Day: March 24, 2023

Firefighter Injured Battling Hamilton Township House Fire

UPDATE: A Hamilton Fire Captain sustained serious burns searching for anyone trapped inside the burning home. The Fire Captain was able to leave the hospital tonight. See statement from the FMBA below:

March 24, 2023

HAMILTON, NJ (MERCER)–The Hamilton Township Fire Department was dispatched to the first block of Madeline Court around 2:30 p.m. Several people reported seeing a column of smoke for miles. The firefighters arrived and put multiple hose lines in service and were able to quickly extinguish the flames. One firefighter was transported to Captial Health Regional Medical Center with a burn injury. There were no reported civilian injuries. In a Facebook post Hamilton Firefighters ask to keep the firefighter and the family in your prayers. No additional information is available at this time.


Statement from FMBA 284 President Shane Mull

“The members of the Hamilton Township Fire Officers Association want to thank all of those who have reached out and offered assistance to our members following the events of today. Unfortunately a Captain sustained serious burns as he searched for anyone trapped inside the burning home. He was quickly aided by members on scene and transported by ambulance to Capitol Health Regional Medical Center. The Captain was treated for his burns and able to walk out of the hospital. Firefighting is a dangerous job. Today reminds us that proper staffing, equipment, and training make a difference. Please continue to pray for a quick recovery”

Mayor Of Wildwood, NJ Pleads Guilty To Two Counts In Preparation Of Fraudulent Tax Returns

March 24, 2023

CAMDEN, N.J. – The mayor of Wildwood, New Jersey, today admitted that he aided and assisted in the preparation and presentation of false and fraudulent tax returns, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced.

Peter J. Byron of Wildwood, 67, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Court Judge Karen M. Williams in Camden federal court to an information charging him with two counts of willfully aiding and assisting in the preparation and presentation of fraudulent tax returns to the IRS for calendar years 2017 and 2018.

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

From January 2017 through December 2018, Byron served as a commissioner for the city of Wildwood, in charge of the Revenue and Finance departments. From June through August of 2017, Byron sent multiple emails to the managing partner of a law firm located in Gloucester County, seeking assistance in obtaining a job. Byron received a letter in October 2017 on the letterhead of the managing partner’s law firm which purported to set forth an employment offer to Byron from a company. According to the terms of the October 2017 letter, Byron was to receive an annual salary from the company for working as a salesman.

From October 2017 through September 2018, Byron received $40,425 in payments from the company. He did not report this income on his tax returns for calendar years 2017 and 2018, resulting in a tax loss to the I.R.S.
The tax charges each carry a maximum potential sentence of three years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000 or twice the gross amount of any pecuniary gain that any persons derived from the offense, whichever is greater. Sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 2, 2023.

U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited the FBI Atlantic City Public Corruption Task Force which includes the agencies the Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office, and New Jersey State Police, under the direction of FBI Special Agent in Charge James E. Dennehy in Newark; and special agents of IRS – Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Tammy L. Tomlins, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas S. Kearney of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Special Prosecutions Unit in Newark.


Defense counsel: Thomas Young Esq., Assistant Federal Public Defender, Camden

Wildwood Mayor Pete Byron Facebook Page

Manchester Township Man Pleads Guilty To Three Counts Of Aggravated Arson

March 24, 2023

Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that on March 24, 2023, Gregory Fullman, Jr., 33, of Manchester Township, pled guilty to three counts of Aggravated Arson before the Honorable Guy P. Ryan, P.J.Cr.P.  At the time of his sentencing on May 19, 2023, the State will be seeking a term of twelve years New Jersey State Prison.  Fullman will also be responsible for making restitution in connection with fire suppression services.

On January 31, 2022, a multi-jurisdictional investigation into numerous forest fires intentionally set in Ocean County culminated with Fullman’s arrest.  The investigation revealed that Fullman was responsible for setting fires and destroying or damaging wooded areas in Little Egg Harbor Township, Manchester Township, and Lakewood Township between the dates of May 2021 and January 2022.  Fullman was taken into custody on January 31, 2022, and has been lodged in the Ocean County Jail since his apprehension.

