May 1, 2021
HIGHTSTOWN, NJ (MERCER)–The visiting Allentown Red Birds fell to the Hightstown Rams softball team with a final score of 15-0 this morning.
May 1, 2021
HIGHTSTOWN, NJ (MERCER)–The visiting Allentown Red Birds fell to the Hightstown Rams softball team with a final score of 15-0 this morning.
May 1, 2021
HIGHTSTOWN, NJ (MERCER)–The Allentown High School boys lacrosse team won their game against Hightstown this morning. Unofficial score of 13-5.
Defendants Include Alleged Leader of Latin Kings Street Gang and Eight Inmates Currently Incarcerated in State Prisons, Including New Jersey State Prison in Trenton
April 29, 2021
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal today announced that an alleged local leader of the Latin Kings street gang and eight inmates allegedly under his command in various correctional facilities—including Northern State Prison in Newark and New Jersey State Prison in Trenton—have been charged with forming a “hit squad” within the prison system to commit assaults on behalf of the gang. They are specifically charged with engaging in conduct including a brutal attack on one inmate in New Jersey State Prison, a planned assault on another inmate in Northern State Prison that was prevented by the New Jersey Department of Corrections (DOC), and possession of makeshift blades called “shanks.”
The charges were filed by the Attorney General’s Office of Public Integrity and Accountability (OPIA) as the result of an investigation by members of the DOC Special Investigations Division (SID) and OPIA Corruption Central Squad.
Frank Blake, aka “Lafay,” 33, of Hillside, N.J., an alleged leader of the Elizabeth, N.J., chapter of the Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation (ALKQN) street gang, allegedly created and directed a “hit squad” in the state prison system to carry out assaults on behalf of ALKQN. Blake and inmate Alexander Chludzinski, aka “D Noble,” 27, of Phillipsburg, N.J., allegedly discussed going to the homes of DOC-SID investigators leading this investigation to commit violence against them.
It is further alleged that, at the request of inmates William Figueroa, aka “King Stitch,” 27, of Hightstown, N.J., and Andy Reyes, aka “Chango,” 25, of Somerset, N.J.—and at the direction of Blake—inmates Roberto Garcia, aka “Taz,” 25, of Carteret, N.J., and Eduardo Lago, aka “King Bay Bay,” 27, of Newark, N.J., brutally assaulted an inmate in the prison yard of New Jersey State Prison in Trenton on Sept. 28, 2020, causing the victim to suffer a traumatic brain injury.
Between December 2020 and February 2021, Blake allegedly conspired with and directed alleged ALKQN members Chludzinski, Reyes, Kevin Washington, aka “King Jafi,” 32, of Atlantic City, N.J., James Zarate, aka “King Samurai,” 33, of Randolph, N.J., and Larry Cardona, aka “King Legend,” 28, of Elizabeth, N.J., in planning an assault on an inmate at Northern State Prison in Newark. DOC-SID investigators learned of the alleged plot and placed the targeted inmate in protective custody to prevent the attempted assault.
“We allege that Blake and the Latin Kings gang members he commanded in the state prison system not only conspired to assault and seriously injure inmates, but went so far as to plot violence against members of the Department of Corrections who were investigating them,” said Attorney General Grewal. “Gang violence is always a danger in our state prisons, but we charge that these defendants and their so-called ‘hit squad’ posed a special threat to the safety and security of inmates and correctional police officers. I commend the DOC Special Investigations Division and OPIA for their outstanding work to neutralize this threat and bring these alleged gang members to justice.”
“As a result of the thorough investigation conducted by the DOC Special Investigations Division and our detectives and attorneys, eight of these nine defendants now face a charge of first-degree gang criminality carrying a sentence of up to 20 years in prison,” said OPIA Director Thomas Eicher. “This investigation is ongoing. We charge that these members of the Latin Kings sought to hold sway in prison through violence and fear as if they were out on the street, but we have stopped their alleged reign of terror. We’re committed to protecting people in custody.”
Blake—the only defendant not currently incarcerated—allegedly commanded the gang members inside the prison through phone calls as well as letters. Blake was arrested on Thursday, April 22, 2021. The eight inmates were charged yesterday. All of the defendants except Cardona are charged with first-degree gang criminality and second-degree conspiracy. In addition, Blake is charged with first-degree promoting organized street crime.
Blake, Figueroa, Reyes, Lago, and Garcia are charged with second-degree aggravated assault in the assault on the inmate at New Jersey State Prison who suffered a brain injury. Blake, Chludzinski, Washington, Reyes, Zarate, and Cardona are charged with second-degree attempted aggravated assault for allegedly planning the assault at Northern State Prison that was thwarted when DOC placed the targeted inmate in protective custody.
Blake and Chludzinski are charged with second-degree hindering apprehension or prosecution, third-degree terroristic threats, and fourth-degree obstruction for the alleged threats of violence against DOC-SID members investigating this case. Cardona, Chludzinski, Reyes, and Zarate are charged with possessing shanks, and Cardona is charged with possessing a cell phone in prison.
