Month: April 2022

Trenton Firefighters Battle Duplex Blaze

April 29, 2022

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Both sides of a Pennington Avenue duplex were damaged this evening (Friday, April 29) by a fire that sent one firefighter to a local hospital.

It was shortly after 9:30 p.m. when the Trenton communications center began to receive multiple 911 calls reporting that the house at 520 Pennington Avenue was on fire. Engines 1, 8 and 10, Ladder 1, Rescue 1 and the North Battalion were dispatched. They arrived to find heavy fire showing from the second floor of #520 (the left side of the 2.5-story duplex) with flames extending to the third floor and into the right side of the structure (#518).

The ”All Hands” signal for a working fire was transmitted and additional units – Engine 9, Ladder 4, Special Services 1 and the South Battalion – were dispatched. Firefighters mounted an aggressive interior attack.

At 8:57 p.m. the incident command reported that firefighters had four hoselines stretched, three of which were flowing water, and that the bulk of the fire had been knocked down. Ten minutes later the chief reported that all visible fire had been extinguished but that crews were still performing overhaul to locate any hidden hot spots.

Sometime later, Trenton Emergency Medical Services reported that they were transporting one firefighter from the scene to a local hospital, reportedly for treatment of chest pains.

The American Red Cross was contacted to provide temporary shelter for displaced residents. The cause of the blaze is under investigation by Trenton fire and police officials, as well as the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office.

Million Dollar Replay Grand Prize Winner from Lawrenceville, NJ, Hamilton Man Wins 100K

$1,000,000  Ronald Demura Lawrenceville 

$100,000 Christopher Croux Hamilton 

April 29, 2022

New Jersey Lottery’s Million Dollar Replay Grand Prize Drawing was held today at Caesars Atlantic City Hotel and Casino, where more than $1,500,000 in prizes were awarded to our lucky players. Today’s top prize winner was Ronald Demura of Lawrenceville in Mercer County. The winner stood up in shock as his name was called out as New Jersey Lottery’s newest millionaire. Fourteen other Lottery players also received prizes ranging from $10,000 to $100,000 as part of the Grand Prize Drawing.

Throughout 2021, New Jersey Lottery players from all over the state submitted their non-winning instant tickets online for a second chance to win big prizes. Each quarter, 100 names were selected and awarded a $250 prize, as well as entry into today’s Grand Prize Drawing. An additional 19 raffle prizes were awarded to Million Dollar Replay finalists in attendance at the event today: seven $1,000 drawings, seven $300 Scratch-Offs drawings, and five gift basket drawings (containing $200 in Scratch-Offs plus Lottery swag). In addition to these drawings, there were 16 prizes drawn for the livestream sweepstakes open to the public, including one gift basket and 15 $200 Scratch-Off prizes. Guests also enjoyed the photo booth and prize wheels that provided many other opportunities to win.

New Jersey Lottery Executive Director James Carey, who assisted in the drawing, said, “I am thrilled to hold our 11th annual Million Dollar Replay.  After last year’s event was virtual due to the pandemic, we are excited to be back in-person.  Being able to add the excitement of minting a new millionaire makes it even better.”

Master of Ceremonies Steve Trevelise of NJ101.5 entertained the audience with jokes and witty banter throughout the event by interacting with the guests and prizewinners. Host Lauren Berman, conducted the drawing for the semi-finalists with the help of Lottery staff. The entire drawing process was completed under the observation of Mercadien, P.C. Certified Public Accountants.

The excitement of winning was already in the air when after Host Lauren Berman directed attention to the Big Spin wheel located next to the stage. The Big Spin game is New Jersey Lottery’s revolutionary new Scratch-Off that  allows  players  the  opportunity  to  extend  their  play  beyond  the  paper  ticket  to online for a chance to spin a large mechanical wheel to win up to $300,000. Two players won an opportunity to spin the wheel. Both contestants won $50,000 each. For information on The Big Spin Scratch-Off ticket and jackpot, visit our website at:

Grand Prize Winner Story:

Ronald Demura is a regular Lottery player, who plays consistently at the same two retailers near his home. He came to the Million Dollar Replay hoping to win something and was in shock when his name was called to win the million dollar prize. His wife and the rest of the room cheered as he began walking toward the winners’ table. Saying that he was ecstatic is an understatement. Ronald has been retired for a few years, enjoying life with his family. Now he will get to pay off his house and, hopefully, his wife can join him in retirement.

$1,000,000 Ronald DemuraLawrenceville 
$100,000 Christopher CrouxHamilton 
$100,000 Thach HieuCamden 
$50,000 Rick Bunnell Rockaway
$50,000 Kevin LindholmWoodbridge 
$50,000 Richard San AndresFreehold 
$25,000 Daniel DesantoIselin 
$25,000 Mike SeminaraLedgewood 
$25,000 Patrick SweeneyRahway 
$25,000 James WelshmanBayville 
$10,000Andrea Giedosh Pitman 
$10,000 Dwayne AngleroCream Ridge 
$10,000 Kenneth OliverRoselle 
$10,000 Michelle SperberBeachwood 
$10,000Linda Handel Clifton 

Man Found Guilty of Conspiracy to Steal Payments from U.S. Department of Defense in $23Million Phishing Scam

Conspirator worked closely with another conspirator who owned a used car dealership in Florence, NJ

A California man was convicted on six counts related to the theft of over $23 million dollars from the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), money destined for one of its jet fuel suppliers, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced today.

Sercan Oyuntur, 40, of Northridge, California, was convicted on April 28, 2022, of one count of conspiracy to commit wire, mail and bank fraud; two counts of bank fraud; one count of using an unauthorized access device to commit fraud; one count of aggravated identity theft; and one count of making false statements to federal law enforcement officers, following an eight-day trial before U.S. District Judge Joseph H. Rodriguez in Camden federal court.

According to documents filed in this case and the evidence presented at trial:

A corporation that had a contract with the DoD to supply jet fuel to troops operating in southeast Asia employed an individual in New Jersey, who was responsible for communicating with the federal government on behalf of the corporation through a government computer system. Through a complex phishing scheme, Oyuntur and criminal conspirators in Germany, Turkey, and New Jersey targeted the corporation and the individual so that the conspirators could steal money that DoD intended to pay to the corporation for providing jet fuel.

Oyuntur’s conspirators created fake email accounts in other people’s names and designed fake webpages that resembled the General Services Administration’s (GSA) public-facing website. From June to September 2018, the conspirators caused phishing emails to be sent to various DoD vendors, including the individual from New Jersey who represented the corporation, to trick these vendors into visiting the phishing pages. These emails appeared to be legitimate communications from the United States government, but were actually sent by the conspirators, and contained electronic links that automatically took individuals to the phishing pages. There, they saw what appeared to be a GSA website and were prompted to enter their confidential login credentials, which were then used by the conspirators to make changes in the government systems and ultimately divert money to the conspirators.

As part of his participation in the scheme, Oyuntur worked closely with another conspirator, Hurriyet Arslan, who owned a used car dealership, Deal Automotive Sales, in Florence, New Jersey. Arslan opened a separate shell company based in New Jersey for use in the criminal scheme, obtained a cell phone number for the shell company, hired another person to pose as the shell company’s owner, and opened a bank account in the name of the shell company.

On Oct. 10, 2018, based on the fraudulent activities of Oyuntur and his conspirators, DoD transferred $23.5 million that had been earned by the victim corporation into Arslan’s Deal Automotive bank account. Arslan went to the bank and was able to access some of this money, but the bank would not release all of the funds to Arslan. That same day, a conspirator in Turkey sent Arslan an email with an altered government contract that falsely indicated Deal Automotive had been awarded a DoD contract valued at approximately $23 million dollars. Oyuntur instructed Arslan to take this fake contract into the bank to explain why he had received the money, so that Arslan could convince the bank to release the remaining funds.

The conspiracy and bank fraud counts of which Oyuntur was convicted each carry a maximum potential penalty of 30 years in prison. The count of using an unauthorized access device to commit fraud carries a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison. The false statement count carries a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison. The aggravated identity theft count carries a statutory mandatory consecutive term of two years in prison. The conspiracy and bank fraud counts each carry a maximum fine of equal to the greatest of $1 million or twice the gross profits or loss resulting from the offense, whichever is greatest; the remaining counts carry a $250,000 fine, or twice the gain or loss from the offense, whichever is greatest. Oyuntur will be sentenced on a date to be determined.

