Category: Burlington

Scenes from Trenton Navy Week 2022

May 9, 2022

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Sailors of the U.S. Navy visited the Greater Trenton Area as part of Trenton Navy Week. The Navy sent 100 sailors into the area last week, to met with students to talk about the importance of STEM education, volunteering at local non-profits, and holding community events. Trenton was chosen as one of 14 cities to host Navy Week across the country this year and that took place May 2-8, 2022. This was the first time a Navy Week has been held in the state of New Jersey in the history of the program. A planned Trenton Navy Week in 2020 which had to be scrapped due to COVID.



Fire Controlman (Aegis) 2nd Class Jacob Gagliardi from Trenton, NJ attached to USS Gettysburg (CG-64) greets the crowd at TD Bank Ballpark, home field of the Somerset Patriots, as part of Navy Week Trenton.


Trenton Central High School:


Steinert High School:


Salvation Army:


Crockett Middle School:


Trenton Thunder:



TRENTON, N.J. — (MAY 5, 2022) U.S. Navy Religious Programs Specialist Michael Declaro from San Leandro, Calif. sends a shout out to his ship, USS Princeton, (CG-59) for Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage month. U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Roger S. Duncan

Boys and Girls Club:


Community Middle School Plainsboro:




Burlington, NJ Man Charged with Murder and Arson for Setting Fire to Apartment Complex in Pemberton Borough

PEMBERTON BOROUGH, NJ (BURLINGTON)–The New Jersey State Police have charged Newlin Evans, 22, of Burlington, N.J., with murder and arson for allegedly setting fire to an apartment complex that killed a man and injured two other victims.

On April 20, the Pemberton Borough Police Department began investigating a fire on Egbert Street in Pemberton Borough that killed Camryn Powell, 22, of Pemberton Borough, N.J. As a result of the initial investigation, the fire was deemed suspicious and members from the New Jersey State Police Troop ‘C’ Red Lion Station along with detectives from the Criminal Investigation Office, Major Crime South Unit, and Crime Scene Investigations Unit were requested to assist with the investigation. The State Police assists the Pemberton Borough Police Department with investigations that involve first and second-degree crimes.

During the investigation, detectives determined that Powell was inside the apartment at the time of the fire and sustained fatal injuries. As a result of the fire, Evans sustained serious injuries and fled the scene. He was later located at a motel in Mansfield Township, N.J. and was transported to Jefferson Hospital. Through various investigative means, detectives determined that Evans initially used an accelerant inside the apartment and started the fire.

On May 4, detectives issued a warrant for his arrest, and he was apprehended by the Jefferson Hospital Campus Security Department. Newlin Evans was charged with felony murder, aggravated arson, causing or risking widespread injury or damage. He was lodged in the Philadelphia County jail pending extradition to New Jersey.

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

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


17 Busted in Pemberton Township on Drug Charges

May 2, 2022

PEMBERTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (BURLINGTON)–Pemberton Township Police report that this morning, May 2nd, 2022, at 5:31 a.m. the Pemberton Township Police Department assisted by the New Jersey State Police TEAMS Unit executed a residential search warrant on the 600 block of Herbert Road pertaining to a narcotics investigation. The execution led to 17 arrests and the seizure of a quantity of Heroin, Methamphetamine and Cocaine consistent with distribution, specifically from Nicole Vida and Nicole Lihou. Cody Smires, who had an active warrant for his arrest, was located in the area and a pedestrian stop was conducted leading to him being arrested. He was found to be in possession of a quantity of Methamphetamine consistent with distribution. Additional suspects were charged with various crimes including Possession of Drug Paraphernalia and Possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance (Heroin and Methamphetamine). Talarick, Vida, Blankenship and Smires were all charged and lodged at the Burlington County Jail pending court appearances. All other subjects were released on summons for their charges.
This is the second time in a month that this address has been the target of a narcotics investigation by the Pemberton Township Police Department. A search warrant was executed on April 1st, 2022 where nine people were arrested including Vida who was charged with Distribution of a Controlled Dangerous Substance in that incident.

Jeffrey Pastore, 67, of Browns Mills was arrested and charged with Possession of Drug Paraphernalia and Maintaining a Nuisance.

Jacob Talarick, 56, of Browns Mills was arrested on an active warrant and charged with Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

Cody Smires, 29, of Browns Mills was arrested on an active warrant and charged with Possession of Controlled Dangerous Substance (CDS) (Methamphetamine), Distribution of CDS (Methamphetamine) and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia

Brandy Lawton, 31, of Browns Mills was arrested and charged with Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

Nicole Vida, 40, of Browns Mills was arrested and charged with Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Distribution of a CDS (Heroin), Distribution of CDS (Cocaine) and Distribution of CDS (Methamphetamine).

Nicole Lihou, 31, of Browns Mills was arrested and charged with Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Distribution of a CDS (Heroin), Distribution of CDS (Cocaine) and Distribution of CDS (Methamphetamine).

Emerson Midgette, 41, of Browns Mills was arrested and charged with Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

David Roberts, 44, of Browns Mills was arrested and charged with Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

Garriett Bullock, 60, of Browns Mills was arrested and charged with Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

Michelle Lucas, 44, of Browns Mills was arrested and charged with Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

Michael Gilliland, 44, of Browns Mills was arrested on an active warrant and charged with Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

Latanya Jones, 52, of Browns Mills was arrested and charged with Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

Alexus Jones, 26, of Browns Mills was arrested and charged with Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

Desiree Blankenship, 30, of Browns Mills was arrested on an active warrant and charged with Possession of CDS (Methamphetamine) and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

Michael Guerra, 37, of Browns Mills was arrested charged with Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

Eric Linzmayer, 41, of Browns Mills was arrested and charged with Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

Lisa Acevedo, 49, of Browns Mills was arrested and charged with Possession of CDS (Heroin) and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.


As a reminder all suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Anyone with information about this incident or other crimes occurring in Pemberton Township is asked to contact the Pemberton Township Police Department Detective Division at 609-894-3310 or the Confidential Tip-Line at 609-894-3352.


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.

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Defense counsel: Megan J. Davies Esq., Haddonfield


Riverside Watch Case Building Developer Sentenced for Fraudulent Actions; Ownership Transferred, Work to Resume

April 11, 2022

Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina announced that a New York man who purchased a historic Riverside Township commercial building to create luxury apartments has transferred ownership of the property and paid nearly $670,000 to clear liens and cover taxes, a move that will allow work on the seven-story landmark to resume under a new developer.

The move came in conjunction with the sentencing on April 6 of Raphael S. Weiss, 61, of Brooklyn, on charges of Computer Related Activity (Second Degree) and Forgery (Third Degree) in exchange for a suspended five-year sentence.

Weiss, who pled guilty in January, admitted to using the credentials of a potential subcontractor to fraudulently gain approval for electrical permits from the township construction office.

“We are pleased that the defendant has accepted responsibility for his crimes and more importantly, that Riverside soon will be able to move forward with this project with a responsible developer,” Prosecutor Coffina said after Weiss entered his guilty plea. “We know how important the Keystone Watch Case Co. is to Riverside’s past, present and future, and look forward to seeing this beautiful building brought back to life, and the positive impact it will have on this community.”

The investigation began in 2020 after a contractor who was negotiating with Weiss to be the electrical subcontractor on the Keystone Watch Case Co. building redevelopment project noticed that electrical work had begun at the North Pavilion Avenue site, even though no formal agreement had been finalized and he had not applied for any permits.

After being denied access to the construction site by Weiss, the electrician went to the township construction office and was told that 36 permits had already been issued in his name, and in the name of his business, for work to be done at the property.

Further examination revealed that the electrician’s signature had been forged on the permits, which were applied for by Weiss, and a counterfeit version of the contractor’s state-issued embossing seal had been used to make an imprint.

