Category: Plainsboro

Scenes from Trenton Navy Week 2022

May 9, 2022

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



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


Trenton Central High School:


Steinert High School:


Salvation Army:


Crockett Middle School:


Trenton Thunder:



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

Boys and Girls Club:


Community Middle School Plainsboro:




AG’s Office Releases Video Footage Related to Fatal Police-Involved Shooting in Plainsboro on February 16, 2022

March 24, 2022

PLAINSBORO, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–The Attorney General’s Office today released video footage from four body-worn cameras, two mobile video recorders (MVRs) in law enforcement vehicles, and two Taser cameras related to a fatal police-involved shooting that occurred on Feb. 16, 2022, in Plainsboro, N.J. The decedent has been identified as Atiba Lewis, 45, of Plainsboro. The officer who fired at Mr. Lewis has been identified as Officer Phillip Nguyen of the Middlesex County Sheriff’s Office.

The fatal shooting remains under investigation by the Office of Public Integrity and Accountability (OPIA). The recordings are being released pursuant to policies established by the Attorney General’s Office in 2019 that are designed to promote the fair, impartial, and transparent investigation of fatal police encounters. Investigators met today with Mr. Lewis’ family to review the recordings.

According to the preliminary investigation, the shooting occurred shortly after 11:30 a.m. on Feb. 16. A civil order for possession (eviction/ejection) had been authorized to remove Mr. Lewis from an apartment on Ravens Crest Drive in Plainsboro. The Middlesex County Sheriff’s Office executed the order with assistance from other law enforcement agencies on the morning of Feb. 16.  Later that same morning, law enforcement officers sought and executed a search warrant for an unlawful firearm at Mr. Lewis’ residence.

Law enforcement executed the order and search warrant while Mr. Lewis was out of the apartment.

At approximately 11:30 a.m., after Mr. Lewis had arrived back at the apartment complex, law enforcement officers attempted to arrest him for unlawful possession of the firearm.

When the officers approached Mr. Lewis, he pulled out a knife and ran away from them. He continued to threaten the officers with the knife. Four officers deployed Tasers in an attempt to disarm Mr. Lewis, but the Tasers were ineffective. Mr. Lewis was agitated and lunged at officers several times. At approximately 11:35 a.m., with a knife in his hand, Mr. Lewis advanced directly toward Officer Nguyen, who then fired his weapon, fatally wounding Mr. Lewis.

Officers and emergency medical personnel rendered first aid to Mr. Lewis, who was transported to Princeton Hospital, where he was pronounced deceased at 12:10 p.m.

The recordings are posted online: Click here for recordings.

The investigation is ongoing and no further information is being released at this time.

This investigation is being conducted pursuant to a state law enacted in January 2019 (P.L. 2019, c.1), which requires that the Attorney General’s Office conduct all investigations of a person’s death that occurs during an encounter with a law enforcement officer acting in the officer’s official capacity or while the decedent is in custody. Separately, the Independent Prosecutor Directive, which was issued in December 2019, outlines a 10-step process for conducting these investigations. The Directive establishes clear procedures governing such investigations to ensure that they are conducted in a full, impartial and transparent manner. Under both state law and the Directive, when the entire investigation is complete, the case will be presented to a grand jury, typically consisting of 16 to 23 citizens, to make the ultimate decision regarding whether criminal charges will be filed.

A copy of the Directive is available at this link:

https://www.nj.gov/oag/excellence/docs/2019-4_Independent_Prosecutor_Directive.pdf

and a summary of that 10-step process is available at this link:



UPDATE: AG’s Office Investigating Fatal Police-Involved Shooting in Plainsboro

February 25, 2022

Plainsboro, NJ (MIDDLESEX)– The Attorney General’s Office is conducting an investigation of an officer-involved shooting that occurred on Feb. 16, 2022, in Plainsboro, N.J. The decedent has been identified as Atiba Lewis, 45, of Plainsboro.

The officer who fired at Mr. Lewis is Detective Phillip Nguyen of the Middlesex County Sheriff’s Office.

According to the preliminary investigation, the shooting occurred shortly after 11:30 a.m. on Ravens Crest Drive in Plainsboro, N.J. Law enforcement officers, including members of the Middlesex County Sheriff’s Office, were outside a residence when they encountered Mr. Lewis. During the encounter, one officer discharged his service weapon, fatally wounding Mr. Lewis. A knife was recovered near Mr. Lewis. Officers and emergency medical personnel rendered first aid to Mr. Lewis, who was transported to Princeton Hospital, where he was pronounced deceased at 12:10 p.m.

This investigation is being conducted pursuant to Attorney General Directive 2019-4, which implements the statutory requirement that the Attorney General’s Office conduct the investigation of any death that occurs during an encounter with a law enforcement officer acting in the officer’s official capacity or while the decedent is in custody, and which establishes clear standards and procedures for conducting such investigations.

The investigation is ongoing and no further information is being released at this time.


AG’s Office Investigating Fatal Officer-Involved Shooting in Plainsboro, N.J.

