Khetani was also charged with Promoting Prostitution stemming from an unrelated 2019 incident.
After Khetani was arrested, he was lodged in the Middlesex County Adult Correctional Center pending his first court appearance.
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Furthering its efforts to protect the public from sexual misconduct and abuse in professional settings, the Division of Consumer Affairs (“the Division”) today announced that the New Jersey Board of Massage and Bodywork Therapy (“the Board”) has permanently revoked the license of a massage therapist who engaged in inappropriate and unwanted sexual contact with a female client during a massage session at a Hand and Stone spa in Somers Point.
John R. Popper, 48, of Little Egg Harbor is permanently barred from working as a massage therapist in New Jersey under a Final Order filed by the Board this week. Popper is the third massage therapist this year — and the ninth in the last 12 months — to have his license revoked by the Board as a result of sexual misconduct in the workplace.
Concerns about unwanted sexual contact in professional settings have prompted the Division, under the direction of Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal, to undertake a sweeping review of how its 51 professional boards address allegations involving sexual misconduct and abuse by its licensees and applicants to ensure that boards uniformly adopt best practices and enforce their rules. The boards oversee approximately 720,000 active licensed professionals, from accountants and doctors to plumbers, veterinarians, and massage therapists.
The review, which is currently underway, is evaluating how boards screen applicants for licenses, approach investigations of alleged misconduct and discipline and engage with complainants who report abuses by a licensee or applicant. “No client or patient should ever have to fear for their personal safety while interacting with a licensed professional in this state,” said Attorney General Grewal. “We are committed to ensuring that all our professional boards hold licensees to the same strict standards, and act swiftly to address allegations of sexual misconduct and abuse involving licensees. By revoking the licenses of massage therapists who prey on their clients, the Board is carrying out its duty to protect the public.”
“When you see a massage therapist you put your trust in their hands,” said Paul R. Rodríguez, Acting Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs. “Therapists who violate that trust can cause real and long-lasting damage to their victims and are a danger to our community. We are pleased that the Board, through its actions, is sending a message that this kind of conduct will not be tolerated.”
Popper is the latest massage therapist disciplined for inappropriately touching a client. On July 31, 2020, the Board voted unanimously to permanently revoke Popper’s license, effective immediately, after Popper was criminally convicted of harassment by offensive touching in Somers Point Municipal Court for placing his hand on a client’s vagina during a massage. Popper was originally charged with criminal sexual contact but the charge was downgraded to harassment, a disorderly persons offense, and remanded to municipal court. The Board accepted the State’s argument that Popper’s license should be revoked on the grounds that, among other things, he engaged in professional misconduct and committed a crime of moral turpitude.
In a Final Order filed on Aug. 25, 2020, the Board concluded that Popper’s conduct was “so egregious and morally reprehensible, and so fundamentally at odds with anything that we would expect of a massage therapist that nothing short of permanent revocation would be sufficient to protect the public health, safety and welfare.”
Since July 2019, the Board has revoked the licenses of eight other massage therapists for sexual misconduct.
Asad Aliyev – License permanently revoked on July 25, 2020, for allegedly touching a female client inappropriately during a massage therapy session at a Hand and Stone spa in Allendale.
Aaron Coile – License revoked on January 28, 2020, for allegedly inappropriately touching a female client during a massage therapy session at the Sage Body and Mind spa in Voorhees.
Premkumar Perumal – License permanently revoked on October 22, 2019, for allegedly touching a female client inappropriately during a massage therapy session at a Hand and Stone Massage & Facial Spa in Clark. Perumal also allegedly inappropriately touched another female client while working at a Massage Envy in Hoboken.
Magdy Masek – License permanently revoked on October 22, 2019, for allegedly inappropriately touching a female client during a massage therapy session at a Massage Envy in Piscataway.
Frank Giordano – License permanently revoked on September 24, 2019, for allegedly touching two female clients inappropriately during massage therapy sessions at Alternative Bodyworks in Nutley.
Michael Egan – License permanently revoked on September 19, 2019, for allegedly inappropriately touching a female client during a massage therapy session at a Massage Envy in Closter.
Leonardo Drittij – License permanently revoked on September 18, 2019, for allegedly touching a female client inappropriately, engaging in a conversation of an intimate sexual nature with her, and failing to drape her properly during a massage therapy session at a Massage Envy.
