Category: Middlesex County

Cyber Attack Shuts Down Colonial Pipeline

May 8, 2021 –Updated

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)–The Colonial Pipeline the largest refined products pipeline in the United States, transporting more than 100 million gallons of fuel daily to meet the energy needs of consumers from Houston, Texas to the New York Harbor was shut down to a sever cyber attack as announced this morning. The attack has taken certain IT systems off line and the pipeline is working to restore the pipeline to normal operation. The pipeline moves 2.5 million barrels per day providing gasoline, diesel fuel, home heating oil, jet fuel to all major airports in region and fuel for the military though the pipeline system.

Locally the pipeline runs from the south though Burlington (Bordentown, Joint Base), Mercer County (Hamilton, Robbinsville-East Windsor), Middlesex (Cranbury, Monroe, South Brunswick), Union County (Linden).


Statement from Colonial Pipeline:

On May 7, the Colonial Pipeline Company learned it was the victim of a cybersecurity attack. In response, we proactively took certain systems offline to contain the threat, which has temporarily halted all pipeline operations, and affected some of our IT systems. Upon learning of the issue, a leading, third-party cybersecurity firm was engaged, and they have already launched an investigation into the nature and scope of this incident, which is ongoing. We have contacted law enforcement and other federal agencies. 

Colonial Pipeline is taking steps to understand and resolve this issue. At this time, our primary focus is the safe and efficient restoration of our service and our efforts to return to normal operation. This process is already underway, and we are working diligently to address this matter and to minimize disruption to our customers and those who rely on Colonial Pipeline.

Media Statement Updated: Colonial Pipeline System Disruption

Updated — Saturday, May 8, 12:30 p.m.

On May 7, the Colonial Pipeline Company learned it was the victim of a cybersecurity attack. We have since determined that this incident involves ransomware. In response, we proactively took certain systems offline to contain the threat, which has temporarily halted all pipeline operations, and affected some of our IT systems. Upon learning of the issue, a leading, third-party cybersecurity firm was engaged, and they have launched an investigation into the nature and scope of this incident, which is ongoing. We have contacted law enforcement and other federal agencies. 

Colonial Pipeline is taking steps to understand and resolve this issue. At this time, our primary focus is the safe and efficient restoration of our service and our efforts to return to normal operation. This process is already underway, and we are working diligently to address this matter and to minimize disruption to our customers and those who rely on Colonial Pipeline.


According to the Colonial Pipeline website the “Colonial Pipeline is the largest refined products pipeline in the United States, transporting more than 100 million gallons or 2.5 million barrels per day. Colonial transports approximately 45 percent of all fuel consumed on the East Coast, providing refined products to more than 50 million Americans. 

Specifically, Colonial transports various grades of gasoline, diesel fuel, home heating oil, jet fuel, and fuels for the U.S. military through a pipeline system. The system is connected refineries in the Gulf Coast and in the Northeast. The majority of the system is underground, with tankage and other facilities at key receipt, storage and delivery points.”



The last time the Colonial Pipeline had an issue in the area was on October 3, 2008 in Hamilton Township Mercer County near Allentown-Yardville Road at the NJ Turnpike. A crew doing soil borings for the NJ Turnpike widening project drilled into the Colonial Pipeline causing an oil spill. Hamilton Township Fire Department and the Hamilton Township Hazardous Materials Team responded to the incident.

Woman Missing Since Saturday Found Deep In The Woods At Thompson Park

May 3, 2021

MONROE TOWNSHIP, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–On May 3, 2021 at approximately 3:51 p.m., Monroe Township Police received a call from Emma Bodmer who was hiking the trails in Thompson Park. Ms. Bodmer advised that while hiking she came across a woman who appeared to be in distress deep into the woods. That is when Ms. Bodmer called the police and ran out of the woods to meet the responding police units. Once with the police Ms. Bodmer escorted the police units to the distressed female. Once at the area of the distressed female officers on scene were able to see that the female was Evelyn Zavala who was reported missing Saturday night after she was last seen in the area of the 7-11 in Jamesburg. Ms. Zavala was suffering injuries to her feet and was carried out of the woods by Monroe Police and Monroe Fire. The Monroe Police Department would like to thank Ms. Bodmer for her actions today and we would like to thank the Monroe Fire Department and the Monroe First Aid squad for their assistance.

North Jersey Crime Ring That Recached Into Monmouth And Middlesex Counties Busted

Local Police Departments Involved: Manalapan Police Department, Marlboro Police Department, Monroe Police Department, Holmdel Police Department

May 3, 2021

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–

Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal today announced arrests of four individuals who have been charged in a multi-agency investigation for allegedly conspiring as members of a criminal ring responsible for numerous residential burglaries across much of New Jersey.

The participating law enforcement agencies have worked collaboratively to investigate 84 burglaries that were committed from October 2020 through March 2021 in eight counties in New Jersey—Morris, Bergen, Essex, Somerset, Passaic, Monmouth, Middlesex, and Union—as well as lower New York State. As detailed in the statement of probable cause in the criminal complaints filed against the defendants, the burglaries involved a similar modus operandi and it is suspected that the same burglary ring was involved in each of them. The perpetrators of the burglaries forced entry through a doorway, usually in the afternoon or early evening, and then stole cash, jewelry, and other valuables from the master bedroom and/or other areas of the residence. Well over half a million dollars in cash, jewelry, and other valuables were stolen in total in the 84 burglaries.

The four individuals who were arrested have been charged by the Division of Criminal Justice Specialized Crimes Bureau in connection with 16 of those burglaries that occurred in Morris, Bergen, Essex, Somerset, Passaic, and Union Counties. However, the investigation is ongoing and further charges may be filed in connection with the other burglaries. Investigators urge anyone who might have relevant information about the defendants or any of the burglaries to call the Division of Criminal Justice confidentially at 866-TIPS-4CJ.

The final defendant to be arrested, Keith Perry, was arrested on Friday, April 30, in North Carolina by the U.S. Marshals Service Fugitive Task Force on a warrant obtained by the Division of Criminal Justice. He is being held in Union County (N.C.) Jail pending extradition. The other three defendants were arrested in early April in New Jersey and were ordered detained pending trial.

The following four defendants were charged by complaint-warrant with the offenses listed (one count of each offense unless otherwise indicated):

  • Keith Perry, 38, of Teaneck, N.J. 2nd Degree Conspiracy, 2nd Degree Burglary, 3rd Degree Burglary (15 Counts), 2nd Degree Theft, and 2nd Degree Receiving Stolen Property. Perry is charged with 2nd Degree Burglary in connection with a burglary on Dec. 23, 2020 in Englewood, N.J., during which he allegedly threatened a homeowner by making a motion with his hand inside his sweatshirt as though he had a gun and saying, “I’ll shoot you.” 
     
  • Porsche Brown, 29, of Lodi, N.J. 2nd Degree Conspiracy, 3rd Degree Burglary (6 Counts), 3rd Degree Theft, and 3rd Degree Receiving Stolen Property.
     
  • Kay Brown, 23, of Paterson, N.J. (no relation to Porsche Brown) 2nd Degree Conspiracy, 3rd Degree Burglary (3 Counts), and 3rd Degree Theft.
     
  • Gregory Lewis, 37, of Teaneck, N.J. 2nd Degree Conspiracy and 3rd Degree Burglary.

After Perry was involved in a car accident in Hackensack, N.J., on March 17, 2021, investigators obtained a search warrant for the Mercedes-Benz GL 450 he was driving and found proceeds from one of the burglaries in the car. On Feb. 12, 2021, Porsche Brown used a pawn shop in Vineland to pawn a significant amount of jewelry that is being investigated as suspected burglary proceeds.

The multi-agency investigation was led by the Division of Criminal Justice, New Jersey State Police, Verona Police Department, New Milford Police Department, and Teaneck Police Department, assisted by the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office, and the 40 additional municipal police departments listed below.

“This is an outstanding example of law enforcement collaboration,” said Attorney General Grewal. “We worked with law enforcement agencies across nearly half of New Jersey to identify and arrest the alleged members of this burglary ring, who sought cash, jewelry, and other valuables in the targeted residences, including homes that were occupied during the break-ins. With each burglary in a new town, law enforcement forged a new partnership to address this threat and shut down this major crime spree.”

“I commend all of the law enforcement agencies that partnered in this investigation, sharing evidence and working to stop this alleged prolific burglary ring,” said Director Veronica Allende of the Division of Criminal Justice. “The strength of law enforcement in New Jersey is enhanced by our strong collaborative relationships, which enabled us to identify and arrest these defendants.”