When Blake was arrested, investigators executed a search warrant at his home, seizing a .45-caliber pistol, a .357-caliber revolver loaded with hollow-point bullets, a 9mm pistol, an illegal large-capacity magazine, additional bullets including hollow-point rounds, numerous suspected methamphetamine pills, and two digital scales. For those items, he is charged with second-degree possession of a weapon by a convicted felon, second-degree possession of a weapon during commission of a drug offense, third-degree possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute in a school zone, and fourth-degree possession of a large-capacity magazine, among other charges.
The criminal complaints against the nine defendants are posted with this press release at:
Deputy Attorney General Colin Keiffer is prosecuting the case for the OPIA Corruption Bureau, under the supervision of OPIA Corruption Bureau Chief Peter Lee and OPIA Deputy Director Anthony Picione. They were assisted by Deputy Attorney General Heather Hausleben and other members of the Division of Criminal Justice Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau.
Attorney General Grewal thanked all of the investigators and detectives who conducted the investigation for the DOC Special Investigations Division and the OPIA Corruption Central Squad. For security reasons, they are not being named individually.
Attorney General Grewal also thanked the New Jersey State Police TEAMS North Unit, Division of Criminal Justice Cyber Crimes Unit, Union County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Division, and Essex County Prosecutor’s Office Intelligence Unit for their assistance in the investigation.
First-degree charges carry a sentence of 10 to 20 years in state prison and a fine of up to $200,000. The sentences for gang criminality and promoting organized street crime must be consecutive to the sentence for any underlying offense. Second-degree charges carry a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000. Possession of a weapon as a convicted felon carries a mandatory period of parole ineligibility of five years. Third-degree charges carry a sentence of three to five years in state prison and a fine of up to $15,000, while fourth-degree charges carry a sentence of up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
The charges are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.
For Blake: Thomas R. Ashley, Esq., Newark, N.J.
For the other defendants: undetermined.
ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)–Pfizer Vaccination for Eligible Teens April 27-29 The West Windsor Health Department is partnering with Hamilton Township, Princeton and Olden Pharmacy to offer Pfizer COVID-19 vaccinations to individuals 16 and 17 years of age who live, work or attend school in West Windsor, Robbinsville or Hightstown.
These mini clinics will be held from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 27, Wednesday, April 28 and Thursday, April 29. Appointments are required and parents or guardians must attend the clinic. If you are interested in this opportunity, please contact the Health Department at 609-936-8400 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
EAST WINDSOR, NJ (MERCER)–The New Jersey State Police and the East Windsor Township Police Department are seeking the public’s assistance with identifying a man who allegedly broke into three Sea Box freight storage containers and stole several items.
On Sunday, April 11, at approximately 10:00 a.m., the suspect cut the padlocks on three storage containers located in the township and removed a pallet of LED parking lot lights. The suspect also stole a Honda generator, two jumping jack power tools, a rotary laser, a concrete saw, two rolls of copper, a trash pump, an impact drill, and a plastic blower.
Prior to departing, the suspect removed a security camera from the scene and placed it in his vehicle while it was still recording. He then fled in a Ford van, pickup truck, or box truck with a circular-shaped sticker in the driver’s side corner of the windshield.
Detectives with the State Police Forensic Imaging Unit completed a detailed sketch of the suspect based on surveillance images.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective McCandrew of the East Windsor Police Department at 609-448-5678, ext. 230 or email email@example.com.
Anonymous tips are welcome.
April 14, 2021
EAST WINDSOR, NJ (MERCER)–A 1:08 pm the Hightstown and Robbinsville Township Fire Departments were dispatched to a vehicle fire on the NJ Turnpike at Mile Marker 66 South Bound just south of Exit 8 Hightstown/East Windsor.
When the first firefighters arrived they found a car carrier fire carrying several cars on fire on the shoulder. Heavy black smoke could be seen for miles as the vehicles burned and flames were about 20 feet in the air at times above the well involved vehicle.
Water tankers were called from East Windsor Fire Company, Plainsboro Fire Company and Monroe Township for additional water to fight the fire. The firefighters had the flames under control within about a half hour.
Fire units were on scene until 2:34 pm as they mopped up hot spots.
There was a significant south bound traffic delay of 3 miles according to Google Maps at the time of this report.
No further information is available at this time and no word on the cause of the fire.
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January 31, 2021
Slow down roads are very slippery in untreated areas.
HIGHTSTOWN, NJ (MERCER)–Around 3:50 pm the Hightstown Police Department, Hightstown Fire Company and Robbinsville EMS responded to North Main Street and Monmouth Street for a vehicle into a building.
Upon arrival the vehicle appeared to have struck a home and came to rest in the street at the corner of N. Main and Monmouth Streets, no injuries were reported. Hightstown Police shut down the intersection until the car could be towed away.
Hightstown Police Department is investigating the accident. No other information is available.
January 23, 2021
HIGHTSTOWN, NJ (MERCER)–A man became trapped near the falls when he entered the Peddie Lake under his own volition this morning around 8:36 am. and had to be rescued according to Hightstown Borough Police Department, Sergeant Benjamin L. Miller.