Arslan pleaded guilty in January 2020 to conspiracy, bank fraud, and money laundering and is scheduled to be sentenced on June 21, 2022.

U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited criminal investigators of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Thomas Mahoney; special agents of the General Services Administration, Office of Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Eric D. Radwick; special agents of the U.S. Department of Defense, Defense Criminal Investigative Service, Northeast Field Office and the Cyber Field Office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Patrick Hegarty and Special Agent in Charge Kenneth A. DeChellis; and special agents of the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jason J. Molina in Newark, with the investigation leading to today’s conviction.

The government is represented by Senior Trial Counsel Jason M. Richardson of the Civil Rights Division in Camden and Assistant U.S. Attorney Sara A. Aliabadi of the Special Prosecutions Division in Camden.


Defense counsel: Megan J. Davies Esq., Haddonfield

Parkside Avenue in Trenton Reopens as $1.88 Million “Bridge to Nowhere” Project is Completed; County Hopes Private CSX Land Becomes Park

April 29, 2022

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–An abandoned railroad bridge that crosses over Parkside Avenue was replaced and reopened this morning. It is dubbed the “Bridge to Nowhere” by some locals because legally the property surrounding the bridge is owned by CSX Corporation and is marked by many “No Trespassing” signs throughout the area. The construction project shut down Parkside Avenue for 6-Months from November 1 to April 29, 2022, and the reopening was celebrated by City and County Officials with a ribbon cutting ceremony this morning. The price tag for the project was $1,885,277.00 County Officials stated that they hope the abandoned rail line will become a park run by Mercer County.

If the City or County can gain legal ownership of the property, and convert it to a park, the trail would extend about 900 feet to the North from Parkside to Hillcrest Avenue. To the south the trail could extend 3,700 feet to the back of the West Ward Recreation Center on Prospect Street. It is less than a mile, a total of 0.87 miles of trail could be the potential for a future trail. The trail could not proceed into Ewing Township since that portion of the rail line was sold off years ago and divided into lots, currently has 20 houses on the old section of line.

The bridge is well known as a party area for drugs, drinking and smoking, and several have stated that things have been thrown off that bridge at their vehicles. There have been several shootings and murders in the neighborhoods near and around the abandoned rail property. A quick walk down the trail showed an abandoned mattress, garbage, discarded liquor and beer bottles and other junk. People were seen using the clearly marked private property and disregarding the “No Trespassing” signage.

Mercer County:

Before an enthusiastic crowd, County Executive Brian M. Hughes and the Mercer County Department of Transportation and Infrastructure today reopened the bridge carrying an abandoned railroad trail over Parkside Avenue in the City of Trenton. Officially known as Bridge #180.1, the structure is located between Oak Lane and Oakland Street. The project was completed under budget, announced Mr. Hughes.

The old bridge was a concrete encased steel girder bridge and carries above it an abandoned railroad trail and pedestrian route. The structure was in poor condition, extremely deteriorated and posed a hazard due to the potential of falling concrete debris, and neighbors described it as “dangerous” and an “eyesore in the community.” 

“With this project, Mercer County is taking the long view with an eye toward the future, and in this case it is to preserve mobility options for a disadvantaged community,” Mr. Hughes, who as a child lived not far from the project site, said.  “Our hope is that with our partners in Trenton, we will see development of this rail trail, and replacing this structure is our commitment to that future.”

The pedestrian bridge is intended to carry a multipurpose trail on the right of way of the abandoned CSX “Trenton Cutoff,” which formerly connected the Northeast Corridor Line to the West Trenton Line. Through inspection of aerial photos, county planners know the trail sees considerable existing use of the alignment as a footpath, from Edgemere Avenue, near Trenton’s West Ward Senior and Recreation Centers on Prospect Street, westward to commercial nodes on Parkside and Maple Avenues, including across the existing bridge. With most cross streets dead-ended at the former railroad, the footpath provides a significant local travel-way to access the wider roadway network and commercial resources.

As part of the bridge replacement, Mercer County groomed a section of the trail, added trees to the embankments and removed trash and downed trees.

“The City of Trenton is appreciative of the county’s efforts, and we envision the walking trail as a way for people to get to our recreation centers and beyond,” said Trenton Mayor Reed Gusciora.

Toward that effort, the county has mapped out the extent of a feasible, uninterrupted alignment that could be built in the near future, and with the cooperation of the Christina Seix Academy, which purchased part of the right of way to expand its campus, the trail could continue to the Ewing Town Center development.

This trail alignment is included in the City of Trenton’s Master Plan as the “Delaware and Bound Brook Rail Trail,” and in 2017, the Trenton City Council formally requested that Mercer County replace the abandoned rail bridge with a pedestrian facility (Resolution #17-533) to support this off-street bicycle and pedestrian connection.  Mercer County Planning Department staff researched right-of-way ownership to demonstrate feasibility of constructing this alignment.

Attending the ribbon cutting with County Executive Hughes and Mayor Gusciora were County Commissioners Lucylle Walter, Sam Frisby and Terrance Stokes, Deputy County Administrator Aaron T. Watson, Maria Richardson, Director, City of Trenton office on Recreation, Natural Resources and Culture, Randy Baum, project landscape architect, community member Mary Horne, a longtime proponent of the project, County Engineer Basit “Sunny” Muzaffar, Supervising Engineer Joseph Vena and the team from Rencor Inc., project contractor.

The replacement bridge is a single span structure supported on full height concrete abutments. The superstructure consists of precast prestressed beams with a composite reinforced concrete deck. The substructure is full-height reinforced concrete abutments founded on cast-in-place spread footings. The new structure is designed to identically match the aesthetics of the existing structure while being upgraded to meet current NJDOT standards.

The successful bidder for the project was Rencor Inc. of Somerville, NJ 08876. They submitted a bid price of $1,885,277.00. The contract was approved by the Mercer County Board of Commissioners on October 7, 2021.

County Executive Brian M. Hughes, center, cuts the ribbon on the new Parkside Avenue Bridge in the City of Trenton. Joining him are, from left, Maria Richardson, Director, Trenton office on Recreation, Natural Resources and Culture, Joseph Vena, County supervising engineer, Randy Baum, project landscape architect, County Engineer Basit “Sunny” Muzaffar, Trenton Mayor Gusciora, Mercer Deputy Administrator Aaron T. Watson, County Commissioners Lucylle Walter, Terrance Stokes and Sam Frisby, and Trenton resident Mary Horne, a longtime proponent of the project.

BeiGene Breaks Ground on New Manufacturing and Clinical R&D Center at the Princeton West Innovation Campus in New Jersey

Flagship U.S. Facility Will Include Biologic Manufacturing and Late Stage Research and Clinical Development of Innovative Cancer Medicines, Sixth U.S. Location Adds to Global Expansion and Brings New Jobs to New Jersey 

April 29, 2022

HOPEWELL TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–BeiGene, Ltd. (NASDAQ: BGNE; HKEX: 06160; SSE: 688235), a global biotechnology company focused on developing innovative and affordable medicines to improve treatment outcomes and access for patients worldwide, today announced the groundbreaking of its flagship U.S. manufacturing and clinical R&D center at the Princeton West Innovation Campus in Hopewell, N.J.

“Our planned flagship U.S. R&D and manufacturing center supports our commitment to fight for life for people living with cancer around the world, through state-of-the-art commercial-stage biologic pharmaceutical manufacturing, late-stage research and clinical development capabilities,” said John Oyler, Co-Founder, Chairman and CEO of BeiGene. “The Princeton-Hopewell area is an excellent location for BeiGene and the thriving life science community, with a deep talent pool as we continue to advance our pipeline of innovative cancer medicines and work to diversify our global supply chain.”

