Category: Lawrence

Laundry room fire damages Lawrence home

March 6, 2021

By: Tyler Eckel

LAWRENCE TOWNSHIP (MERCER)— Multiple fire companies responded to 2 Fairview Terrace just after 10:00 am for a reported fire in the laundry room. The first alarm was called when units arrived on scene with smoke showing.

The fire rapidly spread over the garage. Flames could be seen shooting from the windows of the rear and left side of the home. Two lines were stretched into operation to extinguish the fire.

The fire was placed under control just before 10:45 am.

Responding companies included all Lawrence Township Fire Companies, as well as mutual aid companies from Ewing and Princeton.


Well Involved Car Fire In Lawrence Township Extinguished

February 20, 2021

LAWRENCE TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Lawrence Township Fire Departments Stations 23, 22 and Princeton Fire Department Station 60 were dispatched for a car fire at Princeton Pike near Meadow Road, Lawrence Township. The well involved car fire was reported at 9:45 am and was extinguished by Lawrence Township Station 23. There were no reported injures in the fire. Police closed Princeton Pike in both directions between Lewisville Road and Fackler Road during the fire. No further information was available.


UPDATE: Rider University Email To Students Faculty and Staff About Earlier Stay In Place Order Involving Credible Threat

This is still a developing story keep checking MidJersey.news for further updates:

February 17, 2021

LAWRENCE TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)– An email from Rider University to students, faculty and staff about the incident MidJersey.news brought to you earlier:

This afternoon we issued a stay in place order to students, faculty and staff after receiving a threat we deemed credible and dangerous to the campus community. 

A former employee of a campus contractor called the University this afternoon and made a direct threat to harm former colleagues on campus. This was the same individual whom we contacted students, faculty and staff about yesterday, believing he potentially posed a risk to our community after he issued a related threat of violence on Feb. 16, one that was not specific to any individual. 

After receiving this more direct threat today, Lawrence Township Police and Trenton Police, working with Public Safety, immediately responded and quickly placed the individual in custody at his place of residence. The swift action of law enforcement led to Rider lifting the stay in place order in less than an hour.

Rider has also issued a Persona Non Grata letter to this individual, which prohibits them from entering or being on University property. Public Safety will continue to have an increased presence on campus.  

Rider’s top priority is to keep our campus community safe. The precautionary and protective measures taken over the past two days were meant to achieve that goal. We’re grateful for the work of law enforcement and Public Safety and the cooperation of our campus community during this incident. 

Please know that if we conclude it is not safe to come to campus or to be moving about campus, we will communicate that to you. The first message we sent last night was based on less specific, but still concerning, information. Our assessment of that information led to our putting our community on notice of a person of concern. Today’s threat was much more directed and imminent, such that we issued a shelter in place order, directing everyone on campus to remain in place until further notice so as not to potentially be in harm’s way.

In an emergency situation, when information is often not available in abundance, we will always err on the side of caution and issue immediate directives via RiderAlert to students, faculty and staff to help ensure their safety. We will make our best assessment in that moment, focusing on immediate safety, and provide additional information as it becomes available.  

Our main way to communicate urgent information during an emergency is through Rider Alert, our electronic notification system for students, faculty and staff. We will almost always utilize text messaging in an emergency, as it is the fastest and most efficient way to disseminate information. If you did not receive a Rider Alert message during this incident, please contact Debbie Stasolla at dstasolla@rider.edu

Thank you again for your cooperation, patience and understanding. We will continue to share relevant new information as it becomes available. 

Earlier MidJersey.News story here: DEVELOPING: Shelter In Place Order At Rider University Has Been Lifted, Sources Say One In Custody, PD Says Criminal Charges Expected

Links to The Rider News a student run news organization:



DEVELOPING: Shelter In Place Order At Rider University Has Been Lifted, Sources Say One In Custody, PD Says Criminal Charges Expected

MidJersey.news update here: UPDATE: Rider University Email To Students Faculty and Staff About Earlier Stay In Place Order Involving Credible Threat

February 17, 2021

LAWRENCE TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–The Lawrence Township Police Department can confirm that there were shelter in place instructions given to the Rider University community by the school administration on 02 17 2021. The shelter in place order has since been lifted by the school administration and there is no longer any type of threat to the Rider University community. The Lawrence Township Police Department can confirm that both incidents are connected. The investigation is ongoing at this time and criminal charges are expected to be filed, Lawrence Township Police told a MidJersey.news reporter.

The Rider News, a student run news paper, has reported on a potentially dangerous ex-employee of campus contractor involved in this shelter in place order.

MidJersey.news has several sources confirming that one suspect is in custody involved in this incident.

MidJersey.news is expecting a press release from Rider University soon on the situation so please check back as this is a developing story.

Princeton man facing multiple charges following disturbance at a Lawrence CVS

February 10, 2021

By: Tyler Eckel

LAWRENCE TOWNSHIP (MERCER): On February 9th 2021, the Lawrence Police Department responded to the area of the CVS store located at 2971 Brunswick Pike, Lawrenceville, NJ on a report of a male acting erratically and harassing customers.

Responding Lawrence Police officers located the male, later identified as Byung Yu, a 50 year old male from Princeton, NJ operating a 2017 Honda Accord. Lawrence Police officers attempted to conduct a motor vehicle stop on the 2017 Honda Accord, however the operator, Yu failed to comply with officer’s commands and continued to elude officers in an unsafe manner on Brunswick Pike in Lawrenceville, NJ.

Yu was later apprehended by Lawrence Police officers a short distance away on a residential street. During the apprehension a Lawrence officer sustained an injury.

Yu was charged with Complaint Warrant 2021-0088-1107 with the below listed offenses:

1 count of Eluding: 2C:29-2B (2nd degree)
1 count of Aggravated Assault: 2C 12-b1 (3rd degree)
1 count of Resisting Arrest: 2C:29-2A(1) (4th degree)
1 count of Obstructing the Administration of Law: 2C:29-1 (Disorderly Person)

A subsequent investigation conducted by Lawrence Police identified Byung Yu as the suspect responsible for committing the offense of Criminal Mischief from an incident that occurred earlier in the day in the a 2600 block of Lawrence Rd, Lawrenceville, NJ.

In that incident, Yu was captured on surveillance video vandalizing a residents lawn sign. Yu was charged with 1 count of Criminal Mischief and issued Complaint Summons 2021-000089-1107.

Please contact LT Joseph Lech of the Lawrence Police Department if you have any additional questions.
609-844-7128
jlech@lawrencetwp.com



Carbon Monoxide Incident Resolved at Costco Warehouse

January 31, 2021

LAWRENCE TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Just after 8:30 am employees reported an alarm sounding thought at the time to be a CO2 alarm (carbon dioxide) with two employees feeling ill and the store was evacuated. Lawrence Township Police, Lawrence Township EMS and firefighters from all three Lawrence Township fire companies responded to the scene. PSE&G arrived and tested the air using a multi gas meter and found 83 parts per million of CO (carbon monoxide) in an area of the building. Firefighters also arrived and found mostly negative readings until they were in an area of a stove. PSE&G and firefighters made the building save and the issue was resolved. The store was reopened and customers and employees returned to business as usual. The two employees that reported illness did not wish transport to the hospital. No further information was available.

