Day: September 23, 2020

BREAKING: House Fire In Hamilton Quickly Knocked Down

September 23, 2020

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–The Hamilton Township Fire Department was dispatched to the 600 Block of Paxon Avenue for a house fire at 8:41 pm. Upon arrival of the first due fire apparatus, fire crews were met with heavy fire showing in the front of the home, coming from the attached garage. The fire was also extending inside the home from the garage area. A full first alarm was called sending additional equipment to the scene.

Firefighters quickly put 2 lines in service and laid a 5″ supply line towards Flock Road to the nearest hydrant. The fire was quickly knocked down and placed under control within 15 minutes. Firefighters remained on scene for overhaul and the fire investigation. The Township Fire Marshal was still on scene investigation the fire at the time of this report. There is no word of the cause of the fire. Once additional details become available the story will be updated and corrections if any made.

In the Facebook Live Video says Flock but the fire was on Paxon Ave. It was not too far off Flock was the confusion.

Romanian National Was Sentenced Today To 33 Months In Prison For ATM Skimming In Central And North Jersey

September 23, 2020


A Romanian national was sentenced today to 33 months in prison for his role in a conspiracy to steal bank account information from thousands of customers by installing secret card-reading devices and pinhole cameras on ATMs throughout New Jersey and elsewhere, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

Lucian Burulea, 34, previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud. U.S. District Judge Peter G. Sheridan imposed the sentence this afternoon in Trenton federal court.

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

Burulea admitted he was part of an ATM skimming scheme that stole bank account information by installing hidden card-reading devices on ATMs throughout northern and central New Jersey. Burulea previously acknowledged that he and his conspirators created bank cards using the fraudulently obtained account information, which they used to unlawfully withdraw large amounts of cash from various ATMs. The scheme, which involved actual and attempted losses of more than $1.5 million dollars, affected over 1,000 bank customers.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Sheridan sentenced Burulea to three years of supervised release and ordered him to pay $265,957 in restitution.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr.; detectives with the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone; and detectives with the Woodbridge Police Department, under the direction of Police Director Robert Hubner, with the investigation.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Shawn Barnes of the U.S. Attorney’s Office OCDETF/Narcotics Unit in Newark.


Defense counsel: John Holliday Esq., Trenton

NY Man Travels To Bordentown, NJ Intending To Meet 13 Year Old For Sex

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–A New York man was arrested today after travelling from New York to New Jersey to meet an individual, whom he believed was a 13-year old girl, for sex, U.S Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

Eduardo Silva, 42, of Bronx, New York, is charged in a three-count complaint with enticing a minor to engage in sexual activity, travelling from New York to New Jersey for the purpose of engaging in unlawful sexual conduct, and sending obscene materials over the Internet. He appeared today by videoconference before U.S. Magistrate Judge Zahid N. Quraishi and was detained.

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

On Sept. 5, 2020, Silva, while using an online social media application, sent a message to an individual he believed was an underage girl, but who was actually an undercover federal agent. Silva asked whether the minor was “into older guys” and over the course of the next several days sent a series of online communications and text messages, discussing his intent to travel and engage in sexual activity. He also sent sexually explicit images of his genitals to the individual, whom he believed was a minor. On Sept. 23, 2020, Silva was arrested when he travelled to a motel in Bordentown, New Jersey, intending to meet a 13-year-old girl for sex.

The charge of using a facility of interstate commerce to entice a minor to engage in sexual activity carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum sentence of life in prison; the charge of travel with the intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a minor carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison; and the charge of using the internet to transfer obscene matters to an individual who had not attained the age of 16 carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. The charges also each carry a maximum fine of $250,000 per count.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations, Cherry Hill, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jason J. Molina in Newark, with the investigation that led to Silva’s arrest. U.S. Attorney Carpenito also thanked the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office and the Bordentown Township Police Department for their assistance in the investigation.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ray Mateo of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Trenton.

If you have information regarding the pending prosecution, or you believe you or someone you know may have been victimized by the defendant, the Department of Homeland Security requests that you contact them at 1-866-347-2423. Identified victims may be eligible for certain services and rights under federal and state law.

The charges and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.


