Day: September 3, 2020

Trenton Seeks to Address Urban Blight Through $244,000 Demolition Project

September 3, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–The City of Trenton seeks to award a $243,687 contract to demolish eight abandoned properties throughout the City to address urban blight under the Neighborhood Redevelopment and Revitalization Program (NRRP).

The State of New Jersey and N.J. Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (NJHMFA) initiated NRRP to demolish up to 500 vacant, abandoned, and blighted properties in the City of Trenton to increase public safety and spur economic redevelopment. The City received five contract bids for one year or until all demolitions are completed for the Trenton Department of Housing and Economic Development.

This is the first time the city is bundling these projects in smaller groups to make it easier for small and local business to bid on these projects. All Trenton construction businesses are encouraged to explore these bidding opportunities at https://nj-trenton.civicplus.com/bids.aspx.  

The City looks to demolish the following houses with this funding:

•           134 Boudinot Street

•           828 Edgewood Avenue

•           35 Sheridan Street

•           146 Trent Street

•           148 Trent Street

•           62 Hart Avenue

•           64 Hart Avenue

“When I became Mayor, one of my top priorities was to address abandoned and blighted homes in our neighborhoods,” said Mayor Gusciora. “We need to act now, meet the moment, and take down these eight houses as part of our ongoing efforts to strengthen our neighborhoods, stimulate redevelopment, and increase public safety for Trenton residents.”

The designated committee reviewed all the submitted bid responses and recommended an award to IBN Construction Corporation. Trenton City Council will vote on the proposal at tonight’s meeting.

Trenton to Add More COPS Through DOJ Community Policing Grant Program

September 3, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)—Mayor W. Reed Gusciora announced today that the City of Trenton and the Trenton Police Department (TPD) have been awarded $1.25 million in competitive federal grant funds from the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Orientated Policing (COPS), which will help hire 10 new officers and allow TPD to increase community policing and prevent violent crime.

Trenton City Council will consider accepting the award as well as the expenditure of additional funds to match the grant at tonight’s City Council meeting. The City of Trenton will be required to match $542,815 per year for the next three years.

“Trenton has had an uptick in violent crime, all made worse by a lingering health crisis and a police force that is still reeling from previous budget cuts,” said Mayor Gusciora. “This grant application allows us to put over a $1 million more into TPD’s efforts to enhance community policing programs and improve the safety of our residents at a time when they need it the most.”

“Due to ongoing budget constraints and retirements, TPD’s manpower is getting smaller and smaller as the needs of Trenton residents grow larger,” said Police Director Sheilah Coley. “While we work with our state and county partners to deploy more officers in Trenton neighborhoods, we should also secure every available resource at the federal level that will help keep residents safe and refine our community policing strategy.”

The COPS Hiring Program is a competitive award program that helps state and local law enforcement agencies implement community policing strategies and crime prevention efforts by hiring or rehiring additional police officers. Applicants must identify a specific focus problem, such as violent crime, and explain how the funding will be used to implement community policing approaches that address that focus.

“On behalf of the City of Trenton, I want to thank Senator Cory Booker, Senator Bob Menendez and Senator Shirley Turner for their assistance in advocating on behalf of the capital city,” said Mayor Gusciora. “There is no doubt that this funding will have a meaningful impact in helping TPD serve our residents.”

AG’s Office Releases Video Recordings From Police Body-Worn Cameras in Investigation of Man Who Died in Police Custody in Trenton on April 3, 2020


See related MidJersey.News story here: Trenton-NJ Attorney General Investigating Death While In Police Custody on April 3, 2020


September 3, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–The Attorney General’s Office today released video recordings from officer body-worn cameras related to the death of Stephen A. Dolceamore, 29, of Media, Pa., who died in the custody of Trenton police officers on April 3, 2020.

The death of Mr. Dolceamore remains under investigation by the Attorney General’s Office of Public Integrity and Accountability.  However, the video recordings are being released pursuant to Attorney General Directive 2019-4, the “Independent Prosecutor Directive,” which governs use-of-force investigations in New Jersey and requires that such records, if requested, be released to the public once the initial phase of the investigation is substantially complete.

The autopsy report in this case was completed on July 21, 2020.  Additional investigative steps were taken after that report was completed, and today investigators met with relatives of Mr. Dolceamore to review the autopsy report and view the video recordings from the body-worn cameras.