“Every agency involved with this investigation understood that it was paramount that we identify and apprehend the members of this ring, because their willingness to commit these crimes while homeowners were present demonstrated that they were prepared to engage in confrontation, which could easily have escalated into violence,” said Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “This investigation is an example of how the New Jersey law enforcement community can quickly band together and coordinate across multiple jurisdictions to dismantle a dangerous burglary ring.”

“As Attorney General Grewal said, this case highlighted the exceptional partnership shared among law enforcement agencies in New Jersey,” said Chief Christopher Kiernan of the Verona Police Department. “I must applaud Verona Detective TJ Conroy and Detective Lieutenant Timothy Banta who stayed with this case from the day of the Verona burglary in early December. They broke many leads that directly resulted in these arrests. Detective Conroy’s tenacious work was a shining example of Verona Police Department’s dedication to our community. He and Lieutenant Banta never let go and put in countless hours researching an enormous number of cases throughout the state, identifying similarities to Verona’s burglary. Much credit also should be given to Cedar Grove Police Officer Dominick Buscio. While on diligent patrol, Officer Buscio heard the transmission of our burglary in progress and located the suspect vehicle traveling through Cedar Grove, thereby securing a critical piece of evidence. These efforts and the teamwork of all of the participating agencies ultimately led to the successful arrests of those responsible for numerous burglaries throughout the state.”

Deputy Attorney General Attorney Matthew Lafargue, Detective Scott Caponi, and Detective Sang Han are assigned to the investigation for the Division of Criminal Justice (DCJ) Specialized Crimes Bureau, under the supervision of Deputy Bureau Chief Jacqueline Smith, Deputy Chief of Detectives Robert Stemmer, Bureau Chief Erik Daab, Chief of Detectives Weldon Powell, and DCJ Deputy Director Annmarie Taggart. DCJ Detective Shawn Gorlin, who is a member of the U.S. Marshals Service Fugitive Task Force, led the fugitive investigation. Attorney General Grewal thanked the U.S. Marshals Service Fugitive Task Force for their invaluable assistance.

Detective Sgt. Brian Kearns, Investigator Erica Benedetti, and Investigator Jessica Butt participated in the investigation for the New Jersey State Police.

Detective Thomas J Conroy III is lead detective on the case for the Verona Police Department, under the supervision of Lt. Tim Banta.

The investigation by the New Milford Police Department Detective Bureau is being supervised and conducted by Lt. Kevin VanSanders, Detective Sgt. Nelson Perez, Detective Derek Mattessich, Detective Brian Carlino, and Officer Adam Conboy.

Detective Gabriel Santiago is the lead detective for the Teaneck Detective Bureau.

Attorney General Grewal thanked all of the participating law enforcement agencies for their work in the investigation.

In addition to the law enforcement agencies listed above, the following police departments participated in the collaborative investigation: Bedminster Police Department, Berkeley Heights Police Department, Bernardsville Police Department, Boonton Police Department, Bridgewater Police Department, Cedar Grove Police Department, Clarkstown (N.Y.) Police Department, Clinton Township Police Department, Englewood Police Department, Fairview Police Department, Glen Rock Police Department, Hackensack Police Department, Haledon Police Department, Harrington Park Police Department, Holmdel Police Department, Little Falls Police Department, Livingston Police Department, Madison Police Department, Manalapan Police Department, Marlboro Police Department, Milburn Police Department, Monroe Police Department, Montclair Police Department, Montville Police Department, North Caldwell Police Department, North Haledon Police Department, Northvale Police Department, Paramus Police Department, Parsippany-Troy Hills Police Department, Pearl River (N.Y.) Police Department, Randolph Police Department, Tenafly Police Department, Totowa Police Department, Warren Township Police Department, Washington Township Police Department (Bergen County), Watchung Police Department, Wayne Police Department, West Orange Police Department, Woodcliff Lake Police Department, and Wyckoff Police Department.

Second-degree charges carry a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a criminal fine of up to $150,000, while third-degree charges carry a sentence of three to five years in state prison and a fine of up to $15,000.

The charges are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

Defense Attorneys

For Perry: Undetermined.

For Porsche Brown: Kevin G. Roe, Esq., Hackensack, N.J.

For Kay Brown: Richard J. Baldi, Esq., Baldi & Marotta, Paterson, N.J.

For Lewis: Adamo Ferreira, Esq., Hackensack, N.J.


Amazon Evacuated Yesterday For Smoke Condition

April 30, 2021

CRANBURY TOWNSHIP, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–A smoke condition in the Amazon TEB6 warehouse at 22 Hightstown-Cranbury Station Road caused an evacuation of the facility yesterday April 28, 2021 around 4:06 pm . The Cranbury Fire Company, Hightstown Fire Company, East Windsor Fire Companies 1 & 2 quickly responded to the scene. After an investigation the smoke condition was determined to be coming from a strobe light fixture. The fire departments turned the issue over to the building manager. As standard procedure the building is evacuated any time there is a problem and employees assemble in their designated meeting areas for accountability. After the fire departments cleared the employees returned to work. There were no injuries or other issues reported.


Previous MidJersey.news stories on Amazon TEB6 here:

UPDATED: Multi-Alarm Fire At Amazon TEB6 In Cranbury

UPDATE: Cranbury Amazon Warehouse Fire Under Investigation


Woodbridge Township man charged with aggravated sexual assault, kidnapping, and armed robbery

April 28, 2021

WOODBRIDGE, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone and Director Robert Hubner of the Woodbridge Police Department announced that a Township man has been charged and arrested for the aggravated sexual assault of an adult female and armed robbery of an adult male, which occurred on April 16, 2021. 

On April 27, 2021, Razzell Austin, 21, of Avenel was arrested in the Avenel section of Woodbridge by members of the Woodbridge Police Department, the Carteret Police Department, and the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office. 

Austin was charged with two counts of first-degree aggravated sexual assault, one count of third-degree aggravated criminal sexual contact, two counts of first-degree armed robbery, one count of first-degree kidnapping, one count of third-degree criminal restraint, one count of second-degree unlawful possession of a handgun, one count of second-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, two counts of fourth-degree endangering, one count of fourth-degree obstruction, and one count of fourth-degree resisting arrest. 

An investigation by Officer Robert Montalvo of the Woodbridge Police Department and Detective Linda Infusino of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office determined that on April 16, 2021 in the 9 o’clock evening hour, an adult female and an adult male were approached in the area of Lee Street and Scott Place by Austin and another suspect and then held at gunpoint. The investigation further determined the female victim was sexually assaulted and the personal effects of both were taken at gunpoint. 

Austin is presently lodged at the Middlesex County Adult Correction Center where he is being held pending a pre-trial detention hearing in Superior Court.

Authorities are still searching for Austin’s co-defendant – a slim white or Hispanic male with brown hair and brown eyes who is between 5 foot 5 inches and 5 foot 9 inches tall.  This suspect is believed to have worn a gray Nike hoodie and white Nike sneakers at the time of the assault.  An image of the suspect who is at large is attached. 

The investigation is active and continuing.  Anyone with information or surveillance footage of the area is asked to contact Officer Montalvo of the Woodbridge Police Department at (732) 634-7700 or Detective Infusino of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office at (732) 745-4340. Tips may also be submitted to www.middlesextips.com.

As is the case with all criminal defendants, the charges against Austin are merely accusations and he is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Multi-Truck Accident On NJ Turnpike

April 28, 2021

SOUTH BRUNSWICK TOWNSHIP, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Around 11:30 am multiple trucks collided in the outer lanes near mile post 75.5 south bound with reports of also damaging a NJ State Police Vehicle. Two ambulances responded to the scene. No further information is available at the time of this report.

Once official information is available the story will be updated.


Individual Responsible for Sending Racist Email to Councilperson Arrested

April 28, 2021

OLD BRIDGE, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone and Acting Chief Joseph P. Mandola, Jr. of the Old Bridge Township Police Department announced a Township man who allegedly sent a harassing email to an Old Bridge Township councilperson has been arrested and charged with bias intimidation.

Yesterday, Adam Valvo, 52, of Old Bridge was charged and  arrested for two counts of fourth-degree bias intimidation and one count of harassment. 

A joint investigation by the Old Bridge Police Department and the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office was initiated after authorities learned a racist email had been sent to Old Bridge Township Councilperson Edina Brown on March 7, 2021.  The investigation was assisted by the Division of Criminal Justice, Bias Crimes Unit.  The investigation by Detective William Dugan of the Old Bridge Police Department and Detective Jason Mendelson of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office determined Valvo authored and sent the email, which contained profanities and racial epithets, to Councilperson Brown.  