Defense counsel: Brian Reilly Esq., Assistant Federal Public Defender, Trenton

Police Seek Help Finding Missing Middletown Woman

September 23, 2020

MIDDLETOWN, NJ (MONMOUTH)–New Jersey State Police Seeking Public’s Assistance with Locating Missing Endangered Woman The New Jersey State Police Missing Persons Unit and Middletown Township Police Department are seeking the public’s assistance with locating Mary Silengo, 62, of Middletown Township, N.J.Ms. Silengo was last seen on Tuesday, September 22, at approximately 11:00 p.m. at her residence in the area of Concord Court , Middletown Township, Monmouth County. Ms. Silengo is described as a white female, 5’2″, 121 pounds, with blonde-grey hair and blue eyes. She was last seen wearing a bright pink pajama shirt, grey sweatpants, a dark-colored jacket and black boots. She left without her vehicle and cell phone. Ms. Silengo suffers from a mental illness and is in need of her medications. Anyone with information is asked to call the New Jersey State Police Missing Persons Unit at (609) 882-2000 ext. 2554 or Middletown Police Department at (732) 615-2100. Anonymous tips are welcome.

Police Look For Help In Finding Truck That Damaged SBHS

Update related story here: Arrests Made In High School Damage, Stolen Lawn Items In South Brunswick

September 23, 2020

SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Chief Raymond J. Hayducka of the South Brunswick Police Department announced Wednesday afternoon the department was looking for the public’s assistance with identifying the people who damaged South Brunswick High School early Tuesday morning. At 12:02 am drove onto the school grounds and rode all over the baseball, softball, and soccer field causing damage. Police released images of the truck today looking for the public’s help in identifying the driver.  “The fields that were damaged just had several thousand dollars’ worth of upgrades. Our high school baseball team never got to use the new fields because of Covid and now this. We are following several leads, but are asking anyone with information to come forward, “said Chief Hayducka.  

In addition to tips on the owner of the vehicle, police are looking for anyone in and around the high school who may have video surveillance between 11:55 pm on Monday and 12:10 am on Tuesday.

TRUCK DESCRIPTION: Black or Blue Pickup with an extended bed with a possible lift kit.

Two images of the truck on school property are being released. One image shows the coming off Stouts Lane and driving at the rear of the property near the tennis courts. The second image is the truck  further past the tennis courts at the back of the annex gym.

Anyone with information is asked to contact South Brunswick Police School Resource Detective Robert Marrese at (732) 329-4646 or (732) 329-4000 ext. 7496.

Tip information may be provided anonymously by calling Crime Stoppers of Middlesex County at 1-800-939-9600 or submitted online at  Tips may also be sent by text messaging 274637 (CRIMES) with the keyword: “midtip” followed by the tip information.

Former Long Branch Police Officer Resentenced In Fatal Pedestrian Crash

September 23, 2020

Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone announced today that a former Long Branch police officer was sentenced today to county jail as part of his sentence for striking and killing a pedestrian on September 22, 2017.

Jake Pascucci, 31, of Long Branch was sentenced by Superior Court Judge Michael A. Toto to 8 months in the county jail.

Pascucci was originally sentenced on June 28, 2018 to serve 364 days in the county jail as a condition of 5-years of probation to be served upon his release. He was also sentenced to 30 days for driving while intoxicated which was to run concurrent to the county jail time. He forfeited his public employment with the Long Branch Police Department and lost his driving privilege for three months.

That sentence was imposed after Pascucci pleaded guilty on April 3, 2018 in accordance with an agreement reached with Middlesex County Assistant Prosecutor Keith Abrams, to strict liability vehicular homicide in the third degree and driving while intoxicated in the death of Karen Borkowski, 66 of Stanhope.

The June 28, 2018 sentence was appealed, and the Judge stayed the custodial portion of the sentencing pending that appeal. The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court remanded the case back to Superior Court for resentencing.

Jake Pascucci is due to surrender to the Middlesex County Sheriff’s Department on Friday, September 25, 2020.

Pascucci was charged after an investigation by Detective Donald Heck of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office which determined that on September 22, 2017, the pedestrian was struck and killed by a car driven by the off-duty police officer as she attempted to cross Ocean Boulevard. Karen Borkowski was pronounced dead at the scene following the crash.