Hightstown Police stated that on Saturday, January 23, 2021, at 8:36 a.m., officers were dispatched to the Peddie Lake, near the waterfalls, Main Street, for a male in the lake. Upon arrival, officers observed an elderly male subject standing, who appeared disoriented, in the lake; the officers immediately requested the Hightstown Fire Department’s water rescue unit and an ambulance for the extraction and care of the subject. The subject was assisted by fire personnel up a ladder and removed from the lake. The subject was transported to Princeton Medical Center by the Hightstown First Aid Squad for evaluation.
Responding the the scene, Hightstown Police Department, Hightstown Fire Company, Capital Health Paramedics, and Hightstown First Aid Squad. Robbinsville Township Fire Department, East Windsor and Plainsboro Fire Departments were dispatched but were not needed and turned around en-route.
January 22, 2021
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Once again, Mercer County Sheriff Jack Kemler has issued a warning to area residents regarding telephone scammers posing as Mercer County Sheriff’s Officers. Over the past month, the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office has received numerous complaints about suspected phone scams asking residents for personal bank account information or cash payments. Some calls have reached residents throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The scammers identify themselves as Mercer County Sheriff’s Officers along with fictitious badge numbers. The callers state they have an arrest warrant related to money laundering charges and need access to their bank accounts. The scammers also suggest meeting at a location and to bring cash for bail or fines. Otherwise, they will be taken into custody. “I can state with confidence the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office will never call anyone and ask for their bank account number or to meet in an odd location to pay bail or fines with cash,” said Sheriff Kemler.Unfortunately, it is difficult to crack down on telephone scammers because calls are often generated from phone banks located out of state. While the calls remain under investigation, the best advice is to exercise common sense. If a resident suspects a particular telephone call may be a scam, do not give out any personal information and simply hang up. Anyone who receives such a call and is uncertain of its validity should report the call to the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office at 609-989-6111.
January 17, 2021
ROBBINSVILLE-EAST WINDSOR TOWNSHIPS, NJ (MERCER)–Robbinsville Township firefighters responded to the 500 Block of Perrineville Road at 6:47 am for a car into a utility pole with injuries. Upon arrival of Robbinsville Police, fire and EMS the person was still in vehicle with wires one the vehicle. Jersey Central Power & Light JCP&L was notified and responded. The person was removed from the vehicle and transported to a local hospital.
At 8:28 am the Robbinsville Township Fire Department, Hightstown Fire Company, East Windsor First Aid, Robbinsville EMS responded to the New Jersey Turnpike for an overturned tractor trailer with reported entrapment. The accident happened in the north bound outer roadway (truck lanes) mile marker 66.0 about 1 mile prior to Exit 8 and blocked all the lanes of the outer roadway. When fire and EMS personnel arrived the driver was able to get out of the vehicle on their own power. Currently the roadway has reopened but one lane remains closed.
January 16, 2021
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Mercer County plans on opening an COVID-19 vaccination site at CURE Insurance Arena in Trenton in partnership with Capital Health System. An additional vaccination site is planned at Mercer County Community College and will be managed by the County Health Officer’s Association. See full press rease below from Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes:
Dear Mercer County Community,
The State of New Jersey this week ramped up its COVID-19 vaccination efforts, and Mercer County is preparing to do the same. The County will open a vaccination site at CURE Insurance Arena in Trenton in partnership with Capital Health System, which will manage the site. The opening date is dependent on vaccine supply but a soft opening is planned next week.
We had a successful partnership with Capital Health during the COVID-19 testing program we established last spring, and I can’t think of a more fitting partner for this next phase of the pandemic response – the vaccination phase. Like other vaccination locations, this site will be for those eligible under the state’s phasing plan that is designed to ensure that those most at risk are prioritized.
Mercer County also is working on opening a vaccination site at Mercer County Community College that would be managed by the County Health Officers Association and utilize all of the resources and staffing available from the municipal and county health offices. The arena and MCCC vaccination locations will supplement, not replace, smaller sites including those currently being operated by municipal health departments and other health care facilities in Mercer County. If you have questions about the CURE Insurance Arena or MCCC vaccination sites, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
As of this morning, at least 7,342 vaccine doses had been administered in Mercer County, according to the state Department of Health. While we all want to see that number grow exponentially, we are simply not getting enough vaccine from the federal government, and we are using every single dose we receive.
I ask that everyone be patient throughout what will be a months-long vaccination process and continue to take basic preventive measures to reduce the spread of the virus, which is still rampant in our community and seemingly everywhere else. Wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth; keep a least 6 feet away from other people; practice good hand hygiene; avoid large gatherings; and stay home if you are sick.
Anyone can – and everyone should – pre-register to receive a vaccination by visiting the state’s online portal at https://covidvaccine.nj.gov. The state expects to have a consumer call center up and running soon to assist people without Internet access in scheduling appointments, and to help answer general inquiries and questions. Those who have pre-registered will be notified when they are eligible to make a vaccination appointment. The state is compiling a list of designated vaccination locations for eligible recipients. That list will continue to grow.
For more information on who is eligible, and how to get vaccinated if you are eligible, please visit the state’s COVID-19 Vaccine website.