“Let me be clear: hate has no home in New Jersey, and we will prosecute to the fullest extent of the law those who seek to harm, harass, or intimidate others through their racist actions,” said Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal. “We have zero tolerance for acts of bias and hate in the Garden State, and I commend Middlesex Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone, the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, and the Old Bridge Police Department for their successful investigation, identifying the alleged actor who targeted Councilperson Brown last month with a vile, racist, and threatening email.”

“I commend all the law enforcement agencies for their professional  and successful investigation. The Middlesex County Prosecutors Office has a proud tradition of zero tolerance for any acts of bias and hate” said Prosecutor Ciccone. 

The investigation is active and continuing.  Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Dugan at (732) 721-5600 or Detective Mendelson at (732) 745-8382.

As is the case with all criminal defendants, the charges against Valvo are merely accusations and he is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Note to editors: Questions may be directed to Assistant Prosecutor Conner Ouellette, Public Information Officer, at mcpopress@co.middlesex.nj.us


Wanted for Woodbridge Sexual Assault and Armed Robbery

April 23, 2021

UPDATE: 4/28/2021 — Woodbridge Township man charged with aggravated sexual assault, kidnapping, and armed robbery

WOODBRIDGE, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone and Director Robert Hubner of the Woodbridge Police Department announced that authorities are seeking the public’s assistance in identifying two individuals believed to be involved in an aggravated sexual assault and armed robbery in the Port Reading section of Woodbridge, which occurred on Friday, April 16th

An initial investigation by Officer Robert Montalvo of the Woodbridge Police Department and Detective Linda Infusino of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office determined that on April 16, 2021 in the 9 o’clock hour, an adult female and an adult male were approached in the area of Lee Street and Scott Place by two individuals and held at gunpoint. The investigation further determined the female victim was sexually assaulted. 

Authorities are searching for a slim, black male who is between 5 foot 8 inches and 5 foot 9 inches tall.  This suspect is believed to have worn a cream or gray hoodie and sweatpants or jeans at the time of the assault.  Authorities are also searching for a slim white or Hispanic male with brown hair and brown eyes who is between 5 foot 5 inches and 5 foot 9 inches tall.  This suspect is believed to have worn a gray Nike hoodie and white Nike sneakers at the time of the assault. 

The investigation is active and continuing.  Anyone with information or surveillance footage of the area is asked to contact Officer Montalvo of the Woodbridge Police Department at (732) 634-7700 or Detective Infusino of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office at (732) 745-4340. Tips may also be submitted to www.middlesextips.com


OUT OF GAS: Trenton Man In Custody After Armed Carjacking In Morrisville, PA, Ends In Robbinsville, NJ

April 23, 2021 — Updated

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Trenton Police Department Detective Captain Peter Weremijenko told MidJersey.news that on Thursday April 22, 2021 around 10:08 pm Trenton Police Offices Olix Heredia and Marvin Hebert were on patrol in the area of West End Avenue when they saw a 2019 Jeep Compass, bearing a Pennsylvania license plate, driving in the area.  The officers were aware that the vehicle was reported as carjacked at gunpoint earlier in the evening in Morrisville PA.  The officers attempted to stop the vehicle when the driver of the Jeep accelerated and drove away.  Officers Heredia and Hebert continued to pursue the carjacked Jeep through the City of Trenton, onto Rt 195, then onto Rt 130.  The pursuit ended when the Jeep ran out of gas on Rt 130 south in Robbinsville.  The New Jersey State Police and Robbinsville Police Department assisted the Trenton Police Department to bring this incident to a peaceful conclusion. 

 Taken into custody and charged was:

Christopher R. Hersey, 30-year-old male from General Greene Ave. in Trenton

  • Eluding (2nd degree) 2C:29-2b
  • Several motor vehicle violations

New Jersey State Police Sgt. Philip Curry of the Public Information Unit told MidJersey.news that, on Thursday, April 22, at 10:15 p.m. Trenton Police Department notified the New Jersey State Police that they were engaged in a pursuit with a stolen vehicle that was heading out of Trenton. 

Troopers joined the pursuit as it continued on I-195 before the suspect vehicle exited the highway and traveled through multiple jurisdictions.  During the pursuit, the suspect vehicle struck two marked pursuing NJSP vehicles.

The pursuit concluded on US-130 south MP 65 in Robbinsville Township where the suspect, Christopher Hersey, 30, of Trenton, N.J.  was arrested.

Hersey was charged with aggravated assault, possession of a weapon for unlawful purposes, criminal mischief and was lodged at the Mercer County Jail.




Video of pursuit in Trenton by Waterfront Park-Arm and Hammer Stadium on Route 29 Video by MidJersey.news reader Jacqueline Leslie

See last night’s breaking news story here: Armed suspect leads multiple police agencies on high speed pursuit after carjacking in Trenton, ends in Robbinsville



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Armed suspect leads multiple police agencies on high speed pursuit after carjacking in Trenton, ends in Robbinsville


UPDATE HERE: OUT OF GAS: Trenton Man In Custody After Armed Carjacking In Morrisville, PA, Ends In Robbinsville, NJ


April 23, 2021

By: Tyler Eckel

BREAKING NEWS REPORT: This is a breaking news report from radio reports, on scene information, and sources. Once official information is available, the post will be updated.

TRENTON (MERCER)– A police pursuit involving multiple jurisdictions occurred late Thursday night following a carjacking of a Jeep Compass in Trenton.

Trenton Police called the pursuit around 10:00 pm, after a reported carjacking in the city. State Police joined the chase once the suspect vehicle got onto I-195. The vehicle continued to flee Eastbound on I-195 to Route 537 in Jackson, where he turned back around and went Westbound. The suspect exited I-195 into Hamilton, where he fled down Klockner Road and got onto Route 130. The pursuit continued on Route 130 Northbound to South Brunswick, where the suspect then turned around again, going South on Route 130. The suspect was reported to be armed with a gun. The vehicle reached speeds of 130 miles per hour while running red lights, and reportedly crashed into a few State Police troop cars during the pursuit.

The chase finally came to an end at about 11:03 pm in front of the A&M Market on Route 130 in Robbinsville. One male was taken into custody and transported to the hospital.

Vehicle drove though several towns including, Trenton, Hamilton Township, Robbinsville Township, Upper Freehold Township, Millstone Township, Jackson Township, East Windsor, Cranbury, South Brunswick, North Brunswick.

This is a developing story. Check back for more info.






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Man Sentenced To 5 Years In NJ State Prison For “Grandparent Scam”

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced that a Bronx, N.Y., man was sentenced to state prison today for stealing a total of $142,900 from eight older adults in New Jersey using a “grandparent scam.”

Osvaldo Thomas, 41, of the Bronx, N.Y., was sentenced today to five years in state prison by Superior Court Judge Thomas J. Buck in Middlesex County. Thomas pleaded guilty on Feb. 19, 2021 to a second-degree charge of theft by deception.

In pleading guilty, Thomas admitted that he participated in a scam – commonly known as a “grandparent scam” – in which a caller claimed that the victim’s grandchild was in jail and that he was an attorney representing the grandchild. The caller told the victims that in order to get their grandchild out of jail, they needed to provide him with large sums of money for bail. The thefts occurred in April and May 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic, and, in at least one instance, the victim also was told the grandchild had the coronavirus. Thomas or another individual posed as a “courier” to pick up the funds at the victim’s residence. He stole sums from the victims ranging from $10,300 to $27,000. Under the plea agreement, Thomas is responsible for paying full restitution of $142,900 to the victims.

Deputy Attorneys General Derek Miller and Aaron Witherspoon prosecuted the case and represented the Division of Criminal Justice (DCJ) Financial & Cyber Crimes Bureau at the sentencing hearing.

“Grandparent scams cause losses totaling in the tens of millions of dollars each year to victims in the United States,” said Attorney General Grewal. “This prison sentence sends a clear message that we will not tolerate criminals who prey on older adults, particularly con artists who scam victims by exploiting their love and concern for their grandchildren. What is more egregious, this defendant callously took advantage of the victims’ isolation from their families during the pandemic and their fears about the coronavirus.”

“Our Financial and Cyber Crimes Bureau works diligently to investigate all types of scams and bogus investment schemes, so as to guard the financial security of New Jersey residents,” said Director Veronica Allende of the Division of Criminal Justice. “We urge members of the public to notify us or their local police if they believe they are being targeted in a fraud scheme.”

Attorney General Grewal and Director Allende noted that the Division of Criminal Justice has established a toll-free tip line 1-866-TIPS-4CJ for the public to confidentially report fraud and other illegal activities. The public also can log on to the Division’s webpage at www.njdcj.org to report suspected wrongdoing confidentially.

Lieutenant Frederick Weidman and Deputy Attorneys General Miller and Witherspoon investigated the case for the DCJ Financial & Cyber Crimes Bureau, under the supervision of Bureau Chief Jillian Carpenter and Deputy Bureau Chief Mark Kurzawa.