Mercer County Sheriff Warns Of Phone Scam

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.

BREAKING: Serious Crash Involving Pedestrian In Lawrence Township

January 19, 2021

LAWRENCE TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–A serious crash involving a Nissan Murano and a pedestrian occurred at the intersection of Princeton Avenue and Spruce Street sometime before 8:30 am. Lawrence Township Police, Lawrence EMS and Capital Health Paramedics responded to the scene. The person was transported to the Trauma Center at Capital Health Regional Medical Center. The Lawrence Township Fire Department responded to help clean up and wash down the accident scene.

Information contained in this story is breaking news and from on scene reporting, witnesses and radio traffic. An email was sent to Lawrence Township Police for official press information once received the story will be updated and any corrections and additions made.



COVID-19 Vaccination Sites Planned At CURE Arena And MCCC

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 publichealth@mercercounty.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



Mercer County Prosecutor’s Detectives Arrest Trenton’s H-Block in Operation Eight-Ball

January 14, 2021

By: Tyler Eckel

Six-Month Investigation Yields 18 Arrests, Guns, $228,000 in Drugs

TRENTON (MERCER): Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri today announced that a six month, multi-jurisdictional investigation of narcotics distribution and violent crime in the  Mercer County area has culminated with the arrest of 18 individuals and the seizure of  approximately 1,000 grams of heroin, 1,000 grams of methamphetamine, 15 pounds of  marijuana, 11 guns, six vehicles and more than $22,000 in cash.  

“Operation Eight-Ball was an enormous investigative endeavor and as a result, many  violent offenders have been taken off of the street,” said Prosecutor Onofri. “I cannot  thank our many law enforcement partners enough for their dedication and assistance in  providing safer neighborhoods for the residents of Trenton and Mercer County.” 

“Our law enforcement challenges this year required a coordinated plan, and I’m thankful  for the city, county, state, and federal officers who stepped up to make Trenton a safer  place to live,” said Trenton Police Director Sheilah A. Coley. “In just this operation alone,  their hard work yielded multiple firearms, high-capacity magazines, kilograms of  narcotics, and more than 15 arrests, six of which are connected to several homicides.  This multi-tiered response awaits any criminal group that seeks to plague our streets with  drugs and violence.”

“This investigation makes clear the violence associated with drug trafficking,” said Susan  A. Gibson, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New Jersey  Division. “Those targeted in this investigation brought violence and misery to the residents  of Mercer County. Their arrests have made the community safer, and DEA will continue  to work with our partners to pursue those who violate the law.” 

“In the spring of 2020, as the number of shootings and homicides in Trenton began  increasing at an alarming rate, we set out to expose trends and connections that might  be responsible for triggering the uptick in violence,” said Prosecutor Onofri. 

The Mercer County Narcotics Task Force, the Mercer County Homicide Task Force and  the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Economic Crime Unit, along with the Drug Enforcement  Administration, Homeland Security Investigations, the Federal Bureau of Investigation,  and many state, county and local police agencies, began their hard-hitting investigation  a short time later and dubbed the job “Operation Eight-Ball,” representing the eight-ball  logo used by Trenton’s H-Block, a violent criminal street gang responsible for numerous  shootings and murders in the city. According to Prosecutor Onofri, the initial investigation  focused on the alleged drug activities of H-Block, and through informant information,  controlled buys, surveillances and intelligence, authorities were able to obtain and  execute more than 40 warrants of individuals, vehicles and locations in New Jersey and  Pennsylvania.  

On November 4, 2020, search warrants were executed and arrests were made as this  investigation progressed. On this day, an undercover officer made arrangements to  purchase a quantity of heroin from Joseph Kaite. After conducting the narcotics  transaction with the undercover detective at a gas station on North Olden Avenue in  Trenton, detectives attempted to arrest Kaite, however, he fled in his vehicle. When  detectives attempted to stop Kaite, he collided with a police vehicle causing heavy  damage to both vehicles. He then attempted to flee on foot but was apprehended after a  brief struggle. Also arrested inside the vehicle were Vincent Bowman and Zaire Jones.  Search warrants related to the investigation were subsequently executed and detectives  located 30 bricks of heroin and a shotgun. At an apartment on Beakes Street in Trenton,  detectives located evidence related to murder of Derek Colley that resulted in homicide  charges being filed against Kaite and Tabika Hale. 

The investigation continued into 2021 and last week, search warrants were executed at  locations in Trenton and Ewing, New Jersey, and Bristol and Morrisville, Pennsylvania.  Prior to the execution of these warrants, surveillance officers followed Deshawn Abner as  he traveled by cab from Bond Street in Trenton to the Extended Stay Motel on Route 1 in  West Windsor where Abner and a second individual, identified as Aziz Stroman, were

observed searching a wooded area around the hotel. After searching the area for about  30 minutes, Abner was seen retrieving a box containing 210 bricks of heroin from the  bushes in the hotel parking lot. After retrieving the package, Abner entered the Mercedes  Benz Stroman had arrived in, and the two men departed the area. Arrest teams converged  on the area and both Abner and Stroman were eventually detained after attempting to  flee. A search warrant for Stroman’s Mercedes Benz was obtained and detectives located  210 bricks of heroin on the front passenger floor. Both Abner and Stroman were charged  with first-degree narcotic offenses. 

After Abner and Stroman were taken into custody, detectives contacted officers in Pennsylvania who had an individual identified as Ricardo Moise under observation.  Through the investigation, authorities had pinpointed Moise as the supplier of heroin to  North Trenton. At that time, Moise was seen moving items out of his apartment on Beaver  Street in Bristol Township, and detectives from the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office, with assistance from Bucks County District Attorney’s Office and the Bristol Borough  Police Department, arrested him for outstanding warrants as a result of distributing 75  bricks of heroin to an undercover officer in the spring of 2020. Search warrants were  subsequently executed at related locations. 

According to Prosecutor Onofri, the total retail value of the confiscated drugs is $228,000.  The heroin is valued at $60,000; the methamphetamine is valued at $100,000; and the  marijuana at $68,000. 

In addition to the narcotics, authorities also seized 11 guns, six vehicles and  approximately $22,000 in cash. Approximately 24 bank accounts in connection to the investigation were frozen and continue to be investigated by the Mercer County  Prosecutor’s Economic Crime Unit. 