The investigation revealed that Weiss initiated the scheme as a way to reduce construction costs by fraudulently utilizing the credentials of the licensed electrician to obtain the necessary permits, then hiring unlicensed, unqualified laborers to complete the work at a much less expensive rate.

Not only was the action illegal, but it also jeopardized the safety of the project, as demonstrated by the fact that the electrical work completed after the fraudulent permits were obtained failed to pass inspection.

The Keystone Watch Case Co. building was constructed in 1908 and manufactured gold cases for watches. The company employed more than 1,000 employees in 1918, making it the largest watch case manufacturer in the world. The business was treasured as a strong engine in the local economy, with many employees living close enough to walk to work.

The company closed in 1956, and the building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977. It was purchased in 2016 by Brooklyn-based SimShabs Capital Partners LTD, of which Weiss is owner and president.

The plans submitted by Weiss to Riverside Township indicated that the iconic landmark, which has a prominent, highly visible clock tower rising above the roofline, would be converted into 64 luxury apartments.

Weiss was prosecuted by Assistant Prosecutor Joseph Remy, supervisor of the BCPO Financial Crimes Unit, and Assistant Prosecutor Andrew McDonnell, supervisor of the BCPO Insurance Fraud Unit.

The investigation was conducted by detectives from the BCPO Financial Crimes Unit and the Riverside Township Police Department. The lead investigators are BCPO Detective Nicholas Schieber and Riverside Lt. Louis Fisher.

2022-43 Keystone Watch Case Co. Building Sentencing

A New York man who purchased a historic Riverside Township commercial building to create luxury apartments has transferred ownership of the property and paid nearly $670,000 to clear liens and cover taxes, a move that will allow work on the seven-story landmark to resume under a new developer. The move came in conjunction with the sentencing on April 6 of Raphael S. Weiss, 61, of Brooklyn, on charges of Computer Related Activity (Second Degree) and Forgery (Third Degree) in exchange for a suspended five-year sentence. Weiss, who pled guilty in January, admitted to using the credentials of a potential subcontractor to fraudulently gain approval for electrical permits from the township construction office.




Trenton Man Convicted of Robbing Investor’s Bank in Bordentown City

March 30, 2022

BORDENTOWN CITY, NJ (BURLINGTON)–Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina announced that a Superior Court jury deliberated less than two hours before convicting a 58-year-old Trenton man of robbing a Bordentown City bank of nearly $7,000 in January 2020.

George T. Rodgers, of Jarvis Place, was found guilty yesterday of one count of Robbery (Second Degree). The Hon. Gerard H. Breland, J.S.C., scheduled sentencing for May 27.

Rodgers has been lodged in the Burlington County Jail in Mount Holly since being taken into custody just hours after holding up the bank.

The investigation began around noon on January 14, 2020, after officers were dispatched to the Investor’s Bank in the 200 block of Route 130 for a report of a robbery. The investigation revealed that the suspect approached the bank on a bicycle, then entered wearing a ski mask and passed the teller a note that read, “Give me the money, no dye bags.”

The suspect received $6,779 in cash, which he placed inside a purple Crown Royal whiskey bag before fleeing on his bicycle. The investigation further revealed that the suspect then pedaled to a Hyundai Santa Fe parked at a nearby restaurant, placed the bicycle in the rear of the SUV, entered the vehicle and drove off on Route 130 North.

Investigators were able to locate the vehicle later that day and, upon making a traffic stop, discovered Rodgers behind the wheel. The bicycle, the Crown Royal bag, a ski mask and $4,700 in cash were discovered inside of his residence.

The case was investigated by the Bordentown City Police Department and the Bordentown Township Police Department. Rodgers is being prosecuted by Assistant Prosecutor Julian Harris.

2022-41 Bordentown City Bank Robbery Conviction



Bordentown Man Charged in August 2021 Fatal Crash Route 129 and Lalor Street

March 29, 2022

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri announced today that an investigation into a fatal motor vehicle crash that occurred in Trenton in August 2021 has resulted in criminal charges being filed against a Bordentown man.

Lemark Norwood, 44, is charged with second-degree leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death and third-degree endangering an injured victim. He was processed and released pending future court proceedings.

On Sunday, August 29, 2021, at approximately 5:15 a.m., Trenton police responded to the intersection of Route 129 and Lalor Street for a hit-and-run motor vehicle collision. Responding officers found Celso Rivera, 35, in the roadway and rendered aid, but Rivera was pronounced dead at the scene.

Trenton Police Detective Nicholas Morgante and Detective Ryan Minnick of the prosecutor’s Serious Collision Response Team worked for months reviewing automated license plate reader data, combing through surveillance camera footage from the area, and identifying and speaking to witnesses who passed through the intersection in the same approximate time frame of the crash. The investigation revealed that, on the morning of the fatal collision, Norwood was operating a blue 2017 Mercedes Benz E400 in the area. When detectives made contact with Norwood at his residence in Bordentown, the Mercedes Benz was parked in the driveway. The vehicle had visible damage to the front hood, including a dent on the driver’s side with a paint chip missing.

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



Traffic Alert: Bordentown Township, Route 206 near New Jersey Turnpike Exit 7

March 10, 2022

BORDENTOWN TOWNSHIP, NJ (BURLINGTON)–Due to a crash where a truck hit a bridge Route 206 is down to one lane south bound. The bridge has severe damage and the New Jersey Turnpike reports that the south bound exit ramp to Route 206 is closed.

NJ DOT and Turnpike Authorities are on scene assessing the severe damage to the bridge.

Avoid the area further details will follow.


Bordentown Township Police report: Be advised that Rt. 206 southbound is currently restricted to one (1) lane between Dunns Mill Rd. and Connector Rd. due to a motor vehicle collision. Expect delays and plan an alternate route.





VILLAGES Community Marketplace Celebrates Groundbreaking in Burlington City, NJ

March 5, 2022

BURLINGTON CITY, NJ (BURLINGTON)–On Saturday March 5th, VILLAGES Community Marketplace celebrated its Groundbreaking Ceremony in Burlington County. Guest speakers including New Jersey State Senator Troy Singleton, Amazon Site Leader Gregory Keel, Burlington City Mayor Barry Conaway, Burlington City Police Chief John Fine, Reverend Dr. Hilda Covington, and community residents, addressed this milestone for The Opportunity League. VILLAGES Community Marketplace has been in motion since 2019, and will serve as a local grocery market, place for engagement and community connection – it also removes obstacles to employment, education, and fresh affordable food.

Gregory Keel, Amazon site leader, spoke to Amazon’s investment and continued involvement with public service around the VILLAGES Community Marketplace project, and expressed admiration for The Opportunity League’s mission of building strong partnerships and tackling the plague of food insecurity.

“Amazon believes in working through the community and doing work at the local level. Through all the projects we did back in the fall with Sisterhood, Inc., The Opportunity League, projects over in Florence for the high school with some of the charter schools – it’s that groundwork, it’s the work within the community where we really get to work together to change and have a positive impact.”

“To The Opportunity League, congratulations for this venture. Thank you for all the work, thank you for supporting us early…You guys walked right in with open arms, and it’s been a great partnership since.”

Seigha Omuso, Founder and Executive Director, The Opportunity League, outlined the impact that the new center will have on the local community, and expressed gratitude for the organizations that have helped make the VILLAGES Community Marketplace a reality.

“Today is a major milestone for us to be able to come together as a village, because it takes a village…More than our thanks, I think the community and the folks here cannot thank you all enough in the efforts that you have made to make sure that this comes to fruition.”

New Jersey State Senator Troy Singleton thanked The Opportunity League, local officials, and Amazon for their time and effort in collaborating to bring new opportunities to Burlington.