Attorney General Grewal thanked the following detectives and agencies for their collaborative work on this investigation:

  • Detective Anthony Sorrentino, Cherry Hill Police Department
  • Detective Randy Patner, East Hanover Police Department
  • Detective Joseph Zeppetelli, East Hanover Police Department
  • Detective Thomas Laird, Sussex County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Detective Nicholas Aumendo, Gloucester Township Police Department
  • Detective Anthony Zamora, Clifton Police Department
  • Lt. Robert Baracken, Clifton Police Department
  • Detective Peter Ricciardi, Boonton Township Police Department
  • Detective Domenick Delucia, South Brunswick Police Department
  • Sgt. Sasha Higazi, Bound Brook Police Department
  • Detective Jonathan Berger, Essex Fells Police Department
  • Detective Alex Burchardt, Camden County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Detective Sgt. M. Braccioforte, New Jersey State Police

Defense Attorney

Thomas Carroll Blauvelt, Esq., of East Brunswick, N.J.


Rutgers University To Require COVID-19 Vaccinations For Fall 2021 Semester

March 25, 2021

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–In a statement earlier today Rutgers University stated that all students planning to attend the Fall 2021 semester must be fully vaccinated. See the statement below:

Members of the Rutgers Community:

We write to share news of our plans to welcome back all members of our community to our campuses this fall. The anticipated additional availability of the COVID-19 vaccine is enabling Rutgers to take steps to protect the health of our academic community and to move toward a full return to our pre-pandemic normal as a vibrant institution in Fall 2021.

President Biden recently announced that he is encouraging all states to open their COVID-19 vaccine eligibility requirements to include all adults and, further, that he expects that all adults could have access to at least one inoculation dose by the early summer. The Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also recently issued helpful guidance for those individuals who have been fully vaccinated. These announcements have provided us with the opportunity to clarify what our path forward will entail as we plan for the Fall 2021 academic semester.

In support of Rutgers’ commitment to health and safety for all members of its community, the University will be updating its Immunization Requirements for Students to include the COVID-19 vaccine. This health policy update means that, with limited exceptions, all students planning to attend in the Fall 2021 semester must be fully vaccinated. In parallel, we continue to strongly urge all Rutgers faculty and staff to get immunized against COVID-19 at the earliest opportunity.

The benefits of COVID-19 vaccination include prevention of serious illness, hospitalization, and death from the virus. Broad immunization is critical to help stop the current pandemic and to protect our University community. Benefits specific to the Rutgers community include:

  • An expedited return to pre-pandemic normal
  • Additional face-to-face course offerings and academic experiences
  • Opportunities for a wider range of events and activities offered at our campuses
  • Expanded dining and recreation options at Rutgers
  • Greater interpersonal collaboration among faculty, students, and researchers

Most important, a safer Rutgers community supports a safer New Jersey for our families, our friends, and our neighbors across the state.

The University has also been approved by the State to offer Rutgers clinics for on-campus administration of vaccines to faculty, staff, and students when vaccine supplies become available. However, we have not yet been given vaccine to administer. Thus, the University urges all members of its community currently eligible to receive a vaccine not to wait and to register with the State in order to get vaccinated as soon as possible, wherever you can, if you have not done so already.  

Proof of vaccination will be required for all students planning to attend this fall. Any vaccine authorized for use in the U.S. (currently Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson) is acceptable.  It is understood that some incoming students may be 17 years old, and may be only eligible for the Pfizer vaccine.

Students planning to attend the fall 2021 semester may request an exemption from the vaccination requirement for medical or religious reasons. Students enrolled in fully online degree programs (typically defined as having no access to on-campus facilities), as well as individuals participating in fully online or off-campus Continuing Education programs, will not need to provide proof of vaccination.

Should you have any questions about the vaccination program or Rutgers’ requirements, please see the FAQs at https://coronavirus.rutgers.edu/covid-19-vaccine/#forStudents. For general questions about COVID-19 vaccines, please visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/faq.html and https://covid19.nj.gov/pages/vaccine.

From the onset of the pandemic, the safety of the broader Rutgers community has been our shared responsibility. This has never been more true. The importance of an effective vaccination program to make our community safer for all cannot be overstated.

Please look for additional information and instructions regarding Rutgers vaccine clinics and exemptions in the coming days from Brian Strom, Executive Vice President for Health Affairs. Chancellors and their staffs will follow with additional information about fall planning as well.

We appreciate your patience, understanding, and commitment to health and safety during these challenging times, and we look forward to seeing you on campus this fall.

Sincerely,

Jonathan Holloway
President and University Professor    

Prabhas V. Moghe
Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs
Distinguished Professor

Antonio M. Calcado
Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer   


Indictment Charges NJ State Trooper With Official Misconduct For Allegedly Unlawfully Stopping and Following a Female Motorist in His Patrol Vehicle

March 25, 2021

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced that a New Jersey state trooper was indicted today for allegedly stalking a female motorist in his patrol vehicle while on duty.

The Office of Public Integrity and Accountability (OPIA) today obtained a state grand jury indictment charging Trooper Michael Patterson, 29, of Bayonne, N.J., with the following offenses:

  • Official Misconduct (2nd Degree)
  • Stalking (4th degree)
  • Tampering with Public Records (4th degree)

The New Jersey State Police Office of Professional Standards initially investigated this matter and referred it to the OPIA Corruption Bureau.

The investigation revealed that on January 28, 2020, Trooper Patterson conducted a motor vehicle stop of a female motorist on the New Jersey Turnpike at approximately 9:30 p.m. Patterson let the woman go with a warning, but he allegedly conducted a second, unwarranted stop of her vehicle a few minutes later when she exited the Turnpike at Exit 11.

Patterson allegedly conducted the second motor vehicle stop in order to make advances on the woman. Patterson allegedly disabled the Digital In-Vehicle Recorder (DIVR) in his vehicle to prevent his conduct from being recorded during this second stop. It is further alleged that Patterson subsequently put the victim in fear by following her to her home in his patrol vehicle.

“The New Jersey State Police maintain the highest standards of conduct for their state troopers, standards which the vast majority uphold as faithful and honorable guardians of the public,” said Attorney General Grewal. “Trooper Patterson allegedly violated those standards and the law, using his authority not to act as a guardian, but to put a female motorist in fear.  This indictment reflects our resolve to hold officers accountable if they betray the public’s trust with this type of conduct.”

“One of the primary missions of OPIA is to root out official misconduct that undermines faith in law enforcement and government,” said OPIA Director Thomas Eicher. “This is not the first time we have encountered conduct of the type alleged in this indictment involving a law enforcement officer, but we hope that our criminal prosecutions will deter such conduct going forward.”

“The New Jersey State Police holds its troopers to the highest level of professional standards of any law enforcement agency in the country through a robust system of checks and balances that is designed to not only hold its members accountable, but to serve as a tool to provide training and counseling through early intervention,” said Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “The alleged conduct revealed in this investigation stands in stark contrast to the core values of the New Jersey State Police and is a betrayal to the public and to the entire law enforcement community.”

Second-degree official misconduct carries a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison, including a mandatory minimum term of five years parole ineligibility, and a fine of up to $150,000. Fourth-degree charges carry a sentence of up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. The fourth-degree charge of tampering with public records carries a mandatory minimum term of one year of parole ineligibility.

The charges are merely accusations and the defendant is considered innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

Deputy Attorneys General Adam Gerken and Jonathan Gilmore are prosecuting the case for the OPIA Corruption Bureau, under the supervision of Bureau Chief Peter Lee and OPIA Deputy Director Anthony Picione. Attorney General Grewal thanked the New Jersey State Police Office of Professional Standards for their investigation and referral.

Defense Attorney: Jeffrey Ziegelheim, Esq., Dvorak & Associates LLC, Metuchen, N.J.

Related MidJersey.news story here: NJ State Trooper Charged With Unlawful Stopping And Following A Female Motorist In His Patrol Vehicle



Update: 2nd Alarm Warehouse Fire

Update from South Brunswick Police on Friday Night’s warehouse fire:

SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–At 7:05 pm Friday night, South Brunswick Police received a 911 call of a fire at the Sonoco warehouse at 5 Stults Road. All three South Brunswick Companies (Monmouth Junction, Kingston, and Kendall Park) responded, along with Monroe Fire District 3, Jamesburg, Plainsboro, and North Brunswick Fire Co. #2. Over 50 firefighters responded to the 2-alarm fire.

Firefighters from East Brunswick’s Old Bridge and Brookview Fire Companies, Griggstown, and Montgomery Township covered the empty South Brunswick stations.

