HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–One lucky ticket matched all five numbers drawn winning the $1,061,112 Jersey Cash 5 jackpot from the Friday, October 29, drawing. The winning numbers were: 10, 20, 31, 42, and 45 and the XTRA number was: 02. The retailer will receive a bonus check for $2,000 for the winning ticket sold. That ticket was sold at Pantry 1 Food Mart, 2013 Hamilton Ave., in Mercer County.
HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri reported today that an investigation into online child exploitation has resulted in the arrest of a Hamilton man.
Francis Frobose, 26, of Hamilton, NJ, is charged with second-degree attempted kidnapping, second-degree attempted luring, second-degree attempted sexual assault and third-degree attempted endangering the welfare of a child. The prosecutor’s office has filed a motion to detain Frobose pending trial. He is being held in the Mercer County Correction Center in Hopewell and a detention hearing is scheduled for this week in Mercer County Superior Court before Judge Robert W. Bingham II.
In August 2021, detectives with the prosecutor’s Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Unit began an investigation into individuals attempting to use the internet to sexually exploit children. Frobose was identified as a subject and began chatting online with ICAC detectives. More than 100 messages were exchanged between Frobose and detectives. The complaint alleges Frobose described the sexual acts that were to be committed, set up a meet, and showed up to the location to pick up an individual he believed to be a 15-year-old girl and engage in the sexual conduct discussed.
On Thursday afternoon, October 28, 2021, detectives followed Frobose from his Hamilton home to the meet location, where he was taken into custody without incident by officers with the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office.
Second-degree crimes carry a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000. Third-degree crimes carry a sentence of three to five years in state prison and a fine of up to $15,000.
Prosecutor Onofri urged anyone with information about suspected improper contact by unknown persons communicating with children via the internet or possible exploitation or sexual abuse of children to please contact his Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Unit at 609-989-6568 or the New Jersey Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force tip line at 888-648-6007.
“I want the residents of Mercer County to know we are out there online, protecting our children,” Prosecutor Onofri said. “This year alone, the ICAC Task Force has conducted 180 investigations into child pornography, child exploitation and luring minors to engage in illicit sexual activity. Thirty search warrants have been executed and 29 people have been charged, with more than 100,000 child pornography images and videos recovered.”
“We will use every investigative tool at our disposal to aggressively pursue and prosecute these predators that attempt to exploit our most innocent victims,” he continued.
Despite having been charged, every defendant is presumed innocent until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
PLAINSBORO, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone and Chief Fred Tavener of the Plainsboro Police Department announce a second Pennsylvania man has been arrested and charged in connection with the murder of a Township man.
On October 28, 2021, Devon Melchor, 26, of Upper Darby, PA was arrested and charged with one count of first-degree armed robbery and one count of second-degree conspiracy to commit armed robbery.
Melchor was taken into police custody by authorities in Florida where he was attempting to board an international flight. Melchor’s apprehension was made possible by collaborative efforts by members of the Plainsboro Police Department, New Jersey State Police Fugitive Unit, the New Jersey State Police Real Time Crime Center, the U.S. Marshal’s Fugitive Task Force,
U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, the Newcastle (Delaware) County Police Department, the Norristown (PA) Police Department, the Upper Merion (PA) Police Department, the Montgomery County (PA) District Attorneys Office, and the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office.
On October 26, 2021, at approximately 3:38 A.M., authorities responded to a residence on Briardale Court following a report of shots fired. Upon their arrival, officers located Sree Aravapalli, 54, of Plainsboro who sustained multiple gunshot wounds. Aravapalli was transported from the scene to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead.
An investigation by Detective William Atkinson of the Plainsboro Police Department and Detective Paul Kelley of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office determined Aravapalli was fatally shot in his home during an attempted robbery. The investigation ultimately determined Jekai Reid- John, 27, of Norristown, PA and Melchor targeted Aravapalli at a casino in Pennsylvania and followed him home to his Plainsboro residence where the offense occurred.
Melchor remains in Florida pending an extradition hearing. Upon his return to New Jersey, he will be lodged at the Middlesex County Adult Correction Center pending a pre-trial detention hearing in Superior Court.
Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Atkinson of the Plainsboro Police Department at (609)799-2333 or Detective Kelley of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office at (732)745-3330.
As is the case with all criminal defendants, the charges against Reid- John and Melchor are merely accusations and they are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – The Coast Guard medevaced a boater Monday morning approximately 46 miles east of Manasquan.
Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay received a call from the captain of a fishing vessel that a crewmember was losing and regaining consciousness while having difficulty breathing.
A Coast Guard Air Station MH-65 Dolphin helicopter aircrew was launched to medevac the crewmember after it was determined that weather conditions would not allow for a boatcrew to safely transfer him ashore.
The aircrew arrived on scene, hoisted the crewmember, and transported him to Atlantic Care Hospital in Atlantic City.