The initial phase of construction is expected to include approximately 400,000 square feet of dedicated commercial-stage biologic pharmaceutical manufacturing space, with capacity for up to 16,000 liters of biologics formula. Construction of the initial phase is expected to run through 2024. BeiGene intends to recruit hundreds of new hires from the area’s attractive talent market to support its continued growth and its commitment to producing life-saving oncology medicines.

“BeiGene’s plans for hundreds of new jobs in New Jersey speak to our efforts to grow our state’s business-friendly environment and to our commitment to fostering innovation,” said Governor Phil Murphy. “We are proud to welcome BeiGene to the Princeton area and look forward to the company manufacturing innovative cancer medicines in its new state-of-the-art facility.”

In November 2021, BeiGene acquired the Hopewell property from Lincoln Equities Group and has retained DPR Construction as its construction management firm and IPS as its architectural and engineering firm. The property has more than one million square feet of developable real estate for future potential expansion.

Added Oyler: “At BeiGene, we are committed to not only delivering innovative and affordable medicines but also to upholding the highest standards of ethics and integrity, operational excellence, and environmental stewardship. This commitment applies to everything we do, including the development of BeiGene’s Hopewell project.”

“As a leader with a long history in New Jersey’s biotech industry, Hopewell Township welcomes BeiGene to our community,” said Hopewell Mayor Courtney Peters-Manning “We are pleased that BeiGene will bring their state-of-the-art technologies, manufacturing, and R&D center to Hopewell, whose products will help countless people all over the world. We look forward to continuing to work with BeiGene and are excited about what will be produced here in Hopewell.”

BeiGene currently has five offices in the U.S., in San Mateo and Emeryville, Calif., Cambridge, Mass., Ridgefield Park, N.J. and Fulton, Md. Globally, the company has more than 30 offices across five continents.

Acting AG Platkin: Division of Consumer Affairs Issues Alert on Gift Card

Scams and Guidelines for Retailers to Prevent Fraud  

April 29, 2022

Acting Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin today announced that the Division of Consumer Affairs has issued a consumer alert on gift card scams along with guidelines for retailers to train their employees on signs that a consumer is falling victim to this common form of fraud.

“The best tool we have to fight gift card scammers is widespread awareness of how they operate and how to stop them in their tracks,” said Acting Attorney General Platkin. “We commend the Division’s efforts and look forward to merchants around the state joining us in our efforts to protect consumers from these fraudulent schemes.”

The Division’s guidelines implement the Stop the Fraud Bill, which was signed into law by Governor Murphy in January.  The law requires New Jersey retailers that display and sell gift cards to train employees on how to identify and respond to gift card fraud. Covered employees must receive the training by August 1, 2022, or within 45 days of beginning employment, whichever is later.

The purpose of the training is to ensure that employees know how to recognize signs that someone may be the victim of gift card fraud, such as buying multiple gift cards with high dollar values or immediately taking pictures of the gift cards’ serial numbers. According to the guidelines, employees should be trained to use the “If you see something, say something” approach, and if they suspect fraud, ask the consumer why they are making such a purchase.

The required training will also result in retail employees understanding their employer’s policy for reporting suspected gift card fraud. Additionally, the Division’s guidelines encourage consumers and retailers alike to be familiar with a number of best practices to curb fraud.

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), from January 2021 through September 2021, the FTC received over 39,000 reports of gift card fraud that may have cost consumers as much as $148 million. Some common gift card fraud schemes include:

  • Government Agency Scams – Someone claiming to be from a government agency demands payment in the form of gift cards to avoid arrest, receive assistance, or pay a fine to stop your social security number from being frozen;
  • Utility Scams ­– Utility company imposters claiming service will be cut off if payment is not received right away;
  • Refund Scams – A caller offers a refund, credits money in excess of the refund, and asks to receive the additional money in gift cards;
  • Grandparent Scams – Someone pretending to call on behalf of a relative or friend in distress and asking for money to assist them; and
  • Freebies and Sweepstakes Scams – A gift card is required to pay a processing fee to receive a prize of free merchandise.

“It takes a village to fight fraud, and that is why we are enlisting everyone’s help,” said Howard Pine, Acting Director of the Division. “By issuing these guidelines we aim to cripple the efforts of scammers who often use fear to intimidate unsuspecting consumers into buying gift cards to avoid utility service interruptions, or help a friend or relative in need.”

For consumers, the guidelines provide details on the preventive measures being implemented by merchants as well as tips to help them recognize gift cards scams. Some of the precautions include:

  • Never use a gift card to make a payment or to transfer money. Government agencies and legitimate businesses will never ask you to pay with gift cards;
  • Avoid sharing gift card information—including via phone, text, email, or photo—to pay bills or fees, or to fix any other problem;
  • Verify that urgent requests or emergencies that involve family, friends or co-workers are real by calling the person directly to confirm they need your help;
  • Hang up on any caller who tells you to lie to a store clerk about why you are purchasing gift cards;
  • Check the packaging and the back of the gift card before purchasing to make sure it has not been compromised; and
  • Keep the receipt or the gift card ID number to file a report if you lose the gift card or suspect fraud.

Consumers who believe they are victims of a gift card scam or suspect gift card fraud can file an online complaint with the Division by visiting its website or by calling 1-800-242-5846 to receive a complaint form by mail. Additional agencies to report this type of fraud and free resources for consumers are also included in the guidelines.

* * *

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 through its Office of Consumer Protection, Bureau of Securities, Charities Registration section, Office of Weights and Measures, and Legalized Games of Chance section.

$10 Million Investment in License Plate Recognition Technology to Combat Rise in Auto Thefts Fueling Violent Crime in New Jersey

Funding Responsive to Spike in Vehicle Thefts in Suburban and Urban Areas Statewide

April 29, 2022

MARLBORO, NJ (MONMOUTH) – Governor Phil Murphy and Acting Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin today announced a $10 million investment in automated license plate recognition (ALPR) technology to reduce violent crime and motor vehicle theft in New Jersey through the federal American Rescue Plan (ARP) State Fiscal Recovery Fund.

The funds will be used to purchase and expand existing high-speed, automated camera systems to capture and store computer-readable images of license plates in a centralized database accessible to law enforcement. The technology will be installed at both fixed locations throughout New Jersey and mounted on mobile units. This equipment provides law enforcement agencies additional tools to address the increase in motor vehicle thefts and a corresponding rise in violent crime seen in both suburban and urban areas of New Jersey. 

“The alarming uptick we are seeing in vehicle theft is unacceptable, and our administration is making investments to combat these occurrences statewide,” said Governor Murphy. “To aid law enforcement in this endeavor, an investment in ALPR technology will provide them with the tools they need to reduce these incidents and make our communities safer.”

“Thanks to Governor Murphy, we are investing significant resources to give law enforcement officers the tools they need to combat the rise in auto thefts across the state,” said Acting Attorney General Platkin. “Because stolen vehicles are increasingly used in the commission of violent shootings, deploying these automated license plate readers will save lives.”

Through the Murphy Administration’s $10 million ALPR program, a portion of the funding will be allocated to the New Jersey State Police (NJSP) to deploy cameras along major roadways that run throughout the state. Intelligence gathered will be shared by NJSP in real-time through the Regional Operations Intelligence Center and Real Time Crime Centers operated by the NJSP with relevant law enforcement partners as appropriate for investigative and operational need. 

The remaining funding will be made available to county and local law enforcement agencies, through a competitive process, for the purchase, installation, and expansion of additional units and systems, in strategic locations throughout the communities they serve. All entities receiving funding under the program must abide by ARP rules and agree to share captured license plate information with the NJSP.

The investment into ALPR technology advances ongoing efforts by OAG to combat the rise in auto thefts, including public service campaigns to raise awareness of the risks associated with leaving cars unlocked with the key or key fob inside. In March, OAG expanded the NJSP Auto Theft Task Force by adding detectives and prosecutors, as well as bringing on additional police departments from around the state. Additionally, $125,000 in federal Justice Assistance Grant funds is being made available to maximize the Task Force’s capabilities.

“The allocation of these financial resources to increase the use of automated license plate reader technology is, quite simply, a game changing moment in terms of our investigative capabilities,” said Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “This investment will undoubtedly help combat the growing number of motor vehicle thefts and the associated rise in violent crime. I commend Governor Murphy and Acting Attorney General Platkin for their staunch efforts in supporting law enforcement’s mission to target auto theft and make our communities safer.” 