Jonathan Higgins – License permanently revoked on July 16, 2019, for allegedly inappropriately touching a female client during a massage therapy session at a Hand and Stone Massage & Facial Spa in Brick. Higgins has been charged with sexual assault in connection with that alleged incident.
In addition to taking disciplinary action against licensees for alleged sexual contact with clients, the Board has adopted new rules to help prevent and detect sexual misconduct and abuse in the industry. Those rules, among other things:
Require massage therapists to notify the Board of criminal, civil, administrative, and employment actions against them. Every licensee is required to notify the Board within 10 days of action against the licensee by criminal authorities, including an arrest, indictment, or conviction; within 10 days of the licensee being named in a civil, criminal, or administrative proceeding involving misconduct relating to his or her practice; within 10 days of disciplinary action by any state licensing authority; and within 10 days of action against the licensee by an employer based on client care concerns.
Require massage therapists to report misconduct by others. Every licensee is required to report any incident or series of incidents that the licensee believes may violate the applicable statutes and rules, including violations by other massage therapists of the rules relating to sexual misconduct. Additional reporting requirements apply if a licensee possesses information indicating that another licensee or healthcare professional presents an imminent danger to the public or any individual.
Protect minors from abuse. For clients under the age of 18, licensees need to obtain written consent of the client’s parent or legal guardian before providing massage or bodywork services. For clients under the age of 16, the client’s parent or legal guardian would need to be in the room while the services are provided.
Investigators with the Enforcement Bureau within the Division of Consumer Affairs conducted investigations in these cases. Deputy Attorney General Daniel Hewitt, of the Professional Boards Prosecution Section within the Division of Law, represented the State in the Popper matter. Deputy Attorney General Roman Guzik, of the Consumer Affairs Counseling Section within the Division of Law, represented the State in the other matters. Clients who believe that they have been treated by a licensed massage therapist in an inappropriate manner can file a complaint online by visiting the State Division of Consumer Affairs website or by calling 1-800-242-5846 (toll free within New Jersey) or 973-504- 6200 to receive a paper complaint form by mail. * * *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 its Office of Consumer Protection, Bureau of Securities, Charities Registration section, Office of Weights and Measures, and Legalized Games of Chance section.
ROBBINSVILLE TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–The Robbinsville Township Fire Department, Bordentown Township Fire Department and Hightstown Fire along with EMS were dispatched to NJ Turnpike mile marker 60 south bound inner near Exit 7A for an accident with entrapment. The accident occurred around 3:00 am when a box truck and a pick up truck collided for an unknown reason. From the scene a box truck can be seen on its side and a pickup truck also damaged.
When Robbinsville firefighters and EMS arrived the occupants of the vehicles were able to escape on their own. Hightstown First Aid transported one person to RWJ at Hamilton Hospital.
NJ State Police are investigating and a towing company are still on scene at the time of this report removing the vehicles. The left and center lane are blocked and should reopen when the accident is cleared. No further information is available about the accident.
80 Members of NJ-TFT1 left NJ early this morning deploying to Baton Rouge, Louisiana
August 27, 2020 Update August 29, 2020
In response to Hurricane Laura, FEMA has adjusted the federal response to meet local needs.
NJ-TF1 has received demobilization orders and begun the process of heading home.
Thank you for your support!
New Jersey Task Force 1 (NJ-TF1) has been activated as members of the National Urban Search & Rescue (US&R) Response System and will be deploying to assist with the rescue and recovery efforts resulting from the effects of Hurricane Laura.
NJ-TF1 deployed as a Type 1 Team consisting of 80 team members, three tractor-trailers, two box trucks, five F-450 utility vehicles, two crew carriers, an F-250 towing vehicle, two passenger vans, two utility terrain vehicles, and a fleet service truck. A water rescue component of six boats with trailers and a water support trailer were also deployed.
NJ-TF1 is en route to the current staging area in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. This will be the team’s seventh deployment as a FEMA US&R Team.
The team is en route to their current destination of Baton Rouge, Louisiana in response to Hurricane Laura.