In addition to vaccinations, Mercer County continues to respond to the pandemic through testing, contact tracing and support. The County, in partnership with Vault Health Services, is offering a free COVID-19 saliva test on the next two Tuesdays – Jan. 19 and 26 – at the CURE Insurance Arena in Trenton. For details, please visit the COVID-19 Testing page on the County website, where you’ll also find information on the County’s at-home testing program.
These are trying times but we will get through them. Let’s continue to support each other and keep each other safe. Let’s continue to work together.
Brian M. Hughes
Mercer County Executive
December 17, 2020
EAST WINDSOR, NJ (MERCER)–Firefighters and other rescue personnel were dispatched to Exit 8 of the NJ Turnpike for an overturned vehicle with entrapment about 10:45 am Firefighters were already on the road and responding and reported the accident at 67.3 North Bound Inner Roadway as seen from the Etra Road Bridge. Firefighters entered the Turnpike at Exit 8 and responded to the scene and found at least three vehicles involved in an accident and one was overturned on its roof. Cranbury Fire Company was on scene and reported two minor injuries and recalled the rescue assignment due to no entrapment. Hightstown First Aid Squad was on scene but it was unclear if anyone was transported to the hospital.
Several departments returning from the earlier pickup truck fire responded to the accident including Cranbury, Hightstown. Robbinsville Township Fire Department also responded and was also recalled prior to arrival.
NJ State Police was on scene investigating the crash.
December 17, 2020
EAST WINDSOR, NJ (MERCER)–Firefighters were dispatched to the 800 Block of Perrineville Road around 10:15 am this morning for a pickup truck well involved in fire near a building. Firefighters responded from East Windsor Fire Companies 1 & 2, Hightstown, Cranbury and Monroe Township to the scene. The pickup truck was up a farm lane and close to a structure sending the additional apparatus. Firefighters quickly extinguished the fire and kept the fire from spreading to near by buildings. No further information was available.
November 27, 2020
HIGHTSTOWN, NJ (MERCER)–At 5:45 pm tonight Santa arrived from the North Pole in preparation for Christmas. Santa’s sleigh and reindeer were parked behind the firehouse where the reindeer enjoyed treats and fresh water provided in preparation for their return trip back to their home at the North Pole tonight.
While the reindeer were on break, Santa climbed aboard Ladder 41 for a trip around town with the members of Hightstown Engine Company #1. Santa wanted to visit the town’s children to let them know he is watching and will be returning on Christmas Eve. Santa stated that he had to scale things down this year because of social distancing because of COVID-19 and promised things should return to normal for next Christmas.
After the ride around town on the fire department’s ladder Santa quickly returned to his sleigh and raced back to the North Pole to get toys together for Christmas. Prior to departing, he mentioned that this is his busy season and has a tight time schedule but will return to different places in NJ over the next month.
November 23, 2020
On Sunday, November 22, 2020, East Windsor Police responded to Route 133 West near Route 571 for a report of a motor vehicle off the roadway engulfed in flames. Upon patrol arrival, the vehicle, a 2017 BMW was located down an embankment on the north side of the roadway at the curve just prior to the exit ramp for Route 571 West. The vehicle had driven off the roadway and struck a tree. The East Windsor and Hightstown fire companies extinguished the fire. The lone occupant Rashawn Young, 19, of Hamilton and driver was found deceased inside the vehicle.
The Traffic Safety Unit of the East Windsor Township Police Department and the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Officer Serious Collision Response Team are investigating the crash.
Responding agencies: East Windsor Township Police Department, Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office Serious Collision Response Team East Windsor Volunteer Fire Company No. 1, Station 42, East Windsor Volunteer Fire Company No. 2, Station 46 Hightstown Engine Company No. 1, East Windsor Rescue Squad #2
November 22, 2020
EAST WINDSOR, NJ (MERCER)–Around 5:45 pm the East Windsor Police received 9-1-1 calls reporting a vehicle off the road and on fire about 1/4 mile from Princeton Hightstown Road on Route 133 West Bound (Hightstown Bypass).
East Windsor Police, East Windsor and Hightstown Fire Companies and East Windsor First Aid and Rescue Squad along with Capital Health Paramedics responded to the scene. Upon arrival firefighters quickly knocked down the flames.
The crash is under investigation by the East Windsor Police Department. There is no other details available at this time.
No further information is available at this time. A press release most likely will follow sometime tomorrow so check back for an update.
Mercer County is also proud to offer free at-home COVID-19 testing. These tests are available to all residents of Mercer County, free of charge.
November 18, 2020
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes today announced that the County, in partnership with Vault Health Services, will offer free COVID-19 testing on Tuesday, Nov. 24, and Tuesday, Dec. 1, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the CURE Insurance Arena, 81 Hamilton Ave. The saliva test is available to County residents 14 years or older and anyone employed as a first responder or health care worker in Mercer County.
Those going to the arena for testing should use Parking Lot 2 off South Broad Street to access Gate A. Testing will be conducted in the arena concourse. Bring identification showing Mercer County residency and a smartphone or tablet if you have one. No prescription is necessary. Please avoid eating, drinking, chewing gum or smoking 30 minutes prior to taking the test.