“I’m honored to be with [The Opportunity League] as always. My friend Barry Conaway, my friend Chief Fine, are always working in collaboration with their leadership to make things like this possible. To Greg, Shanisha, and everyone from Amazon who are always out there doing what’s necessary to be community-centric and community-focused, thank you for the work that you do.”

“This is exactly the type of project we want to see in Burlington City, Burlington County, and all across New Jersey… Undoubtedly, The Opportunity League will bring new life to this site.”

Burlington City Mayor Barry Conaway welcomed the program to the neighborhood and expressed excitement for its future impact.

“New Yorkshire, Burlington City, this is a great day. We want to thank the Opportunity League, the fantastic husband and wife team, and their partnership for bringing this to 200 E. Federal Street….None of this would have happened without the work between The Opportunity League, their partners, and the city council.”

Of note, Nisha Ray, area manager at the Amazon Fulfillment Center in Florence, devoted large portions of her life to affecting positive change in Burlington – she served a key role in Saturday’s event.

Amazon proudly contributed to the project by way of a $50,000 donation and will continue to be involved with public service around this project. In addition, the Burlington County Food Access Network (BC-FAN) presented awards to Senator Troy Singleton, Mayor Barry Conaway, and Amazon for their commitment and support of the VILLAGES Community Marketplace. This effort in Burlington County is a priority to Amazon and its local team, just as setting local roots in communities in which we live and work are.



Well Involved Tractor Trailer Fire on New Jersey Turnpike Extinguished

March 2, 2022

BORDENTOWN TOWNSHIP, NJ (BURLINGTON)–Around 12:45 p.m. a tractor trailer traveling on the outer roadway in the area of mile post 56.9 south bound, caught fire and quickly became fully engulfed. The contents of the tractor trailer were reported clothing and t-shirts. Robbinsville Township and Burlington Township firefighters responded to the scene and a water tanker was called from Hope Fire Company Allentown-Upper Freehold for additional water. Firefighters quickly knocked down the fire and remained on location to fully extinguish any hot spots. No additional information is available at this time.




Inactive Correctional Police Officer Pleads Guilty to Aggravated Assault Charge for Breaking Wrist of Resident in Juvenile Justice Commission Facility in Bordentown

February 23, 2022

TRENTON – Acting Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin announced that an inactive correctional police officer for the New Jersey Juvenile Justice Commission (JJC) pleaded guilty today to a criminal charge for using unjustified force and breaking the wrist of a male resident at the JJC Juvenile Medium Security Facility in Bordentown, N.J.

Lt. Edward Day, 52, of Paulsboro, N.J.—who worked as a correctional police officer at the JJC Juvenile Medium Security Facility, but who currently is inactive and pending retirement—pleaded guilty today to an accusation charging him with third-degree aggravated assault before Superior Court Judge Philip Haines in Burlington County. Under the plea agreement, the state will recommend that Day be sentenced to a term of probation conditioned upon him serving up to 364 days in the county jail. He must forfeit his state position and will be permanently barred from public office or employment. Sentencing for Day is scheduled for April 13.

Day was charged as the result of an investigation by the Office of Public Integrity and Accountability (OPIA) Corruption Bureau and JJC’s Office of Investigations.

“This guilty plea reflects our resolve to hold law enforcement officers accountable if they use unjustified and excessive force against civilians,” said Acting Attorney General Platkin. “No one is above the law, and all people are entitled to the law’s protections, including those in state custody.”

“We will not tolerate correctional officers who wrongfully assault and harm persons in custody,” said OPIA Executive Director Thomas Eicher. “We will fully investigate and prosecute any officers who abuse their authority in this manner.”

On Oct. 25, 2020, Lt. Day and other correctional police officers were escorting a 16-year-old juvenile resident from his room to another location in the facility, with his arms handcuffed behind his back, when Day, without apparent cause or justification, grabbed the victim’s ankle from behind, pulled his leg back, and pushed him face forward onto the ground. Day then grabbed hold of the juvenile’s handcuffed wrists and twisted and broke one of them.

Deputy Attorney General Brian Uzdavinis prosecuted the case, under the supervision of OPIA Corruption Bureau Chief Peter Lee and OPIA Deputy Director Anthony Picione. Acting Attorney General Platkin thanked JJC’s Office of Investigations for assisting in the investigation.

Defense Attorney: Mark A. Fury, Esq., Mount Holly, N.J.


Two transported to hospital in Bordentown City crash

February 17, 2022

BORDENTOWN CITY (BURLINGTON)– Two people were transported to the hospital Thursday night following a vehicle crash on US-206.

Just after 9:45, Consolidated Fire Association, Bordentown Twp/Cty Police, and EMS responded to the Southbound lanes of US-206 in front of the Valet Auto Wash for multiple calls reporting the crash. Radio reports indicate that one driver was thrown from one side of the vehicle to the other.

One patient was transported by Bordentown Township EMS to the Trauma Center at Capital Health Regional Medical Center. A second patient was transported by Mansfield EMS to Robert Wood Johnson Hamilton.

The crash is under investigation, no other information is available.


Bordentown City Fireman Charged with Possession, Distribution of Child Pornography

February 14, 2022

BORDENTOWN, NJ (BURLINGTON)–Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina and Bordentown Township Police Chief Brian Pesce announced that a 36-year-old Bordentown Township man has been charged with possessing and distributing child sexual abuse material. 

Jay J. Howe, of the first block of Kennebec Court, was charged with three counts of Endangering the Welfare of a Child (two Second Degree and one Third Degree). The case will be prepared for presentation to a grand jury for possible indictment.

Howe, who is a volunteer firefighter and past Captain at Hope Hose Fire Company in Bordentown City, was arrested February 9 and lodged in the Burlington Jail in Mount Holly pending a detention hearing in Superior Court.

Howe was taken into custody at his residence following the execution of a search warrant. Electronic devices seized during the search will be examined by detectives from the BCPO High-Tech Crimes Unit.

The investigation began in December after the BCPO High-Tech Crimes Unit received information regarding Howe’s cyber activities from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The investigation revealed that Howe was using an app to send and receive videos containing child sexual abuse material.

The investigation was conducted by the BCPO High-Tech Crimes Unit, with assistance from United States Homeland Security Investigations – Cherry Hill Office, the New Jersey State Police, the Bordentown Township Police Department and the Evesham Township Police Department. The lead investigator was BCPO Detective Jennifer Appelmann.

The BCPO High-Tech Crimes Unit and HSI – Cherry Hill are members of the New Jersey State Police Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force. The BCPO also belongs to the New Jersey State Police Cyber Terrorism Task Force.


NJ Attorney General Finds Probable Cause Against Mansfield School District and Laurel Brook Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center in Disability-Discrimination Cases

February 11, 2022

TRENTON – Acting Attorney General Andrew J. Bruck announced today that the Division on Civil Rights (DCR) has found probable cause against two employers in disability-discrimination cases. Both cases involve allegations that employers discriminated against employees on the basis of disability, as well as leave time taken in connection with their disabilities.

In one case, DCR found probable cause against the Mansfield Township School District in Burlington County for allegedly violating New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination (LAD) by denying a disability accommodation for a fifth-grade science teacher who had returned to work after taking leave to undergo cancer treatment. DCR did not find probable cause, however, regarding the 57-year-old teacher’s claim of discrimination on the basis of age.

In the other case, DCR found probable cause against Laurel Brook Rehabilitation & Healthcare Center, a subacute rehabilitative center and skilled nursing facility in Mount Laurel. Laurel Brook is accused of violating the LAD by firing one of its longtime cooks after she took extended leave — first to deal with depression, and subsequently to undergo lung surgery.

“We are committed to protecting the right of all New Jersey workers to an inclusive and discrimination-free workplace,” said Acting Attorney General Bruck. “Our Division on Civil Rights takes every discrimination complaint seriously, and will hold accountable employers who violate the law.”