As a result of this cooperative investigation, the following arrests were made with the  listed charges:  

Ricardo Moise, 31, Bristol, Pa. – Numerous narcotic-related offenses

Deshawn Abner, 31, Trenton – Numerous narcotic- and weapons-related offenses

Daishawn Dickerson, 30, Trenton – Numerous narcotic-related offenses

Aziz Stroman, 31, Trenton – Numerous narcotic- and weapons-related offenses

Zaire Jones, 20, Trenton – Conspiracy 

Vincent Bowman, 20, Trenton – Conspiracy 

Kashawn Batts, 33, Trenton – Numerous weapons-related offenses

Jaquane Leonard, 32, Trenton – Numerous weapons-related offenses

Joseph Kaite, 19, Trenton – Homicide, numerous narcotic and weapons offenses

Tabika Hale, 26, Trenton – Homicide and weapons offenses 

Aniyah Boone, 20, Bensalem, Pa. – Numerous narcotic-related offenses

Casimer Phillips, 22, Newtonville – Numerous narcotic-related offenses

Kevonte Bivens, 23, Montgomery, Alabama – Numerous narcotic-related offenses

Aleque Williams-Dixon, 21, Blackwood – Numerous narcotic-related offenses

Prince Attoh, 20, Trenton – Numerous narcotic-related offenses 

Additionally, information obtained during Operation Eight-Ball directly linked Tyzir Hamilton, 19, Treizon Thompson, 20, and Darnell Davis, 19, to the murders of William  Irizarry and Julius Vargas. Arrest warrants for the three defendants were obtained in  October 2020 and search warrants were also executed at several locations, which led to  the recovery of several weapons. 

Operation Eight-Ball developed over six months of investigation. It initiated with the  Mercer County Narcotics Task Force, the Mercer County Homicide Task Force and the  Mercer County Prosecutor’s Economic Crime Unit, and received support and resources  from 16 additional agencies including: 

  • Drug Enforcement Administration
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • Homeland Security Investigations
  • New Jersey State Police Crime Suppression Central
  • Mercer County Sheriff’s Office
  • Bucks County District Attorney’s Office (PA)
  • Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Ewing Police Department
  • Hamilton Police Department
  • Lawrence Police Department
  • Princeton Police Department
  • Robbinsville Police Department
  • Trenton Police Department
  • West Windsor Police Department
  • Bristol Borough Police Department (PA)
  • The College of New Jersey Police Department

In the interest of investigative security and pursuant to established court requirements,  the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office is limited in discussing specific details regarding  the ongoing investigation and the alleged conspiracies. Despite having been charged, all  persons are presumed innocent until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court  of law. 


Mercer County Health Officer Association Distribution Of Moderna Vaccine To Health Care Workers

The first Mercer County COVID-19 vaccine clinic was held in Hamilton today at Station 17

December 28, 2020

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Hamilton Township in collaboration with the Mercer County Health Officer Association (MCHOA) held the first COVID-19 vaccine clinic earlier today to Phase 1A healthcare workers.

In order to maximize COVID vaccination efforts, the Mercer County Health Officers Association has joined together to serve all communities within Mercer County throughout the four phases of the COVID-19 vaccination distribution. Under CDC and State health guidelines, the Moderna doses will first be distributed to healthcare workers who qualify under Phase 1A and who have not been vaccinated for COVID-19 through their employer or the federal Pharmacy Partnership for Long Term Care (LTC) Program administered through CVS and Walgreens.

This MCHOA is currently planning a series of COVID-19 vaccination clinics to support ongoing efforts to vaccinate healthcare workers which include emergency medical services. The MCHOA will administer the Moderna COVID-19 vaccinations at clinics throughout Mercer County municipalities point of dispensing (POD) locations.  The clinics will be held twice a week on a rotating schedule and have the capacity to handle 500 vaccines per week.. The COVID-19 vaccine clinics will be by appointment only and subject to the availability of vaccine doses on hand or accessible within the supply chain.

“Hamilton Township is proud to partner with the Mercer County Health Officer Association in order to ensure that those on the frontlines in our fight against this virus receive the vaccine as quickly as possible,” said Mayor Jeff Martin. “The arrival of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is a continued step forward to provide protection to more of our community’s critical healthcare workforce and eventually the general adult population.”

“Vaccination is a critical component to protecting our residents,” stated Hamilton Township Health Officer Christopher Hellwig. “Working together to safeguard the citizens of Mercer County is exactly what the founding members of the MCHOA had in mind when they formed in 1972. Our vaccination clinics will continue that ideal and work to protect the public’s health particularly those that have been most impacted by COVID-19, while giving us a clear end to this pandemic.”

Local Health Departments are one piece of the puzzle to vaccinate the State goal of 70% of the adult population in 6 months. This collective effort will ensure that our residents are provided with the opportunity to receive their vaccination in a timely manner and in a safe medical setting.  COVID-19 vaccines will continue to be rolled out in phases determined by the State. The Mercer County Health Officers Association collaboration will continue to work closely with federal, state, and local partners.

After No Vote On Efforts To Replace Lead Service Lines Mayor Releases Statement

Mayor says, “Blocking this ordinance is nothing less than gross malfeasance.”

December 23, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Trenton Mayor W. Reed Gusciora released a statement on three city council members voting no blocking the Lead Service Line Replacement Program. Full statement below:


Other stories on Trenton Water Works:

TWW to Seek City Council Approval for State Funding to Remove More Lead Services From Its Water System

NJDEP Requests NJ Attorney General To File Legal Action Against Trenton For Failure To Comply With Safe Drinking Water Act

Attorney General, DEP File Lawsuit Asking Court to Address Violations at Trenton Water Works that Pose Risks to Public Health

Trenton Water Works Issues 2020 Water Quality Report

Trenton Water Saga Continues: Statement From Mayor Gusciora



Last night, Council President McBride, Councilwoman Vaughn, and Councilman Rodriguez blocked the efforts of Trenton Water Works (TWW) to replace lead service lines throughout our regional service area. TWW has made great strides in its initial phases of lead service line replacement and this $15 million bond ordinance was needed for the third phase scheduled to start later this year. In addition, the third phase would have triggered a program from the N.J. Infrastructure Bank that would have given 50 percent forgiveness on the bonds. The ordinance fell one vote shy of the five needed to pass, which will effectively freeze the service line program for the near future.

The council members who voted against the ordinance have effectively told their constituents as well as customers in other service municipalities that they do not care if lead is removed from their water. The fact remains, TWW is under a Consent Order with the N.J. Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP). Trenton faces a lawsuit by NJDEP as well as other service municipalities that TWW is not working fast enough to adhere to environmental standards as well as service line replacement. The three council members who voted against the ordinance have made that worse.

The lack of foresight is staggering. Council’s failure to approve this ordinance jeopardizes our plans to remove all lead services from the TWW system within the next six years. The well-established threat of lead in drinking water did not move the council members who voted against this proposal. Neither did the fact that half of $15 million proposal would have been forgiven under a state grant, which is a tremendous benefit for our city’s strained budget.

So long as homeowners have galvanized lead service lines running to their homes, they could be affected by lead-tainted water. It was time for City Council to take the appropriate action to protect its constituents and TWW service area consumers from these environmental hazards. Blocking this ordinance is nothing less than gross malfeasance.

Council members voting in the affirmative for the bonds were City Council Vice President Marge Caldwell-Wilson and Councilmen Jerell Blakely, Joe Harrison and George Muschal. –Statement from Trenton Mayor W. Reed Gusciora


Update: NJ Lottery Headquarters Reopens Following COVID-19 Case

December 23, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–The New Jersey Lottery headquarter building reopened Wednesday following a temporary shutdown due to a positive case of Covid-19. The building has been professionally deep cleaned and will remain closed to the public until Monday, December 28.