Monmouth Junction Fire Chief Scott Smith said, “Firefighters encountered frozen hydrants on the property and on Stults Road, and had to use tankers from Cranbury, Jamesburg, Plainsboro, and Monroe to supply water to fight the fire.”

The fire involved the finished cardboard canisters manufactured by the facility, which were stored on plastic pallets and shrink-wrapped, then stacked 3 pallets high. Smith said, “Fortunately the sprinkler system and fire pump contained the fire to several stacks of the palletizing goods. Unfortunately, the fire and water caused several pallets to collapse, making it difficult for firefighters to locate and extinguish the seat of the fire.”

Firefighting crews had to be rotated frequently due to the manpower intensive efforts necessary to reach the seat of the fire, which was approximately 300 feet deep into the warehouse. A heavy smoke condition further complicated efforts, and took several hours to ventilate using large trailer-mounted fans from the Edison and Millstone Valley Fire Departments.

Firefighters remained on scene for several hours. Monmouth Junction First Aid Squad and North Brunswick First Aid and Rescue Squad were on scene but no injuries were reported. The fire is under investigation by the South Brunswick Township Fire Safety Bureau.

Previous MidJersey.News story here: 2nd Alarm Commercial Building Fire In South Brunswick



2nd Alarm Commercial Building Fire In South Brunswick

February 19, 2021

From radio reports and on scene reporting, once official information becomes available the story will be updated and any corrections made.

Updated Information from South Brunswick Police here: UPDATE: 2nd Alarm Warehouse Fire

SOUTH BRUNSWICK TOWNSHIP, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Around 7:00 pm the Monmouth Junction Fire Company was dispatched for a warehouse fire sprinkler activation with a reports of a fire inside the building at 5 Stults Road. The first units on scene reported heavy smoke inside the building and 2nd alarm was called. Mutual aid was called from all South Brunswick Fire Departments along with North Brunswick, Kingston, Plainsboro and Jamesburg.

Firefighters advanced a 2 1/2″ handline inside the building but had issues establishing a water supply because of frozen fire hydrants on the property. Tankers were called from Monroe Township Plainsboro, Hopewell-Titusville (Washington Crossing), Jamesburg, Cranbury and others. Two Large positive pressure ventilation fans were brought from the Edison Township Fire Department and placed in service to help remove smoke. Another large trailered fan was called from Millstone Valley to the scene to help remove smoke. Monmouth Junction First Aid Squad and North Brunswick First Aid and Rescue Squad was also at the scene.

Radio reports indicate that the fire was involving pallets inside the building. The company is Sonoco and the plant manufactures ridged paper consumer products. A sign on the building indicated the business has been operating at least 120 years.

No further information is available at the time of this report once official information is released the story will be updated and corrections and additions made.



BPU Sets March 16 Hearing in Optimum/ Altice Investigation

ROBBINSVILLE-HAMILTON TOWNSHIPS, NJ (MERCER)–In response to a wave of complaints regarding poor service and unfair consumer pricing by Optimum/Altice USA, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) has found sufficient cause to investigate Optimum/Altice USA and convene a public hearing on March 16, 2021.

The BPU said in a February 17 order it had:

“reviewed the various complaints, municipal government official resolutions and requests for Board investigation and intervention in this matter, and HEREBY FINDS that there is sufficient cause to convene a proceeding to afford the municipal officials and Altice customers the opportunity to voice their concerns about the services received from Altice; as well as afford the company the opportunity to respond to these concerns before determining what corrective action may be warranted and should be taken in this matter.”


The Board designated Commissioner Mary-Anna Holden as the Presiding Officer. Holden “is authorized to rule on all motions that arise during the proceedings and modify any schedules that may be set as necessary to secure a just and expeditious determination of the issues.”

The public hearing will be held virtually. Information concerning participation in the public hearing will be posted on the BPU website. Attorneys for the Townships of Robbinsville and Hamilton filed dual letters to Lawanda Gilbert, Director of the BPU Office of Cable Television and Telecommunications, requesting an investigation into the under performing utility in August, 2020.

In addition to Hamilton and Robbinsville, the order lists the boroughs of Dunellen and Sayreville, along with the Townships of Green Brook, Howell, Jackson, Montville, North Brunswick and Piscataway. The BPU received complaints and resolutions from at least 10 municipalities and several state legislators concerning various issues their residents and constituents cited alleging inadequacy and lack of service provided by Altice USA. In the complaints, the municipal and legislative officials cited: “Frequent and lengthy service disruptions (across all services), inconsistent connections and fluctuating Internet speeds, long telephone wait times, poor customer service, and an inability to get a satisfactory response to these issues from the company both before and after the COVID-19 pandemic.”


READ THE ROBBINSVILLE HAMILTON LETTERS TO BPU 

The letters detail just 11 examples from the hundreds of complaints received by the respective municipal offices at Robbinsville and Hamilton over the past several months citing poor customer service, unstable Internet connections, insufficient network capacity and allegations of price-gouging.

“It is the duty of Optimum (Altice USA) as a utility to furnish safe, adequate and proper service for its customers … and they have failed in that duty,” Robbinsville Township Mayor Dave Fried said last summer. “We should not have to continuously pressure this provider to do its job.”

Hamilton Township Mayor Jeff Martin also received a flood of complaints regarding Optimum/Altice USA (formerly Cablevision) and requested the BPU immediately commence an investigation into the services being provided to both Robbinsville and Hamilton pursuant to powers vested in the Board.


“Having reliable cable and internet service has never been more of a necessity than this year has proved it to be,” Martin said. “Both municipalities’ residents have experienced similar, unacceptable issues and a lack of timely remediation from Optimum. Mayor Fried and I will fight for our residents by partnering together on this issue and hope that by doing so it will provide for a stronger likelihood of these concerns being taken seriously by the State. “

Related MidJersey.news stories here:

Mayors Testify At NJ Senate Committee On Law And Public Safety About Utility Company Problems

Hamilton and Robbinsville Request BPU Investigation Into Optimum/Altice







UPDATE: Medical emergency results in four car crash in Hamilton Marketplace

February 13, 2021


See previous MidJersey.News article here: Serious accident in Hamilton Marketplace sends two to the hospital


By: Tyler Eckel

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP (MERCER)– At about 2:59 pm, Hamilton police received a call for a motor vehicle crash with entrapment in front of the Party City in Hamilton Marketplace.

Hamilton Police say the driver of a 2005 Nissan Altima, Ernest Seubert, 91, of Monroe Township, suffered a serious medical episode, which resulted in a four car collision at the Hamilton Marketplace in front of the Party City store.

Seubert, along with his passenger, were transported by EMS to Robert Wood Johnson Hospital at Hamilton for their injuries. No other injuries were reported at the scene by the occupants of the other vehicles.

The crash investigation is ongoing and any witnesses are asked to contact Officer Christopher Clugsten of the Hamilton Police Traffic Unit at (609)581-4000 or the Hamilton Police Crime
Tip Hotline at (609)581-4008.



Somerset Man Charged in New Brunswick Double Homicide

February 6, 2021

Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone and Director Anthony A. Caputo of the New Brunswick Police Department announced today that a Somerset man has been charged for his involvement in a shooting that left two dead and seven injured.

          Jeron Pitt, 19, of Somerset, was arrested and charged today with two counts of first-degree murder, one count of first-degree conspiracy to commit murder, seven counts of first-degree attempted murder, one count of second-degree conspiracy to possess a firearm for an unlawful purpose, one count of second-degree possession of a firearm for an unlawful purpose, and one count of fourth-degree tampering with evidence. 

On September 13, 2020, at approximately 1:18 A.M., the New Brunswick Police responded to the area of 32 Delafield Street following multiple reports of gunfire.  Lionel Macauley, 28, of Somerset, and Anthony Robinson 23, of New Brunswick. were later pronounced dead at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. 

An investigation by Detective Erika DiMarcello of the New Brunswick Police Department as well as Sergeant Julissa Alvarado and  Sergeant David Abromaitis of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office revealed Pitt and other individuals drove to a party on Delafield Street where they shot into a crowd of people, killing Macauley and Robinson. The car used in the shooting was later recovered. 

          At present, the shooting does not appear to be a random act.  The investigation has determined there is no affiliation with Rutgers University or its students. 

Pitt is presently lodged at the Middlesex County Adult Correction Center where he is being held pending a pre-trial detention hearing in Superior Court. 

The investigation is active and is continuing.  Anyone with information is asked to call Detective DiMarcello at (732) 745-5200 or Sergeant Abromaitis at (732) 745-4436.