“The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination requires employers to provide a reasonable accommodation to employees with a disability,” said DCR Deputy Director Rosemary DiSavino. “These cases serve as a reminder both that leave may constitute a reasonable accommodation, even when an extension of leave is needed because of multiple disabilities, and that an employee with a disability may require a workplace accommodation once they return to work.”

A Finding of Probable Cause does not represent final adjudication of a case. Rather, it means DCR has concluded its preliminary investigation and determined there is sufficient evidence to support a reasonable suspicion the LAD has been violated.  

Mansfield School District

In this case, DCR found probable cause to support allegations by the complainant, a longtime elementary school science teacher, that the Mansfield School District denied her a reasonable accommodation for her disability and discriminated against her “based on disability and/or in retaliation for taking medical leave for her cancer treatment.”

In November 2019 the teacher, who had taught only science to fifth-grade students for most of the past decade, took a medical leave of absence to undergo treatment for Stage 3 ovarian cancer.

Upon her return to work in 2020, the teacher was informed she was being reassigned for the upcoming 2020-2021 school year to teach fourth-grade, where she would be required to teach four subjects (math, language arts, social studies and science) instead of one.

The Law Against Discrimination requires an employer to provide a reasonable accommodation to an employee with a disability, so long as doing so would not impose an undue burden on the employer’s operations. It also prohibits an employer from retaliating against an employee for requesting or utilizing a reasonable accommodation, including a leave of absence.

Upon learning of her reassignment, the teacher asked to remain in her role as a fifth-grade science teacher, explaining that her reassignment would be incompatible with her disability, and potentially harmful to her recovery from cancer.

Specifically, the teacher cited the stress of learning to teach three new subjects at a new grade level, and noted that her new fourth-grade classroom assignment would place her farther away from a faculty restroom. She explained that the restroom access issue was of concern due to unresolved complications from her surgery.

To support her request, the teacher submitted notes from three different medical providers, including her oncologist’s office, family physician’s office and surgeon’s office. All three medical notes advised that the stress of her reassignment had the potential to impact her recovery from cancer. The surgeon’s office note also advised that her condition required “close proximity to a restroom.”

Despite the woman’s condition and supporting medical provider notes, Mansfield schools declined to reconsider the teacher’s reassignment for the 2020-21 school year. The teacher filed her complaint with DCR on October 6, 2020, alleging in part that Mansfield Schools removed her from her fifth-grade teaching position and reassigned her to the fourth grade because of her disability and/or because she was returning from using a medical leave, and put, a less-qualified teacher without a disability, in the fifth grade in her place.

During DCR’s investigation, Mansfield School District officials noted that they provided additional classroom support to the reassigned teacher in the form of mentors and co-teachers. They also denied that the teacher’s reassignment was an adverse employment action, calling it a lateral transfer that did not result in a material change to the complainant’s salary, benefits or status.

The school district also claimed that the complainant was best qualified to fill a fourth-grade teaching vacancy created by the move of another teacher to an administrative position.

Notwithstanding the school district’s claims, the Partial Finding of Probable Cause announced today found that administrators had multiple alternatives to reassigning the cancer-stricken teacher from her long-held fifth-grade science teaching spot to a new grade level.

The Partial Finding of Probable Cause also notes that transitioning to an unfamiliar assignment after having undergone surgery and months of chemotherapy for an advanced form of cancer had in fact caused the reassigned teacher “a great deal of stress and negatively impacted her health.”

In addition, the finding document observes that the complainant’s new classroom assignment “still required her to walk several hundred feet to the closest restroom – a significant distance for one with urinary issues or bladder weakness.”

Based on DCR’s preliminary investigation, the Partial Finding of Probable Cause states, it appears the Mansfield School District “failed to adequately accommodate Complainant’s medically-supported needs for a low-stress return to teaching due to the fragile state of her recovery, and for a classroom in close proximity to a restroom due to the after effects of her treatment.”



Laurel Brook

In this case DCR found probable cause to support the complainant’s allegations that Laurel Brook unlawfully fired a longtime employee after the worker took nearly six months off to deal first with depression and then with surgery to remove a growth from her lung.

In her DCR complaint, the worker alleged that her firing after nearly eight years as a cook at Laurel Brook amounted to refusal by the facility to provide a reasonable accommodation for her disabilities.

According to the complainant, Laurel Brook verbally approved her request to take medical leave for a period of months to address “major depression,” and subsequently approved an extension of her leave to accommodate having a hamartoma removed from her lung. (Laurel Brook denies ever having provided leave approval.)

Upon contacting Laurel Brook about returning to work months later, the worker told DCR, she was advised there was no longer a job for her because she had failed to submit the paperwork required to document her need for medical leave.

Specifically, the woman was told her leave had not been approved and that she was therefore considered “resigned” after declining to submit forms required under the Federal Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

In its investigation, DCR determined the fired worker did, in fact, fail to fill out FMLA paperwork. The apparent reason was that the woman was confused by having already filled out separate paperwork required to claim temporary state disability benefits through Standard Benefit Administrators – a private, contracted insurance carrier that processes disability claims for client companies.

In issuing a Finding of Probable Cause, however, DCR noted that the worker’s failure to recognize a distinction between the disability paperwork she’d already completed and her need to fill out separate FMLA paperwork was “ultimately immaterial” and did not relieve Laurel Brook of its obligations under the New Jersey LAD.

DCR’s investigation included a review of multiple documents – including reports written by mental health providers and letters written by the worker’s thoracic surgeon – that were either submitted to Laurel Brook, or sent to Standard Benefit Administrators and copied to Laurel Brook officials.

These documents provided Laurel Brook “a stream of information” about the woman’s disabilities that evidenced her medical need to take leave, the Finding of Probable Cause notes, and triggered Laurel Brook’s obligation under the LAD to “enter into an interactive process to determine whether and how the employee may be reasonably accommodated.”



To view a Fact Sheet on disability discrimination and the rights of people with disabilities in employment, housing, education, etc., under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination go to: https://www.nj.gov/lps/dcr/downloads/fact-Disability-Discrimination.pdf

People with disabilities who believe their rights under the LAD have been violated can file a complaint with DCR by visiting https://bias.njcivilrights.gov/ or calling 1-833-NJDCR4U (833-653-2748).


Browns Mills Man Sentenced to 11 Years in NJ State Prison for Fire that Killed His 92-Year-Old Mother and Companion

Man had also been arrested 187 times and has 16 felony convictions.


February 10, 2022

Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina announced that a 63-year-old man who was found guilty of causing the deaths of his elderly mother and her companion in a 2018 Browns Mills house fire was sentenced today to 11 years in New Jersey state prison.

The Hon. Christopher J. Garrenger, J.S.C., handed down the sentence against Kurt Smith in Superior Court in Mount Holly. Smith must serve 85 percent of the sentence before becoming eligible for parole.

Smith, who lived at the residence in the 500 block of Willow Boulevard, was convicted in October 2021 on two counts of Reckless Manslaughter (Second Degree). Judge Garrenger sentenced Smith to 11 years on each count, to run concurrently.

The verdict was returned following approximately 10 hours of deliberation over two days. The jury was unable to come to a verdict on an arson charge against Smith.

Smith is accused of igniting flammable material with a cigarette lighter in the garage of the residence on October 16, 2018, then unsuccessfully attempting to extinguish the blaze.

The fire killed his mother, Lore Smith, and her companion, George Pikunis, both 92.

Autopsies performed by Burlington County Medical Examiner Dr. Ian Hood concluded the cause of death in each instance was smoke and soot inhalation, along with thermal burns.

It was noted during today’s proceeding that Smith has been arrested 187 times and has 16 felony convictions.