February 16, 2022

Plainsboro, NJ (MIDDLESEX) – The Attorney General’s Office is conducting an investigation of an officer-involved shooting that occurred today in Plainsboro, N.J. One male civilian sustained fatal injuries. His identity is not being released at this time. No one else was injured.

According to the preliminary investigation, the shooting occurred shortly after 11:30 a.m. on Ravens Crest Drive in Plainsboro, N.J. Law enforcement officers, including members of the Middlesex County Sheriff’s Office, were outside a residence when they encountered the decedent. During the encounter, one officer discharged his service weapon, fatally wounding the man. A knife was recovered near the man. Officers and emergency medical personnel rendered first aid to the individual, who was transported to Princeton Hospital, where he was pronounced deceased at 12:10 p.m.

This investigation is being conducted pursuant to Attorney General Directive 2019-4, which implements the statutory requirement that the Attorney General’s Office conduct the investigation of any death that occurs during an encounter with a law enforcement officer acting in the officer’s official capacity or while the decedent is in custody, and which establishes clear standards and procedures for conducting such investigations.

The investigation is ongoing and no further information is being released at this time.


Firefighters Quickly Extinguish Well Involved Apartment Saving Multiple Units in Plainsboro

January 14, 2022

PLAINSBORO, NJ (MERCER)–Plainsboro Fire Department was dispatched to a building on Ravens Crest Drive for an apartment fire, originally reported as an oven fire around 10:25 a.m. Upon arrival crews found heavy smoke and fire showing from the roof area and stretched a 1 3/4″ line to the rear 3rd floor unit of large apartment building. Firefighters were met with heavy fire in the apartment and quickly knocked the fire down within 15 minutes containing the fire to one unit and saving the building.

According to Plainsboro Fire Company: Units were dispatched to Raven’s Crest for an Apartment Fire. Engine 49 arrived with heavy smoke and fire showing from the 3rd floor of an occupied multiple family dwelling. Tower 49 arrived behind the Engine, while Princeton Plasma Physics Lab Engine 66 secured a water supply to Engine 49. Monroe Tower 57, Princeton Ladder 60, Rescue 49 arrived and went to work. The bulk of the fire was knocked with-in 15 mins of arriving and heavy overhaul was conducted immediately after. Thank you to the additional units that responded, more specifically Cranbury Engine 48, Monroe RIC 23, West Windsor Rescue/Cascade 43, Middlesex County Fire Coordinators and Fire Marshal’s Office. Also a special thanks to our covers from East Windsor Engine 42 and Monmouth Junction Tower 20.


PUBLIC SAFETY ANNOUNCEMENT

On Friday, January 14, 2022, Plainsboro Units were detailed to an apartment fire in Raven’s Crest in Plainsboro Twp. Fire units arrived to heavy smoke and fire from a third floor apartment in an occupied multiple family dwelling. As crews accessed the apartment and began suppressing fire, they witnessed a well involved apartment. Crews conducted searches of rooms and all bedroom doors were closed. Please take notice to how the standard wood doors in the apartment held out heavy smoke and fire conditions that were in the hallway and living room kitchen areas. In the event where you may be trapped in a residence, closing the doors and putting linens under and around the door can save your life!!!



Second Pennsylvania man charged in connection with the death of a Plainsboro man

November 1, 2021

PLAINSBORO, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone and Chief Fred Tavener of the Plainsboro Police Department announce a second Pennsylvania man has been arrested and charged in connection with the murder of a Township man.

On October 28, 2021, Devon Melchor, 26, of Upper Darby, PA was arrested and charged with one count of first-degree armed robbery and one count of second-degree conspiracy to commit armed robbery.

Melchor was taken into police custody by authorities in Florida where he was attempting to board an international flight. Melchor’s apprehension was made possible by collaborative efforts by members of the Plainsboro Police Department, New Jersey State Police Fugitive Unit, the New Jersey State Police Real Time Crime Center, the U.S. Marshal’s Fugitive Task Force,

U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, the Newcastle (Delaware) County Police Department, the Norristown (PA) Police Department, the Upper Merion (PA) Police Department, the Montgomery County (PA) District Attorneys Office, and the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office.

On October 26, 2021, at approximately 3:38 A.M., authorities responded to a residence on Briardale Court following a report of shots fired. Upon their arrival, officers located Sree Aravapalli, 54, of Plainsboro who sustained multiple gunshot wounds. Aravapalli was transported from the scene to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead.

An investigation by Detective William Atkinson of the Plainsboro Police Department and Detective Paul Kelley of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office determined Aravapalli was fatally shot in his home during an attempted robbery. The investigation ultimately determined Jekai Reid- John, 27, of Norristown, PA and Melchor targeted Aravapalli at a casino in Pennsylvania and followed him home to his Plainsboro residence where the offense occurred.

Melchor remains in Florida pending an extradition hearing. Upon his return to New Jersey, he will be lodged at the Middlesex County Adult Correction Center pending a pre-trial detention hearing in Superior Court.

Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Atkinson of the Plainsboro Police Department at (609)799-2333 or Detective Kelley of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office at (732)745-3330.