Hamilton Man Accused of Aggravated Sexual Assault Ordered Detained

September 23, 2020

Related MidJersey.News story here: Hamilton Man Arrested For Aggravated Sexual Assault

HAMILTON, NJ (MERCER)–A 26-year-old Hamilton man arrested last week and charged with sexually assaulting women at two separate gatherings at his Liberty Street residence last year was ordered detained Wednesday pending final resolution to his case.

At a hearing held Wednesday afternoon in Mercer County Superior Court, Judge Robert W. Bingham II granted Assistant Prosecutor Tim Ward’s motion to detain Eridson M. Rodriguez pending final resolution to his case.

Last week, Rodriguez was arrested and charged with two counts of first-degree aggravated sexual assault and two counts of third-degree aggravated criminal sexual contact.  He is accused of having intercourse with two women, ages 19 and 20, who were intoxicated and incapacitated during gatherings at his house in March 2019 and again in May 2019.

Since his arrest, four additional victims have stepped forward and accused Rodriguez of similar crimes.  He now faces additional charges of aggravated sexual assault and aggravated criminal sexual contact.

The investigation is ongoing.  Anyone with information on the case is asked to contact Detective Shari Johnson of the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office Special Victims Unit at (609) 989-6758 or Hamilton Police Detective Daniel Inman at (609) 581-4000.

Despite having been charged, all persons are presumed innocent until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Trenton Man Seriously Injured In Early Morning Hamilton Crash

September 23, 2020

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–On September 23, 2020 at approximately 2:00 am a motor vehicle crash occurred at the intersection of Klockner Rd and Kuser Rd.  A 2002 Honda CR-V driven by Auner Rauda, 43 year old male from Trenton, was traveling eastbound on Klockner Rd when for an unknown reason, he crossed over the westbound lane, left the roadway, and struck a tree at the intersection with Kuser Rd. The vehicle became engulfed in flames and Mr. Rauda was extracted from the vehicle by Officer Ryan Fratz, who was the first responding officer to arrive on scene and Kuser Rd resident John Hodnicki.  Mr. Rauda suffered serious injuries and was transported to Capital Health Regional Medical Center by ambulance.  

The crash investigation is ongoing and any witnesses are asked to contact Officer Devin Hendricksen or Officer Brian DiBiasi of the Hamilton Police Traffic Unit at (609)581-4000 or the Hamilton Police Crime Tip Hotline at (609)581-4008.

Seaside Heights Man Pleads Guilty To Aggravated Manslaughter

September 23, 2020

TOMS RIVER, NJ (OCEAN)–Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that on September 23, 2020, John T. Mullen Jr., 51, of Seaside Heights, pled guilty to Aggravated Manslaughter in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:11-4, before the Honorable Guy P. Ryan, J.S.C. At the time of his sentencing on November 30, 2020, the State will be seeking a sentence of 30 years in New Jersey State Prison, subject to the terms of the No Early Release Act, N.J.S.A. 2C:43-7.2.On October 20, 2019, Manchester Township Police responded to the Surf and Stream Campground after receiving multiple 911 calls about a body lying in the entrance driveway to the campground. Upon arrival, Manchester patrol units found the body of Thomas J. Applegate, 34, of Manchester, lying in the driveway of the Surf and Stream Campground with a wound in his chest. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene. A joint investigation by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Crime Unit, Manchester Police Department, and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit determined that Mullen stabbed Mr. Applegate during the course of a drug deal, which ultimately resulted in his death. Prosecutor Billhimer commends the fine work of Supervising Assistant Prosecutor Michael Abatemarco and Assistant Prosecutor Alyssa Mandara who handled the case on behalf of the State, as well as the collaborative efforts of the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Crime Unit, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Victim Witness Advocacy Unit, Manchester Township Police Department, and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit, who collectively did an outstanding job investigating and resolving this matter. “Through good old-fashioned police work, these law enforcement agencies – acting together – expeditiously solved this heinous crime and identified Mullen as the individual responsible for Mr. Applegate’s death,” Prosecutor Billhimer stated. “As a result of their tremendous teamwork, for which I am extremely grateful, this dangerous man was swiftly apprehended, and will now be required to answer for his crime with a lengthy state prison sentence. Justice for Mr. Applegate and his family will be served,” Prosecutor Billhimer concluded.