“Marlboro police officers do a great job for our community and I support their efforts 100% but they need to have the tools to do their job effectively,” said Marlboro Mayor Jonathan Hornik. “I reached out to Governor Murphy to share my concerns and thank him for his meaningful acknowledgement of the unique needs and concerns of New Jersey’s many suburban communities.”

“Today’s visit to Marlboro Township highlights Governor Murphy’s commitment to work hand in hand with local law enforcement agencies as we strive to continually improve our service to the communities we have sworn to protect,” said Marlboro Chief Peter Pezzullo. “I am sure that I speak for other law enforcement leaders throughout the state when I say that Governor Murphy’s investment in these technologies will help provide much needed data that can be utilized to detect possible criminal actors in a wide variety of investigations.”

The State has seen a serious spike in motor vehicle theft since the pandemic’s onset, an all-time high of 14,320 vehicles in 2021 in comparison to the previous five years. The first quarter of 2022 is on track to have a 53% increase in motor vehicle thefts from 2020. Increases in motor vehicle theft have occurred across the state, in both suburban and urban areas. Stolen cars are frequently associated with other violent crimes, particularly shootings. A significant percentage of individuals who commit auto theft offenses have also been involved in shootings.

“Communities throughout New Jersey have witnessed an increasing number of stolen motor vehicles and this funding will help upgrade technology available to law enforcement and provide additional tools to help bolster our ability to investigate these serious crimes,” said NJSPBA Executive Vice-President Marc Kovar.  “We appreciate Governor Murphy’s initiative in working to secure this critical funding and would also like to remind everyone of the importance of locking your car doors and taking your key fob along with you as you exit your vehicle.”  

“We need to do many things to stop the rise in car thefts in our shore communities and this announcement today is one of the many pieces which will help combat it. This allocation will help make our communities safer, our roadways less likely to be used for criminal enterprise, such as human trafficking or gun-running, and will enable officers to stem the rising tide of motor vehicle thefts across the state,” said Senator Vin Gopal. “I commend Governor Murphy and Acting Attorney General Platkin for seeing this urgent need, and responding to help suburban law enforcement enhance their capabilities, increase efficiency and better protect the neighborhoods they patrol by implementing the very latest in anti-crime technologies.”

Trenton Man Charged with 2 Counts Attempted Criminal Homicide and Other Related Charges in Hamilton Township Shooting

April 29, 2022

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Hamilton Police say that on April 28, 2022, at 3:13 p.m.  Peter Nyema, 31 years of age from Elmhurst Ave, Trenton, NJ; was arrested in Trenton, NJ for his involvement in a shooting on the 500 Block of Lalor Street which occurred on April 19, 2022.  Detective Nicholas Schulte of the Hamilton Police Criminal Investigations Section lodged criminal complaints against Nyema for: (2) Counts of Criminal Attempt Homicide, (2) counts of Aggravated Assault, Robbery, (2) counts of Burglary, Unlawful Possession of a Handgun, Possession of Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose, and Possession of Weapon by Certain Persons.  Nyema was processed at Hamilton Police Division Headquarters and transported to the Mercer County Corrections Center on his charges.

Hamilton Police Division would like to thank the New Jersey State Police Crime Suppression Central Unit and the Trenton Police Department for their assistance in apprehending Nyema.  If anyone has further information on Nyema, please contact Detective Nicholas Schulte at (609) 689-5825 or by email:  

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

Peter Nyema, 31 years of age from Elmhurst Ave, Trenton, NJ; was arrested in Trenton, NJ for his involvement in a shooting on the 500 Block of Lalor Street which occurred on April 19, 2022. 

Armed Burglars Caught After Fleeing on Foot in Brick Township

April 29, 2022

BRICK TOWNSHIP, NJ (OCEAN)–Brick Township Police say that on Wednesday, April 27, just after 1:00 P.M., Patrol Officers responded to the area of 18th Ave. in response to a burglary. Prior to police arrival, two suspects fled in a black vehicle. Officers responding to the area discovered the suspect vehicle in the area of the River Rock Restaurant on Rt. 70. Two suspects who matched the description of the burglars were nearby and fled in different directions on foot as Patrol Officers approached the vehicle.

One of the suspects, identified as Jermaine Mayer Jr, (20 years old from Allentown, PA) was eventually caught by Ptl. Christopher Newlund and placed under arrest. The second suspect, Marquis Pettise, (20 years old from Allentown, PA) had returned to the vehicle while responding Officers were arriving. Pettise removed a handgun he had left inside the vehicle and tossed it on the side of the Liquor store. Pettise was later found on the Brielle Bridge and arrested by Ptl. Matthew Knehr. The discarded handgun was recovered and a high capacity magazine was located at the scene.

Det. Michael Bennett and Det. Ryan Talty, who are leading the investigation, filed charges on warrants for both suspects for Armed Burglary, Criminal Mischief, Possession of a handgun, Possession of a handgun for an unlawful purpose, Possession of high capacity magazine, Possession of hollow point ammunition, and Obstruction. Mayer and Pettise were lodged in Ocean County Jail.

The investigation is continuing and it is believed that this incident was targeted for the victim in particular and not a random act.

Two Charged in Connection to Shimon Nesmith Homicide in Trenton on March 1, 2022

April 28, 2022

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri announced today that an investigation conducted by the Mercer County Homicide Task Force and the Trenton Police Department has resulted in charges being filed against two Trenton residents in connection to last month’s double shooting that resulted in the death of Shimon Nesmith Jr.

Quashawn Hightower, 23, and Desire Knighton, 21, are each charged with murder, attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder, multiple counts of aggravated assault and multiple weapons offenses.  Both Hightower and Knighton are currently incarcerated in Pennsylvania on a weapons charge.  The prosecutor’s office will file motions to detain both defendants pending trial.

Just after 3:30 p.m. on March 1, 2022, Trenton police received a Shot Spotter activation for 11 rounds fired in 1100 block of New Willow Street.  Responding officers located a vehicle that had crashed into the side of 931 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, the Life in the Word Outreach Ministry.  The vehicle was heavily damaged and appeared to have numerous bullet holes.  Nesmith, 19, of Trenton, was on scene suffering from gunshot wounds.  He was transported to Capital Health Regional Medical Center where he was pronounced dead a short time later.  A 21-year-old woman suffered a gunshot wound to the face and was transported to the hospital by private vehicle. 

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

File photos by: Brian McCarthy, OnScene News

Chipotle Opens in East Windsor, NJ

April 28, 2022

Location: 319 US Hwy 130 #38, East Windsor, NJ 08520

EAST WINDSOR, NJ (MERCER)–Mayor Janice S. Mironov and Council Members David Russell, Alan Rosenberg and John Zoller joined General Manager Sandeep Kumar, management team and staff for the grand opening ribbon cutting of Chipotle in East Windsor Town Center Plaza on Route 130 North.

Mayor Mironov stated, “East Windsor welcomes the popular Chipotle which positively transformed the vacant former Capital One Bank pad site into a modern reconfigured 2,746 square foot restaurant. The Township appreciates this investment by Chipotle in East Windsor including the creation of 60 new local jobs, of which over 25 are area high school students.”

Founded in 1993, Chipotle Mexican Grill is an American-based casual restaurant chain with over 3,000 locations worldwide specializing in tacos and made-to-order Mission burritos. The Chipotle menu includes burritos, burrito bowls, salads, kids meals, tortilla chips, guacamole, salsa and queso. Chipotle’s philosophy is “We believe that food has the power to change the world, ‘connecting’ how food is raised and prepared and how it tastes”. Chipotle makes its food fresh every day using only 53 ingredients and no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives, and no freezers or cans. In 2018, Chipotle began a pilot program recycling their used plastic gloves into waste bags that they use in 43% of their own restaurants and committed to diverting 50% of their waste from landfills during 2020.