As is the case with all criminal defendants, the charges against Reid- John and Melchor are merely accusations and they are presumed innocent until proven guilty.




Pennsylvania Man Charged With Plainsboro Murder

Update:

October 27, 2021

PLAINSBORO, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone and Chief Fred Tavener of the Plainsboro Police Department announce a Pennsylvania man has been arrested and charged in connection with the murder of a Township man.

On October 26, 2021, at approximately 3:38 A.M., authorities responded to a residence on Briardale Court following a report of shots fired. Upon their arrival, officers located Sree Aravapalli, 54, of Plainsboro who sustained multiple gunshot wounds. Aravapalli was transported from the scene to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead.

An investigation by Detective William Atkinson of the Plainsboro Police Department and Detective Paul Kelley of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office determined Aravapalli was fatally shot in his home during an attempted robbery. The investigation ultimately determined Jekai Reid- John, 27, of Norristown, PA targeted Aravapalli in Pennsylvania and followed him home to his Plainsboro residence where the offense occurred.

Although the investigation is continuing and other charges are expected, Reid-John was arrested and charged yesterday with one count of first-degree murder.

Reid-John was taken into police custody by local authorities in Pennsylvania where he remains pending an extradition hearing. Upon his return to New Jersey, he will be lodged at the Middlesex County Adult Correction Center pending a pre-trial detention hearing in Superior Court.

Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Atkinson of the Plainsboro Police Department at (609)799-2333 or Detective Kelley of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office at (732)745-3330.

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


Plainsboro Murder Under Investigation

October 26, 2021

PLAINSBORO, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone and Chief Fred Tavener of the Plainsboro Police Department announced today that a fatal shooting is under investigation.

Earlier this morning, at approximately 3:38 A.M., authorities responded to Briardale Court following the report of shots fired. Upon their arrival, officers located Sree Aravapalli, 54, of Plainsboro who sustained multiple gunshot wounds. Aravapalli was transported from the scene to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The investigation is active and continuing. Anyone with information or surveillance footage of the area is asked to call Detective William Atkinson of the Plainsboro Police Department at (609)799-2333 or Detective Paul Kelley of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office at (732)745-3330.


Aggravated Sexual Assault Suspect Being Sought; Similar Incident In Duke Island Park, Bridgewater

October 19, 2021

PLAINSBORO-SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone, Chief Fred Tavener of the Plainsboro Police Department, and Chief Raymond Hayducka of the South Brunswick Police Department announce authorities are seeking the public’s assistance in identifying an individual believed to be involved in an aggravated sexual assault that occurred in the area of Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park on the border of Plainsboro and South Brunswick Townships.

A joint investigation has determined that on September 28, 2021 between 4:30 P.M. and 5:00 P.M., an adult woman was walking on a path adjacent to the canal where she was approached by a male armed with a weapon and moved to a secondary location on the Plainsboro-South Brunswick border where she was sexually assaulted.

The suspect is described as a Hispanic male, age range of 40’s-50’s, approximately 5’5” – 5’6” tall, wearing dark colored clothing and a dark baseball cap. The individual is believed to have been riding a bike.

This incident has similarities to a sexual assault that occurred in Duke Island Park in Bridgewater Township, Somerset County on Sunday evening, July 18, 2021.


Police Release Composite Photograph Of Aggravated Sexual Assault Suspect, That Occurred At The Delaware And Raritan Canal State Park On Border Of Plainsboro And South Brunswick

October 1, 2021

PLAINSBORO, SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone, Chief Fred Tavener of the Plainsboro Police Department, and Chief Raymond Hayducka of the South Brunswick Police Department announce authorities are seeking the public’s assistance in identifying an individual believed to be involved in an aggravated sexual assault that occurred in the area of Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park on the border of Plainsboro and South Brunswick Townships.

A joint investigation has determined, on September 28, 2021 between 4:30 P.M. and 5:00 P.M., an adult woman was walking on a path adjacent to the canal where she was approached by a male armed with a weapon and moved to a secondary location on the Plainsboro-South Brunswick border where she was sexually assaulted.

The suspect is believed to be a Latino male, approximately 5’5” – 5’6” tall, wearing dark colored clothing and a dark baseball cap.

The investigation is active and continuing. Anyone with information or surveillance footage of the area is asked to contact Detective Sue Kowalski of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office at (732) 745-3287, Detective Patrick Miller of the Plainsboro Police Department at (609)799-2333, or Detective Dominick Delucia of the South Brunswick Police Department at (732)329-4646. Tips may also be submitted to www.middlesextips.com



Authorities Are Investigating An Aggravated Sexual Assault In Area Of Delaware And Raritan Canal State Park Near Border Of Plainsboro And South Brunswick

September 29, 2021

PLAINSBORO-SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone, Chief Fred Tavener
of the Plainsboro Police Department, and Chief Raymond Hayducka of the South Brunswick Police Department announce authorities are investigating an aggravated sexual assault that occurred in the area of Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park on the border of Plainsboro and South Brunswick Townships.

A joint investigation has determined, on September 28, 2021, between 4:30 P.M. and 5:00 P.M., an adult woman was walking on a path adjacent to the canal where she was approached by a male armed with a weapon and moved to a secondary location on the Plainsboro-South Brunswick border where she was sexually assaulted.