NJ State Prison, State Corrections Officer Indicted

September 23, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–A Mercer County grand jury returned an indictment Tuesday charging a state corrections officer and his accomplice with accepting bribes to smuggle contraband into New Jersey State Prison, Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri reported.

The three-count indictment charges Correction Officers Jamaine Russell, 27, of Deptford, and Debra Rayner, 34, of Mullica Hill, with one count each of second-degree official misconduct, second-degree bribery and third-degree financial facilitation of criminal activity.

The indictment alleges that Russell, a NJDOC employee since 2016, used his position to receive cash payments in exchange for bringing narcotics and other contraband into New Jersey State Prison in Trenton from October 2018 through November 2019.  The indictment alleges that Russell, a NJDOC employee since 2016, used his position to receive cash payments in exchange for bringing narcotics and other contraband into New Jersey State Prison in Trenton from October 2018 through November 2019.  Rayner was indicted as an accomplice to Russell’s illegal acts, and while she herself is not an employee of NJDOC, she is legally accountable for Russell’s conduct because she promoted and facilitated the commission of the crimes charged.

Russell and Rayner were charged in November 2019 following an investigation by the New Jersey Department of Corrections Special Investigations Division.  Assistant Prosecutor Rachel Cook, chief of the Economic Crime Unit, presented the case to the grand jury.

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

Continuing Coverage: Trenton 3rd Alarm Now “Fire and Suspicious Death” Investigation

Previous MidJersey.News stories here:

Victim In 3rd Alarm Trenton Fire Identified, Fire Under Investigation

Update: 3rd Alarm In 2 Family Home With “Collyer’s Mansion” Conditions Turns Fatal

3rd Alarm On Southard Street

September 23, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Trenton Fire and Suspicious Death Under Investigation On Tuesday evening, the Mercer County Homicide Task Force was called out to a working fire in the 700 block of Southard Street that began around 8:30 p.m.

When the fire was extinguished, the body of a deceased male was located inside a residence in fire debris.

The Mercer County Homicide Task Force, the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Arson Unit and the Trenton Police Department continue to investigate. Anyone with information is asked to call (609) 989-6406. Information can also be emailed to

Update: 3rd Alarm In 2 Family Home With “Collyer’s Mansion” Conditions Turns Fatal

Continuing Coverage:

Victim In 3rd Alarm Trenton Fire Identified, Fire Under Investigation

Trenton 3rd Alarm Now “Suspicious Death” Investigation

Updated information from last nights MidJersey.News breaking news story: 3rd Alarm On Southard Street

September 23, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Trenton officials confirm that one person has perished in a house fire last night on Southard Street. The fire started around 8:30 pm in the 700 Block of Southard Street. First arriving firefighters found heavy fire conditions in a 2 1/2 story, 2 family home and had to fight “Collyer’s Mansion” type conditions, from hording. The fire eventually escalated to 3 alarms. Trenton officials also report one additional person was displaced. No further information is available at this time.

A “Collyer’s Mansion” is a term used by firefighters to describe a home packed with materials, trash and debris that makes for a tough firefight.

Quick Knockdown Of Machinery Fire Saves Large Commercial Printing Facility In Robbinsville

September 23, 2020

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)–At 6:55 am Robbinsville Township firefighters were dispatched to the 1st block of Applegate Drive for a building fire in a commercial building.

Mutual aid was also sent from Hamilton Township Fire Department and Hope Fire Company of Allentown-Upper Freehold. The fire was also at Robbinsville’s shift change making available an additional engine for the firefight.

When fire apparatus first arrived crews found a large industrial printing press on fire in a 190,000 square foot printing facility. Firefighters stretched a hand line and quickly extinguished the fire inside the building, perhaps saving millions of dollars and loss of jobs.

Firefighters remained on scene to help evacuate smoke from the building and overhaul the fire. The Robbinsville Township fire marshal is investigating the fire.