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ — We are pleased to announce that we have received approval from Governor Murphy and state health officials to restart operations. Endless winter will resume at Big SNOW starting next Tuesday, September 1st and while we were happy to do our part to help flatten the curve, we can’t wait to get back to sliding on snow with all of you. A lot has changed in the world since we were last together and our team has spent these months re-inventing our team and guest experiences to ensure everyone’s safety when we re-open. Please take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with our new COVID-19 precautions and requirements by clicking through the link in our bio. Among the many changes you will see is that advance ticket purchases will be required, so if you would like to be among the first to get back on snow with us please head over to our site to plan your visit. BIG looks forward to welcoming you all back very soon.
We have missed you these past few months, but we have been using this time to make sure that we will be ready welcome you back, safely and responsibly to enjoy the snow with us this season.
Over these many weeks our team has worked tirelessly to re-imagine every step of our guest and team member journeys to be sure that everyone’s health and safety is ensured.
You will notice numerous changes to your Big SNOW experience when we reopen our doors, but our commitment to delivering you a unique and fun on-snow experience in a safe and welcoming environment remains the same.
Here are just some of the many health and safety changes you should be aware of prior to your next visit…
Our team members will undergo daily health screenings and temperature checks prior to entering the facility, and have been trained thoroughly on all our new health and safety measures.
We will be limiting the amount of face-to-face interactions you will need to have with our team onsite and we are requiring advanced online purchase for all snow park visits.
To better allow for social distancing we will be limiting the number of guests allowed in the park and Shop at Big SNOW at any one time. We will also be limiting the amount of tickets sold per arrival session and ask that you arrive no earlier than 5 minutes before your scheduled arrival time.
We have instituted contactless scanning for arrival and entry into and out of the snow dome. Please have your receipts and media ready and follow the instructions provided.
Face coverings will be required for all guests and team members at all times. Additionally, gloves will be required for all guests entering the snow. If you forget your gloves or mask, we will have them available for purchase at retail.
You will notice an increased focus on cleaning and sanitization. All frequently touched surfaces will be cleaned and sanitized regularly, this includes our counters, handrails, restrooms, seating areas and all rental equipment. As an extra precaution our retail associates will be utilizing UV lighting and steamers to sanitize any retail items that have been touched or tried on for sizing. We kindly ask that you try to limit the amount of surfaces you touch during your visit and make use of the hand sanitizer stations we have made available throughout the facility.
We will be adhering to strict social distancing precautions. Please keep a minimum of 6 feet of distance between yourself and others and follow the guide signs we have placed throughout the facility to assist you in keeping good distance.
As always, locker use remains included as part of your visit. To better assist with social distancing and sanitization we are limiting the amount of lockers in use at any one time, and encouraging guests to sit only where directed on our benches. Please look for and use only the lockers with a sanitization card inside them, and please dispose of this card upon use.
For any guest renting with us, please know that all rental equipment will be sanitized after each guest use. As an added precaution we encourage guests to bring their own underlayers, socks and hats to be worn under our rental gear. Changing rooms are available and will be sanitized after each guest use.
Please note that gloves are not provided with clothing rental and will be required for all guests entering the snow.
Gloves and face coverings will be required for all guests entering the snow. Please be sure to scan yourself into the dome upon entry and out upon exit. While inside please adhere to all posted signage, lift riding requirements and social distancing markers.
For the safety of our guests we are limiting the grouping of guests on our chair lift to only those guests who have arrived together. If you need assistance with using the lift please ask a team member for help.
If you are a beginner, please take advantage of our Terrain Based Learning features and signage to help guide you through the use of the features with some helpful tips to get you started. If you need more assistance our Snow Guides will be stationed to provide you with some socially distant personalized assistance.
Keeping Big SNOW safe is everyone’s responsibility. Please help us and do your part by following these guidelines. With these precautions in place there is no reason why we can’t safely and responsibly enjoy the snow together. We look forward to welcoming you back.
Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that on August 26, 2020, Alexander Politan, 31, of Toms River, was sentenced by the Honorable Guy P. Ryan, J.S.C., to seven years in New Jersey State Prison. On February 25, 2020, Politan pled guilty to Knowingly Leaving the Scene of a Motor Vehicle Accident Resulting in Death in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:11-5.1, as well as Driving with a Suspended License in violation of N.J.S.A. 39:3-40, before Judge Ryan. Judge Ryan also imposed a six-month loss of driving privileges.