On April 3, 2020, at approximately 11:45 a.m., the Trenton Police Department responded to a report of a man behaving erratically and walking into traffic near St. Francis Medical Center.  Officers located the subject, later identified as Mr. Dolceamore, who tried to run away.  Officers pursued Mr. Dolceamore, forced him to the ground, and restrained and handcuffed him.  The video recordings from the body-worn cameras capture this encounter.  During the encounter, Mr. Dolceamore became unresponsive.  Police officers and emergency medical personnel attempted to provide medical assistance to Mr. Dolceamore, and he was transported to St. Francis Medical Center, where he was pronounced deceased at 12:40 p.m.

The recordings are contained in three files, which have been posted online.  Click here for files.

Direct links to files:

https://njoag.app.box.com/s/zf7dbsrkb2tmvgh0ied29fe6cm7wfwsp/file/714424381682

https://njoag.app.box.com/s/zf7dbsrkb2tmvgh0ied29fe6cm7wfwsp/file/714425040722

https://njoag.app.box.com/s/zf7dbsrkb2tmvgh0ied29fe6cm7wfwsp/file/714427401398


The investigation is being conducted pursuant to a state law enacted in January 2019 (P.L.2019, c.1), which requires that the Attorney General’s Office conduct investigations of a person’s 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.

The investigation is ongoing and no further information is being released at this time.  Under state law and the Independent Prosecutor Directive, when the entire investigation is complete, the case will be presented to a grand jury, typically consisting of 16 to 23 citizens, to make the ultimate decision regarding whether criminal charges will be filed. At present due to the COVID-19 pandemic, regular grand juries are not sitting and hearing cases.

The investigation is being conducted in compliance with procedures and requirements established in the Independent Prosecutor Directive, which is available at this link:

The Independent Prosecutor Directive, issued by Attorney General Grewal in December 2019, outlines a 10-step process for conducting independent investigations of use-of-force and death-in-custody incidents in compliance with state law.  The directive establishes clear procedures governing such investigations to ensure that they are done fully, fairly, and independently of any potential bias. A summary of that 10-step process is available at this link:


File Photos by: Brian McCarthy, OnScene News

File Photos by: Brian McCarthy, OnScene News


Statement from Trenton Police Department Director Sheilah A. Coley
on the State Attorney General’s Release of Video Regarding
the April 3 Incident with Stephen A. Dolceamore

This tragic incident illustrates why the Trenton Police Department must continue to expand its efforts to be more accountable to the community we serve. We must increase the rate at which we review complaints from area residents and, when necessary, take departmental disciplinary action. This matter was immediately referred to the N.J. Attorney General’s Office when it happened earlier this year.

Today, more Trenton Police Officers are equipped with body cameras than ever before. In addition, we’re starting to train officers in techniques for restraining suspects that don’t require the use of physical force.

TPD officers are contending with a simultaneous uptick in crime and a greater demand for accountability. I’m confident that my officers can – and will – meet that challenge. Trenton residents deserve nothing less.

Rumson Businessman Charged With Theft

Anthony Goltsch, of Manchester Township in Ocean County, and the owner of the Golden Goose jewelry store located at 7 West River Road in Rumson, was charged today with second degree Theft By Failure To Make Required Disposition of Property Received.

September 3, 2020

FREEHOLD, NJ (MONMOUTH)–The owner of a Rumson jewelry store was charged with theft today after failing to return jewelry totaling over $260,000 that was left at his store on consignment or for redesign, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.

Anthony Goltsch, of Manchester Township in Ocean County, and the owner of the Golden Goose jewelry store located at 7 West River Road in Rumson, was charged today with second degree Theft By Failure To Make Required Disposition of Property Received.

Over the last several months, The Rumson Police Department received complaints from three customers of the store who reported that they had left pieces of jewelry for either consignment or redesign at the Golden Goose, and Goltsch has failed to pay them any cash proceeds or return the jewelry despite numerous requests by the customers.

A joint investigation by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and Rumson Police Department uncovered three victims who have failed to receive any payment from Goltsch or a return of the items involved in the theft.

The first victim reported that between July and August 2017, she consigned two rings for sale at the Golden Goose with a combined appraisal value of over $180,000.  To-date she has not received payment for the rings from Goltsch, and he has failed to return the rings, despite the victim’s numerous requests.

The second victim reported that she consigned eight pieces of jewelry to the Golden Goose in March 2019, with a combined appraisal value of approximately $59,000.  She has not received payment for the jewelry from Goltsch despite numerous requests made and he has failed to return any of the pieces.

The third victim reported that in June 2019, she brought three pieces of jewelry to the Golden Goose to be redesigned.  The jewelry had an appraised value of approximately $24,000.  As with the other victims, despite numerous requests for the jewelry to be returned, Goltsch has refused to do so. 