Smith was prosecuted by Assistant Prosecutor Joseph Remy, supervisor of the BCPO Financial Crimes Unit, and Assistant Prosecutor Bob Van Gilst, supervisor of the BCPO Major Crimes Unit. The investigation was conducted by the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office, the Pemberton Township Police Department, and the Burlington County Fire Marshal’s Office. The lead investigators were BCPO Detective Sergeant Erica Ridge and Pemberton Township Sergeant Tom Lucas.

2022-24 Pemberton House Fire Homicide Sentencing


Wawa Opens Newest Store in Chesterfield


Wawa Celebrates Grand Opening of New Chesterfield, NJ Store as Part of 2022 Day Brighteners Tour

New Store Reflects Wawa’s Commitment to Brighten More Lives in More Ways through New Jobs, New Growth and New Reasons to Celebrate Community Day Brighteners with a Call for Nominations


February 10, 2022

CHESTERFIELD, NJ (BURLINGTON)–Wawa, Inc. today announced the grand opening of its newest store located at 210 Monmouth Road, Chesterfield, NJ 08515 on Thursday, February 10. To mark the occasion, Wawa is hosting an exciting grand opening celebration and outdoor ribbon cutting beginning at 9:00a.m. Prior to the celebration, the new store will open at 8:00 a.m., when Wawa will begin distributing limited-edition, Wawa “Goose Vibes Only,” t-shirts for the first 100 customers who walk through the door, while supplies last! Wawa will also provide free coffee to toast the community and brighten days from Thursday, February 10 to Sunday, February 13.

Store is located at: 210 Monmouth Road, Chesterfield, NJ 08515


About Wawa’s 2022 Day Brighteners Tour With officials, charity partners, customers and Associates in attendance, Wawa’s grand opening celebration will introduce the community to the new store team and celebrate the role they play in making their communities a better place. Throughout the year, each grand opening celebration will be part of Wawa’s 2022 Day Brighteners Tour, an initiative designed to celebrate the customers, Associates, local heroes and community organizations that brighten our days.  The tour will also mark Wawa’s ongoing commitment to growth, with plans to open 54 new stores and create more than 2,500 new jobs through the year. 

During each grand opening, Wawa will have a special Day Brightener ceremony which will include:

  • Associate Day Brighteners: Wawa will recognize associates who go above and beyond in creating positive moments for customers
  • Community Day Brighteners: Wawa will celebrate a local individual or organization making a bright impact in the community
  • Local Hero Day Brighteners: Wawa will acknowledge local everyday heroes who brighten the community through protecting and serving and host a signature Hoagies for Heroes acknowledgement and check presentation to each department’s charity

The grand opening of the Chesterfield location is the second store to open this year out of the 54 total stores projected to open across Wawa’s operating area in 2022.

“At Wawa, our core purpose is fulfilling lives every day and since our first store opened, we’ve believed that we all have a role in making this world a better place,” said Chris Gheysens, Wawa’s President and CEO. “Our store teams and Associates deliver experiences and emotional connections with customers that go beyond what traditionally happens in a retail environment. Simply put, they help make their communities happier and more connected. This year, we’re excited to toast all the incredible Day Brighteners and kick off this one-of-a-kind tour with a stop at each new store to show our “Goose Gratitude” to associates and customers whose little acts of kindness make a big difference in our communities.”



Bordentown Township Police Becomes Location for “The Straight…to Treatment” Program

February 8, 2022

BORDENTOWN TOWNSHIP, NJ (BURLINGTON)–Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina and Bordentown Township Police Chief Brian Pesce announced that the drug treatment program that allows people to walk off the street and into a police station to seek help with substance use disorder will be available in Bordentown Township beginning tomorrow.

The Straight…to Treatment program will operate every Wednesday at the Bordentown Township police station at 1 Municipal Drive from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., in conjunction with recovery coaches from City of Angels, a non-profit organization from Hamilton, Mercer County, that provides free services to those battling addiction.

Bordentown Township becomes the fifth municipality to offer the program, joining Evesham, Pemberton Township, the City of Burlington and Mount Holly.

“With the addition of the Bordentown Township location, we have once again increased the program’s coverage area and will be able to more effectively provide services to those who are seeking to overcome substance use disorder and turn around their lives,” Prosecutor Coffina said. “I am grateful to the Township, Chief Pesce and City of Angels for their partnership and commitment to offering this much-needed service.”

Chief Pesce encouraged those who need help to take advantage of the program.

“The Bordentown Township Police Department is excited to join the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office’s Straight…to Treatment initiative and offer residents of Northern Burlington County who are struggling with addiction an opportunity to seek treatment,” Chief Pesce said.  “Everyone who comes to our department asking for help will be treated with compassion, and it is our ultimate goal to help these individuals break the cycle of addiction.”

Straight…to Treatment enables people facing addiction to walk into participating police departments and be connected with a treatment program. Police officers work with them to clear warrants, and participants can also turn in any drugs or drug paraphernalia in their possession and not be charged with a drug possession offense.

Insurance is not necessary to receive help through Straight…to Treatment, and neither is residency in Burlington County. The program focuses on making sure that help is available at the critical moment someone has decided to seek assistance.

The first Straight…to Treatment program opened in Evesham in March 2018. It expanded into Pemberton Township six months later. The City of Burlington began providing the service in April 2019 and Mount Holly’s program started in October 2020.

Since its inception, more than 500 people have been provided assistance through the program.

Prosecutor Coffina expressed appreciation for all of the Straight…to Treatment service providers, and welcomed City of Angels to the program.

“We have been working with City of Angels on similar initiatives, such as Operation Helping Hand, and have witnessed firsthand their caring approach to helping people struggling with substance use disorder,” Prosecutor Coffina said. “We feel very fortunate to have them involved with the new program in Bordentown Township.”

The other Straight…to Treatment locations are served by Maryville Addiction Treatment Center, Oaks Integrated Care and Solstice Wellness & Counseling.

Straight…to Treatment locations and hours:

Bordentown Township PD, 1 Municipal Drive, Wednesdays: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

City of Burlington PD, 525 High Street, Wednesdays and Thursdays: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Evesham Twp. PD, 984 Tuckerton Road, Mondays: noon – 7 p.m.

Mount Holly Twp. PD, 23 Washington Street, Tuesdays: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Pemberton Twp. PD, 500 Pemberton-Browns Mills Road, Tuesdays: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

For more information, visit www.straighttotreatment.com.

2022-23 Straight to Treatment Expands to Bordentown Township


Quick response by firefighters saves Florence Township home

February 6, 2021

FLORENCE TWP (BURLINGTON)– Firefighters from multiple departments battled a house fire in Florence Township tonight.

Multiple fire departments responded to the 300 block of Pigott Drive just after 9:00 pm after a caller dialed 911 and reported that their basement and first floor were filling with smoke. Florence Fire Department arrived on scene and reported smoke showing from the front door, and the first alarm was placed.

Crews stretched a 1 3/4 inch hose line to the basement to quickly extinguish the fire. It was placed under control just after 9:30 pm.

Responding companies were as follows: Florence Fire Department, Consolidated Fire Association, Derby Fire Company, Burlington Twp Fire Department, Franklin Fire Company, Burlington City Fire Department, Willingboro Fire Department, and Delran Fire Department.



Firefighters from Bordentown, Chesterfield, Jacobstown train for ice rescues

February 5, 2022

Firefighters from Derby Fire Department (Bordentown Twp), Consolidated Fire Association(Bordentown Cty), Chesterfield Fire Department, and Jacobstown Fire Department completed their Ice Rescue Operations class conducted by Safety and Survival Training LLC today.

These firefighters worked hard on the ice today practicing the proper techniques for rescuing those who may become stranded on ice-covered bodies of water.

Photos from Consolidated Fire Association’s Instagram page show their members in action on the ice. Members are looking forward to taking the Ice Rescue Technician class, which is the highest certification you can earn in ice rescue.