Wednesday’s mid-day drawings for Pick-3 and Pick-4 will be conducted today at 12:57 p.m. according to regular procedures. The mid-day drawings will be broadcast and livestreamed on the Lottery’s Facebook and Livestream pages. Wednesday’s evening drawings will also return to normal procedures.

An individual employed by a Lottery vendor tested positive for Covid-19 on Tuesday, December 22. The individual was last in the building on Thursday, December 17. As of today, no confirmed cases of Covid-19 have been reported by Lottery employees. All employees who had close contact with the individual have been notified and are taking appropriate action.

Operations, including Tuesday night’s drawings, were moved to the Lottery’s Business Continuity Site, which is designated as a back-up facility to ensure continuity of critical business functions in the event that Lottery Headquarters is ever closed or inaccessible for any reason.

The New Jersey Lottery has numerous protocols in place meant to protect workers and the public. The building is cleaned daily and employees follow state and CDC recommended safety measures, including wearing masks and socially distancing.

The New Jersey Lottery will reopen to the public by appointment only on Monday, December 28. Claimants should call the NJ Lottery at 1-800-222-0996 to schedule an appointment during normal business hours. Players without appointments will not be accepted at this time. Claimants are required to wear a mask or face covering when visiting the office.

In addition to mailing, players can also deliver claims to Lottery Headquarters using the new drop box located next to the lobby at our Headquarters in Lawrence. The drop box is open Monday through Friday, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. No appointment is needed to access the drop box, and the drop box is monitored by Lottery Security Officers.

The media and public are being apprised of the reopening of the Lottery studios with this release and through our social media and other public-facing communication channels.

Yesterday’s story here: Coronavirus Hits The Lottery!…NJ Lottery To Close Building Due To COVID-19

Coronavirus Hits The Lottery!…NJ Lottery To Close Building Due To COVID-19

Update: NJ Lottery Headquarters Reopens Following COVID-19 Case

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–The New Jersey Lottery headquarters building is temporarily closed effective immediately for cleaning due to a positive case of Covid-19. Operations will continue at the Lottery’s Business Continuity Site, which is designated as a back-up facility to ensure continuity of critical business functions in the event that Lottery Headquarters is ever closed or inaccessible for any reason.

Lottery staff will conduct tonight’s evening drawings at the Business Continuity Site, a secure environment. As always, the drawings will be monitored by an independent auditor. Tomorrow’s drawings may also be impacted.

The general public should be aware that:

  • The Lottery office will be closed to the public until at least Monday, December 28.
  • The office closure will also necessitate the cancellation of any winner claims appointments. Appointments will be rescheduled after the office reopens.
  • The drawings will be held at the Business Continuity Site.
  • The drawings will still be conducted using mechanical ball machines and in accordance with standard lottery procedures.
  • Drawings for games broadcast from the Business Continuity Site will not be broadcast or livestreamed. Those games include Pick-3, Pick-4, Jersey Cash 5, and CASH4LIFE.
  • The drawing results will be posted to the website, mobile app and emailed to the VIP Club members as per standard operating procedure.
  • The drawings will be videotaped for security purposes only.

The media and public are being apprised of the closure with this release and through our social media and other public-facing communication channels.

The Business Continuity Site is housed at a secure location away from Lottery Headquarters. A team of employees was designated as essential to operations and assigned functions at the Business Continuity Site. The Business Continuity Site facility houses key staff from all Lottery departments including the: Executive team, Administration and Compliance, Communications and Public Relations, Drawing, Finance, Operations, Security and Technology.


TWW to Seek City Council Approval for State Funding to Remove More Lead Services From Its Water System

December 21, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Trenton Water Works, the city-owned public water system that serves nearly a quarter-million consumers in five municipalities in Mercer County, will seek City Council approval on December 22 to accept $15 million in funding from the New Jersey Infrastructure Bank (I-Bank). The funding will be used for Phase 3 of its six-year Lead Service Line Replacement Program (LSLRP), Trenton Mayor W. Reed Gusciora announced today.

If approved, Phase 3 of the LSLRP will remove 1,850 more lead services (short for lead service lines) from TWW’s 683-mile water distribution system and private homes in its service area, except for Hopewell Township, which has newer infrastructure. Fifty percent of the funding, $7.5 million, is a grant from I-Bank, an independent state financing authority that issues revenue bonds to make loans to finance the construction of eligible environmental and transportation infrastructure projects.

In the $25 million Phase 1 of the LSLRP, TWW personnel and two vendors operating under publicly awarded contracts with TWW—South State, Inc. and Spiniello Companies—have removed 2,620 lead services in Hamilton Township and Trenton. Phase 1 is on track to remove a total of 3,850 lead services by April 2021. 

The $25 million Phase 2, which begins in April 2021, will remove 3,500 lead services by March 2022.

Phase 3 starts in June 2021, with plans to remove 1,850 lead services by May 2022. Also, TWW will utilize personnel from its construction and maintenance operations to remove 900 lead services, bringing the combined total number of lead services removed from TWW’s water-distribution system to 10,000. The LSLRP is a critical capital project that is a part of TWW’s six-year, $405-million capital plan announced in 2020.

“When I took office in July 2018, I pledged to apply the leadership and resources necessary to modernize Trenton Water Works, which has nearly 63,000 customers, and to prioritize this policy goal,” said Mayor Gusciora. “TWW has made substantial progress in regulatory and administrative consent order compliance, developing and executing a $405-million capital plan, implementing corrosion control, removing lead services in the TWW system and at private homes, improving customer service, and strengthening its workforce. Much work remains, particularly addressing lead, and we are determined to remove all lead services from the TWW system within five-to-six years.”

Mayor Gusciora added: “I am asking Trenton city residents to phone your councilperson to request support for this additional round of funding for the Lead Service Line Replacement Program. The removal of lead pipes from the TWW system is contingent on available funding and a nexus of cooperation from state and local leaders, including our City Council. The removal of lead infrastructure from our water system is integral to maintaining high water quality and public health and wellness for many years to come.”

According to TWW’s inventory, there are 17,463 lead services in Trenton, 11,618 in Hamilton Township, 5,236 in Ewing Township, and 2,383 in Lawrence Township. Hopewell Township has no lead services because its infrastructure is newer. TWW regularly revises its overall inventory as it assesses pipe materials at private homes, using internal survey teams, LSLRP contractors, and information from homeowners. Service-line pipe material made of galvanized steel is considered a lead service.

Homeowners who have verified that their pipe material is galvanized steel can still sign up for a future phase of the LSLRP at twwleadprogram.com. Residents can also refer their questions about the program to a hotline – (609) 989-3600 – and will receive a return call from a TWW community-relations team member within 24 hours.

Purchased by the City of Trenton in 1859, Trenton Water Works (TWW) is one of the oldest and largest publicly owned water systems in the United States, supplying 28 million gallons of water per day to approximately a quarter-million consumers in a five-municipality service area in Mercer County, NJ: Trenton, parts of Hamilton Township, Ewing Township, Lawrence Township, and Hopewell Township. TWW operates a 60-million-gallon water-filtration plant and water-distribution system that includes a 100-million-gallon reservoir, 683 miles of water mains, three pump stations, nearly 8,000 valves, 3,517 fire hydrants, and six interconnections between TWW and other water suppliers. TWW has approximately 63,000 metered customers.