If anyone has information regarding the Golden Goose, please contact Detective Michael Acquaviva of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, Financial Crimes Unit at 732-431-7160, ext 2233, or Rumson Police Detective Donald Schneider at 732-842-0500.

If convicted of the Theft charge, Goltsch faces a sentence of five to ten years in a New Jersey state prison. 

The case is assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Lawrence Nelsen.

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

Trenton Man Sentenced to 13 Years In Prison For Drug Trafficking In Area

September 3, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–A Trenton man was sentenced today to 160 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.

Omar Council, a/k/a “Stacks,” a/k/a “O,” a/k/a “Y-O,” a/k/a “Snow,” 41, 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 100 grams or more of heroin. Judge Wolfson imposed the sentence today.

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

In October 2018, Council and 25 other members of a drug trafficking conspiracy operating in Trenton were charged by criminal complaint with conspiracy to distribute heroin. On Aug. 8, 2019, a grand jury returned a 15-count second superseding indictment charging Council and eight other defendants, Jerome Roberts, a/k/a “Righteous,” a/k/a “Lee”; David Antonio, a/k/a “Papi,” a/k/a “Pop,” a/k/a “Victor Arias,” a/k/a “Santiago Ramirez”; Brian Phelps, a/k/a “B-Money,” a/k/a “B”; 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, including firearms charges against Phelps, Wimbush, Williams, West, and Cheston. 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 which 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 – including over a cellular telephone used by Council – controlled purchases of heroin from Council and others, the use of confidential sources of information, and other investigative techniques, law enforcement learned that Council was a significant drug distributor in and around Trenton. Council maintained close relationships with other conspirators, including Jakir Taylor, who obtained regular supplies of hundreds of “bricks” of heroin from defendant David Antonio, whom they referred to as “Papi.” Council obtained supplies of heroin directly from Taylor and others (including supplies of heroin originating from Antonio), and regularly re-distributed that heroin to others in and around Trenton.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Wolfson sentenced Council to 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 conviction and sentence. 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 Branch 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.

20-277 

Defense counsel: Mark W. Catanzaro Esq., Mount Holly, New Jersey

One Critically Injured In Asbury Park Shooting

September 3, 2020

FREEHOLD-ASBURY PARK, NJ (MONMOUTH)–Monmouth County law enforcement officials are investigating a shooting that took place Wednesday night in Asbury Park that left one victim critically injured, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.

Rumors being circulated on social media falsely indicated that this incident involved a police involved shooting, which is not the case.  Asbury Park Police responded to the area of 1031 Sewell Avenue at approximately 10:17 p.m. on Wednesday September 2, 2020, for a shots fired incident. Upon arrival, police officers located a male victim with five gunshot wounds. The victim was taken to a local hospital and is currently in critical, but stable condition. The investigation has thus far revealed a minimum of sixteen shots were fired in the area.

The case is being investigated by members of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and the Asbury Park Police Department. Anyone with information about this case is urged to call Detective Daniel Newman of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office at 1-800-533-7443 or Asbury Park Police Detective Cynthia Yost at 1-732-774-1300.

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

Truck Burns After Truck and Pickup Crash On I-295 North Bound, 1 Serious Injury, Highway Closed for Investigation

September 3, 2020

Update: As of 2 pm Google Traffic is showing that traffic is returning to normal in the area and the roadway has been reopened.

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)– According to New Jersey State Police a crash occurred this morning at 10:06 a.m. on Interstate 295 northbound in Hamilton Township, Mercer County.

Preliminary information indicates that in the area of milepost 58, a crash occurred involving a dump truck and a Dodge Ram pickup. As a result of the crash, the dump truck became engulfed in flames. The driver of the dump truck sustained non-life-threatening injuries, and the driver and passenger of the Dodge sustained serious injuries. All were transported to an area hospital. One lane of 295 northbound is open. Cause of the crash is under investigation.

Hamilton Township Fire Department, Bordentown Township Fire Department, Hamilton EMS-RWJ, and Capital Health paramedics all responded to the scene.

An unidentified witness told MidJersey.news at the Scenic Overlook parking lot that a box was in the roadway and the truck swerved to miss the box when the collision happened. Photos confirm that there were boxes in the roadway. Check back for further details when released from NJ State Police.

As of 12:45 pm 295 north bound prior to the Scenic Overlook is still closed for the NJ State Police accident investigation. There is a significant traffic delay in Bordentown on Route 130 for traffic taking a detour to Route 130 North Bound.