On Friday, October 4, 2019, at approximately 9:20 p.m., Lakewood Police were summoned to Oak Street, south of Albert Avenue in Lakewood Township for a report of a pedestrian struck by a vehicle. Investigation at the scene revealed that Jesus Lopez-Grande, 15, of Lakewood, and his father, Jesus Lopez-Ramirez, 37, also of Lakewood, were walking near the shoulder portion of Oak Street when they were struck by a vehicle. Jesus Lopez-Ramirez sustained an injury to his elbow. Jesus Lopez-Grande was found lying face down in the driveway of a home on Oak Street. Jesus Lopez-Grande suffered fatal injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene.
Further investigation revealed vehicle debris was left at the scene. Detectives determined from the debris that vehicle parts located at the crash scene belonged to a black 2014 Jeep Cherokee. At that time, the Lakewood Police Department, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Vehicular Homicide Unit, and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office launched an extensive search to locate that vehicle. On Sunday, October 6, 2019, a black Jeep Cherokee matching the description of the suspect vehicle was discovered in the driveway of a residence on New Hampshire Avenue in Toms River. The residence was unoccupied. The black Jeep Cherokee had damage to the passenger side. A search warrant was obtained for the Jeep Cherokee.
Further investigation revealed that Politan was operating the vehicle when it struck Jesus Lopez-Grande and Jesus Lopez-Grande. Politan was located and apprehended on October 8, 2019. He has been lodged in the Ocean County Jail since the date of his arrest.
Prosecutor Billhimer acknowledges the diligent efforts of Senior Assistant Prosecutor Robert Cassidy and Assistant Prosecutor Kate Burke who handled the case on behalf of the State, and extends his gratitude to the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Vehicular Homicide Unit, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Victim Witness Advocacy Unit, Lakewood Township Police Department, Toms River Police Department, and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit for their combined efforts in securing this state prison sentence.
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–A Trenton man has been arrested and charged with last week’s shooting homicide of Rahkeem Ortiz, Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri reported.
Arthur Ford, 29, of Home Avenue, is charged with murder and weapons offenses. There is no scheduled court appearance at this time. He was taken into custody Tuesday evening in Pocomoke, Maryland, at a family member’s home by members of the U.S. Marshals Regional Fugitive Task Force. He is currently being held in Worchester County Jail pending extradition.
The charges are the result of an investigation by the Mercer County Homicide Task Force. At approximately 1:40 p.m. on Monday, August 17, 2020, Trenton police responded to a shooting in progress in the area of the Broad Street Parking Lot on South Broad Street. Officers arrived on scene at the public parking lot and located the victim, later identified as 29-year-old Rahkeem Ortiz of Blackwood, NJ, suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. Ortiz was transported to the hospital where he was pronounced dead a short time later.
After the shooting, the Trenton Police Department’s Communications Center received several calls with descriptions of a black male fleeing the area. Homicide detectives were able to canvas the area and locate multiple surveillance cameras. Through video footage and witness statements, detectives were able to positively identify Ford as the shooter.
Despite having been charged, every defendant is presumed innocent until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
Collaborative operation targeting offenders sexually exploiting children online was launched in response to spike in cyber threats to children during COVID 19 pandemic. Attorney General warns parents and offers tips to keep children safe as they return to virtual learning, with more screen time and, in many cases, no in-person teacher supervision
August 26, 2020
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal today announced arrests of 21 individuals who are charged with sexually exploiting children online. The 19 men, one woman, and one juvenile male were arrested in “Operation Screen Capture,” a collaborative operation launched in response to a dramatic increase in reports of potential threats to children from online predators during the COVID pandemic.
Three defendants – two men and one woman – are charged with sexually assaulting or attempting to sexually assault children. Eighteen are charged with endangering the welfare of children for possession and/or distribution of child sexual abuse materials, including, in many cases, child rape videos.
Cyber tips to the New Jersey Regional Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force about potential threats to children online – including tips from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) – have increased up to 50 percent in New Jersey since the COVID emergency began in March, compared to the same time frame last year. Many cases in this operation stemmed from cyber tips from NCMEC, but others involved undercover chat investigations where perpetrators were attempting to meet children or other individuals online in order to sexually assault children.