Chesterfield Fire Department released a statement to residents about the training, advising residents that there is no emergency and it is just a training exercise.

20-Year-Old Chesterfield Man Charged with Causing Death of Cyclist He Struck at High Rate of Speed

New Jersey State Police Fatal Accident Reconstruction Unit determined that Weatherwalks was traveling at a speed of 75 MPH as he approached the cyclists in his Chevrolet Silverado. 

February 3, 2022

CHESTERFIELD, NJ (BURLINGTON)–Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina and Chesterfield Township Police Chief Michael Davison announced that a 20-year-old Chesterfield man was charged with causing the death of a cyclist he struck with his pickup truck while traveling at a high rate of speed in the 100 block of Sykesville Road late last year.

Dylan Weatherwalks, of the 700 block of Monmouth Road, was charged with Vehicular Homicide (Second Degree). He surrendered this morning and was lodged in the Burlington County Jail in Mount Holly pending a first appearance in Superior Court. The case will now be prepared for presentation to a grand jury for possible indictment.

The investigation began after officers from the Chesterfield Township Police Department were dispatched to the scene of the collision on December 4 at approximately 12:15 p.m.

The investigation revealed that the defendant came upon a group of cyclists while traveling southbound along Sykesville Road, a two-lane roadway with no shoulders. Weatherwalks veered into the northbound lane to pass the cyclists on a hill with an obstructed view of oncoming traffic.

The investigation further revealed that as Weatherwalks crested the hill, he encountered a vehicle traveling toward him and veered back into the southbound lane, over-correcting and striking cyclist Julie Galezniak, 62, of Stratford. Galezniak was thrown from her bike and sustained severe injuries, including a fractured skull. She was airlifted to a Trenton hospital and died later that afternoon.

An analysis performed by the New Jersey State Police Fatal Accident Reconstruction Unit determined that Weatherwalks was traveling at a speed of 75 MPH as he approached the cyclists in his Chevrolet Silverado. The speed limit along that stretch of Sykesville Road is posted as 50 MPH.

In addition to the criminal charges, Weatherwalks was issued traffic summonses for speeding, reckless driving, careless driving, and improper passing.

The investigation was conducted by the Chesterfield Township Police Department, the Prosecutor’s Office and the New Jersey State Police. Weatherwalks will be prosecuted by Assistant Prosecutor Julian Harris.

All persons are considered innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.


2022-16 Criminal Charges Filed in Death of Chesterfield Cyclist



Previous MidJersey.News story here:


Firefighters extinguish vehicle fire at Bordentown car wash.

January 31, 2021

BORDENTOWN CITY (BURLINGTON)– Firefighters extinguished a vehicle fire that broke out at a car wash this evening in Bordentown City.

Members of the Consolidated Fire Association, a fire department in Bordentown City, responded to the Valet Auto Wash in the 800 block of US-206 just after 5:00pm on a reported vehicle fire. Crews arrived and found a vehicle well involved in fire and stretched a 1 3/4 inch line from the bumper to extinguish the fire.

It is reported that the vehicle was inside of the car wash at the time of the fire, but luckily was able to pushed out by the owner and employees.



Blizzard Warning Issued for Parts of New Jersey

January 28, 2022

TRENTON, NJ–A significant winter storm will impact the area tonight and tomorrow. See the official National Weather Service Page for updates. The current briefing product can be found here. This is a dangerous storm follow directions from State and Local Officials. State of New Jersey Office of Emergency Management

Governor Phil Murphy has declared a State of Emergency:



A blizzard warning has been issued for Monmouth, Ocean, Atlantic, and Cape May Counties in NJ and coastal Sussex County DE.

Blizzard Warning

...BLIZZARD WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 7 PM THIS EVENING TO 7 PM EST
SATURDAY...

* WHAT...Blizzard conditions expected. Total snow accumulations of
  8 to 15 inches. Winds gusting as high as 50 mph.

* WHERE...The coastal counties of New Jersey, and coastal sections
  of Sussex County in Delaware.

* WHEN...From 7 PM this evening to 7 PM EST Saturday.

* IMPACTS...Travel could be very difficult to impossible. Areas
  of blowing snow could significantly reduce visibility. Gusty
  winds could bring down tree branches.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS...Snow is expected to begin on Friday
  evening, with snow becoming heavy after midnight. The most
  likely time for blizzard conditions is late Friday night through
  midday Saturday. Blizzard conditions are primarily expected at
  or within a few miles from the coast. Snow will wind down
  Saturday afternoon.







Riverside Watch Case Project Developer Pleads Guilty to Forgery and Computer Related Crimes

January 27, 2022

RIVERSIDE, NJ (BURLINGTON)–Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina announced that a New York developer who purchased a historic Riverside commercial building to create luxury apartments in the seven-story landmark has pled guilty to using the credentials of a potential subcontractor to fraudulently gain approval for electrical permits from the township construction office.

Under an agreement with the Prosecutor’s Office, Raphael S. Weiss, 61, of Brooklyn, pled guilty to Computer Related Activity (Second Degree) and Forgery (Third Degree) in exchange for a suspended five-year sentence.

The plea was entered yesterday in Superior Court before the Hon. Philip E. Haines, J.S.C., who scheduled sentencing for March 23. Leading up to that proceeding, Weiss’s attorney and Riverside officials have agreed to work together for Weiss to surrender the property to another developer, and to ensure all liens have been satisfied.

“We are pleased that the defendant has accepted responsibility for his crimes and more importantly, that Riverside soon will be able to move forward with this project with a responsible developer,” Prosecutor Coffina said. “We know how important the Keystone Watch Case Co. is to Riverside’s past, present and future, and look forward to seeing this beautiful building brought back to life, and the positive impact it will have on this community.”

The investigation began in 2020 after a contractor who was negotiating with Weiss to be the electrician of record on the Keystone Watch Case Co. building redevelopment project noticed that electrical work had begun at the North Pavilion Avenue site, even though no formal agreement had been finalized and he had not applied for any permits.

After being denied access to the construction site by Weiss, the electrician went to the Township construction office and was told that 36 permits had already been issued in his name and in the name of his business for work to be done at the property.

Further examination revealed that the electrician’s signature had been forged on the permits, which were applied for by Weiss, and a counterfeit version of the contractor’s state-issued embossing seal had been used to make an imprint.

The investigation revealed that Weiss initiated the scheme as a way to reduce construction costs by fraudulently utilizing the credentials of the licensed electrician to obtain the necessary permits, then hiring unlicensed, unqualified laborers to complete the work at a much less expensive rate.

Not only was the action illegal, but it also jeopardized the safety of the project, as demonstrated by the fact that the electrical work completed after the fraudulent permits were obtained failed to pass inspection.

The Keystone Watch Case Co. building was constructed in 1908 and manufactured gold cases for watches. The company employed more than 1,000 employees in 1918, making it the largest watch case manufacturer in the world. The business was treasured as a strong engine in the local economy, with many employees living close enough to walk to work.

The company closed in 1956, and the building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977. It was purchased in 2016 by Brooklyn-based SimShabs Capital Partners LTD, of which Weiss is owner and president.

The plans submitted by Weiss to Riverside Township indicated that the iconic landmark, which has a prominent, highly visible clock tower rising above the roofline, would be converted into 64 luxury apartments.

Weiss is being prosecuted by Assistant Prosecutor Joseph Remy, supervisor of the BCPO Financial Crimes Unit, and Assistant Prosecutor Andrew McDonnell, supervisor of the BCPO Insurance Fraud Unit.

The investigation was conducted by detectives from the BCPO Financial Crimes Unit and the Riverside Township Police Department. The lead investigators are BCPO Detective Nicholas Schieber and Riverside Lt. Louis Fisher.