Testing will be limited to 300 people on each of the two days but additional pop-up testing sites will be scheduled around the County in the near future.
If you want to avoid the lines, Mercer County also offers an at-home saliva test for COVID-19, which can be requested by visiting www.mercercares.org. If you need help with the online registration process, assistance will be available Tuesday at the arena.
Mercer County is proud to offer free at-home COVID-19 testing. These tests are available to all residents of Mercer County, free of charge.
The saliva collection test for COVID-19 has the same effectiveness as the nasal swab test. This test is performed under the supervision of our healthcare provider, Vault, through a video telehealth visit eliminating the risk of person-to-person exposure to the virus.
To register for your at-home testing kit, you must first fill out the form below to verify your Mercer County residency. Within 24-48 hours following your submission, you will receive a link to order your free kit on the Vault Health website. This is FREE to all Mercer County residents, and health insurance is not required but a claim will be submitted if are covered.
Please note the following:
If your test is positive, or if you have symptoms, call your health care professional.
November 18, 2020
HIGHTSTOWN, NJ (MERCER)–Santa Claus will be coming to Hightstown on Friday Nov. 27th! Save the date and spread the word.
As with everything this year, our annual celebration will look a bit different.
While Santa and Mrs. Claus will be riding on the back of our Fire Truck as they usually do, there will not be any festivities at the fire house this year.
Instead, the route has changed to include more streets in town (see map for more details) so that you can wave to Santa and Mrs. Claus from the safety and comfort of your porch or street corner while maintaining social distance and staying closer to home.
Santa will leave the Fire house at approximately 5:45pm so listen for the sirens to indicate that he and his reindeer…oops…he and his firefighter friends are on the way to a street near you!
Please remember to wear masks and stay 6 feet apart from anyone who is not in your immediate household.
We hope you enjoy this Pandemic friendly version of Santa coming to our town!
Don’t forget that Christmas Tree and Wreath sales start on Sunday Nov. 22nd
November 16, 2020
NEWARK, NJ –An Ohio man who was out on bail for allegedly committing a bank robbery in the Chicago area and who is charged in New Jersey with seven bank robberies or attempted bank robberies will make his initial court appearance by videoconference today, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.
Tyler O’Toole, 23, of Cleveland, Ohio, was arrested in Queens, New York, on November 14, 2020. He is charged by complaint sworn out in the District of New Jersey on Nov. 4, 2020, with five counts of bank robbery and two counts of attempted bank robbery and is scheduled to have his initial appearance by videoconference this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph A. Dickson.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
O’Toole was arrested in Glenview, Illinois, on Aug. 20, 2020, and charged in federal court in the Northern District of Illinois with bank robbery. O’Toole was released on bail and placed on home detention with electronic location monitoring.
On Sept. 24, 2020, O’Toole removed his monitoring device, stole his mother’s blue 2018 Hyundai Elantra, and drove away. He later robbed, or attempted to rob, the following New Jersey banks:
Date Bank Location:
|Oct. 8, 2020||PNC Bank||Morris Plains, New Jersey|
|Oct. 8, 2020||PNC Bank*||Pompton Plains, New Jersey|
|Oct. 22, 2020||Chase Bank||Aberdeen, New Jersey|
|Oct. 22, 2020||Bank of America||East Windsor, New Jersey|
|Oct. 27, 2020||Chase Bank||Lawrence Township, New Jersey|
|Oct. 27, 2020||Citizens Bank||Mount Holly, New Jersey|
|Oct. 30, 2020||Citizens Bank*||Runnemede, New Jersey|
*attempted bank robbery
At each bank, O’Toole presented a note demanding cash from bank tellers. For example, during the Oct. 27, 2020, robbery of the Chase Bank in Lawrence Township, O’Toole handed the teller a manila envelope which stated:
• This is a robbery. Comply and Nobody gets hurt.
• Give me 20’s 50’s 100’s
• NO Trackers or Ink Packs
• Put Money in THIS Envelope
• Be fast, Act Normal
Each bank robbery or attempted bank robbery charge carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the FBI’s Violent Crimes/Interstate Theft Task Force, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr. in Newark, with the investigation leading to the charges. He also thanked the FBI’s Westchester, County, New York Safe Streets Task Force; the Camden County, Monmouth County and Morris County prosecutor’s offices; and the Morris Plains Boro, Pompton Plains, Aberdeen Township, East Windsor Township, Lawrence Township, Mount Holly Township, Runnemede Borough, Medford, and Gloucester Township police departments for their assistance.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan W. Romankow of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Violent Crimes Unit in Newark.
The charges and allegations in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Related MidJersey.News stories:
November 15, 2020
NEWARK, NJ — The FBI Tweeted a few moments ago that bank robber James Tyler O’Toole. He was arrested in Queens yesterday.
A subject matching a similar description held up area banks including East Windsor and Lawrence Township. The FBI does not always comment on active investigations. Once in the hands of the US Attorney we should have more information on exact locations, expect another update soon.
Related MidJersey.News stories:
November 13, 2020
EAST WINDSOR, NJ (MERCER)—Sergeant Lawrence Peele from the New Jersey State Police Public Information Bureau told MidJersey.News —
That a crash occurred at 11:53 p.m. last evening on the New Jersey Turnpike, northbound inner roadway in East Windsor Township, Mercer County.