The suspect is believed to be a Hispanic male, approximately 5’5”-5’6” tall, wearing dark-colored clothing and a dark baseball cap.   

The investigation is active and continuing. Anyone with information
or surveillance footage of the area is asked to contact Detective Sue
Kowalski of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office at (732) 745-3287, Detective Patrick Miller of the Plainsboro Police Department at (609)799- 2333, or Detective Dominick Delucia of the South Brunswick Police Department at (732)329-4646. Tips may also be submitted to http://www.middlesextips.com.


Lawrence Man Charged With Sexual Assault

September 25, 2021

PLAINSBORO TOWNSHIP, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Yesterday, Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone and Chief Fred Tavener of the Plainsboro Police Department announce that a Lawrence Township man has been charged with the sexual assault of a minor known to him.

On September 23, 2021, Dezheng Ping, 57, of Lawrence was arrested and charged with one count of second-degree sexual assault, one count of third-degree endangering the welfare of a child, and one count of fourth- degree criminal sexual contact.

Following an investigation by Detective Patrick Miller of the Plainsboro Police Department and Detective Linda Infusino of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office as well as assistance from the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office and the West Windsor Police Department, authorities determined that, in 2016, Ping inappropriately touched a child, approximately 12 years of age, during violin lessons held at what was then Ping’s Plainsboro residence.

Ping is employed by Rider University at the Westminster Choir College and provides private violin instruction in West Windsor and Plainsboro.

The investigation is active and continuing. Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Miller of the Plainsboro Police Department at (609)799-2333 or Detective Infusino of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office at (732)745-4340.

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


Steinert at West Windsor-Plainsboro Football Co-Op

September 10, 2021

WEST WINDSOR-PLAINSBORO, NJ (MERCER-MIDDLESEX)–The Steinert Spartans scored 27 against the West Windsor Plainsboro Co-Op North/South Football Team.

Photo Gallery by: Brian McCarthy, OnScene News

Photos by: Brian McCarthy OnScene News

Tropical Storm Henri Floods Area With Up To 8 Inches Of Rain, Rescues, Evacuations, Road Closures

August 22, 2021

Heavy rains from Tropical Storm Henri flooded the area overnight with up to eight inches of rain in the Central New Jersey area. Many people traveling on flooded roadways were trapped in the vehicles and needed to be rescued.

Hightstown Fire Company reported responding to at least 10 incidents with the majority being water rescues. Hightstown firefighters rescued eight civilians who were trapped in their vehicles or relocated to the roof of their vehicles due to flood waters.

The National Weather Service reported that 4 to 8 inches of rain fell from the storm and that Middlesex and Mercer Counties were particular hard hit.






Flooding in the area of Cranbury-South River Road and CR614 Dey Road, several cars were submerged and local fire departments made rescues earlier in the morning. A house and business was flooded near the location.



Flooding in Jamesburg, NJ at the Lake Manalapan dam at West Railroad Avenue.












Flooding in Cranbury, NJ from Heri on August 22, 2021





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.

Update: Well Involved Garage Fire In West Windsor, Appears Non-Suspicious

January 3, 2021, updated 11:15 am

WEST WINDSOR, NJ (MERCER)–At 10:57 pm last night, West Windsor Police, West Windsor, Princeton Junction and Plainsboro Fire Departments were dispatched to 20 Millstone Road for a working fire. Upon arrival firefighters found an approximately 20×50 garage well involved with fire though the roof. A water supply was established and multiple hand lines were stretched and placed into operation. The bulk of the fire was knocked down by 11:35 pm and firefighters remained on scene moping up hot spots.

West Windsor Police reported that there were no injuries to any of the First Responders.  The initial findings were that the fire’s origin was undetermined, however, not to believed to be suspicious at this time.  The WWPD Detective Bureau is continuing the investigation along with our partners at the WW Division of Fire & Emergency Services and the MCPO Arson Unit,  If anyone has any pertinent information into the fire please contact Det. Sgt. Lai at (609) 799-1222 or Lai@westwindsorpolice.com.  

OTHERS INVOLVED:  1)  Det. Sgt. Lai #470
                                      2) Sgt. Brodowski #479
                                      3)  Ptl. C. Van Ness#86
                                      4)  K9 Officer Zicha #96
                                      5)  K9 Officer Pollini #99
                                      6)  Ptl. LaForge #104
                                      7)  Ptl. Crawford #108
                                      8)  Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office
                                           (MCPO Arson Unit) Det. Sturchio 
                                      9)  WW Div of Fire & Emergency Services
                                      10)  Prin. Jct. Vol. Fire Co. Station #44
                                      11)  WW Vol. Fire Co. Station #43
                                      12)  Plainsboro Vol. Fire Co. Station #49
                                      13)  WW Building Authority

INVESTIGATING OFFICER:  Ptl. Robles #106

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.