2022-11 Keystone Watch Case Co. Building Guilty Plea




$7 Million Investment in Gunshot Detection Technology and Other Police Equipment to Reduce Gun Violence

25 Grant Recipients of $8.2 Million in Community-Based Violence Intervention Funding, the Largest Such Program in State History

January 27, 2022

 Governor Phil Murphy and Acting Attorney General Andrew J. Bruck today announced a $7 million investment in gunshot detection technology and other law enforcement equipment to reduce gun violence using federal American Rescue Plan funds. In addition, Governor Murphy and Acting Attorney General Bruck announced that 25 non-profit organizations will receive $8.2 million in grant funding for community-based violence intervention (CBVI) programming, the largest such investment in New Jersey’s history.


“Combating gun violence is a multi-faceted problem that requires a multi-faceted approach,” said Governor Murphy. “The funding announced today will provide resources to both law enforcement agencies and community partners, equipping them with much-needed resources as we continue to fight the epidemic of gun violence. Today’s announcement allows us to make our communities safer while we continue advocating for commonsense gun safety measures.”


“Today’s historic investment in gun violence prevention reflects the Murphy Administration’s commitment to protecting the safety of all New Jersey residents,” said Acting Attorney General Bruck. “I applaud Governor Murphy for recognizing that we cannot reduce gun violence unless we invest in both law enforcement and the community, and for demonstrating that one of the best ways to strengthen public trust is by ensuring public safety.”


New Jersey is investing $7 million in technology-driven violence reduction to allow communities across New Jersey to acquire and enhance gunshot detection technology and related infrastructure improvements, making it easier for first responders and law enforcement to more effectively respond to—and reduce—gun violence in New Jersey’s communities. This funding comes amid a national spike in gun violence.


The funding will allow recipients to acquire a fully integrated network of three distinct systems, including an acoustic detection system, a video management system, and a system of automatic license plate readers. When combined, these systems allow first responders to more quickly render lifesaving medical aid to victims of gun violence and assist law enforcement in identifying shooters, leading to faster apprehension and reduced instances of retaliatory violence.


Through this investment, agencies like the Paterson Police Department will be able to direct resources to areas where they are most necessary and at the exact time when such service means the difference between life and death. The technology will also help prosecutors obtain the kind of evidence necessary to meet their burden of proof and uphold community faith in the justice system.


“The $7 million we announced today for New Jersey police departments will help provide state-of-the-art technologies to combat the scourge of gun violence in our communities,” said U.S. Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr. “This funding comes directly from President Biden’s American Rescue Plan, which I proudly helped pass last year. With it, our communities’ Finest will have the tools and resources they need to prevent and respond to gun violence. As we continue to mourn the tragic loss of Robert Cuadra, let us redouble our efforts to stomp-out gun violence in our streets. Enough is enough.”

“Gun violence has impacted far too many precious lives in Paterson and across our state,” said Assembly members Shavonda Sumter and Benjie Wimberly, whose district includes Paterson. “This senseless violence is upending the lives of families and our communities. The funding announced today by Governor Murphy and Acting Attorney General Bruck will help us combat the violence on our streets by both empowering law enforcement and community-based organizations that do critical groundwork. We must continue to work to create secure and healthy environments for all. We look forward to working with the administration to continue making Paterson safe.”


“Public safety is a high priority in Paterson,” said Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh. “We are combating gun violence in Paterson and this initiative will enhance our efforts. We appreciate the Governor’s leadership in making Paterson a safer city.”

Also announced today are the recipients of $8.2 million in state grant dollars for violence intervention programs, including 25 community organizations in 15 municipalities covering every region of the state. This historic investment will support intervention strategies that provide alternatives to violence and embody a community-based public safety model.


Among the recipients are two non-profit organizations that serve the Paterson area: Reimagining Justice, Inc. and the Juvenile Education and Awareness Project, both of which work to build community support for violence reduction. In 2021, law enforcement reported 110 shooting incidents in Paterson, resulting in 18 homicides by gunfire.


“The NJVIP community advocates have worked tirelessly to advocate for investment for community based public safety organizations to get meaningful investment for the lifesaving boot-on-the-ground work we have been doing in our communities to end gun violence,” said Dr. Liza Chowdhury of Reimagining Justice. “This investment today will help our organizations address the pain people face in communities most impacted by violence, provide desperately needed resources that help communities thrive and do the important prevention work that is needed so we don’t have to wait for someone to be the next gunshot victim. We thank the Governor’s office and leaders around the state who continue to support our work and honor their commitment by their investment.”


The complete list of grant recipients receiving funding under the CBVI program is as follows:


1. Juvenile Education and Awareness Project, Passaic ($47,087)
2. Reimagining Justice, Inc., Paterson ($500,000)
3. Newark Community Street Team, Inc., Newark ($499,996)
4. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Coastal & Northern NJ, Asbury Park ($93,416)
5. Mighty Writers, Camden ($500,000)
6. Advocacy Foundation, Inc., Atlantic County ($365,758)
7. HMH Jersey Shore University Medical Center, Neptune ($499,957)
8. Hope and Future, Inc., West New York ($250,000)
9. James R Halsey Foundation of the Arts, Trenton ($50,000)
10. After School All Stars New Jersey, Newark ($118,950)
11. Salvation and Social Justice, Trenton ($500,000)
12. Center For Family Services, Inc., Camden ($245,008)
13. United Community Corporation, Newark ($500,000)
14. Life Worth Living, Inc., Bridgeton ($430,885)
15. Elizabeth Youth Theatre Ensemble, Elizabeth ($380,240)
16. Prevention Education, Inc. T/A PEI Kids, Lawrence ($348,990)
17. United Advocacy Group, Inc., Bridgeton ($261,310)
18. The Alcove Center for Grieving Children and Families, Inc., Galloway ($52,545)
19. Anti-Violence Coalition of Hudson County, Jersey City ($500,000)
20. Nicholas Luciano Safe Way Out A NJ Nonprofit, Mount Laurel ($200,000)
21. Inside Outside Circle Foundation, Newark ($181,153)
22. The HUBB Arts & Trauma Center (FP YouthOutCry Foundation, Inc.), Newark ($487,343)
23. Hear My Cries A NJ Nonprofit Organization, Newark ($498,000)
24. REFAL, INC., Newark ($500,000)
25. Weequahic Park Environmental Authority, Newark ($227,000)
 
These violence intervention and reduction announcements are part of the Murphy Administration’s ongoing efforts to prevent gun violence by addressing the root causes of violence, supporting innovative policing initiatives, building the technological infrastructure to improve response times, and engaging and empowering traditionally underserved communities to cope with the trauma gun violence leaves in its wake.



37-Year-Old from Joint Base MDL, Charged with Child Pornography

January 25, 2022

TRENTON, N.J. – A Burlington County, New Jersey, man was arrested today on charges that he distributed images and a video depicting child sexual abuse, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced.

Brian J. Crann, 37, of Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst (Joint Base MDL), in Burlington, New Jersey, is charged by criminal complaint with one count of distribution of child pornography. He was arrested today, appeared this afternoon by videoconference before U.S. Magistrate Judge Douglas E. Arpert, and was ordered detained.

According to documents filed in this case:

On Jan. 22, 2022, Crann transmitted a video and two images of child sexual abuse to another individual using an account on an instant messaging mobile application. Crann also transmitted a non-pornographic image of himself with a minor, who appeared to be the same minor victim depicted in the images and video of child sexual abuse.