Preliminary information indicates that in the area of milepost 66.8, a Lincoln Town Car was involved in a crash and was disabled in the roadway.
A Jeep Cherokee traveling northbound then struck the disabled Lincoln. Two rear seat passengers of the Lincoln were pronounced dead at the scene, the driver and front passenger sustained serious injuries. The driver of the Jeep sustained minor injuries.
The inner roadway was closed for approximately 6 hours.
Crash remains under investigation.
See MidJersey.News update here: Update: 2 Dead, 2 Serious and 1 Minor Injury In Fiery Crash On NJ Turnpike Last Night
November 13, 2020
EAST WINDSOR, NJ (MERCER)–A fiery crash left several with life threatening injuries tonight on the New Jersey Turnpike at Mile Marker 67 North Bound inner roadway (car lanes) prior to Exit 8. The crash was reported just before midnight at 11:56 pm., (November 12) reporting multiple vehicles involved and on fire with entrapment. Initially Robbinsville Township Fire Department and Hightstown Fire Company along with EMS from Robbinsville, Hightstown and Cranbury were sent to the scene. Upon arrival a MCI was called (Mass Casualty Incident) because of reports of how many injured additional paramedics from Capital Health and multiple ambulances were sent to the scene.
From radio reports there appeared to be at least 5 to 7 injures reported in the crash with 3 being life threating.
New Jersey State Police and the New Jersey Turnpike Authority have the inner roadway closed from the split in Florence to Exit 8 in the North Bound direction for the accident investigation and clean up. The New Jersey State Police Serious Accident Investigation Unit is investigating the crash.
This is a breaking news report and an email was sent to the NJ State Police Public Information Bureau for official details. Information contained in this preliminary breaking news report is unofficial and subject to change. Once official information is received the story will be updated with current information and any corrections made.
November 10, 2020
EAST WINDSOR-HIGHTSTOWN, NJ (MERCER)–The Hightstown Fire Department, Hightstown First Aid, Robbinsville Fire Department and EMS were sent to the NJ Turnpike at mile marker 67 north bound outer lanes for a crash just prior to Exit 8. Initially there was reported entrapment but upon fire department arrival the vehicle was found in a ditch and the driver was out of the vehicle. The driver was checked by the first aid squad and refused medical advice and was able to walk away on their own power.
New Jersey State Police was investigating the crash, no other information was available.
November 6, 2020
HIGHTSTOWN, NJ (MERCER)–Hightstown Rams shut out the Cherry Hill East Cougars 35-0 tonight at home. Photo gallery below:
November 5, 2020
HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–The Mercer County Firemen’s Association 2020 Memorial Service that was originally scheduled for May 6, 2020 was postponed several times due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. This year’s Memorial Service was held at Colonial Fire Company Hamilton Township Station 18 and was hosted by Union Fire Company Hopewell Township Station 53. Hamilton Township Station 18 has a large hall and is big enough to hold the service while complying with COVID-19 guidelines.
The annual Memorial Service is held to honor members of Mercer County Firemen’s Ladies Auxiliary and Firefighters in Mercer County. All fire departments in Mercer County are represented and Hope Fire Company of Allentown, Monmouth County is also a member.
This year’s Memorial Roll was read honored 14 Ladies Auxiliary members and 36 firefighters. As each name is read a white carnation is placed in a Maltese cross and firefighters salute and family members stand as the name of their loved one is read.
October 19, 2020
FREEHOLD, NJ (MONMOUTH)–Separate investigations have netted fifteen Monmouth County individuals for possessing and or trafficking child sexual abuse materials, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.
Between July 21, 2020 and October 15, 2020, the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Computer Crimes Unit and Monmouth County Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force arrested individuals. Assisting in this Operation were members of the New Jersey State Police Digital Technology Investigations Unit (DTIU), the New Jersey ICAC Task Force, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Monmouth County Sherriff’s Office, The Monmouth County Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, which includes members from the following police departments: Eatontown, Howell Township, Long Branch, Manalapan, Marlboro, Neptune Twp., Spring Lake, Tinton Falls, and Holmdel; and support from the following Monmouth County Police Departments: Asbury Park, Aberdeen, Middletown, Highlands, Freehold Township and Freehold Borough.
These arrests were designed to reduce online threats to Monmouth County to decrease the market for child sexual exploitation by focusing on those individuals seeking out and trafficking in child pornographic-materials.
The following individuals were arrested:
Antonio Mejia, 38, of 806 5th Avenue, Asbury Park. Mejia was arrested on July 21, 2020 following an investigation that revealed he transmitted numerous images of child sexual abuse materials and engaged in sexual conversations with 3 males under the age of 16. Mejia was charged with one count second degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Distribution of Child Sexual abuse materials, contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(a)(i), one count of Attempted Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Manufacturing an Image of Child Exploitation Material), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(3), one count of Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Materials), contrary to 2C:24-4b(5)(b)iii, three counts of Endangering the Welfare of a Child, N.J.S.A 2C:24-4a(1) and three counts of Attempted Obscenity to Minors, 2C:34-3. On July 30, 2020, defendant appeared for a detention hearing before the Honorable Paul X. Escandon, J.S.C. was released on the condition that he have no contact with the victims, no access to social media and no contact with anyone under 18. Mejia is represented by Joy Anderson, Esq. of Eatontown.