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)– Acting Attorney General Andrew J. Bruck and Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Tracy M. Thompson today announced the launch of a media campaign urging New Jerseyans to be on alert for and report insurance fraud. The goal of the campaign is to educate, empower and encourage residents across the state to report insurance fraud on the website of the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor (OIFP) and to become familiar with common insurance fraud schemes.
The new campaign’s slogan, “Fight Fraud, It’s a Crime,” is both a warning and a call to action. Residents and visitors throughout all of New Jersey’s twenty-one counties can expect to hear the new campaign slogan on the radio and see it on their social media feeds, on television, and billboards.
“The greatest protection we have against fraud is an educated and alert consumer base,” said Acting Attorney General Bruck. “New Jerseyans must remember to remain vigilant in the fight against insurance fraud and our new campaign couldn’t come at a better time.”
The “Fight Fraud, It’s a Crime” campaign is calling attention to various forms of insurance fraud. From property damage scams to bogus COVID-19 related health claims, criminals are finding new ways to impact residents’ wallets. According to the FBI, non-health insurance fraud is a $40 billion dollar a year criminal enterprise that costs the average U.S. family between $400 and $700 per year in increased insurance premiums. OIFP is responsible for investigating, prosecuting, and deterring insurance fraud while serving as the statewide coordinator for all anti-insurance fraud efforts in New Jersey.
“Insurance fraud is not a victimless crime, it costs all of us in higher insurance premiums and increased costs for goods and services,” said Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Thompson. “With this new campaign, we are encouraging the public to protect themselves, and each other, by reporting fraud. With our website, www.NJInsuranceFraud.org, online reporting is a click away, making it easier than ever to help end insurance fraud.”
Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Thompson noted that some important cases have started with anonymous tips. People who are concerned about insurance cheating and have information about a fraud can report it anonymously by calling the toll-free hotline at 1-877-55-FRAUD, or visiting the website at http://www.NJInsuranceFraud.org. State regulations permit a reward to be paid to an eligible person who provides information that leads to an arrest, prosecution and conviction for insurance fraud.
The Rutgers Equine Science Center has chosen Assemblyman Ron Dancer as this year’s spirit of the horse award winner in recognition of his contributions to New Jersey’s horse industry.
“Horses have always been a part of my life and I am honored to be able to give back to the equine industry, not only because it has been so impactful personally, but also because it is such an important part of New Jersey’s identity,” Dancer (R-Ocean) said. “The horse is our designated state animal and appears on our state seal. New Jersey is home to more horses per capita than any other state in the nation.”
Dancer is the son of the late famed harness horse racing driver Stanley Dancer and professionally raced and trained harness horses from 1968 through 1998. He has served on the boards of numerous equine organizations, including the Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association of New Jersey, the New Jersey Department of Agriculture’s Sire Stakes, the U.S. Trotting Association, and the New Jersey Racing Commission.
As a lawmaker since 2002, Dancer has worked to ensure the sustainability of the equine industry through legislation authorizing the state leasing of the Meadowlands and Monmouth Park racetracks to the private sector, and advocating for state funding in New Jersey’s annual budget to support the Rutgers Equine Science Center in New Brunswick.
“Assemblyman Dancer emulates the type of person this award was meant to recognize,” said Dr. Karyn Malinowski, founding director of the Equine Science Center. “The Equine Science Center appreciates all he has done for the New Jersey horse industry.”
Having served in the United States Army, Dancer actively champions the Equine Science Center’s research into equine-assisted activities for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder. Through research and education, the center explores the relationship between humans and horses, advances the well-being of horses, and addresses industry issues.
Dancer’s award will be presented virtually at the center’s annual Evening of Science and Celebration on Thursday, Nov. 11.
NEWARK, NJ — The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey today reached a settlement with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (Port Authority) to resolve findings that the rail station at Newark Liberty International Airport is not accessible to individuals with disabilities, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA).
“The Department of Justice upholds and protects the civil rights of all those who live in or travel through New Jersey,” Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig said. “Through the settlement announced today, this Office removes a significant barrier that prevented people with disabilities from fully accessing a rail station that is a gateway to travel all over the world. We welcome Port Authority’s commitment to bring Newark Liberty International Rail Station into compliance with the ADA, and we will continue our work to ensure that no one is denied access to any of the rights and accommodations our Constitution and laws ensure.”
Under this agreement, the Port Authority has committed to make Newark Liberty International Rail Station accessible to individuals with disabilities. To ensure equal access for people with disabilities, the Port Authority must modify multiple areas of the rail station, including physical modifications to multiple platforms, waiting areas, and restrooms.
Individuals who believe they may have been victims of discrimination may file a complaint with the U.S Attorney’s Office at http://www.justice.gov/usao-nj/civil-rights-enforcement/complaint or call the U.S. Attorney’s Office Civil Rights Hotline at (855) 281-3339. Additional information about the ADA can be found at www.ada.gov, or by calling the Department of Justice’s toll-free ADA information line at 800-514-0301 or 800-514-0383 (TDD).
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael E. Campion, Chief of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Civil Rights Unit in Newark, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Kristin Vassallo, Deputy Chief of the Civil Division.