Police Release Details Of Extensive Investigation After Drug Deal Goes Bad

WEST WINDSOR TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–In a detailed press release West Windsor Police stated a 15 year old resident of West Windsor, 17 year old of West Windsor, 17 year Old of Plainboro, and 18 year old of East Windsor were victims in a drug buy gone bad at The Mews at Princeton Junction parking lot near building 7000 on October 3, 2020. The accused were all from Teaneck, NJ and ages 18, 19 and 20 years old. One accused from Teaneck, NJ was left with life threating injuries and has since recovered. The details of the press release are below:

On Saturday October 3, 2020 at 11:38 pm, Patrol Units were detailed to the parking lot near the 7000 & 9000 Buildings at The Mews at Princeton Junction on a report of an unknown disturbance.  No combatants were on scene upon arrival of the Patrol Units, however, there were reports of screaming & fighting, while (2) unknown males loaded up another male into a dark colored vehicle that sped away.  Although no combatants were left at the scene, several large puddles of blood were located near a speed bump in the parking lot and a broken Glock G19 BB Gun.  

     Additional investigation revealed that (3) individuals involved in the incident had responded to the Penn Medicine Princeton Medical Center where they were identified as the (3) Subjects above with the assistance of Plainsboro Township Police Department.  Due to a substantial and life threatening (at the time) injury sustained to Subject #1 and with scant details known, the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office Homicide Task Force was requested.  

     An exhaustive investigation led by Detective C. Van Ness of West Windsor Police Department with members of the WWPD Patrol Division & Detective Bureau, Plainsboro Township Police Department, Robbinsville Township Police Department, and the Mercer County Homicide Task Force revealed the following:  Accused #1 and Victim #1 had been negotiating a narcotics transaction for numerous THC Cartridges.  These (2) agreed to meet in the parking lot at The Mews that evening.  The (3) Accused arrived together with Accused #1 as the narcotics deal negotiator, Accused #2 as his immediate backup, and Accused #3 as the wheelman.  Accused #1 entered into a Vehicle, a minivan, operated by Victim #2, and occupied by Victims #1 (seated in the very rear row with the illicit merchandise), #3, &  #4.  Accused #2 stood nearby the victims’ Vehicle while Accused #3 waited in their parked Vehicle.  Negotiations broke down inside the minivan and Accused #1 began punching Victim #1.  Accused #2 attempted to enter the Victims’ Vehicle.  Accused #2 punched Victim #3 (who was attempting to assist Victim #1) thru a lowered passenger side rear window.  Accused #2 tried dragging Victim #2 out of the Vehicle by his arm through an opened rear passenger sliding door.  Accused #2 lost his grasp on Victim #3 and went around to the driver’s side in an attempt to physically remove Victim #4 from the Vehicle by dragging him by his legs.  Victim #3 helped pull Victim #4 back into the Vehicle.  Victim #2 exited the vehicle to confront Accused #2 and was repeatedly pistol whipped in the head with a gun by Accused #2.  Victim #2 re-entered the Vehicle and drove it from the scene in an attempt to end the assault while providing safety for the occupants.  Accused #1 apparently jumped from the Vehicle in an attempt to exit and sustained a severe head injury. 

     Initially, Accused #1’s injury was considered life threatening, however, he has survived the injury from this incident.  Victim #2 received lacerations from the pistol whipping while injuries to all others were considered minor.  It should be noted that the Glock G19 REPLICA BB Gun (Orange Tip Removed) and very closely mimicked a Glock 19 black handgun.  The identities of all are being withheld at this time due to injuries sustained and the involvement of Juveniles.  Accused #1 was Charged with Robbery while Accused #2 was Charged with Robbery, Possession of a Weapon for Unlawful Purposes & Unlawful Possession of a Weapon and Accused #3 was Charged with Liability for Conduct of Another (Robbery).  

     The Investigation was very extensive after beginning with very little information and such a major injury sustained.  Our Patrol Division and Detective Bureau worked seamlessly together.  Chief Garofalo wanted to personally thank the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office, the Homicide Task Force, the Plainsboro Township PD, and the Robbinsville Township PD for their professionalism & essential assistance.  We could not have completed this intricate & detailed investigation without the help of those agencies, our “central nervous system”, the Communications Center, and “the backbone of any Police Department”, our Patrol Division.  

CHARGES:

1) Aggravated Assault

2) Robbery

3) Possession of a Weapon for Unlawful Purposes

4) Unlawful Possession of a Weapon

5) Liability for Conduct of Another (Robbery)

DATE OCCURRED:  October 3, 2020 at 11:38 pm

LOCATION OCCURRED:  The Mews at Princeton Junction parking lot near building 7000

VICTIMS:  1)  18 year old 
                        Resident of East Windsor, NJ 08512
                  2)  17 year old
                        Resident of Plainsboro, NJ 08536
                  3)  17 year old
                        Resident of West Windsor, NJ 08550
                  4)  15 year old
                        Resident of West Windsor, NJ 08550

ACCUSED:  1)  18 year old–Crime #2 ONLY
                          Resident of Teaneck, NJ 07666
                      2) 19 year old–Crimes #2-#4
                           Resident of Teaneck, NJ 07666
                      3)  20 year old–Crime #5 ONLY
                           Resident of Teaneck, NJ 07666