As is the case with all criminal defendants, the charges against Pitt are merely accusations and he is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Juveniles Charged in Fatal North Brunswick Shooting

February 6, 2021

NORTH BRUNSWICK, NJ (MIDDLESEX) — Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone and Chief Joseph Battaglia of the North Brunswick Township Police Department announced today that two juveniles have been charged with the shooting death of Mark Atkins, 18, of Plainfield.

          Since the shooting on February 3, 2021, two male juveniles, both 17 and of North Brunswick, have both been charged with one count of murder, one count of conspiracy to commit murder, and one count of possession of a firearm for an unlawful purpose.  One juvenile has been taken into custody.  The other has yet to be apprehended

On February 3, 2021, at approximately 7:30 P.M., authorities responded to Marc Drive following reports of a shooting.  Upon their arrival, officers located one of the male juveniles who had sustained a non-fatal gunshot wound.  Upon further investigation, officers later found Atkins who had sustained multiple gunshot wounds and was later pronounced dead at a nearby hospital. 

The investigation is active and continuing.  Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Errol McCalla of the North Brunswick Police Department at (732) 247-0922 ext. 311 or Detective Sean Sullivan of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office at (732) 745-4060.

As is the case with all defendants, the charges against the juveniles are merely accusations and they are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

North Brunswick shooting under investigation

February 5, 2021

By: Tyler Eckel

NORTH BRUNSWICK (MIDDLESEX): Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone and Chief Joseph
Battaglia of the North Brunswick Township Police Department announced
today that authorities are investigating a fatal shooting at the Renaissance
Glen Apartments.

On February 3, 2021, at approximately 7:30 P.M., authorities
responded to Marc Drive following reports of a shooting. Upon their arrival,
officers located a male juvenile, 17, of North Brunswick who had sustained
a non-fatal gunshot wound. Upon further investigation, officers later found
Marc Atkins, 18, of Plainfield who had also sustained multiple gunshot
wounds and was later pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.

The investigation is active and continuing. Anyone with information
is asked to call Detective Errol McCalla of the North Brunswick Police
Department at (732) 247-0922 ext. 311 or Detective Sean Sullivan of the
Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office at (732) 745-4060.



Storm Updates For Selected Towns

February 1, 2021

For the latest information on your township’s trash collection or town office information visit your local town’s website. Here are current updates for selected towns:

MANASQUAN–


ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)– Municipal Offices are closed on Tuesday, February 2 and Tuesday’s trash collection is postponed to Saturday, February 6. Any questions please contact the Public Works Department at 609-259-0422. See Robbinsville Township’s website for all updates here.


ALLENTOWN, NJ (MONMOUTH)–Borough Hall is closed on Tuesday, February 2nd. Due to a heavy accumulation of snow today, overnight and into tomorrow, Borough Hall will be closed on Tuesday, February 2nd with our municipal office staff working remotely. All calls will go to voice mail. For an email directory click here. We do not have an update on tomorrow’s recycling collection at this time. An update will be posted once it is available. Tomorrow’s Council meeting is still scheduled for 7PM. All elected officials are asked to attend remotely on Zoom.  For Allentown updates see this link.


HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Township Offices will be CLOSED tomorrow, Tuesday, February 2nd. Garbage collection scheduled for Tuesday, February 2nd will be cancelled in order to assist with the snow removal process. The Hamilton Township Council meeting is still scheduled for Tuesday, February 2nd at 6:30 PM via Zoom. Participants may join by visiting: http://www.zoom.us/join or by phone 1-929-205-6099 Meeting ID: 946 3214 8692 Passcode: 444652 Please remember to exercise caution if you must travel. To see when your street is scheduled to be plowed be sure visit Snow Plow Sal.


MILLSTONE TOWNSHIP, NJ (MONMOUTH)– Check website for updates here.


EAST WINDSOR, NJ (MERCER)–For latest East Windsor information check the e-alert section of the website you can access that page here.

Due to current winter storm conditions:

  • No Township Curbside Garbage Collection Will Occur Tomorrow Tuesday, February 2. Garbage Collection for Area #2 residents, normally on Tuesday, February 2, will be on the next scheduled collection date of Friday, February 5.
  • Residents are strongly reminded to remove ALL vehiclesfrom Township roadways to allow for snow removal.
  • Residents are reminded to clear all snow from sidewalks and fire hydrants within 24 hours of the end of the snow fall.

SOUTH BRUNSWICK TOWNSHIP, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–DUE TO THE INCLEMENT WEATHER, REPUBLIC SERVICES HAS CANCELLED ALL TRASH AND RECYCLING COLLECTIONS FOR MONDAY FEB, 1ST AND TUESDAY, FEB 2ND

They are scheduled to resume regular operations on Wednesday, February 3rd. All of Monday’s and Tuesday’s material will be collected next week on their regular day. Sorry for any inconvenience. Any further questions, please call the Garbage and Recycling Dept. at (732)329-4000 Ext 7274

For the latest information for South Brunswick visit the website here.


EWING TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–UPDATED TRASH PICKUP DELAY INFORMATION FOR FEB. 2ND, 2021

Due to the weather conditions scheduled trash pickup for today, Monday February 1st, has been delayed until Friday, February 5th, and the scheduled trash pickup for Tuesday, February 2nd, has been delayed until Saturday, February 6th.

Please do not put out your trash for these delayed pickups until the rescheduled day to help keep the road clear for plows. Thank you for your cooperation and stay warm.

For the latest information for Ewing Township visit the township’s website here.


Winter Storm Warning Continues

February 1, 2021

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–A Winter Storm Warning from the National Weather Service continues as Winter Storm Orlena moves though the area.

The National Weather Service Philadelphia-Mount Holly reports that heavy snow will continue with an additional snow accumulations of 4 to 7 inches. Winds will gusting as high as 40 mph. Travel could be very difficult there will be areas of blowing snow that could significantly reduce visibility. The hazardous conditions could impact the morning or evening commute. The heaviest snow will end by late this evening. Periods of light snow accumulating snow will linger through Tuesday. The Winder Storm Warning will expire on 4:00 PM on Tuesday February 2, 2021.

There have been multiple accidents in the area South Brunswick Police Department reported at 12:00 pm that they have responded to 34 crashes/assists and that the roads remain hazardous. The remind people to stay off the roads as they are very slippery. NJ State Police has responded to 583 motor vehicle crashes and 839 aid to motorists. All agencies are urging residents to remain off the roadways and let snowplows do their jobs.

At 1:58 pm the Robbinsville Township Fire Department responded to the New Jersey Turnpike north bound in the inner lanes for a tractor-trailer accident blocking a lane.

The Robbinsville Township Fire Department also reminds those with fire hydrants near their homes to make sure they are clear. Clear a space 3 feet around the hydrant and a path to the roadway. This will help firefighters locate the hydrant and not have to spend time shoveling it out when needed in an emergency.




National Weather Service Snow totals as of 4:35 PM EST Mon Feb 1 2021

Burlington County
  Florence                     6.3 in    0300 PM 02/01   Trained Spotter      
  Columbus                     5.1 in    0330 PM 02/01   Trained Spotter      
  Cooperstown                  4.1 in    1100 AM 02/01   NWS Employee         
  1 ENE Westampton Twp         3.9 in    0100 PM 02/01   Official NWS Obs     
  Moorestown                   3.8 in    0215 PM 02/01   Trained Spotter      
  Mount Laurel                 3.7 in    0115 PM 02/01   Trained Spotter      
  Southampton Twp              3.0 in    1154 AM 02/01   Public    

Middlesex County
  New Brunswick                18.0 in   0426 PM 02/01   Trained Spotter      
  South Plainfield             17.0 in   1230 PM 02/01   Public               
  Port Reading                 16.5 in   0320 PM 02/01   Public               
  Edison                       14.0 in   0200 PM 02/01   Public               
  Perth Amboy                  13.0 in   0120 PM 02/01   Public               
  South River                  13.0 in   0345 PM 02/01   Public               
  Carteret                     12.5 in   0125 PM 02/01   Trained Spotter      
  Colonia                      11.2 in   1205 PM 02/01   Broadcast Media      
  East Brunswick               11.0 in   0200 PM 02/01   Trained Spotter      
  Highland Park                11.0 in   0200 PM 02/01   Trained Spotter      
  Old Bridge                   11.0 in   0120 PM 02/01   Public                
  2 WSW Rossmoor               8.5 in    0100 PM 02/01   Trained Spotter    
 
Monmouth County
  Holmdel                      13.5 in   0230 PM 02/01   Trained Spotter      
  Belford                      12.0 in   1136 AM 02/01   Public               
  Keyport                      12.0 in   0250 PM 02/01   Trained Spotter      
  Colts Neck                   11.5 in   0400 PM 02/01   Trained Spotter      
  Freehold                     11.5 in   0130 PM 02/01   Trained Spotter      
  1 ENE Cliffwood              11.0 in   0200 PM 02/01   Trained Spotter      
  Manalapan Twp                9.8 in    0240 PM 02/01   Trained Spotter      
  Marlboro                     9.5 in    1240 PM 02/01   Trained Spotter      
  Eatontown                    8.7 in    0245 PM 02/01   Trained Spotter      
  Freehold Twp                 7.5 in    0200 PM 02/01   Public               
  Howell                       7.2 in    0130 PM 02/01   Trained Spotter      
  1 WNW Deal                   6.5 in    0200 PM 02/01   Trained Spotter  

Ocean County
  Jackson                      7.3 in    0430 PM 02/01   Trained Spotter      
  Brick                        5.3 in    0426 PM 02/01   Trained Spotter      
  Bayville                     0.5 in    0431 PM 02/01   Trained Spotter      
  Toms River                   0.4 in    0430 PM 02/01   Trained Spotter    

  Mercer County has not reported yet. 