Christmas Parade, Hospital Appreciation At UPenn Princeton Medical Center

December 18, 2020

Team coverage by: Dennis Symons, Tyler Eckel, and Brian McCarthy

PLAINSBORO, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Firefighters, EMS, and police with over 50 pieces of apparatus took part in a hospital worker appreciation event tonight at UPenn Princeton Medical Center. Hosted by Plainsboro Fire Department and Police, many agencies came through to show their support for hospital workers.

Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus, and even the Grinch showed up to show their support riding in the fire department’s ladder towers and were able to see hospital employees though the windows of the hospital.

This is a partial list of those participated:

Plainsboro Fire, Plainsboro EMS, Plainsboro Police Department, West Windsor Police Department, Princeton University Pubic Safety, Kingston Fire Company, Monmouth Junction Fire Comapny, Kendal Park Fire Comapny, Hightstown Fire Department, Little Rocky Hill Fire Company, Griggstown Fire Company, Middlesex County Hazmat, Princeton Plasma Physics Lab Fire Department, South River Fire Department, Monroe Fire Company – 51, Lawrenceville Fire Company -23, North Brunswick Fire Company #1, North Brunswick Fire Comnpany #2, North Brunswick Fire Company #3, New Jersey State Forest Fire Service, NJSP Aviation Unit, East Windsor Rescue Squad, Princeton Rescue Squad, Mercer County Fire Coordinator, Hopewell Fire Department – 52





Above photos by: Tyler Eckel




Murphy USA To Acquire QuickChek Corporation for $645 Million

December 14, 2020

EL DORADO, Ark. and WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J., Dec. 14, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Murphy USA announced an agreement to acquire QuickChek Corporation (“QuickChek”) in an all-cash transaction for $645 million. The purchase price includes expected tax benefits valued at $20 million for a net after-tax purchase price of $625 million. The transaction will be financed with a combination of cash on hand, existing credit facilities and new debt, and Murphy USA has obtained committed financing from the Royal Bank of Canada.

QuickChek represents a truly distinctive business in a class shared by only a few comparable industry peers. Founded in 1967 as an extension of Durling Farms, a door-to-door milk and fresh dairy products delivery service that originally opened in 1888, it is a family-owned chain of 157 stores located in central and northern New Jersey and the New York metro area. It operates a best-in-class food and beverage (“F&B”) model with a strong regional brand and engaged customer following, offering quick-serve restaurant style food alongside convenience items; a high-volume fuel offer is included at 89 of its newest stores. Its industry leading economics are evidenced by robust per-store per-year merchandise sales of $3.5 million, combined merchandise margins of 38% with F&B representing over 50% of the mix, and per-store per-year fuel gallons of 3.8 million. Additionally, QuickChek has a proven history of same-store-sales growth and a rich real estate pipeline to sustain unit growth within its existing footprint.

The acquisition is consistent with Murphy USA’s updated capital allocation strategy as announced in October. It represents a continued commitment to deliver exceptional and sustained value to long-term shareholders and will complement other ongoing value creation mechanisms, including ongoing productivity improvement initiatives, organic growth, share repurchase and a dividend.

“In October we outlined an updated capital allocation strategy and committed to improving our food and beverage offer at existing and future sites,” said Murphy USA President and CEO Andrew Clyde. “This transaction greatly accelerates those efforts and benefits, and is expected to provide reverse synergies across our network, while enhancing future returns on new stores. The transaction is also expected to create direct synergies that leverage our enterprise scale and our distinctive capabilities in fuel, tobacco and loyalty. We are excited to join forces with an exceptional and highly engaged team at QuickChek who share Murphy USA’s passion for delivering excellence every day to all our stakeholders.”

“QuickChek and Murphy USA both reflect a family heritage and a strong people culture,” said QuickChek CEO and Chairman Dean Durling. “I am thrilled by Murphy USA’s commitment to honor our legacy and preserve our brand while learning from our business model. I am proud of what we have accomplished in making QuickChek what it is today and I am excited about the opportunities for continued growth and success in the next chapter in QuickChek’s journey. I know QuickChek’s dedicated employees and valued customers remain in good hands.”

The above considerations result in highly attractive deal economics. The net investment of $625 million represents a multiple of 13.2 times QuickChek’s estimated LTM October 2020 Adjusted EBITDA of $47 million. Annual run rate synergies of $28 million are expected to be achieved by the third year. When taking into account expected run-rate synergies and tax benefits, the acquisition reflects a multiple of 8.3 times estimated LTM Adjusted EBITDA. The acquisition is projected to be accretive to earnings in 2022, the first full year of combined operations.

The transaction is expected to close during the first quarter of 2021, subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approval. RBC Capital Markets, LLC acted as exclusive financial advisor and Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP acted as legal advisor to Murphy USA. BofA Securities, Inc. acted as exclusive financial advisor and Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP acted as legal advisor to QuickChek.

Webcast Information
Murphy USA will host a conference call to discuss the transaction at 8:00 a.m. CT on Monday, December 14, 2020. Interested parties may participate by dialing 1-833-968-2218 and referencing conference ID number 8192285. The call can also be accessed via webcast through the Investor Relations section of Murphy USA’s website at http://ir.corporate.murphyusa.com. The webcast will be available for replay one hour after the conference concludes and a transcript will be made available shortly thereafter.

About Murphy USA
Murphy USA (NYSE:MUSA) is a leading retailer of gasoline and convenience merchandise with nearly 1,500 sites located primarily in the Southwest, Southeast and Midwest United States. The company and its team of nearly 10,000 employees serve an estimated 1.7 million customers each day through its network of retail gasoline stations in 25 states. The majority of Murphy USA’s sites are located in close proximity to Walmart stores. The company also markets gasoline and other products at standalone stores under the Murphy Express brand. Murphy USA ranks 262 among Fortune 500 companies.

About QuickChek
Continuing to redefine “fresh convenience,” QuickChek is a market leader in food service providing local one-stop shopping where consumers can enjoy delicious made-to-order subs and sandwiches, guaranteed fresh brewed coffee, healthy snacks and salads, hot breakfast and more. Looking to make a difference in people’s everyday lives, QuickChek enables consumers to choose their convenience: you can place a mobile order through the QuickChek Rewards app where you’ll earn rewards for future savings; have your order ready through Curbside Pickup; utilize in-store self-checkout counters to get you on your way safe and fast; or have your order delivered through DoorDash and Grub Hub. Based in Whitehouse Station, NJ, the family-owned company operates 157 fresh convenience market stores including 89 locations with fuel throughout New Jersey, New York’s Hudson Valley and Long Island.