Prosecutor Billhimer Prosecutor Billhimer acknowledges the diligent efforts of Senior Assistant Prosecutor Meghan O’Neill  who handled the case on behalf of the State, as well as  the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit-Arson Squad, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Narcotics Strike Force, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Crime Unit, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Economic Crime Unit, Little Egg Harbor Township Police Department, Manchester Township Police Department, Lakewood Township Police Department, Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigations Unit, Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Field Services Unit, Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Administrative Unit, Ocean County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Unit, Ocean County Fire Marshal’s Office, Ocean County Vehicle Services Department, New Jersey State Forest Fire Service, New Jersey State Police Office of Forensic Sciences, New Jersey State Police Regional Operations Intelligence Center,  Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit, Monmouth County Fire Marshal’s Office, Wall Township Police Department, and City of Bridgeton Fire Department Bureau of Fire Prevention K-9 Unit, for their combined and collective efforts relative to this extensive investigation, resulting in Fullman’s guilty pleas, and soon, his state prison sentence.

Keyport Man Charged With $60K Theft, Impersonation

March 24, 2023

FREEHOLD – A Bayshore man has been criminally charged with stealing more than $60,000 from a local appliance repair company that he managed financial matters for over the course of several years, Monmouth County Prosecutor Raymond S. Santiago announced Friday.

Eduardo “Edward” Murillo, 46, of Keyport is charged with third-degree Theft by Unlawful Taking or Disposition and third-degree Impersonation/Identity Theft.

An investigation by members of the MCPO Financial Crimes & Public Corruption Bureau revealed that Murillo first met the principal of the aforementioned appliance repair company several years ago, during services at a church in Matawan. Thereafter, purporting to be highly experienced in accounting, Murillo began handling the personal and financial business of the victim and his company, also based in Matawan.

Analysis of financial records revealed that on various dates between 2017 and 2019, Murillo stole a little more than $61,000 from the company, using a variety of unauthorized transactions, and spending the proceeds on items such as personal expenses and sports betting.

Murillo surrendered to authorities without incident yesterday and was formally charged and released pending a Monmouth County Superior Court hearing tentatively scheduled to take place on Tuesday, May 2.

Anyone with additional information about Murillo’s activities is urged to contact MCPO Detective Michael W. Donovan III at 800-533-7443.

This case has been assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Kristen Anastos. Murillo is being represented by Taylor DiBenedetto, Esq., with an office in New Brunswick.   

Convictions on criminal charges of this nature can be punishable by up to five years in state prison.

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

Jackson Township Man Charged With Multiple Counts Of Aggravated Assault And Assault By Auto

March 24, 2023

TOMS RIVER, NJ (OCEAN)–Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced on March 24, 2023, Charles Sharkey, Jr., 33, of Jackson Township, was charged with four counts of Aggravated Assault, four counts of Assault by Auto, Unlawful Taking of a Means of Conveyance, Causing Death or Injury While Driving with a Suspended or Revoked Driver’s License, and multiple motor vehicle summons, in connection with a serious motor vehicle crash that occurred on March 23, 2023, in Toms River.

On Thursday, March 23, 2023, at approximately 4:00 p.m., Officers from the Toms River Police Department responded to the area of Route 70 and Massachusetts Avenue for a report of a serious motor vehicle crash.  Initial investigation by responding officers revealed that a 2022 Dodge Ram 1500, operated by Sharkey, was traveling eastbound on Route 70 approaching the cross street of Massachusetts Avenue.  Sharkey failed to stop at the red light at the intersection, and grazed the rear of a 2016 Honda CRV which had been travelling westbound on Route 70 and turning left onto Massachusetts Avenue.  Sharkey then struck a 2017 Subaru Impreza – also attempting to make a left-hand turn onto Massachusetts Avenue from Route 70 westbound – which contained a male adult driver and three juvenile passengers.  As a result, the Impreza was pushed backward and rotated in a clockwise manner.  The Dodge Ram operated by Sharkey overturned and came to final rest on the driver-side; the vehicle caught fire and sustained heavy fire damage. In the process of the vehicle overturning, a 2021 Lexus RX 350 was grazed and sustained minor damage. 

As a consequence of the crash, the adult driver of the Impreza and two of the juvenile passengers were taken to Jersey Shore University Medical Center (JSUMC) in Neptune Township for treatment of minor injuries; they were subsequently released.  The third juvenile passenger of the Impreza was also taken to JSUMC with serious injuries, and is presently listed in critical condition. 