Brody Sullivan, 20, of 2 Ithaca Court, Aberdeen was arrested on July 22, 2020 following an investigation that revealed that he was in possession of child sexual abuse materials. Sullivan was charged with one count of second degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexaul Abuse Material), contrary to 2C:24-4b(5)(b)ii and released on the condition that he have no contact with anyone under 18 and no internet access. Sullivan is represented by Anthony Palumbo, Esq. of Cranford.
Anthony Lichtenau, 36, of 72 Brentwood Road, Eatontown was arrested on July 24, 2020 following an investigation that revealed he was in possession of child sexual abuse materials. Lichtenau was charged with one count of third degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Material), contrary to 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(iii) and released on the condition that he have no contact with anyone under 18 and no internet access. Lichtenau is represented by Mitchell Ansell, Esq. of Ocean Township.
Matthew Fahmie, 33, of 30 Northover Place, Middletown, was arrested on September 10, 2020 following an investigation which revealed that he possessed over 1,000 images of child sexual exploitation material. Fahmie was charged with one count of second degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(ii) and was released on the condition that he have no contact with anyone under 18 and restricted internet access. Fahmie is represented by Richard Incremona, Esq. of Freehold Township.
Valentin Valdetano, 20, of 359 North Bath Avenue, Long Branch, was arrested on July 31, 2020 following an investigation that revealed he possessed and traded images of child sexual abuse materials using a chat platform. Valdetano was charged with second degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Distribution of Child Sexual Abuse Materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(a)(i) and third degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(iii). Valdetano was released on the condition that he have no contact with anyone under 18 and that he not use the internet. Valdetano is represented by Charles Moriarty, Esq. of Long Branch.
Zachary Barnett, 24, 984 Twilight Way, Aberdeen, was arrested on August 7, 2020 following an investigation that revealed he possessed images of child sexual abuse materials. Barnett was charged with one count of third degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(iii). Barnett was released on a summons. Barnett is represented by Allison Friedman, Esq. of Freehold.
Brian Wioncek, 62 of 317 Shore Drive, Apartment C, Highlands, was arrested on September 9, 2020 following an investigation that he possessed child sexual abuse materials. Wioncek was charged with one count of third degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(iii). Wioncek was released on the condition that he have no contact with anyone under 18 and that his internet usage is restricted.
John Hynes, 21, of 90 Bannard Street, Freehold, was arrested on August 21, 2020 following an investigation that revealed he possessed images of child sexual abuse materials. Hynes was charged with one count of third degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(iii) and one count of disorderly persons possession of a controlled dangerous substance contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10(a)(4). Hynes was released on a summons. Hynes is represented by Charles Clark, Esq. of Freehold.
Michael Townend, 19, 203 Colts Neck Road, Howell, was arrested on August 25, 2020 following an investigation that revealed he possessed images of child sexual abuse materials. Townend was charged with one count of third degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(iii). Townend was released on a summons. Townend is represented by Steven Nelson, Esq. of Neptune.
Robert Sherman, 62, of 112 Route 36, Highlands, was arrested on September 1, 2020 following an investigation that revealed he possessed images of child sexual abuse materials. Sherman was charged with one count of third degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4B(5)(b(iii). Sherman was released on a summons. Sherman is represented by Michael Polloway, Esq. of Red Bank.
Michael Pipitone, 38, of 157 Rutledge Drive, Middletown, was arrested on September 2, 2020 following a proactive investigation which revealed he shared over 1,000 images and/or videos of child sexual abuse material. Pipitone was charged with one count of first degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Distribution of Child Sexual Abuse Materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(a)(iii) and second degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(ii). Pipitone was released on the condition of home detention, no internet usage and no contact with anyone under 18. Pipitone is represented by John Hogan, Esq. of Woodbridge.
George Ichkitidze, 39, of 27-08 Whistler Drive, Freehold Township, was arrested on September 25, 2020 following a proactive investigation which revealed he shared over 1,000 images and/or videos of child sexual abuse material. Ichkitidze was charged with one count of first degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Distribution of Child Sexual Abuse Materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(a)(iii) and second degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(ii). Ichkitidze was released on the condition of home detention, no internet usage and no contact with anyone under 18. Pipitone is represented by Kevin Clark, Esq. of Ocean Township.
Juvenile, of Freehold Borough, was arrested on September 11, 2020 following an investigation that revealed he possessed images of child sexual abuse materials. The juvenile was charged with one count of second degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(ii).
Thomas Vilanova, 49, of 133 Newbury Road, Howell, was charged on October 13, 2020 following an investigation that revealed that he possessed images of child sexual abuse material. Vilanova was charged with one Count of third degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Material), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(iii). Vilanova is currently on probation for a 2017 conviction for third Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Material), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(iii). Vilanova is scheduled to appear in court before the Honorable Paul X. Escandon, J.S.C. for a detention hearing on October 22, 2020. Vilanova is represented by Michael Wenning, Esq. of Bradley Beach.