Certain statements in this news release contain or may suggest “forward-looking” information (as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995) that involve risk and uncertainties, including, but not limited to anticipated store openings, fuel margins, merchandise margins, sales of RINs and trends in our operations. Such statements are based upon the current beliefs and expectations of the company’s management and are subject to significant risks and uncertainties. Actual future results may differ materially from historical results or current expectations depending upon factors including, but not limited to: our ability to consummate our acquisition of QuickChek on the stated terms or at all; our ability to realize projected synergies from the acquisition of QuickChek and successfully expand our food and beverage offerings; our ability to finance the acquisition of QuickChek on acceptable terms; our ability to continue to maintain a good business relationship with Walmart; successful execution of our growth strategy, including our ability to realize the anticipated benefits from such growth initiatives, and the timely completion of construction associated with our newly planned stores which may be impacted by the financial health of third parties; our ability to effectively manage our inventory, disruptions in our supply chain and our ability to control costs; the impact of severe weather events, such as hurricanes, floods and earthquakes; the impact of a global health pandemic, such as COVID-19 including the impact on our fuel volumes if the gradual recoveries experienced in Q2 2020 stall or reverse as a result of any resurgence in COVID-19 infection rates and government reaction in response thereof; the impact of any systems failures, cybersecurity and/or security breaches, including any security breach that results in theft, transfer or unauthorized disclosure of customer, employee or company information or our compliance with information security and privacy laws and regulations in the event of such an incident; successful execution of our information technology strategy; future tobacco or e-cigarette legislation and any other efforts that make purchasing tobacco products more costly or difficult could hurt our revenues and impact gross margins; changes to the company’s capital allocation, including the timing, declaration, amount and payment of any future dividends or levels of the company’s share repurchases, or management of operating cash; the market price of the Company’s stock prevailing from time to time, the nature of other investment opportunities presented to the Company from time to time, the Company’s cash flows from operations, and general economic conditions; compliance with debt covenants; availability and cost of credit; and changes in interest rates. Our SEC reports, including our most recent annual Report on Form 10-K and quarterly report on Form 10-Q, contain other information on these and other factors that could affect our financial results and cause actual results to differ materially from any forward-looking information we may provide. The company undertakes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements to reflect subsequent events, new information or future circumstances.

Supplemental Disclosure Regarding Non-GAAP Financial Information

The reconciliation of estimated LTM October 2020 Adjusted EBITDA to estimated GAAP net income for QuickChek is as follows:

(Millions of dollars)LTM Oct 2020
Estimated net income$8
  
Income tax expense$3
Interest expense$5
Depreciation and amortization$29
Other$2
  
Estimated Adjusted EBITDA$47

Consistent with Murphy USA’s historical presentation of non-GAAP metrics, Adjusted EBITDA for QuickChek is provided as it is a key metric used in the Company’s operational and financial decision-making. The Company believes that some investors may find it a useful indicator of ongoing operating performance and ability to generate cash flows from operations. Non-GAAP measures are not a substitute for GAAP disclosures and Adjusted EBITDA may be prepared differently by us than by other companies using similarly titled non-GAAP metrics. The above amounts are estimated based on preliminary data for QuickChek’s fiscal year ended October 30, 2020 and are subject to change based on the finalization of the financial statements for such fiscal year.


Firefighters Rescue Several People From Vehicles Stuck In Flood Waters Around Mercer County

November 30, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Tornado watches, severe thunder storm warnings and flash flood and flood warnings were all issued by the National Weather Service this afternoon though this evening.

Several drivers around Mercer County decided to drive though floodwaters needed to be rescued from their vehicles when their vehicles became disabled and stuck in the floods.

Route 29 North Bound prior to Calhoun Street a vehicle drove though flood waters and became disabled. The Trenton Fire Department responded to the South Bound lanes and were able to remove the driver from the stalled vehicle.

In Lawrence Township a person was removed from their vehicle at Princeton Pike and Devon Avenue and another location.

Firefighters were sent to several locations in Hopewell Township to remove occupants of stalled vehicles.

Here is a public service message from the National Weather Service, “Turn Around, Don’t Drown”




Around 1,600 Pounds Of Frozen Turkey Distributed This Afternoon At Jerusalem Missionary Baptist Church

November 23, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–The Willing Workers of Jerusalem Missionary Baptist Church and members of Mercer County’s PBAs (Police Benevolent Associations) distributed frozen turkeys and food baskets late this afternoon at the church on North Clinton Avenue.

There were at least thirty boxes of frozen turkeys distributed with an average weight of around 55 pounds per box for a total of about 1,600 pounds. There were numerous baskets of food and turkey baking supplies provided to go along with the frozen birds.

There were several locations today for turkey distribution see this morning’s MidJersey.News story here: Mercer County PBA Assists With Turkey Distribution



Mercer County PBA Assists With Turkey Distribution

November 23, 2020

By: Tyler Eckel

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–All chapters of the Mercer County PBA are assisting with turkey distribution in Mercer County today. This morning at Saint Phillips Baptist Church, members unloaded over 600 pounds of turkey for distribution at that location.

There were two other locations with many more pounds donated this morning including the Hamilton YMCA.

The distribution will continue this evening at the Willing Workers of Jerusalem Baptist Church in Trenton at 4:00 pm.



Mercer County Offering Free COVID-19 Testing November 24 & December 1 at Cure Arena

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. 



Covid-19 Test at Home Program

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:

  1. There is no out of pocket cost for this test.
  2. You must be a resident of Mercer County or employed as a first responder or health care worker in Mercer County.
  3. Only persons over the age of 14 are eligible for this test. Persons under the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian complete the registration for them.
  4. You will receive your code within 48 hours.
  5. This is not an antibody test. This test is designed to determine if you currently are infected with COVID-19 and have the potential to infect others.

If your test is positive, or if you have symptoms, call your health care professional.

Stark & Stark’s Denise Mariani Honored as Professional Lawyer of the Year

Firm’s Shareholder Recognized by the Mercer County Bar Association

November 16, 2020

LAWRENCE TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–TheMercer County Bar Association(MCBA) has named Stark & Stark Shareholder Denise Mariani, Esq., its 2020 Professional Lawyer of the Year Award recipient. Ms. Mariani, a resident of Lawrenceville, accepted the award at the MCBA’s virtual meeting on Nov. 10.

As the Chair of the Stark & Stark Nursing Home Negligence Litigation group, Ms. Mariani specializes in representing the families of residents and patients who, through negligence or abuse, have died or been seriously injured in a long-term care facility. She has been a member of the Mercer County Bar Association for more than 25 years, serving as president in 2009 after many years as a Trustee, Officer and Chair of the Community Projects Committee. Her early activity in the MCBA earned her the Young Lawyer of the Year Award in 2003. She has also served on the Mercer County Bar Foundation board.

“The Mercer County Bar Association has been near and dear to my heart since my very first membership meeting as a law clerk in 1992,” said Ms. Mariani. “It was always clear to me that professionalism defines the members of this organization so to receive this award is an enormous honor to me. I am proud to be a part of this association and couldn’t be more grateful to accept this award.”

The Professional Lawyer of the Year Awards are presented in cooperation with county bar associations throughout the state to attorneys who are respected by colleagues for their character, competence and exemplary professional behavior.

Stark & Stark Managing Shareholder Michael G. Donahue, Esq., commented, “Denise’s consummate professionalism and dedication to defending the rights of those who experience neglect or abuse in nursing homes are tremendous assets to her clients and Stark & Stark. Our entire firm congratulates Denise on this well-deserved honor!”