Further investigation revealed that Sharkey had been driving erratically and was utilizing a cellular device just prior to the crash.   Additionally, it was learned that Sharkey had a suspended driver’s license at the time of the crash, as well as two active warrants for his arrest.  It was also determined that the Dodge Ram was a rental vehicle – taken by Sharkey without the renter’s consent.  Sharkey was placed under arrest at the scene.  He was transported to Monmouth Medical Center-Southern Campus in Lakewood for treatment of his injuries.  While at the hospital, Detectives obtained a warrant for a draw of Sharkey’s blood; the laboratory results relative to the blood draw remain pending.  Sharkey was transported to the Ocean County Jail, where he is currently lodged pending a detention hearing.  Further charges may be forthcoming.

Prosecutor Billhimer commends the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Vehicular Homicide Squad, Toms River Township Police Department, Toms River Township Police Department Detective Bureau, and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit, for their combined and collective effort in connection with this investigation.

The charges referenced above are merely accusations and the press and public are reminded that all defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

R.P.C.  3.6(b)(6).

NJ Public Safety News Alerts

Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Restores Full Command And Control To Lavallette Chief Of Police

March 24, 2023

Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer has announced that effective today, March 24, 2023, the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office is restoring full command and control of the Lavallette Police Department to Lavallette Chief of Police Christian LaCicero.

On May 19, 2022, Prosecutor· Billhimer, pursuant to his authority as Chief Law Enforcement Officer of Ocean County, announced that the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office assumed full command and control of the Lavallette Police Department based upon te1minal leave of then-Police Chief Colin Grant. To that end, Prosecutor Billhimer designated Anthony U. Carrington, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of Detectives, as the Officer-in-Charge, and Joseph F. Mitchell, retired Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of Detectives, to handle the day-to-day operations of the Lavallette Police Department

Since assuming full command and control of the Lavallette Police Department, the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office conducted a thorough evaluation of the department, highlighting areas in need of improvement and implementing plans and procedures to further the goal of meeting the necessary standards of a professional law enforcement agency. The Supervisory Rep01i of the Lavallette Police Department is attached to this press release. The Report itemizes deficiencies that the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office addressed and corrected, as well as deficiencies that remain.

“I am proud of the work we have done to assist the Lavallette Police Department. The police officers – the men and women that wear the unif01m in Lavallette – have been very receptive to our implementation of formal procedures, practices and policies. I’m optimistic that Chief LaCicero will lead these men and women effectively moving forward,” Prosecutor Billhimer stated.

“I’d like to thank Chief Carrington, Chief Mitchell, and Lt. Brian Hagge1iy for their dedicated service to the Borough of Lavallette. They conducted themselves professionally at all times and were tremendous representatives of this office,” Prosecutor Billhimer stated. “I’d also like to thank Chief Assistant Prosecutor – Professional Standards Unit, William Scharfenberg for the work he’s done on behalf of this office in Lavallette. Collectively, we are leaving this Police Department in a better position to succeed – which was really the goal all along,” Prosecutor Billhimer stated.                                                      ·

“At this point in time, Chief LaCicero has completed Chiefs training with the New Jersey Association of Chiefs of Police, Internal Affairs Training provided by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, and has benefitted from the leadership provided by this office – specifically Chief Carrington, Chief Mitchell, and Lt. Hagge1iy for the past ten months. He is ready to lead the Lavallette Police Department,” Prosecutor Billhimer added.

The Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, by and through the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Professional Standards Unit, had previously assumed command and control of the Internal Affairs functions of the Lavallette Police Department on December 16, 2021, after an audit of the Department’s records. Earlier this month, the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office provided the required Office of Attorney General Internal Affairs training to all Ocean County Law Enforcement. Chief LaCicero and two Lavallette Sergeants attended and successfully completed the training. “Now that the Chief and two Sergeants have been properly trained in conducting Internal Affairs investigations, the Internal Affairs function will also be returned to the Lavallette Police Department,” Prosecutor Billhimer stated.

“While the Borough has indicated that it is unable to afford the cost associated with getting the Lavallette Police Department accredited by the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police, it is my hope that they will, in time, be able to join the 26 other law enforcement agencies in Ocean County that are already accredited. Accreditation ensures that a law enforcement agency is operating at maximum efficiency and reduces risk and liability exposure,” Prosecutor Billhimer stated.

“I commend the officers of the Lavallette Police Department that stepped up and met the high standards that my office required of them. It is imp01iant to me, as well as the residents of the Borough, that the officers are properly trained and committed to keeping their community safe and secure,” Prosecutor Billhimer added.

“I wish Chief LaCicero the best of luck in his position as Chief of the Lavallette Police Department and thank him for his service to the community,” Prosecutor Billhimer concluded.

PBA Facebook Photo