...SIGNIFICANT WINTER STORM CONTINUES ACROSS THE REGION...

NJZ009-010-012-013-015-PAZ103>106-021015-
/O.EXT.KPHI.WS.W.0001.000000T0000Z-210202T2100Z/
Hunterdon-Somerset-Middlesex-Western Monmouth-Mercer-
Western Montgomery-Eastern Montgomery-Upper Bucks-Lower Bucks-
Including the cities of Flemington, Somerville, New Brunswick,
Freehold, Trenton, Collegeville, Pottstown, Norristown, Lansdale,
Chalfont, Perkasie, Morrisville, and Doylestown
401 PM EST Mon Feb 1 2021

...WINTER STORM WARNING NOW IN EFFECT UNTIL 4 PM EST TUESDAY...

* WHAT...Heavy snow. Additional snow accumulations of 4 to 7
  inches. Winds gusting as high as 40 mph.

* WHERE...Portions of central, northern and northwest New Jersey
  and southeast Pennsylvania.

* WHEN...Until 4 PM EST Tuesday.

* IMPACTS...Travel could be very difficult. Areas of blowing
  snow could significantly reduce visibility. The hazardous
  conditions could impact the morning or evening commute.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS...The heaviest snow will end by late this
  evening. Periods of light snow accumulating snow will linger
  through Tuesday.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

If you must travel, keep an extra flashlight, food, and water in
your vehicle in case of an emergency.

The latest road conditions for the state you are calling from can
be obtained by calling 5 1 1.

Be Prepared For Significant Winter Storm, NWS Issues Winter Storm Warning For Total Snow Accumulations of 16″ to 22″

January 31, 2021

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–The New Jersey State Police is urging New Jersey residents to prepare for a nor’easter that will affect the entire state. From late Sunday night through Tuesday morning, most of New Jersey will be under a Winter Storm Warning.

The storm is expected to create hazardous travel conditions statewide, so if you do not need to travel, please stay home to allow crews to safely treat our roadways. If you must travel, here are some safety tips to follow:

• Drive slowly. It’s harder to control or stop your vehicle on slick or snow-covered surfaces

• Increase the following distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you, which will help prevent rear-end crashes on slick roads

• Make sure your cell phone is fully charged before you leave for your trip

• Pack bottled water, blankets, and dry food goods in the event you get stranded

• Leave a friend or family member a travel itinerary so that they can alert police should you get stranded and/or lose cell service

• Make sure your gas tank is full before you leave in case you get stuck in traffic

• Top off your windshield washer fluid to clear salt from your windshield

• Pack a few bags of sand or cat litter, which can create traction for vehicles stuck on slippery road grades

If your vehicle becomes disabled during the storm, follow these safety rules:

• Call 9-1-1

• Stay inside your car. You are safer inside your car than outside

• Turn on your hazard lights

• To avoid asphyxiation from carbon monoxide poisoning, don’t run your car for long periods of time with the windows fully up. If you must run your vehicle, clear the exhaust pipe of any snow and run it only sporadically — just long enough to stay warm

The best way to avoid storm-related travel hazards is to stay off of the roads, but if you must travel, please take the time to prepare. Before you leave, make sure you check for the latest weather updates.


Winter Storm Warning

URGENT – WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE

National Weather Service Mount Holly NJ

1050 AM EST Sun Jan 31 2021

NJZ009-010-012-015-PAZ105-106-010500-

/O.CON.KPHI.WS.W.0001.210131T2200Z-210202T1800Z/

Hunterdon-Somerset-Middlesex-Mercer-Upper Bucks-Lower Bucks-

Including the cities of Flemington, Somerville, New Brunswick,

Trenton, Chalfont, Perkasie, Morrisville, and Doylestown

1050 AM EST Sun Jan 31 2021

…WINTER STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 5 PM THIS

AFTERNOON TO 1 PM EST TUESDAY…

* WHAT…Heavy snow expected. Total snow accumulations of 16 to 22

  inches. Winds gusting as high as 35 mph.

* WHERE…Portions of central, northern and northwest New Jersey

  and southeast Pennsylvania.

* WHEN…From 5 PM this afternoon to 1 PM EST Tuesday.

* IMPACTS…Travel could be very difficult to impossible. The

  hazardous conditions could impact the morning or evening

  commute.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS…Snow develops late this afternoon and

  will last through Monday night or early Tuesday. Snow may be

  heavy at times on Monday.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

If you must travel, keep an extra flashlight, food, and water in

your vehicle in case of an emergency.

The latest road conditions for the state you are calling from can

be obtained by calling 5 1 1.






New Brunswick Man Charged for Attempted Kidnapping

January 30, 2021

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone and Director Anthony A. Caputo of the New Brunswick Police Department announced today that a City man has been charged with attempted kidnapping.

On January 29, 2021, Gary Prichard, 41, of New Brunswick was arrested and charged with fourth-degree possession of an imitation firearm for an unlawful purpose and second-degree attempted kidnapping. 

Prichard was charged following an investigation by Detective Keith Walcott of the New Brunswick Police Department.  The investigation determined that, on Monday, January 25, 2021 at approximately 11:30 P.M., Prichard drove up to the victim as she was walking on Easton Avenue.  As Prichard approached the victim, he drew what appeared to be a handgun and demanded she get into his truck.  When the victim refused, Prichard fled the area.  Prichard was ultimately identified as the driver and owner of the truck, which was captured on camera as he fled the scene.  A starter pistol was also recovered from Prichard’s truck following the execution of a search warrant.  

Prichard is presently lodged at the Middlesex County Adult Correction Center where he is being held pending a pre-trial detention hearing in Superior Court next week. 

The investigation is active and continuing.  Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Walcott at (732) 745-5217.  As is the case with all criminal defendants, the charges against Prichard are merely accusations and he is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Police Investigating Fatal Motor Vehicle Crash Into Canal Involving 17 Year Old Victim

January 30, 2021

FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP, NJ (SOMERSET)–Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson, Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of County Detectives John W. Fodor and Franklin Township Public Safety Director Quovella M. Spruill announce an ongoing investigation into a fatal motor vehicle crash. On January 29, 2021 at 9:22 PM the Franklin Township Police Department received a 9-1-1 call reporting that a motor vehicle had left the roadway and went into the canal near Suydam Road.

Police Officers, Firefighters, EMS Personnel and divers from the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Emergency Response Team responded to the scene. After searching for approximately an hour, the vehicle was located with the assistance of the New Jersey State Police Aviation Unit. Divers entered the water and found the 17 year-old female driver from Kendall Park within the vehicle. She was transported to a local area trauma center where she was pronounced deceased.

The Franklin Township Police Department’s Traffic Safety Bureau and Detectives from the Franklin Township Police Department are conducting an investigation into the factors that contributed to this incident. The initial investigation revealed that the female driver was travelling southbound on Canal Road in a 2006 Jeep Commander when she left the roadway and entered the canal.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact Sgt. James Raics at 732-873-5533 extension 3177 or at james.raics@franklinnj.gov.

New York Man Charged in Grandparent Scam

January 29, 2021

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone and Chief James Parker of the South Plainfield Police Department announced today that a New York man has been charged for his involvement in a grandparent scam.

On January 27, 2021, Albert Peralta-Munoz, 22, of the Bronx was arrested and charged via a complaint-summons with second-degree Use of a Juvenile to Commit a Crime, third-degree Theft by Deception, and third-degree Conspiracy. 

Peralta-Munoz was charged along with a juvenile following an investigation by the South Plainfield Police that determined, at approximately 11:30 A.M., a borough resident received a phone call from an individual who demanded $6,500.00 for release of the resident’s grandchild from jail.  Peralta-Munoz and the juvenile were later arrested as they attempted to collect the money from the victim.