OTHERS INVOLVED:  1)  WWPD Patrol Division
                                      2)  WWPD Detective Bureau
                                      3)  Plainsboro Township PD
                                      4)  Robbinsville Township PD
                                      5)  Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office (MCPO)
                                      6)  MCPO Homicide Task Force (HTF)


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




Operation “Screen Capture” 21 Alleged Sex Offenders Busted

Collaborative operation targeting offenders sexually exploiting children online was launched in response to spike in cyber threats to children during COVID 19 pandemic. Attorney General warns parents and offers tips to keep children safe as they return to virtual learning, with more screen time and, in many cases, no in-person teacher supervision

August 26, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal today announced arrests of 21 individuals who are charged with sexually exploiting children online. The 19 men, one woman, and one juvenile male were arrested in “Operation Screen Capture,” a collaborative operation launched in response to a dramatic increase in reports of potential threats to children from online predators during the COVID pandemic.

Three defendants – two men and one woman – are charged with sexually assaulting or attempting to sexually assault children. Eighteen are charged with endangering the welfare of children for possession and/or distribution of child sexual abuse materials, including, in many cases, child rape videos.

Cyber tips to the New Jersey Regional Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force about potential threats to children online – including tips from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) – have increased up to 50 percent in New Jersey since the COVID emergency began in March, compared to the same time frame last year. Many cases in this operation stemmed from cyber tips from NCMEC, but others involved undercover chat investigations where perpetrators were attempting to meet children or other individuals online in order to sexually assault children.

Operation Screen Capture was led by the Division of Criminal Justice, New Jersey State Police, ICAC Task Force, U.S. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office, Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office, Camden County Prosecutor’s Office, Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office, Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office, Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, and Sussex County Prosecutor’s Office.The New Jersey State Parole Board assisted with arrests and search warrants.

The arrests, made between March 18 and July 31, 2020 include the following cases:

Aaron Craiger. Craiger, 34, of Oklahoma, a registered sex offender, was arrested on March 18 at a motel in Atlantic City after he allegedly traveled from Oklahoma to meet two men who offered him access to underage girls for sex. In reality, the defendant had communicated with undercover investigators from the New Jersey State Police and U.S. Homeland Security Investigations. One investigator pretended to offer his 12-year-old daughter for sex, and the other, his girlfriend’s 11-year-old daughter.Craiger, who had condoms with him when arrested, also allegedly possessed and distributed child sexual abuse materials.

Jason Berry. Berry, 40, of Keansburg, N.J., allegedly sexually exploited a 14-year-old girl he met on social media, manipulating her into sending him naked pictures of herself engaging in sexual acts. He allegedly had the girl carve his initials into her legs. He then tricked the girl into revealing her mother’s phone number and sent those images to her mother.

Alize Tejada. Tejada, 21, of Newark, N.J., allegedly sexually assaulted a very young child.She allegedly videotaped herself performing a sexual act on the child and posted the video on social media.

“Reports to our Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force of potential predatory conduct against children are up as much as 50 percent during the COVID emergency as homebound children, starved for outside contact, spend more time on their devices, and opportunistic sexual predators target them online,” said Attorney General Grewal. “We urge parents to be vigilant about the online activities of their children and warn children that the strangers they meet on popular social media sites, apps and gaming platforms may be out to harm them. We will continue to work overtime to arrest child predators and those who participate in the cruel exploitation of children by sharing child sexual abuse materials.”

In past cases, the ICAC Task Force has arrested child predators who used the following chat apps: Kik, Skout, Grindr, Whisper, Omegle, Tinder, Chat Avenue, Chat Roulette, Wishbone, Live.ly, Musical.ly, Paltalk, Yubo, Hot or Not, Down, and Tumblr.Arrests also have been made involving the gaming apps Fortnite, Minecraft, and Discord.Attorney General Grewal urged parents to familiarize themselves with these and other apps and warn their children about sharing information with strangers.

“As children return to virtual learning this fall, they will be spending even more time online, in many cases without any in-person teacher supervision or peer contact,” Attorney General Grewal added. “This may make them even more vulnerable. We want parents to be aware of the dangers— and, as we highlighted in a recent virtual town hall with the State Police and Department of Children and Families, we want everyone to know that there are resources to help children who are struggling with social isolation or who may be victims of trauma or abuse.”

Virtual Town Hall: www.youtube.com/watch?v=GMNHjMhVbYA&t=6s

Resources: www.nj.gov/oag/newsreleases20/082620-DCF-Operation-Screen-Capture-Resources.jpg

“Operation Screen Capture is a great example of how law enforcement in New Jersey works together seamlessly through the ICAC Task Force to confront the threat of online predators, raise awareness among parents, and protect our children,” said Director Veronica Allende of the Division of Criminal Justice. “Whether we are running down tips from NCMEC or conducting undercover chats, we use our cyber expertise each day to apprehend those who use the internet to harm, abuse, and exploit children.”