Operation Screen Capture was led by the Division of Criminal Justice, New Jersey State Police, ICAC Task Force, U.S. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office, Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office, Camden County Prosecutor’s Office, Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office, Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office, Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, and Sussex County Prosecutor’s Office.The New Jersey State Parole Board assisted with arrests and search warrants.
The arrests, made between March 18 and July 31, 2020 include the following cases:
Aaron Craiger. Craiger, 34, of Oklahoma, a registered sex offender, was arrested on March 18 at a motel in Atlantic City after he allegedly traveled from Oklahoma to meet two men who offered him access to underage girls for sex. In reality, the defendant had communicated with undercover investigators from the New Jersey State Police and U.S. Homeland Security Investigations. One investigator pretended to offer his 12-year-old daughter for sex, and the other, his girlfriend’s 11-year-old daughter.Craiger, who had condoms with him when arrested, also allegedly possessed and distributed child sexual abuse materials.
Jason Berry. Berry, 40, of Keansburg, N.J., allegedly sexually exploited a 14-year-old girl he met on social media, manipulating her into sending him naked pictures of herself engaging in sexual acts. He allegedly had the girl carve his initials into her legs. He then tricked the girl into revealing her mother’s phone number and sent those images to her mother.
Alize Tejada. Tejada, 21, of Newark, N.J., allegedly sexually assaulted a very young child.She allegedly videotaped herself performing a sexual act on the child and posted the video on social media.
“Reports to our Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force of potential predatory conduct against children are up as much as 50 percent during the COVID emergency as homebound children, starved for outside contact, spend more time on their devices, and opportunistic sexual predators target them online,” said Attorney General Grewal. “We urge parents to be vigilant about the online activities of their children and warn children that the strangers they meet on popular social media sites, apps and gaming platforms may be out to harm them. We will continue to work overtime to arrest child predators and those who participate in the cruel exploitation of children by sharing child sexual abuse materials.”
In past cases, the ICAC Task Force has arrested child predators who used the following chat apps: Kik, Skout, Grindr, Whisper, Omegle, Tinder, Chat Avenue, Chat Roulette, Wishbone, Live.ly, Musical.ly, Paltalk, Yubo, Hot or Not, Down, and Tumblr.Arrests also have been made involving the gaming apps Fortnite, Minecraft, and Discord.Attorney General Grewal urged parents to familiarize themselves with these and other apps and warn their children about sharing information with strangers.
“As children return to virtual learning this fall, they will be spending even more time online, in many cases without any in-person teacher supervision or peer contact,” Attorney General Grewal added. “This may make them even more vulnerable. We want parents to be aware of the dangers— and, as we highlighted in a recent virtual town hall with the State Police and Department of Children and Families, we want everyone to know that there are resources to help children who are struggling with social isolation or who may be victims of trauma or abuse.”
“Operation Screen Capture is a great example of how law enforcement in New Jersey works together seamlessly through the ICAC Task Force to confront the threat of online predators, raise awareness among parents, and protect our children,” said Director Veronica Allende of the Division of Criminal Justice. “Whether we are running down tips from NCMEC or conducting undercover chats, we use our cyber expertise each day to apprehend those who use the internet to harm, abuse, and exploit children.”
“Our children are at an increased risk to fall victim to opportunistic online predators during this pandemic, as students have no choice but to turn to their devices to connect with friends and family and in many cases to prepare for remote learning,” said Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “The State Police will continue to work with our law enforcement partners, and we will be unrelenting in our efforts to keep our children safe, but we cannot do it alone. We urge all parents and guardians to have conversations with your children about the dangers that exist on the internet and to closely monitor their online activity.”
“The internet has been instrumental in allowing our children to continue their educations remotely during this pandemic.However, it has also been used by the very worst among us to exploit them as well,” said Jason Molina, Special Agent in Charge, Homeland Security Investigations, Newark. “These various cases, which involve both teenagers and very young children, show the level of depravity of these predators.Some pursue physical contact initiated via online introductions, in some cases even crossing state lines, while others exclusively pursue these innocents online. In either case, the psychological damage to children is long lasting.In the face of that, only a very united effort of local, state, and federal law enforcement officials, along with the hypervigilant efforts of parents to monitor their children’s online activity, can be effective to stop them and bring them to justice.”