Current hours of operation are 10:45 am to 10:00 pm daily. Chipotle offers a mobile app for convenient ordering and payment, and a “Chipotlane” for customer, DoorDash or GrubHub pickup. For further information, call (609) 301-6064 or visit

Mayor Janice S. Mironov and Council Members join the management team to cut the ribbon to celebrate the grand opening of Chipotle in the East Windsor Town Center Plaza on Route 130 North. Pictured (from left to right) are: (front row) Charlie Martin, Service Manager; Sandeep Kumar, General Manager; Mayor Janice Mironov; Diego Cardenas, Apprentice General Manager; Nicholas Sanchez; and Siani McCoy; (back row) Council Member David Russell; Council Member John Zoller; Christian Louisne, and Council Member Alan Rosenberg.

Mayor Janice S. Mironov and Council Members David Russell, Alan Rosenberg and John Zoller join the management and employees for the Chipotle grand opening in East Windsor Town Center Plaza on Route 130 North.

Trenton Police Officer Successfully Subdues Bank Robbery Suspect

April 27, 2022

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Trenton Police Director Steve Wilson today announced that Trenton Police Officer, Ja’Neice Worley, witnessed an active bank robbery, intervened and successfully placed the suspect into custody. 

Yesterday, the suspect entered the Wells Fargo Bank armed with a loaded firearm with an extended magazine. The suspect pointed the gun at the victim and threatened them by demanding money to be placed inside a duffel bag. Officer Worley was working secondary employment within the bank, witnessed the incident – intervened, and placed the suspect into custody after a brief struggle with the assistance of a customer/witness.

Officer Worley is a three and a half year veteran of the TPD. She is also a well respected and successful officer in the Patrol Bureau. Officer Worley often donates her time to assist the Community Affairs Unit with outreach events and programs for the citizens. “The City of Trenton and its Police Department are very fortunate to have officers like Ja’Neice helping our community and keeping it safe,” said Director Wilson.

Upon speaking to Director Wilson about her outstanding performance and apprehension of the armed suspect, Officer Worley was sure to credit the citizen that helped her subdue the robber. When congratulated, Worley stated, “Thank you Director, I’m a Trenton Cop, it’s what we do! I’m just glad I was there to prevent the robbery and I’m glad that no one got hurt.”

Overturned Truck on NJ Turnpike in Robbinsville Causes Traffic Delays for Miles

April 27, 2022

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)–At 12:42 p.m. the Robbinsville Township Fire Department was dispatched to the New Jersey Turnpike at mile post 63.7 North Bound (North of Exit 7A) Outer Roadway for an overturned delivery truck with reported injuries and extrication. Upon arrival of the fire department a truck was found across three lanes of travel and the two occupants of the truck were able to self-extricate and the occupants did not want transport to the hospital. Traffic was backed up for miles in the North Bound direction and vehicles had to use the inner shoulder to get by the accident scene. A NJ State Trooper was able to move the truck out of the roadway using a push bumper saving truck drivers and other motorists of even longer delays. The truck was moved the right lane by Troopers and Haines Towing Services of Bordentown was able to upright the truck and tow it away. It was reported that the delivery truck was full and carrying food items and drinks.

Trenton Firefighter OK After Being Struck by Stray Bullet While Inside the Fire Station on Calhoun Street

April 26, 2022

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Before 9:00 p.m., a city firefighter narrowly escaped serious injury when he was grazed by a stray bullet while he was on duty working out at the firehouse of Engine 1 and Ladder 1 on Calhoun Street Tuesday evening (April 26). Trenton Emergency Medical Service (TEMS) personnel were dispatched to an area of North Willow Street for a reported shooting. A short time later, TEMS resources were sent to the Calhoun Street firehouse – located a block or so away.

MidJersey.News talked to the injured firefighter by phone tonight and he is doing well. He has a minor graze wound to the left arm and is in good spirits. The injured firefighter stated that he was working out the elliptical trainer in the firehouse gym on the 2nd floor of the station and heard approximately 22 shots fired outside the station and down the block. One of those bullets came through the window and struck him on the left arm while he tried to get off the machine to take cover. The firefighter was immediately met by the crew in the station who came to his aid and checked for any other wounds and provided treatment. The firefighter stated that one bullet came through the window of the gym that struck him, and two other bullets went through the kitchen of the firehouse and one struck the refrigerator.

Timothy J. Carroll, Public Information Officer for the City of Trenton told MidJersey.News that the firefighter was working out at the firehouse and has a minor laceration.  Trenton Police received 12 shots on ShotSpotter, 11 cases recovered at the scene. There is no suspect at this time. Trenton Police has an investigation underway.

The scene tonight at Engine 1 and Ladder 1 on Calhoun Street Tuesday evening (April 26). Photos by: Brian McCarthy, OnScene News

Update: State Police Arrest Suspect Wanted for Shooting Man at American Dream Mall

April 26, 2022

ast Rutherford, N.J.- New Jersey State Police have arrested Anwar Stuart, 20, of Brooklyn, N.Y., for allegedly shooting a man during an attempted robbery at American Dream in East Rutherford, Bergen County.

On April 7, troopers from the New Jersey State Police Meadowlands Station responded to the report of a shooting inside American Dream. When troopers arrived, they discovered one male victim was shot. The victim, who sustained serious injuries, was taken to an area hospital.

During the investigation, detectives determined that the victim was shot during an attempted robbery and identified Stuart as the suspect. Through various investigative means, detectives discovered that Stuart was staying at his residence in Brooklyn, N.Y.

On April 25, detectives from the New Jersey State Police Troop “B” Criminal Investigation Office, along with members of State Police Fugitive Unit, United States Marshall Service New York/ New Jersey Regional Fugitive Task Force, and New York Police Department arrested Stuart at his residence in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Anwar Stuart was charged with attempted murder, attempted robbery, conspiracy, unlawful possession of a weapon, and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose. He was lodged at Rikers Island Jail pending extradition to New Jersey.

This case is being prosecuted by the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office.

Charges are mere accusations, and the accused is considered innocent until proven guilty.

Earlier MidJersey.News story here:

April 7, 2022

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ– There are reports of a shooting at the American Dream Mall and the mall is currently on lock down. There are reports of a male being shot in the chest and numerous NJ State Troopers and other police are on location. Governor Phil Murphy stated that the public is advised to stay away from the area at this time.

Unconfirmed sources say that there were two gang related incidents, one inside the mall by Footlocker and the other near the parking garage.

Descriptions of the shooting suspects also from unconfirmed source state that one is a Hispanic male, dreadlocks, blue and black sweats, black puffy jacket. The other suspect is a black male, in a black puffy jacket.

Governor Phil Murphy:

“I have been briefed on the shooting at the American Dream Mall and @NJSP has set up a command post. We are closely monitoring the situation, and are praying for those impacted. The public is advised to stay away from the area at this time.”

Go Fund Me Set Up for Residents Who Suffered Major Loss in Robbinsville Fire

April 26, 2022

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)–A Go Fund Me has been set up for the Slezaks who suffered a major loss at a house fire on April 20, 2022 on Voelbel Road.

My name is Donna Brandt. I am setting up this Go Fund Me page for my Cousin John Slezak, his two sons and five dogs.

April 20, 2022, in New Jersey, Robbinsville Township Fire Department Fire crews called for an “All Hands” (full 1st alarm) to send additional mutual aid to the scene from surrounding departments. Unfortunately, the home and all the contents were lost entirely. Luckily, the family was able to get out unharmed.

The home has minimal insurance, so it will not cover all losses. The family and dogs have now been displaced for approximately nine months.

John is a hard-working family man who has never missed a day of work to care for his family. But, regrettably, they are now finding themselves with just the clothes on their backs.

Please find it in your heart to donate to my Cousin’s family struggle.

ALL funds will go directly to the family for everyday expenses.

April 21, 2022

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)–At 11:21 p.m. last night April 20, 2022 the Robbinsville Township Fire Department was detailed to the 100 Block of Voelbel Road for a house fire. Robbinsville firefighters arrived about 11:25 p.m. and reported fire showing from the front of the building, and stretched a hand line to the front of the building. Fire crews called for an “All Hands” (full 1st alarm) sending additional mutual aid to the scene from surrounding departments. Within 10 minutes of arrival firefighters had the fire quickly knocked down and under control. The fire was reported electrical in nature. No additional information is available at this time.