The investigation revealed that the account was associated with an Android smartphone and that a short time before the user of the account sent the images and video, the account was accessed using a Wi-Fi Internet Protocol address assigned to an internet service account subscribed in Crann’s name at a residential address on Joint Base MDL. The contact number for the internet service account was a mobile telephone number subscribed in Crann’s name at the same residential address. On Jan. 25, 2022, law enforcement officials searched Crann and recovered an Android smartphone with the mobile telephone number subscribed in Crann’s name. A search of the smartphone revealed a copy of the non-pornographic image of Crann with the minor that had been sent from the account via the app on Jan. 22, 2022.

The distribution of child pornography charge is punishable by a statutory mandatory minimum penalty of five years in prison and a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, and a fine of up to $250,000 or twice the gross pecuniary gain or loss caused by the offense, whichever is greatest.

U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents of the FBI Newark Field Office Crimes Against Children Squad, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr., and Fort Dix Army CID Resident Unit with the investigation leading to today’s arrest.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexander E. Ramey of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Trenton.

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

22-025 

Defense counsel: Lisa J. Van Hoeck Esq., Assistant Federal Public Defender, Trenton


Pemberton Township Woman Charged with Reckless Manslaughter and Vehicular Homicide; Drove DWI at 90+MPH, No Lights and Killed 17-Year-Old in Head-On Crash

January 20, 2022

PEMBERTON, NJ (BURLINGTON)–Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina and Pemberton Township Police Chief Jason Watters announced that a 54-year-old Pemberton Township woman has been charged with driving while impaired and causing the death of a teenage motorist late last year during a head-on collision that occurred after she left a Browns Mills bar.

Wanda Sprague, of the 200 block of Pemberton Browns Mills Road, was charged with Reckless Manslaughter (First Degree) and Vehicular Homicide (Second Degree). During a first appearance in Superior Court this afternoon, the Hon. Terrence R. Cook, P.J.Cr., ordered her not to have any contact with the victim’s family. The case will now be prepared for presentation to a grand jury for possible indictment.

The investigation began December 16 after officers from the Pemberton Township Police Department were dispatched to the area of Lakehurst Road and Rancocas Lane for a report of a motor vehicle accident at approximately 9:15 p.m.

The investigation determined that the headlights on Sprague’s Chrysler 300 were not turned on when she crashed head on into a Nissan Sentra being driven by Kayla Bowen, 17, of Pemberton Township. Ms. Bowen was pronounced dead at the scene.

The investigation further determined that Sprague had been consuming alcohol prior to the crash at a nearby bar, and reached a speed exceeding 90 mph prior to the collision. She suffered extensive injuries from which she is still recovering.

In addition to the criminal charges, Sprague was issued multiple traffic citations, including Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs. She is being prosecuted by Assistant Prosecutor Joshua Dennis, supervisor of the BCPO Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Unit.

The investigation was conducted by the Prosecutor’s Office and the Pemberton Township Police Department, with assistance from the New Jersey State Police. The lead investigators are BCPO Detectives Brian Cunningham and Melyssa Alonso, and PTPD Detective Joshua Mann.

All persons are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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Update: Serious Injuries Reported in Bordentown Accident Involving NJ State Police Vehicle

January 20, 2022

BORDENTOWN TOWNSHIP, NJ (BURLINGTON)–Sgt. Alejandro Goez from the New Jersey State Police told MidJersey.news that the accident was reported at 3:35 p.m. at the intersection of US 130 and Groveville Road. 

The preliminary investigation indicates that a trooper driving a marked Ford Explorer was traveling north on US 130 approaching the intersection with Groveville Road and a Volvo C70 was traveling west on Groveville Road. The driver of the Volvo failed to obey the traffic signal and entered the intersection with US 130. As a result, the front of the troop car struck the left side of the Volvo. During the collision, the driver of the Volvo was ejected and struck the front of a Toyota Camry traveling south on US 130.

The trooper sustained moderate injuries and was taken to an area hospital. The driver of the Volvo, a 54-year-old female, sustained serious injuries and was taken to an area hospital. The driver of the Toyota was not injured. The accident remains under investigation.





BREAKING: Serious Crash Involving NJ State Police Vehicle in Bordentown


UPDATE:


Route 130 South Bound is Closed in Bordentown Township at Groveville Road Due to Serious Crash Investigation

January 19, 2022

BORDENTOWN TOWNSHIP, NJ (BURLINGTON)–A serious accident occurred at the intersection of Route 130 and Groveville Road around 3:39 p.m. It was reported that victims of the crash were transported to the Trauma Center at Capital Health Regional Medical Center in Trenton. Bordentown Police, EMS and Bordentown fire departments, along with paramedics responded to the scene to provide aid.

Currently Route 130 south bound at the intersection of Groveville Road is closed for the investigation.

MidJersey.News has reached out to NJ State Police for official information and when that becomes available the story will be updated.




From: 511NJ.ORG

Started 01/19/2022 03:59:26 PMUpdated01/19/2022 5:20:27 PM

NJ DOT – TOC South: Crash with Injuries on US 130 southbound South of NJ 156 (Bordentown Twp) All lanes closed 10-15 minute delay use caution


Rt. 130 SB @ Hamilton Manor closed.

Be advised that Rt. 130 southbound in the area of the Hamilton Manor is currently closed due to a motor vehicle collision. Please avoid this area and seek an alternate route.


Multi Vehicle Accident on NJ Turnpike in Hamilton

January 14, 2022

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–The Robbinsville and Bordentown Township Fire Departments and EMS were dispatched to Mile Post 57 for a multi vehicle accident in the outer roadway at 3:23 p.m. It appears that injuries were minor, and it was unclear if the person who reported non-life-threating injuries was transported. NJ State Police is investigating the crash. Traffic was backed up close to two miles until the vehicles were towed from the scene.

Mount Holly Man Charged with Leaving Scene of Fatal Accident

January 10, 2022

MOUNT HOLLY, NJ (BURLINGTON)–Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina and Mount Holly Township Police Chief Richard Spitler announced that a 41-year-old Mount Holly resident has been charged with leaving the scene of an accident and failing to seek medical treatment for an injured person after fatally striking a woman with his pickup truck in October 2020.

Angel Carrion, of Blue Jay Lane, was taken into custody January 6 by officers from the Mount Holly Township Police Department. He was lodged in the Burlington County Jail and released following a first appearance in Superior Court.

The criminal charges against Carrion include Leaving the Scene of a Fatal Accident (Second Degree) and Endangering an Injured Victim (Third Degree) by failing to seek medical assistance after he struck and drove over the victim at approximately 5:30 a.m. on October 16, 2020.

The investigation, which utilized surveillance footage from multiple businesses, revealed that Carrion turned onto Route 38 west from Pine Street in Mount Holly and immediately struck Cynthia Ann Rasinksi, 57, of Mount Holly, who was crossing the roadway.

The investigation further revealed that Carrion left the scene but then returned to the intersection, positioning his silver, lifted pickup truck so the headlights illuminated the area where the victim was lying in the roadway. He then drove off again without reporting the incident to police.

Officers from the Mount Holly Township Police Department were dispatched to the scene a short time later after another motorist reported a person being down in the roadway.

Rasinski was pronounced dead at the scene. An autopsy performed by Burlington County Medical Examiner Dr. Ian Hood determined that Rasinksi died from multiple injuries.

The investigation was conducted by the Mount Holly Township Police Department and the Prosecutor’s Office. The lead investigator is MHTPD Detective Nicholas Dell-Priscoli.

Carrion will be prosecuted by Assistant Prosecutor Joshua Dennis, supervisor of the BCPO Collision and Accident Reconstruction Unit, and Assistant Prosecutor Michael Sullivan, supervisor of the Civil Remedies Unit. 

Anyone with information about the collision, or who was traveling in the area of Route 38 and Pine Street in Mount Holly between 5:15 a.m. and 5:45 a.m. on October 16, 2020, is asked to contact the Mount Holly Township Police Department at 609-864-2231 or the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office at tips@co.burlington.nj.us.

All persons are considered innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

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