Bergen County Prosecutor Mark Musella said, “More and more, all of us look to the internet for remote connections because of work, school, or simply to surf the web, but this operation is a reminder that there are individuals who use the internet to traffic sexually explicit images and videos of children. We are proud to be part of this effort to identify, arrest, and aggressively prosecute those who are exploiting our children and our increased reliance on virtual connections by accessing and sharing illegal images and videos.”
“It cannot be emphasized strongly enough how important it is for parents to become educated about cyber threats, and take measures to protect their children from becoming victimized,” Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina said. “Our way of life has been altered by this pandemic. It used to be that kids would play outside, and parents would check on them every so often to make sure they were safe. But the dangers they face have become much more direct now that they are spending a greater amount of time online than they ever have before. These threats are not readily visible, and effortlessly gain access to our homes, posing a very real risk to our children. We will continue to do everything legally allowable to find and punish those who are responsible.”
“It is a disturbing reality that predators are using the pandemic as an opportunity to target children as their online activity increases,” said Acting Camden County Prosecutor Jill Mayer. “This operation, and the resulting arrests, show that law enforcement agencies in New Jersey and the ICAC Task Force are working diligently together to identify, catch, and arrest these individuals.My message to anyone out there who is using the internet to target children— we are watching and you will be caught. Parents need to be mindful that as we enter a school year with remote learning, there will be predators online looking for potential victims. We encourage all parents to take this time to talk to their children about internet safety, even if you’ve had this discussion before. Keeping our children safe is something that can never be discussed too much.”
“Crimes against children are among the most disturbing, yet often the toughest to prosecute,” said Acting Essex County Prosecutor Theodore N. Stephens, II. “This joint effort underscores the willingness of law enforcement at all levels to work together to protect our most vulnerable from those who would use the internet and other means to prey upon children. In this age, when so many children are relying on computers for their education, entertainment and social life, we are committed to make the internet community as safe as possible.”
“The Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office eagerly participated in this joint law enforcement effort focusing on individuals who felt our attention to their bad acts targeting vulnerable children was diverted,” said Acting Gloucester County Prosecutor Christine Hoffman. “To the contrary, we remain committed and vigilant, and never allow geography or jurisdictional boundaries to slow our collective efforts. We’ll continue to use every investigative tool available to identify, apprehend and convict those who prey on our children.”
“The Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office was proud to take part in Operation Screen Capture with our Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force partners,” said Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri. “The success of the operation highlights how important it is that parents and guardians know that these online predators are out there, especially as remote learning begins again and children spend more and more time on their screens. And it’s just as important that anyone who would use the internet as a tool to harm our kids knows that my office will continue to use every resource at its disposal to identify, investigate, and arrest you before you have the chance to do it.”
“The Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office welcomed the opportunity to participate in Operation Screen Capture as a member of the ICAC Task Force,” said Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone. “This statewide investigation illustrates the fine work and collaboration of many law enforcement agencies in New Jersey. These agencies are dedicated to protecting our communities, especially our children. We thank all of the participating agencies.”
“Our relationship with ICAC has proved to be vital in protecting and safeguarding children from sexual predators,” said Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer. “We will continue to collaborate with all of our law enforcement partners to do everything we can to root out those individuals that prey on our children. To that end, it is imperative for all parents to keep an eye on the online activities of their children.”
“The Sussex County Prosecutor’s Office was a proud participant in Operation Screen Capture,” said Sussex County Prosecutor Francis A. Koch. “This statewide operation demonstrates the dedicated collaboration of all law enforcement agencies in New Jersey to proactively protect all children. As important as today’s announcement of the arrests of these defendants is, the message to parents and children to be even more vigilant and guarded while online is equally important. Today, children are required to have an increased online presence that subjects them to predators looking to take advantage of them. We therefore ask all parents and guardians to take an even greater role in their children’s online activities. We in law enforcement pledge to continue to commit ourselves to do all we can to help protect all children and to root out the despicable predators preying on them.”
Craiger, Berry, and Tejada are being prosecuted by the Division of Criminal Justice.They were ordered detained in jail pending trial.The Division of Criminal Justice is also prosecuting six defendants charged with possessing and/or distributing child sexual abuse materials.The 12 other defendants are being prosecuted by the nine county prosecutors’ offices.