About Stark & Stark:

Since 1933, Stark & Stark has developed innovative legal solutions to meet our clients’ needs. More than 100 attorneys, 30 practice areas, and a philosophy of putting the law to work for our clients is the basis from which we build and maintain our practice. Boasting one of the oldest law practices in New Jersey, Stark & Stark offers a full range of legal services for businesses and individuals. After more than 85 years, our attorneys continue to deliver practical, efficient solutions to clients in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, and throughout the United States. Our attorneys are supported by a staff in excess of 200, all of whom are dedicated to providing the highest level of service to each client. Visit www.stark-stark.com for more information.

Update: Ohio Man Charged With Robbing NJ Banks Including East Windsor, Lawrence Twp., and Mt. Holly

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:

DateBankLocation
Oct. 8, 2020PNC BankMorris Plains, New Jersey
Oct. 8, 2020PNC Bank*Pompton Plains, New Jersey
Oct. 22, 2020Chase BankAberdeen, New Jersey
Oct. 22, 2020Bank of AmericaEast Windsor, New Jersey
Oct. 27, 2020Chase BankLawrence Township, New Jersey
Oct. 27, 2020Citizens BankMount Holly, New Jersey
Oct. 30, 2020Citizens 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.

20-419


Related MidJersey.News stories:

Hold Up Man Strikes Chase Bank In Lawrence Township Today

Another Bank Robbery Reported, This Time In East Windsor

WANTED BY THE FBI Tyler James O’Toole For Bank Robberies

Update: FBI Reports Bank Robber Captured That Held Up Area Banks

Update: Ohio Man Charged With Robbing NJ Banks Including East Windsor, Lawrence Twp., and Mt. Holly


Update: FBI Reports Bank Robber Captured That Held Up Area Banks

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:

Hold Up Man Strikes Chase Bank In Lawrence Township Today

Another Bank Robbery Reported, This Time In East Windsor

WANTED BY THE FBI Tyler James O’Toole For Bank Robberies

Update: FBI Reports Bank Robber Captured That Held Up Area Banks

Update: Ohio Man Charged With Robbing NJ Banks Including East Windsor, Lawrence Twp., and Mt. Holly



Mayors And Local Government Officials Warn New COVID-19 Cases On Rise And To Take Precautions

November 14, 2020

MERCER COUNTY, NJ–Mayors and local officials warn of increased COVID-19 transmission as cases rise in Mercer County. Officials are reminding residents to continue to take precautions by limiting gatherings, wearing masks, social distancing, washing hands and other general COVID-19 precautions.

In the City of Trenton Mayor W. Reed Gusciora has announced new restrictions as COVID-19 transmission rates have doubled in each of the last three weeks.

Trenton’s transmission rate is currently 44.2 cases per 100,000 people, which exceeds both the state and county rates at 29.3 and 28.9, respectively. Trenton has had a total of 4,598 COVID-19 cases with 80 related deaths.

Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes stated, Mercer County surpassed 10,000 cumulative positive test results since the start of the pandemic, and the United States surpassed a staggering 10 million positive cases. In addition, the New Jersey Department of Health has reported more than 13,000 positive cases statewide since Monday.

It was anticipated that colder weather in the fall and winter would drive people indoors and trigger a second wave of virus transmissions. We’re only in mid-November and the second wave is here. New cases of COVID-19 are on the rise and everyone needs to take that seriously, County Executive Hughes stated.

Robbinsville Township Mayor Dave Fried said in a Facebook post, “I always like to start with good news, but a second wave of COVID-19 is upon us and it is making that increasingly difficult. I am going to give this to you straight. Since October 30, Robbinsville Township reports 29 new cases that is by far the highest number of new cases we have encountered since this started.”

Mayor Fried also stated in a message that My personal feeling is this second wave will get worse before it gets better, so I am asking people to be increasingly diligent.

Hamilton Township Mayor Jeff Martin shared the weekly update from Hamilton Township that includes a weekly COVID-19 update and that urges the following precautions:

•Keep Your Distance — stay at least six feet away from others — and Wear a Face Covering.

•Wash Your Hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after being in a public place, as well as after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing

.•If soap and water are not accessible, Use a Hand Sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.

•Avoid Touching Your Eyes, Nose and Mouth with unwashed hands.•Avoid Close Contact with people who are sick.

•Stay Home if you are sick, except to get medical care. Learn what to do if you are sick.

•Cover Your Mouth and Nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.


Full text of statements below:


TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Mayor W. Reed Gusciora yesterday announced new restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19 as transmission rates in Trenton have doubled each of the last three weeks.

Mayor Gusciora’s amended State of Emergency declaration now includes the following instructions, which will remain in effect from Nov. 16, 2020 through Dec. 5, 2020:

  • All Trenton businesses, including restaurants, bars and grocery stores must close at 10:00 p.m. daily. Gas stations may stay open only to dispense gas.
  • Restaurants and drive-through businesses may be open for pickup or delivery until 11:00 p.m., provided that no parties are allowed to congregate inside or outside of the establishment.
  • All city residents are encouraged to remain indoors after 10:00 p.m.
  • All city residents should wear masks and practice social distancing techniques as recommended by the CDC by avoiding large crowds, and, whenever possible, keeping a distance of six feet from other people.
  • All city residents are strongly encouraged not to have large family gatherings on Thanksgiving and to avoid hosting visitors from states that are on the Governor’s travel advisory list.

Trenton’s transmission rate is currently 44.2 cases per 100,000 people, which exceeds both the state and county rates at 29.3 and 28.9, respectively. Trenton has had a total of 4,598 COVID-19 cases with 80 related deaths.

“It’s clear the second wave is here and has hit the Capital City especially hard,” said Mayor Gusciora. “Our transmission rates may even be higher now than they were in the spring. While we believe these new restrictions will help, we won’t get past this crisis unless our residents wear their masks and practice social distancing. No more excuses about COVID-19 fatigue: the virus never gets tired, and neither should our residents and businesses when it comes to keeping this city safe.”

“It is critically important that when we see cases rise throughout our city, county and state that we are extremely cautious and we social distance, wear masks and limit indoor gatherings as much as possible,” said Dr. Kemi Alli, Chief Executive Officer of the Henry J. Austin Health Center. “If not, our path will follow sister states such as North and South Dakota, and Montana which are currently in dire straits.”

While transmission rates have risen across all age groups, a quarter of all hospitalizations over the past month are comprised of individuals age 30 and below. The greatest source of transmission has been indoor contact, and residents are advised to wear masks even around friends or relatives who are visiting.


Mercer County, NJ:

A letter from County Executive Brian M. Hughes

Mercer County and the nation both reached sobering COVID-19 milestones this week: Mercer County surpassed 10,000 cumulative positive test results since the start of the pandemic, and the United States surpassed a staggering 10 million positive cases. In addition, the New Jersey Department of Health has reported more than 13,000 positive cases statewide since Monday. It was anticipated that colder weather in the fall and winter would drive people indoors and trigger a second wave of virus transmissions. We’re only in mid-November and the second wave is here. New cases of COVID-19 are on the rise and everyone needs to take that seriously.