Princeton Traffic Alert: Accident Involving Pedestrian on Washington Road

Update: As of 4:00 p.m. Traffic in the area appears to be subsiding and returning to normal.

April 26, 2022

PRINCETON, NJ (MERCER)–Just before 3:00 p.m. police and EMS were sent to Washington Road near Faculty Road, by the boathouse/bridge for a pedestrian strike. It was reported over the radio that the roadway was closed, and CPR was in progress. According to Google traffic there is a large traffic delay in the area and it appears that roads may be closed and detoured.

This is a breaking news report. Once official information is released the story will be updated.

15-Year-Old Charged with April 12 Fire on Route 33 in Robbinsville

April 26, 2022

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)–Police say that a 15-year-old Robbinsville resident was charged with one count of Arson and one count of Burglary in regards to the Route 33 fire on April 12, 2022. Police said they are unable to release any further information, due to the fact that the accused is a juvenile.

On April 12, 2022, around 6:53 p.m. the Robbinsville Police Department received multiple 9-1-1 calls reporting a fire in the 2300 block of Route 33. A Robbinsville police officer also reported seeing a column of smoke in the air and the Robbinsville Township Fire Department was dispatched. Mutual aid fire departments were also called to the scene from Hamilton, and others.

Upon arrival of the first fire apparatus, fire crews reported a well involved abandoned building on fire and used a deck gun to start knocking down the fire. Hamilton Township fire department arrived and assisted pulling two hand lines and helped set up a water supply.

Fire crews had the bulk of the fire knocked down within minutes but remained on scene for extensive overhaul and also for the fire investigation. Hope Fire Company of Allentown responded initially to the scene but was diverted to cover any additional calls. Other mutual aid departments not on scene were recalled en route.

Robbinsville Township Police closed Route 33 in both directions until the fire was brought under control and apparatus and fire hoses could be removed from the highway.

Arson investigators were called from the Mercer County Prosecutors Office, detectives from the Robbinsville Township Police Department, and the Robbinsville Township Fire Marshal’s Office was also on scene for the investigation. The fire was in an old, abandoned 20×30 feet garage that was in a wooded area. PSE&G was called to the scene but did not find any electricity or gas to the building.

File photos and video from the April 12, 2022, fire in Robbinsville by: Dennis Symons, Lea Keegan Harrison, Marcello Dellegrotti, and others.

Overturned Tractor Trailer at NJ Turnpike Exit 8

April 25, 2022

EAST WINDSOR, NJ (MERCER)–Before 3:00 p.m. April 25, 2022, a tractor-trailer traveling south bound using the Exit 8 ramp overturned. NJ State Police, Cranbury First Aid and NJ Turnpike Authority responded to the scene. There was a report of a minor injury that was transported to Capital Health Regional Medical Center in Trenton. Tow crews and NJ Turnpike personnel remain on scene unloading the box truck into another truck prior to up righting the overturned truck. No further information is available at this time.

Man Crushed to Death in South Brunswick

April 23, 2022

SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–South Brunswick Police say that a 37-year-old worker at Empire Marble and Granite was struck and killed by a slab of granite that fell on him Thursday afternoon April 21, 2022 at 3:28 p.m. South Brunswick Police, South Brunswick EMS, and Monmouth Junction Fire Department responded to 5 Chris Ct. First arriving Officers found the man’s coworkers had removed much of the slab off of him. The man died at the scene. Investigators determined workers were moving the slab when it fell backwards onto the man. The victim was from Marlton. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is investigating the accident.

Reported Shooting on North Hermitage in Trenton

April 22, 2022

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Details are still sketchy but at 3:28 p.m. Trenton EMS, Trenton Fire and Capital Health Paramedics were dispatched to the 1st Block of North Hermitage Avenue for a shooting victim. Once EMS arrived on scene there was no patient so EMS was recalled. EMS stated “GOA” standing for “Gone On Arrival” over the radio. It is believed the person was transported to Captial Health Regional Medical Center by private vehicle prior to EMS arrival. Trenton Police were securing the scene and gathering evidence. No further information is available, if official information becomes available the story will be updated and any corrections made.

MidJersey.News has reached out to the City of Trenton for comment. Also, it is reported that Trenton Police Department has a new Public Information Officer. The email sent to that address has been returned as undeliverable. The email server response was: Delivery Status Notification (Failure), Message not delivered “The recipient server did not accept our requests to connect.”

Photos below by: Brian McCarthy, OnScene News

Arsonist Arrested in Hamilton Township

April 22, 2022

HAMILTON, NJ (MERCER)–Hamilton Police say that on April 21, 2022 at approximately 3:09 a.m. Officers were dispatched along with the Hamilton Fire Department to the 1800 block of South Broad Street on a report of a pole on fire.  An advertisement flag in front of Angie’s Multi Services was set on fire by an unknown party.  Detective Chris Pullen reviewed video surveillance from the scene and observed a suspect wearing black pants, light colored boots, and a dark jacket with a hood utilize a lighter and set the business sign on fire.  The suspect then walked out of sight.  While checking for additional video surveillance Detective Pullen saw a female lying on the sidewalk nearby wearing clothing that matched the suspect in the surveillance.  While speaking with the female she pulled out a lighter and attempted to light a tree branch on fire.  She was identified as the suspect in the video surveillance and placed under arrest.

The female was identified as Alicia Schmitter, 40, of Franklin Park.  She was charged with Arson and Criminal Mischief.

Anyone with any information regarding this incident is asked to contact Detective Chris Pullen of the Hamilton Police Division’s Criminal Investigations Section at 609-581-4080 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.

Alicia Schmitter, 40, of Franklin Park was charged with Arson and Criminal Mischief.

Hamilton Police Seek Information About Lalor Street Shooting

April 21, 2022

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Hamilton Police report: On April 19, 2022 at 3:05 a.m. Hamilton Police were detailed to the 500 Block of Lalor Street on a report of a residential shooting.  Responding officers from Trenton Police and Hamilton Police found two victims who sustained gunshot wounds.  Both victims were transported to an area hospital for treatment.  Anyone who has information relevant to this investigation is urged to contact Detective Nicholas Schulte of the Hamilton Police Criminal Investigations Section at (609) 689-5825 or by email:  Information can also be left on the Hamilton Police Division’s Crime Tip Line (609) 581-4008.  

Original report here:

April 19, 2022

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Around 3:13 a.m. Hamilton Fire Department, RWJ EMS and Capital Health Paramedics were detailed to the 500 Block of Lalor Street for a gunshot victim. A few moments later Trenton Police Department reported that they were on location and had two people shot 1 male and 1 female at the scene.

EMS reported that they had 2 victims, both shot in the head and neck and were calling the hospital for a “Trauma Alert” Two victims were transported to Capital Health Regional Medical Center.

Well Involved Car Fire Extinguished in East Windsor

April 21, 2022

EAST WINDSOR, NJ (MERCER)–Around 1:25 p.m. Monroe Township, East Windsor and Hightstown Fire Departments responded a car fire on Route 33 east bound. Firefighters round the car well involved in fire in front of 680 Route 33 in the center median near Twin Rivers Drive. Firefighters arrived and quickly knocked down the fire. No further details are available.

Reefer Madness Hits New Jersey; Legal Pot Sales Brisk

Some customers waited in line for over 2+ hours on the first day of legal sales.

April 21, 2022

LAWRENCE TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Customers waited in lines as long as the DMV was during Covid for their first fully legal recreational cannabis sales that started today on April 21, 2022. Customers told MidJersey.News that some were waiting in long lines for over 2+ hours at Zenleaf Dispensary in Lawrenceville as lines wrapped around the building.

Press pool story by: Brent Johnson 

Gov. Phil Murphy joined New Jersey’s top two state lawmakers Thursday on a tour of a dispensary as legal recreational marijuana sales began in the state.

“Congratulations,” Murphy told officials and staff members as he walked around Zen Leaf in Elizabeth, one of 12 locations that opened for adults 21 and over to buy weed legally.