The 21 defendants arrested in “Operation Screen Capture” were charged as follows:
1. Aaron Craiger, 34, of Oklahoma. Gas station attendant.Arrested March 18.Two Counts of Attempted Aggravated Sexual Assault (2nd degree), Distribution of Child Pornography (2nd degree), Possession of Child Pornography (3rd degree), Two Counts of Endangering the Welfare of a Child (3rd degree), Two Counts of Attempted Distribution of Marijuana (4th degree), Possession of Marijuana (Disorderly Persons Offense).
2. Jason Berry, 40, of Keansburg, N.J. Unemployed.Arrested June 18.Manufacturing Child Pornography (1st degree), Sexual Assault (2nd degree), Child Abuse (2nd degree), Distribution of Child Pornography (2nd degree), Theft by Extortion (2nd degree), Possession of Child Pornography (3rd degree).
3. Alize Tejada, 21, of Newark, N.J. Babysitter.Arrested July 15.Aggravated Sexual Assault (1st degree), Manufacturing Child Pornography (1st degree).
4. Michael Gilpin, 42, of Union Beach, N.J. Pipe fitter.Arrested July 26.Possession of Child Pornography (3rd degree).
5. Raymond Radziewicz, 53, of Bloomfield, N.J. Former teaching assistant at child care center who was terminated as a result of this arrest.Arrested July 7.Distribution of Child Pornography (2nd degree), Possession of Child Pornography (3rd degree).
6. Brett Warfield, 21, of Carney’s Point, N.J. Private security guard.Arrested July 15.Possession of Child Pornography (3rd degree).
7. Loic Atse, 18, of Aberdeen, N.J. College student.Arrested July 23.Possession of Child Pornography (3rd degree).
8. Donovan Falconer, 25, of Plainsboro, N.J. Employee of marketing firm.Arrested June 25.Distribution of Child Pornography (2nd degree), Possession of Child Pornography (3rd degree).
9. Michael Ascough, 39, Pompton, N.J. Retail employee.Arrested July 5.Distribution of Child Pornography (2nd degree), Possession of Child Pornography (3rd degree).
10. Joseph Benestante, 65, of Bergenfield, N.J. Retired.Arrested July 21.Distribution of Child Pornography (2nd degree).
11. Shawn Daily, 45, of Browns Mills, N.J. Laborer.Arrested June 12.Possession of Child Pornography (3rd degree).
12. Roy Dantz, 71, of Mount Laurel, N.J. Retired.Arrested June 18.Possession of Child Pornography (3rd degree).
13. Christopher Crispino, 45, of Bellmawr, N.J. Unemployed.Arrested July 31.Possession of Child Pornography (3rd degree).
14. Dwayne McCormick, 25, of Orange, N.J. Unemployed.Arrested July 8.Distribution of Child Pornography (2nd degree), Possession of Child Pornography (3rd degree).
15. Juvenile Male, 15, of Gloucester County, N.J. Unemployed.Arrested July 22.Distribution of Child Pornography (2nd degree), Possession of Child Pornography (3rd degree).
16. Julian Ceballos, 31, of Hamilton (Mercer County), N.J. Restaurant worker.Arrested June 26.Possession of Child Pornography (3rd degree).
17. Timothy McMahon, 46, of Piscataway, N.J. Electrician.Arrested May 21.Possession of Child Pornography (3rd degree).
18. Edward Kross, 66, of Carteret, N.J. Part-time firefighting instructor.Arrested May 28.Possession of Child Pornography (3rd degree).
19. Henry Ziolkowski, 66, of Toms River, N.J. Surgery technician.Arrested July 10.Possession of Child Pornography (3rd degree).
20. Kevin Carrierri, 34, of Toms River, N.J. Chef.Arrested July 10.Possession of Child Pornography (3rd degree).
21. Matthew Marzullo, 20, of Hopatcong, N.J. Restaurant food server.Arrested July 1.Possession of Child Pornography (3rd degree).
First-degree charges carry a sentence of 10 to 20 years in state prison and a fine of up to $200,000. 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.
The charges against the defendants are merely accusations and they are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
Attorney General Grewal thanked the attorneys, detectives, and staff in the Division of Criminal Justice Financial & Cyber Crimes Bureau who worked on this operation under the supervision of Bureau Chief Jillian Carpenter, Deputy Bureau Chief Lilianne Daniel, and DCJ Deputy Director Robert Czepiel.