“Our children are at an increased risk to fall victim to opportunistic online predators during this pandemic, as students have no choice but to turn to their devices to connect with friends and family and in many cases to prepare for remote learning,” said Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “The State Police will continue to work with our law enforcement partners, and we will be unrelenting in our efforts to keep our children safe, but we cannot do it alone. We urge all parents and guardians to have conversations with your children about the dangers that exist on the internet and to closely monitor their online activity.”

“The internet has been instrumental in allowing our children to continue their educations remotely during this pandemic.However, it has also been used by the very worst among us to exploit them as well,” said Jason Molina, Special Agent in Charge, Homeland Security Investigations, Newark. “These various cases, which involve both teenagers and very young children, show the level of depravity of these predators.Some pursue physical contact initiated via online introductions, in some cases even crossing state lines, while others exclusively pursue these innocents online. In either case, the psychological damage to children is long lasting.In the face of that, only a very united effort of local, state, and federal law enforcement officials, along with the hypervigilant efforts of parents to monitor their children’s online activity, can be effective to stop them and bring them to justice.”

Bergen County Prosecutor Mark Musella said, “More and more, all of us look to the internet for remote connections because of work, school, or simply to surf the web, but this operation is a reminder that there are individuals who use the internet to traffic sexually explicit images and videos of children. We are proud to be part of this effort to identify, arrest, and aggressively prosecute those who are exploiting our children and our increased reliance on virtual connections by accessing and sharing illegal images and videos.”

“It cannot be emphasized strongly enough how important it is for parents to become educated about cyber threats, and take measures to protect their children from becoming victimized,” Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina said. “Our way of life has been altered by this pandemic. It used to be that kids would play outside, and parents would check on them every so often to make sure they were safe. But the dangers they face have become much more direct now that they are spending a greater amount of time online than they ever have before. These threats are not readily visible, and effortlessly gain access to our homes, posing a very real risk to our children. We will continue to do everything legally allowable to find and punish those who are responsible.”

“It is a disturbing reality that predators are using the pandemic as an opportunity to target children as their online activity increases,” said Acting Camden County Prosecutor Jill Mayer. “This operation, and the resulting arrests, show that law enforcement agencies in New Jersey and the ICAC Task Force are working diligently together to identify, catch, and arrest these individuals.My message to anyone out there who is using the internet to target children— we are watching and you will be caught. Parents need to be mindful that as we enter a school year with remote learning, there will be predators online looking for potential victims. We encourage all parents to take this time to talk to their children about internet safety, even if you’ve had this discussion before. Keeping our children safe is something that can never be discussed too much.”

“Crimes against children are among the most disturbing, yet often the toughest to prosecute,” said Acting Essex County Prosecutor Theodore N. Stephens, II. “This joint effort underscores the willingness of law enforcement at all levels to work together to protect our most vulnerable from those who would use the internet and other means to prey upon children. In this age, when so many children are relying on computers for their education, entertainment and social life, we are committed to make the internet community as safe as possible.”

“The Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office eagerly participated in this joint law enforcement effort focusing on individuals who felt our attention to their bad acts targeting vulnerable children was diverted,” said Acting Gloucester County Prosecutor Christine Hoffman. “To the contrary, we remain committed and vigilant, and never allow geography or jurisdictional boundaries to slow our collective efforts. We’ll continue to use every investigative tool available to identify, apprehend and convict those who prey on our children.”

“The Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office was proud to take part in Operation Screen Capture with our Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force partners,” said Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri. “The success of the operation highlights how important it is that parents and guardians know that these online predators are out there, especially as remote learning begins again and children spend more and more time on their screens. And it’s just as important that anyone who would use the internet as a tool to harm our kids knows that my office will continue to use every resource at its disposal to identify, investigate, and arrest you before you have the chance to do it.”

“The Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office welcomed the opportunity to participate in Operation Screen Capture as a member of the ICAC Task Force,” said Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone. “This statewide investigation illustrates the fine work and collaboration of many law enforcement agencies in New Jersey. These agencies are dedicated to protecting our communities, especially our children. We thank all of the participating agencies.”

“Our relationship with ICAC has proved to be vital in protecting and safeguarding children from sexual predators,” said Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer. “We will continue to collaborate with all of our law enforcement partners to do everything we can to root out those individuals that prey on our children. To that end, it is imperative for all parents to keep an eye on the online activities of their children.”

“The Sussex County Prosecutor’s Office was a proud participant in Operation Screen Capture,” said Sussex County Prosecutor Francis A. Koch. “This statewide operation demonstrates the dedicated collaboration of all law enforcement agencies in New Jersey to proactively protect all children. As important as today’s announcement of the arrests of these defendants is, the message to parents and children to be even more vigilant and guarded while online is equally important. Today, children are required to have an increased online presence that subjects them to predators looking to take advantage of them. We therefore ask all parents and guardians to take an even greater role in their children’s online activities. We in law enforcement pledge to continue to commit ourselves to do all we can to help protect all children and to root out the despicable predators preying on them.”

Craiger, Berry, and Tejada are being prosecuted by the Division of Criminal Justice.They were ordered detained in jail pending trial.The Division of Criminal Justice is also prosecuting six defendants charged with possessing and/or distributing child sexual abuse materials.The 12 other defendants are being prosecuted by the nine county prosecutors’ offices.