The investigation is active and continuing.  Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Sergeant Garret Cassio at (908) 226-7662 /  gcassio@sppolice.com or Detective Peter Hlavka (908) 226-7661 / phlavka@sppolice.com.

As is the case with all criminal defendants, the charges against Peralta-Munoz and the juvenile are merely accusations and they are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Carteret Township man charged with voter fraud

January 28, 2021

Published by: Tyler Eckel

CARTERET TOWNSHIP (MIDDLESEX)– Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone announced today that a
Carteret man has been charged with fraudulent voting.

Frederick Gattuso, 43, of Carteret was arrested without incident and
charged with one count of third-degree fraudulent voting.

Gattuso was charged following an investigation by Detective Ryan Tighe
of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, which determined Gattuso voted
twice in November’s General Election as different people with similar names.
Gattuso is pending an initial appearance in Superior Court on March 4,
2021.

The investigation is active and is continuing. Anyone with information is
asked to contact Detective Tighe at (732) 745-4335.

As is the case with all criminal defendants, the charge against Gattuso is
merely an accusation and he is presumed innocent until proven guilty.



Edison And Toms River Residents Arrested And Charged In $4.5 Million Health Care Fraud Conspiracy

January 28, 2021

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER) – Three New Jersey residents were arrested today for allegedly participating in a long-running scheme to defraud the New Jersey Traumatic Brain Injury Fund (TBI Fund), a publicly funded health care benefit program, of more than $4.5 million, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced.

Harry Pizutelli, 62, of Edison, New Jersey, and C.R. Kraus, 55, and Maritza Flores, 43, both of Toms River, New Jersey were arrested by special agents of the FBI and IRS this morning and are charged by criminal complaint with conspiracy to commit health care fraud. They are scheduled to appear later today by videoconference before U.S. Magistrate Judge Tonianne J. Bongiovanni.

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

The TBI Fund is a publicly funded program run by the New Jersey Division of Disability Services, a component of the New Jersey Department of Human Services. The TBI Fund’s purpose is to provide New Jersey residents who have suffered a traumatic brain injury with services and support in order to maximize their quality of life when funding from insurance, personal resources, or other programs is unavailable to meet their needs. Services funded by the TBI Fund include physical, occupational, and speech therapy; service coordination; assistive technology; cognitive therapy; neuropsychological services; pharmaceuticals; wheelchair ramp installation and other home modifications; and general home management and maintenance.

After a prospective patient applies for services, TBI Fund personnel review the application and, if approved, the patient is authorized to secure designated services from a third-party vendor. Once a patient receives services approved by the TBI Fund, the vendor or service provider submits an invoice to the TBI Fund for payment. When an invoice is received, TBI Fund personnel review the invoice to ensure that the patient had been approved to receive the services. If the invoice is approved, an internal payment voucher is generated, authorized by TBI Fund personnel, and then submitted to the New Jersey Department of the Treasury for payment, which issues a check directly to the vendor.

Pizutelli was the manager of the TBI Fund and was responsible for the its day-to-day operation. He supervised, managed, and oversaw the process by which third-party vendors were paid for services rendered to eligible TBI Fund patients. From 2009 through June 2019, Pizutelli, Kraus, Flores, and others conspired to defraud the TBI Fund by misappropriating more than $4.5 million in fraudulent vendor payments for purported services that were never actually provided. Pizutelli orchestrated the distribution of fraudulent vendor payments to Kraus, Flores, and others by generating and processing false invoices and internal payment vouchers. Pizutelli generated these invoices and vouchers to give the appearance that Kraus, Flores, and other conspirators had provided approved services to eligible patients when, in fact, they had not provided any services. Pizutelli then approved and transmitted the internal payment vouchers so that his conspirators received vendor payments even though they had performed no services to eligible patients. Pizutelli orchestrated these fraudulent payments to maintain and further romantic and/or sexual relationships with Flores and other conspirators.

Pizutelli orchestrated the fraudulent payment of more than $4.5 million from the TBI Fund to members of the conspiracy, including more than $4 million in fraudulent distributions to Kraus and Flores, which they used for their own personal benefit and enrichment. To obscure their fraudulent conduct, Kraus and Flores also made material misstatements on their federal income tax returns, by significantly underreporting the income they had derived from the fraudulent scheme.

The health care fraud conspiracy charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and of $250,000 or twice the gross receipts to the defendants or gross loss sustained by any victims, whichever is greater.

Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited special agents of the FBI, Newark Division, Red Bank Resident Agency, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr., and special agents of the IRS – Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael Montanez, with the investigation leading to the charges. She also thanked the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office, Division of Law, and the New Jersey Department of Human Services, for their assistance.

The government is represented by J. Brendan Day, Attorney-in-Charge of the Trenton Branch Office of the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

The charges and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

21-034

Defense counsel:
Pizutelli – Benjamin West Esq., Assistant Federal Public Defender, Trenton
Kraus – Bruce L. Throckmorton Esq., Trenton
Flores – Aidan P. O’Connor Esq., Hackensack, New Jersey


Mega Millions $1 Billion Ticket Sold In Michigan, $1Million In Ocean County, $10K Tickets Sold Locally, Tonight’s Cash 5 Passes $2 Million Record

January 23, 2021

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–

TRENTON (Jan. 23, 2021– One Michigan ticket matched all five of the five white balls and the Gold Mega Ball drawn winning the $1.05 billion Mega Millions jackpot. The estimated cash value was $776.6 million.

In New Jersey, there was one second-tier prizewinning ticket sold for the Friday, January 22, drawing that matched five of the five white balls drawn winning the $1,000,000 prize. The ticket was purchased at 7-Eleven #11027, 2075 Route 88, Brick in Ocean County.

There were ten third-tier prizewinning tickets sold that matched four of the five white balls and the gold ball winning $10,000. Those tickets were purchased at the following locations:

  • Bergen County: Krauszer’s Food Store, 403 Midland Ave., Garfield;
  • Burlington County: Wawa #8423, 76 Springside Rd., Westampton;
  • Mercer County: 7-Eleven #27391, 1517 Pennington Ave., Ewing;
  • Mercer County: Pennington Luk Oil LLC, 2558 Pennington Rd., Pennington;
  • Middlesex County: Park Deli, 80 Raritan Ave., Highland Park;
  • Monmouth County: Little Silver Family Pharmacy, 10 Church St., Little Silver;
  • Morris County: Krauszer’s Food Store, 95 West Main St., Chester;
  • Passaic County: 7-Eleven #11463, 356 Rifle Camp Rd., Woodland Park;
  • Sussex County: 7-Eleven #37251, 63 Water St., Newton; and,
  • Warren County: Mini Mart, 1312 US Highway 22 East, Phillipsburg.

In addition to the second and third-tier prizes won, 236 players matched four of the five white balls drawn making each ticket worth $50015 of those tickets were purchased with the Megaplier option, multiplying the prizes to $1,000. Moreover, 389,264 other New Jersey players took home $1,455,848 in prizes ranging from $2 to $400. The winning numbers for the Friday, January 22, drawing were: 04, 26, 42, 50, and 60. The Gold Mega Ball was 24, and the Megaplier Multiplier was 02.

The jackpot resets to $20 million for the next drawing on Tuesday, January 26, at 11:00 pm. All New Jersey Lottery Mega Millions tickets must be purchased before 10:45 pm to participate in the drawing. Mega Millions tickets cost just two dollars; by adding the Megaplier option for an extra dollar per play, players can increase their non-jackpot winnings up to five times. Mega Millions tickets are sold in 46 participating jurisdictions. Drawings are held on Tuesdays and Fridays.


Jersey Cash 5 Boasts the Biggest Cash Jackpot EVER

Jersey Cash 5 Leaps to Record $2 Million Jackpot

TRENTON (Jan. 23, 2021) – New Jersey Lottery would like to announce the record-breaking jackpot for tonight’s Jersey Cash 5 drawing. The drawing for the all-cash jackpot of $2 million happens tonight at 10:57 pm, so be sure to get your tickets in time. The $2 million jackpot is the highest jackpot for Jersey Cash 5, ever – topping the 2013 record of $1.96 million.

With daily drawings and jackpots starting at $100,000, seeing jackpots top the million-dollar milestone is a rare treat for the game’s loyal players, but the two-million-dollar jackpot breaks new ground for the Jersey Cash 5 record books. For just a dollar, Jersey Cash 5 is a great option for players to pick their lucky numbers – or go with a Quick Pick option – and hope for the five-out-of-five match tonight.

Jersey Cash 5, which held its first drawing in 1992, has already proven to be a vital component of the Lottery’s offerings to support our State.

Man Rescued From Peddie Lake In Area Of The Falls

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.