He thanked ICAC Task Force Commander Lt. John Pizzuro of the New Jersey State Police ICAC Unit and the detectives of the ICAC Unit, as well as the New Jersey State Police TEAMS and K-9 Units.
Attorney General Grewal thanked U.S. Homeland Security Investigations, Newark and Cherry Hill, under the leadership of Special Agent in Charge Jason Molina and Assistant SAC Richard Reinhold.
He thanked the New Jersey State Parole Board, under the leadership of Chairman Samuel J. Plumeri Jr., for its valuable assistance with arrests and search warrants.
Finally, Attorney General Grewal thanked all of the prosecutors, detectives, investigators, and staff of the following county prosecutors’ offices, which participated as members of the ICAC Task Force:
Governor Also Announces $100 Million in Additional Funding to Help Schools Safely Reopen
August 26, 2020
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Governor Phil Murphy today visited Somerville High School to highlight state education funding in his revised Fiscal Year 2021 state budget proposal, which will remain steady from FY2020 despite the historic financial challenges New Jersey is facing due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In his revised budget proposal, which was unveiled on Tuesday, Governor Murphy announced that funding for school districts will remain consistent with the figures announced in July, keeping the state on track to fully fund public schools. Additionally, the revised budget proposal includes almost $68 million in new funds over FY2020 for preschools in New Jersey.Governor Murphy also announced $100 million in Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) funding to ensure schools can reopen safely.“Supporting our public schools has been one of the bedrock priorities of my Administration, and the COVID-19 pandemic has not changed our commitment to our students, educators, and staff,” said Governor Murphy. “The pandemic has created an unprecedented challenge for our schools, but I am proud that we can continue to support our districts, ensure the health and safety of students and school staff, and provide a high-quality education for all children. Together, we will weather these challenging times and build a state that is stronger, fairer, and more resilient.”“Considering the fiscal devastation that the pandemic has wrought, it is a remarkable achievement that we are proposing a budget that stabilizes school aid and allows for growth in programs to benefit our youngest learners,” said Kevin Dehmer, Interim Commissioner of Education.Fiscal 2021 Budget HighlightsThe Governor’s revised budget proposal for the 2020-2021 school year includes an additional $67.8 million in preschool education aid, for a total preschool allocation of $874.2 million. Of that increase, $10 million will go to expanding high-quality preschool programs into new school districts, with the remainder of the increase in preschool aid helping districts with existing preschool programs to expand to enroll additional students.Overall, the Governor’s spending plan would ensure school districts receive the same levels of funding that were announced in July. The budget proposal would continue the phase-in to full funding of the state’s public school system required by a recent law designed to address inequities that resulted from years of overfunding some districts while failing to adequately meet the needs of others.Governor Murphy and Interim Commissioner Dehmer discussed the education funding during a visit today to the Somerville School District, which would see a nearly 14 percent increase in preschool education aid from Fiscal 2020 for a total increase of $111,357, and a 3.5 percent increase in K-12 aid from the previous year for a total increase of $267,698. $100 Million for School ReopeningGovernor Murphy allocated $100 million in federal CRF funding to support school reopening. A district may use the funding to meet the health and safety standards that the Department of Education established in its school-reopening guidance, The Road Back. In addition, districts that already meet the health and safety protocols can use the funds to ensure continued satisfaction of those standards.Additional Budget Proposal HighlightsIn addition to stable state aid and growth in preschool education aid, the Governor’s budget plan includes the following increases:
$400,000 in funding to continue support for STEM Dual Enrollment and Early College High School funding, which led to the launch of P-TECH schools across New Jersey.
$800,000 for the Computer Science for All initiative to support the goal of increasing student access to cutting-edge computer science instruction.
$750,000 to continue the Minority Teacher Development Grants designed to diversify the teacher pipeline. (The grants are referred to as the “High Poverty School District Minority Teacher Recruitment Program” in the budget.) Research says that a diverse teaching workforce benefits all children; however, 56 percent of New Jersey’s students are children of color while only 16 percent of New Jersey’s educators are teachers of color.
Additional information on district allocations of state aid is available on the Department of Education’s School Finance webpage.
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–It is reported that Governor Phil Murphy will make an announcement that gyms will be allowed to reopen on September 1, 2020 and face masks will be required while working out. Expect further details to be released soon.