When you’re around people outside your own household, wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth and practice social distancing. Wash your hands frequently and use hand sanitizer. Avoid crowds and stay home if you are sick. Public health officials are advising that the safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving this year is to keep your gathering small with just immediate family. Please bear that in mind when planning for the holiday. We know what we need to do to reduce the spread of the virus – now it’s up to us. Let’s continue to support each other and keep each other safe. Let’s continue to work together.

One of the many impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic has been job loss. State officials reported this week that more than 1.7 million New Jersey workers have filed an unemployment claim since March, with about 1.46 million workers meeting the monetary requirements to receive benefits. Jobseekers need all the help they can get, and with that in mind I’d like to call attention to the work being done by the staff at the Mercer County One-Stop Career Center.

As part of Mercer County’s ongoing effort to connect jobseekers with employers, and do it safely during the public health crisis, our One-Stop recently held a drive-through job fair at the CURE Insurance Arena in Trenton that had the participation of 45 employers and was attended by about 525 individuals. Attendees were required to wear face masks but did not have to leave their vehicles. When they pulled up, they were handed a bag filled with information provided by employers on the jobs they had available, along with information about One-Stop services and community resources. This was a successful effort to help people in our community find work.

The inventive job fair came on the heels of the One-Stop’s equally successful Summer Youth Jobs Connection program. After receiving grant funding from the state in early June, One-Stop Director Virgen Velez and her staff set about making the summer job program a reality, despite a small time window and challenges presented by the pandemic. The program, which served Mercer County residents between the ages of 16 and 24, provided a paid six-week work experience and paid virtual job readiness workshops, along with transportation assistance.

I join the One-Stop and the County’s Workforce Development Board in thanking the employers who brought interns into their facilities this summer. The young adults learned not only traditional work skills but the virtual communication skills that have become essential in the COVID-19 work and school environment. And I applaud the One-Stop team, whose passionate commitment enabled it to deliver a summer employment program and job fair amid a pandemic.

Brian M. Hughes
Mercer County Executive


Robbinsville, NJ:

Mayor Dave Fried:

I always like to start with good news, but a second wave of COVID-19 is upon us and it is making that increasingly difficult. I am going to give this to you straight. Since October 30, Robbinsville Township reports 29 new cases that is by far the highest number of new cases we have encountered since this started.

Thankfully, we have not seen significant spread or sickness in our three schools. We are seeing an uptick in cases throughout Mercer County, including increased positives reported by our first responders and front line workers resulting in staffing shortages. We have seen an uptick in hospitalizations across Mercer County.

My personal feeling is this second wave will get worse before it gets better, so I am asking people to be increasingly diligent. We have kids coming home from college for Thanksgiving, and while I am not going to tell you how to host or visit your families, I am asking you to be smart.

There are some things you can do to minimize the spread, such as not sharing glassware or silverware. Try to be more aware when eating in groups. Wash your hands regularly and wear a mask when you can. While many of our cases have been asymptotic, our fear as flu season approaches is we may see people with multiple symptoms for both COVID-19 and the flu, or family members suffering from both in the same household. We are on stand-by to help and volunteer when and where we are needed. We hope you will join us as that need increases.

Additionally, our kids still need to socialize in the face of the virus. That said our Recreation Department, in conjunction with the school district, will be coming up with programs to help keep our children safely engaged. This is a difficult and complex decision … and it will not be for everyone. There will be no right or wrong. It really comes down to what is best for your family, while not judging others.

I am very proud of our community for all it has done to flatten this curve. You all have been rock stars, and it is a pleasure to be Mayor of this incredible town. Keep your chins up. Pfizer has announced they have a vaccine and early reports indicate it is 90 percent effective, so help should be on the way.

We will get through this together. Thank you all for all you do, and God bless you all. —Robbinsville Mayor Dave Fried


Mercer County Firemen’s Association 2020 Memorial Service

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.


2020 Mercer County Firemen’s Association Memorial Service. Video by Dick Cunningham, Broadcast Productions-East Windsor Station 46


BREAKING: Flash Mob Of +/- 2,000 Dispersed In Robbinsville, Similar Flash Mob Now In Hamilton

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)–Around 10:30 pm a crowd between 1,000 and 2,000 gathered in the MATRIX Northeast Business Park off Applegate Drive. Witnesses in the area stated cars could be heard over a mile away burning out, racing, and exhaust backfiring. Calls were also coming into Robbinsville Township Police reporting the same noises coming from the back of the industrial park.

When Robbinsville Township Police arrived they reported a crowd of between 1,000 and 2,000 and requested assistance to disperse the crowd from Allentown and New Jersey State Police.

The crowd did disperse and roads were blocked to they could leave the area using I-195.

About an hour later another crowd formed this time in Hamilton Township on Sloan Avenue near I-295 and the NJ Transit Train Station and the movie theater. Part of the crowd was dispersed again and left towards Lawrence Township. A County wide alert went out to alert neighboring police departments of the group.




Hold Up Man Strikes Chase Bank In Lawrence Township Today

October 27, 2020 Updated at 5:23 pm (Ewing removed not confirmed through additional sources)

Related MidJersey.News stories:

Hold Up Man Strikes Chase Bank In Lawrence Township Today

Another Bank Robbery Reported, This Time In East Windsor

WANTED BY THE FBI Tyler James O’Toole For Bank Robberies

Update: FBI Reports Bank Robber Captured That Held Up Area Banks

Update: Ohio Man Charged With Robbing NJ Banks Including East Windsor, Lawrence Twp., and Mt. Holly

LAWRENCE TOWNSHIP, (MERCER)–According a source close to the investigation a bank robbery occurred at the Mercer Mall, Chase Bank inside Shop Ride on Route 1. The source also stated that there were possibly related robberies in Mount Holly, Burlington County. It was said that the perpetrator was driving a blue car with Texas temporary plates. The source also stated it is believed that this is the 5th robbery by the same suspect recently.

No other information is available at this time.

Lawrence Township Police Officer Indicted for Official Misconduct


Related MidJersey.News story here: Lawrence Township Police Officer Charged in Internal Affairs Investigation


October 22, 2020

LAWRENCE TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–A Mercer County grand jury returned an indictment this week charging a Lawrence Township police officer with two counts of second-degree official misconduct, Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri reported.

Andres Mejia, 42, was charged in September 2020 with unsworn falsification and tampering with records, both disorderly persons offenses, following an internal affairs investigation conducted by the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office.  The prosecutor’s office and the Lawrence Township police discovered the falsification of records during an unrelated criminal investigation in August 2020.

The internal affairs investigation revealed that Mejia submitted an official arrest report to his superior officers at the Lawrence Township Police Department on August 16, knowing that it contained false and misleading information regarding a fictitious witness in an incident that he had responded to in his official capacity as a law enforcement officer. 

The two-count indictment, returned on October 20, alleges Mejia failed to investigate a claim of domestic violence assault and made a false statement in a police report.

Mejia has been suspended indefinitely from the police department without pay pending the outcome of his criminal case.

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