Murphy got applause from people in line as he entered the facility, five years after he campaigned on legalizing marijuana. He was joined on the tour by state Senate President Nicholas Scutari, D-Union, state Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, D-Middlesex, and Elizabeth Mayor J. Christian Bollwage.

Murphy asked Coughlin: “You trying anything?”

“No,” Coughlin replied. “You?”

“No,” Murphy said. 

The governor noted this week marijuana is “not my thing” and he prefers Scotch.

Murphy also congratulated Scutari, who led the legislative effort for years to legalize pot. 

“Congratulations,” Murphy said. “We couldn’t have done it without you.”

“Thanks for the help,” Scutari said.

Zen Leaf General Manager Sonny Achrekar told Murphy there are separate lines for recreational and medical customers. He also said the dispensary opens for one hour each at the start and end of the day for patients only.

A staff member showed Murphy and the officials a bottle of sour watermelon gummies that cost $80 a bottle. 

Cashier was Israel DeJesus told Murphy that sales Thursday are expected to be “off the charts” and they have extra staff coming in.

“Thanks to you, man, everything is possible,” DeJesus told the governor. “This is what everyone is waiting for.” 

Photos by: Brian McCarthy, OnScene News

Long lines wrap around the building at Zenleaf, Lawrenceville:

Press Pool Photos below by: Michael Mancuso

Find a legal licensed dispensary at the following link:

Governor Murphy Marks Historic Opening Day of Adult-Use Recreational Cannabis Sales in New Jersey

Find a dispensary at the following link:

April 21, 2022

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER) – Governor Phil Murphy today marked the historic opening day of adult-use recreational cannabis sales in New Jersey at Zen Leaf in Elizabeth – one of several facilities across the state now selling cannabis to adults 21 years and older. The commencement of the adult-use recreational cannabis market represents another step forward in New Jersey’s ongoing efforts to create a new cannabis industry that continues to prioritize medical marijuana patients and advance social justice initiatives.

After careful consideration of necessary regulations for the cannabis industry and thorough review of various applicants, the Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC) recently approved seven alternative treatment centers – sites already selling medical marijuana – to begin selling recreational cannabis to the adult-use market. The CRC confirmed these seven treatment centers, which operate 13 facilities in 11 different counties, will be able to meet critical requirements, such as ensuring enough supply for medical marijuana patients and meeting social equity standards.

The overarching goal of these efforts is to make New Jersey’s industry able to stand as a model for other states in the nation in ensuring racial, social, and economic equity and justice. Additional applicants are currently under review as the State works to grow the industry to serve as an engine of economic growth, a generator of new, good-paying jobs, and a vehicle for ongoing social equity efforts.

“From day one, my administration has worked with our partners in the Legislature to advance social justice on behalf of the communities disproportionately impacted by marijuana prohibition by working to expunge cannabis-related convictions, decriminalize possession, and establish an equitable cannabis industry,” said Governor Phil Murphy. “The first sale of legal, adult-use cannabis today marks a historic moment for New Jersey, as we leave behind the indefensible practices that led to the incarceration of countless people of color and embrace the opportunities of a fair, regulated adult-use market. It is a moment that required long hours of work to make sure we got it right the first time, and I am proud of our efforts to get to this point. With today’s launch, my administration will continue working to grow a cannabis industry that reflects the diversity of our state, protects access for medical marijuana patients, prioritizes justice, and promotes equal opportunities for communities of color.”

“It is an exciting time for New Jersey cannabis enthusiasts. I am proud of the work the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission has done to lead us to the market opening,” said Cannabis Regulatory Commission Chair Dianna Houenou. “While today is an important moment for New Jersey, it marks only the beginning of the better and more robust industry that is to come. I am excited for the market we ultimately hope to establish – with successful local businesses that reflect the diversity of our state.”

To ensure medical marijuana patients continue to receive the treatment they need, each of the alternative treatment centers approved by the CRC confirmed their ability to continue providing access to existing patients and prioritize their needs through strategies such as patient-specific hours and parking spaces.

Alternative treatment centers approved by the CRC to sell to the adult-use market are also required to meet critical social equity standards, including providing technical information to new cannabis businesses owned by individuals who have lived in economically-disadvantaged areas or have had cannabis-related convictions in the past. The centers will continuously be assessed on hiring and management diversity, support for community programs, and the percentage of minority-owned vendors or suppliers with which they contract. 70% of the sales tax collected on adult use cannabis sales will also go towards communities affected by marijuana-related arrests to further these social justice and equity goals.

“This is a milestone that marks real progress in creating a new cannabis industry that creates jobs, generates economic activity and offers opportunities to the communities that were hurt the most by the failed policy that criminalized marijuana,” said Senate President Nick Scutari, the architect of both the medical marijuana and adult use cannabis laws. “By replacing the past drug laws with a regulated system for adult use cannabis we are ending an era that wasted criminal justice resources, damaged the economic wellbeing of communities and destroyed lives. I hope to see more progress in the expansion of the cannabis market so that New Jersey continues to be a leader with the most significant social justice reforms of our time.”

“Today’s launch marks the latest major milestone in what has been a long journey to stand up an adult-use market in New Jersey,” said Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin. “As these initial retailers begin New Jersey’s first recreational sales, I am particularly excited to see the growth trajectory of the industry and what will be achieved for our economy through reinvestments into our communities.”

“This historic day represents the culmination of our work to put an end to the cannabis prohibition and bolster New Jersey’s economic development with the introduction of the adult-use cannabis market,” said Assemblywoman Annette Quijano. “I am proud to have sponsored legislation that made today possible.”

“New Jersey has entered a new era,” said Assemblyman Reginald Atkins. “With this industry, there will be job growth, investment opportunities, and increased tax revenues that will propel our State’s economy forward.”

“Today, only sixteen months after New Jersey’s residents voted overwhelmingly to amend our state constitution, approved stores across New Jersey will begin selling cannabis for adult recreational use,” said Sam Ferraino, UFCW Local 360 president. “Getting to this point has not been easy or smooth, but a determined coalition of stakeholders led by Governor Murphy and Senate President Scutari made sure we never lost momentum, or focus. We have worked to make sure that this industry prioritizes the needs of communities and provide career opportunities for workers in this new industry, which has led to vote after vote in favor of unionizing – including two in just the last week. And we built a process that gives extra consideration to businesses applications submitted by people from economically disadvantaged areas, or with a prior cannabis conviction. That is why I am so grateful to be here today, representing thousands of United Food and Commercial Workers union members, as we enter into this new era.”

“We cannot say enough about Governor Murphy’s first term agenda of legalizing adult-use cannabis,” said New Jersey CannaBusiness Association President Edmund DeVeaux. “He never wavered from the possibility of achieving some measure of social justice and economic parity for those harmed by the failed War on Drugs. Today we celebrate the mutual efforts of government, business, and the advocacy community.”

“This is a long-awaited and historic day supported by an overwhelming majority of voters,” said Bill Caruso, Chair of Archer Law’s Cannabis Group and longtime cannabis activist. “The beginning of safe, regulated access to adult-use cannabis sales will help to create new jobs and economic opportunities here in the Garden State as well as new tax revenue that can be reinvested in communities and restorative justice initiatives. Congrats to Governor Murphy, the Legislature, the CRC, as well as the advocacy community and industry partners for making this day a reality!”

House Fire in Robbinsville Quickly Extinguished

April 21, 2022

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)–At 11:21 p.m. last night April 20, 2022 the Robbinsville Township Fire Department was detailed to the 100 Block of Voelbel Road for a house fire. Robbinsville firefighters arrived about 11:25 p.m. and reported fire showing from the front of the building, and stretched a hand line to the front of the building. Fire crews called for an “All Hands” (full 1st alarm) sending additional mutual aid to the scene from surrounding departments. Within 10 minutes of arrival firefighters had the fire quickly knocked down and under control. The fire was reported electrical in nature. No additional information is available at this time.

Photos from RTFD Facebook

Fatal Crash on NJ Turnpike in Robbinsville Involving a Tractor Trailer; Delays Up To 6 Miles

Update from NJ State Police:

Troopers responded to a motor vehicle crash at 3:43 a.m. on the New Jersey Turnpike north on the outer roadway, mile post 63.4, Robbinsville, Mercer County.