Jamie Khan, 43 of 19 Oxford Drive, East Windsor, was charged on October 15, 2020 following an investigation that revealed he was viewing and sending child sexual abuse material while working for his employer in Freehold Township. The investigation further revealed that he was also in possession of child sexual abuse material at his home in East Windsor. Khan was charged with one Count of third degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Material), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(iii) and one count of second degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Distribution of Child Sexual Abuse Material), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(a)(i). Khan was released on the condition of no internet usage and no unsupervised contact with anyone under 18.
If convicted of the first degree Endangering charge, a defendant will face a maximum sentence of 20 years in New Jersey State Prison, Megan’s Law, and Parole Supervision for Life. If convicted of the second degree Endangering charge, a defendant will face a maximum sentence of ten years in New Jersey State Prison Megan’s Law and Parole Supervision for Life. If convicted of the third degree Endangering charge, a defendant will face a maximum sentence of five years in New Jersey State Prison and Parole Supervision for Life. A conviction for disorderly persons Possession of Less than 50 Grams of Marijuana exposes a defendant to a maximum sentence of six months incarceration.
Ichkitidze’s case is assigned to Assistant Prosecutor Diane Aifer, Financial Crimes and Public Corruption Unit; the remaining cases are assigned to Assistant Prosecutor Stephanie Dugan, Computer Crimes Unit.
Anyone who feels the need to remain anonymous but has information about a crime can submit a tip to Monmouth County Crime Stoppers by calling their confidential telephone tip-line at 1-800-671-4400; by downloading and using the free P3 Tips mobile app (available on iOS and Android – https://www.p3tips.com/1182), by calling 800-671-4400 or by going to the website at www.monmouthcountycrimestoppers.com
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.
October 19, 2020
EAST WINDSOR, NJ (MERCER)–On Saturday, October 17, 2020, at approximately 11:11 pm, East Windsor Police responded to the area of Bennington Drive for a noise complaint. When officers arrived, they observed a large group of approximately 20 people physically fighting. Officers attempted to calm and control the situation but some of the active participants failed to comply with orders. Officers from the Robbinsville and Monroe police departments also responded to assist with controlling the situation. While affecting multiple arrests, two East Windsor officers were assaulted resulting in minor injuries. Ultimately, six individuals were arrested, charged and released pending court action.
Defendant: Essence Bolden
East Windsor, NJ
18 Years of Age
Charges: Assault on Police Officer
Defendant: Dana Flowers
East Windsor, NJ
36 Years of Age
Charges: Obstructing Justice
East Windsor, NJ
17 Years of Age
Charges: Resisting Arrest
East Windsor, NJ
16 Years of Age
Charges: Disorderly Conduct
17 Years of Age
Charges: Simple Assault (2 Counts)
Hamilton, NJ 17 Years of Age
Charges: Simple Assault (2 Counts)
As with every arrest we report on: 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.
October 17, 2020
EAST WINDSOR, NJ (MERCER)–Around 8:30 pm a car traveling north bound in the inner lanes of the NJ Turnpike overturned just prior to Exit 8 that left 4 injured. At least 2 were transported to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, others reported minor injuries but refused medical advice and transport.
Hightstown Fire Company, Cranbury Fire Company, Hightstown First Aid Squad, East Windsor First Aid Squad and Mercer County Paramedics responded to the scene. A light pole was reported to be knocked down partly blocking the Exit 8 Ramp. NJ State Police is investigating the crash.
October 9, 2020
HIGHTSTOWN, NJ (MERCER)–It was Hightstown High School’s football, band and cheerleading senior night tonight. Senior nights this season have been moved from the usual last game of the season to the 1st home game of the season due to COVID-19. The visiting Robbinsville Ravens defeated the Hightstown Rams 35-32.
Senior Night Photo Gallery:
All Drop Boxes will be open by October 5, 2020 until General Election Night of November 3, 2020 at 8:00 pm.
October 4, 2020
ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)–Recently a secured election ballot drop box has been installed at the Robbinsville Township Municipal Building. The box is to the left of the rear parking lot entrance to the building. Just look for the flag pole and the box is in that location. There are also signs located in the parking lot to show the way to the secure drop box.
Robbinsville Township Municipal Clerk Michele Seigfried explains the 2020 General Election process on November 3 in the wake of COVID-19 in this informative video.
For the most up to date information on the 2020 elections and drop box locations visit the Mercer County Board of Elections website here and here: Mercer County Board Of Elections
All Active Registered Voters will receive a Mail-In-Ballot that can be placed in a drop box at any one of the fifteen (15) locations (see below), mailed, or hand delivered at the polling location on November 3 from 5:15 am-8:00 pm.
Drop boxes will be open beginning in October 2020 until General Election Night of November 3, 2020 at 8:00 pm.
Please Note: We anticipate more drop boxes, however, at this time do not know how many and in what locations they will be placed. Any and all changes will be updated on the website.
** All Drop Boxes will be open by October 5, 2020