Based on a preliminary investigation, Franklin S. Parker, a 36 year-old male of Eden, MD, was operating a tractor trailer northbound on the New Jersey Turnpike in the area of mile post. 63.4, the tractor trailer entered the left shoulder and struck the left guardrail, overturned, and impacted a concrete bridge support. As a result of the crash Franklin S. Parker sustained fatal injuries. The crash remains under investigation and there is no additional information available at the moment.

April 21, 2022

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)–Around 3:47 a.m. multiple 9-1-1 calls were received reporting a serious crash involving a tractor trailer on the NJ Turnpike at mile post 63.5 north bound (North of Exit 7A — Between Exit 7A and Exit 8). Hightstown and Robbinsville Fire Departments were sent to the scene for an extrication. Robbinsville EMS, East Windsor EMS, and Captial Health Paramedics were also on scene. Medivac 2 from Hackensack University Medical Center flew to the scene and cleared at 5:28 a.m. A victim was pronounced at the scene about the same time. The NJ Turnpike was closed for the investigation and clean up but some lanes have since reopened.

This is a breaking news report from the scene and radio reports, once official information becomes available the story will be updated with information from NJSP.

Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton Raises Awareness on Adult Hearing Loss in Recognition of Better Hearing & Speech Month

RWJ Balance & Hearing Center on the Hospital Campus To Offer Free Hearing Screenings to the Public On Tuesday, May 10

April 20, 2022

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) Hamilton, an RWJBarnabas Health facility, is recognizing Better Hearing and Speech Month this May by raising awareness for hearing loss in adults and encouraging hearing screenings. Free screening will be available at the RWJ Balance & Hearing Center, on RWJ University Hospital Hamilton’s campus, Tuesday, May 10, 2022, from 1-3 p.m. Register by calling 609-245-7390.

According to the National Institute on Aging, hearing loss affects approximately one-third of adults 65 to 74 years of age, and nearly half of those older than 75 have difficulty hearing. Despite that, only about 20% of individuals who might benefit from treatment seek help.

“There is an unfortunate stigma around hearing loss and treatment options, especially hearing aids, but hearing loss is a common medical condition,” said Dr. Lorraine Sgarlato, Au.D., Senior Audiologist at RWJ Balance & Hearing Center. “Adults with hearing loss are at higher risk of developing certain health conditions such as social isolation, depression, anxiety, falls, cognitive decline and even dementia. It’s important that adults 50-60 years of age get screened for hearing loss, and anyone 61 and older receive diagnostic testing annually. We are encouraging individuals to get screened this May during Better Hearing and Speech Month and are making hearing screenings more accessible through our free public event on May 10th.”

“I had hearing aids from other places, and they didn’t work properly. I thought maybe this is just how it works, but my nephew kept encouraging me to go to the RWJ Balance & Hearing Center at RWJUH Hamilton and see Dr. Sgarlato,” said Judith McCallister, 79, patient of the RWJ Balance & Hearing Center. “I was immediately put at ease from my first appointment, and after a couple follow up visits, my new hearing aids were working properly. I absolutely am feeling different and more independent. My phone is through my hearing aids, and I even stream TV through my hearing aids. At 79 years young I’ve got some tips, and I can tell you, you don’t know unless you try.”

Treatment options for hearing loss in adults include hearing aids, special training, certain medicines, and surgery, with many options and hearing aid types to fit all patients’ lifestyles and financial situations. The RWJ Balance & Hearing Center offers a 30-day full refund on hearing aids which allows patients to find the right match and fit at no cost until they are fully satisfied with a hearing device.

Questions adults should ask themselves about their hearing in order to evaluate if they need a hearing evaluation should include:

  • Do you have dizziness, pain, or ringing in your ears?
  • Do people around you often seem to mumble?
  • Do you often need to ask people to repeat themselves?
  • Do others complain about you turning up the TV volume too high?
  • Do you have trouble following a conversation when more than one person is talking?
  • Do you have trouble hearing on the phone?
  • Do you have to listen carefully or put in extra effort to understand a conversation?
  • Do you have trouble hearing in noisy environments, such as restaurants?

Regardless of age if you answered yes to any of the above questions, you should consider scheduling a hearing evaluation. The RWJ Balance & Hearing Center, located at 2 Hamilton Health Place Hamilton Township, NJ, will be hosting free hearing screenings during Better Hearing and Speech Month on Tuesday, May 10, 2022 from 1- 3 p.m. with additional events taking place on Tuesday, June 14 and Tuesday, July 12. Screenings are open to the public. To register for screenings or to schedule an appointment call 609-245-7390.

To learn more about RWJUH Hamilton visit: For more information about community education programs and Better Health Programs (65+) offered by RWJUH Hamilton, visit or call 609-584-5900.

U.S. Attorney Sellinger Announces Anti-Hate Crime Outreach, “United Against Hate” Initiative in New Jersey

April 20, 2022

NEWARK, N.J. – U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced today his office’s participation in a first of its kind, anti-hate crime outreach program entitled United Against Hate, which seeks to directly connect federal, state, and local law enforcement with traditionally marginalized communities in order to build trust and encourage the reporting of hate crimes and hate incidents.

Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division joined U.S. Attorney Sellinger, Acting New Jersey Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin, and FBI Acting Special Agent in Charge Terence Reilly to announce their federal and state partnership on this new initiative. After they spoke to an audience of community leaders, civil rights advocates, and community members, subject matter experts from their offices engaged in a presentation and direct discussions with community leaders and advocates about taking steps to identify, report, and prevent hate crimes and incidents.

“Hate crimes and discrimination are antithetical to the core principles underlying our democracy,” U.S. Attorney Sellinger said. “No one should ever be subject to acts of discrimination or hate because of where they are from, what they look like, whom they love, or how they worship. In response to a dramatic increase in hate crimes and hate incidents, we are launching the United Against Hate Initiative in New Jersey. Combatting hate crimes, hate incidents, and discrimination is core to our mission, and through dynamic outreach and prevention efforts, we are eager to take steps to combat hate beyond prosecution.”

“The U.S. Department of Justice continues to marshal all resources at its disposal to hold people who engage in unlawful, bias-motivated acts of hate accountable,” Assistant Attorney General Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division said. “Through United Against Hate, we are bringing together the Justice Department, local law enforcement, and community leaders to strengthen our overall efforts to combat hate crimes and prevent hate incidents. Our communities, schools, workplaces and homes are all safer when we stand unified in the fight against hate.”

“The ripple effect of hate crimes is felt hundreds, even thousands of miles away,” FBI Acting Special Agent in Charge Reilly said. “People who identify with those victims see themselves and wonder ‘will it happen here?’ and ‘Will I be next?’ The Constitution of the United States grants us many freedoms. When any one of those freedoms – or any other constitutional right – is threatened or violated, we have to respond. And when I say ‘we,’ I’m not speaking just as a member of the FBI. I’m speaking as a member of the community. Because if we don’t respond, we risk the erosion of our very identity as a nation. That’s why the FBI embarked on a hate crimes awareness campaign last year. We want people to call us if they have witnessed or been subjected to a hate crime.”

“The numbers are clear. Hate and bias are at an all-time high across our nation and in New Jersey,” Acting Attorney General Platkin said. “One of the strongest tools we have at our disposal is the collaboration between government and community stakeholders. That is why I am proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with federal and state partners who share the same commitment and urgency to stem the tide of hate.”

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey was chosen as one of three districts, out of 94 districts in the nation, to advance the United Against Hate outreach initiative. The U.S. Attorney’s Office plans to engage with communities across New Jersey to deepen connections with those communities, further hate crimes prevention efforts, and encourage more people to report hate crimes and hate incidents.

Last month, U.S. Attorney Sellinger announced the creation of a Civil Rights Division within the U.S. Attorney’s Office. This new division, which enforces both civil and criminal civil rights laws, will engage with local community members, advocacy groups, and other federal and state agencies to protect civil rights. The division will lead the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s efforts in implementing the United Against Hate initiative.

Members of the public may report possible civil rights violations through the or may call the U.S. Attorney’s Civil Rights Hotline at (855) 281-3339.