The 21 defendants arrested in “Operation Screen Capture” were charged as follows:

1. Aaron Craiger, 34, of Oklahoma. Gas station attendant.Arrested March 18.Two Counts of Attempted Aggravated Sexual Assault (2nd degree), Distribution of Child Pornography (2nd degree), Possession of Child Pornography (3rd degree), Two Counts of Endangering the Welfare of a Child (3rd degree), Two Counts of Attempted Distribution of Marijuana (4th degree), Possession of Marijuana (Disorderly Persons Offense).

2. Jason Berry, 40, of Keansburg, N.J. Unemployed.Arrested June 18.Manufacturing Child Pornography (1st degree), Sexual Assault (2nd degree), Child Abuse (2nd degree), Distribution of Child Pornography (2nd degree), Theft by Extortion (2nd degree), Possession of Child Pornography (3rd degree).

3. Alize Tejada, 21, of Newark, N.J. Babysitter.Arrested July 15.Aggravated Sexual Assault (1st degree), Manufacturing Child Pornography (1st degree).

4. Michael Gilpin, 42, of Union Beach, N.J. Pipe fitter.Arrested July 26.Possession of Child Pornography (3rd degree).

5. Raymond Radziewicz, 53, of Bloomfield, N.J. Former teaching assistant at child care center who was terminated as a result of this arrest.Arrested July 7.Distribution of Child Pornography (2nd degree), Possession of Child Pornography (3rd degree).

6. Brett Warfield, 21, of Carney’s Point, N.J. Private security guard.Arrested July 15.Possession of Child Pornography (3rd degree).

7. Loic Atse, 18, of Aberdeen, N.J. College student.Arrested July 23.Possession of Child Pornography (3rd degree).

8. Donovan Falconer, 25, of Plainsboro, N.J. Employee of marketing firm.Arrested June 25.Distribution of Child Pornography (2nd degree), Possession of Child Pornography (3rd degree).

9. Michael Ascough, 39, Pompton, N.J. Retail employee.Arrested July 5.Distribution of Child Pornography (2nd degree), Possession of Child Pornography (3rd degree).

10. Joseph Benestante, 65, of Bergenfield, N.J. Retired.Arrested July 21.Distribution of Child Pornography (2nd degree).

11. Shawn Daily, 45, of Browns Mills, N.J. Laborer.Arrested June 12.Possession of Child Pornography (3rd degree).

12. Roy Dantz, 71, of Mount Laurel, N.J. Retired.Arrested June 18.Possession of Child Pornography (3rd degree).

13. Christopher Crispino, 45, of Bellmawr, N.J. Unemployed.Arrested July 31.Possession of Child Pornography (3rd degree).

14. Dwayne McCormick, 25, of Orange, N.J. Unemployed.Arrested July 8.Distribution of Child Pornography (2nd degree), Possession of Child Pornography (3rd degree).

15. Juvenile Male, 15, of Gloucester County, N.J. Unemployed.Arrested July 22.Distribution of Child Pornography (2nd degree), Possession of Child Pornography (3rd degree).

16. Julian Ceballos, 31, of Hamilton (Mercer County), N.J. Restaurant worker.Arrested June 26.Possession of Child Pornography (3rd degree).

17. Timothy McMahon, 46, of Piscataway, N.J. Electrician.Arrested May 21.Possession of Child Pornography (3rd degree).

18. Edward Kross, 66, of Carteret, N.J. Part-time firefighting instructor.Arrested May 28.Possession of Child Pornography (3rd degree).

19. Henry Ziolkowski, 66, of Toms River, N.J. Surgery technician.Arrested July 10.Possession of Child Pornography (3rd degree).

20. Kevin Carrierri, 34, of Toms River, N.J. Chef.Arrested July 10.Possession of Child Pornography (3rd degree).

21. Matthew Marzullo, 20, of Hopatcong, N.J. Restaurant food server.Arrested July 1.Possession of Child Pornography (3rd degree).

First-degree charges carry a sentence of 10 to 20 years in state prison and a fine of up to $200,000. Second-degree charges carry a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000, while third-degree charges carry a sentence of three of five years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000. Fourth-degree charges carry a sentence of up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

The charges against the defendants are merely accusations and they are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Attorney General Grewal thanked the attorneys, detectives, and staff in the Division of Criminal Justice Financial & Cyber Crimes Bureau who worked on this operation under the supervision of Bureau Chief Jillian Carpenter, Deputy Bureau Chief Lilianne Daniel, and DCJ Deputy Director Robert Czepiel.

He thanked ICAC Task Force Commander Lt. John Pizzuro of the New Jersey State Police ICAC Unit and the detectives of the ICAC Unit, as well as the New Jersey State Police TEAMS and K-9 Units.

Attorney General Grewal thanked U.S. Homeland Security Investigations, Newark and Cherry Hill, under the leadership of Special Agent in Charge Jason Molina and Assistant SAC Richard Reinhold.

He thanked the New Jersey State Parole Board, under the leadership of Chairman Samuel J. Plumeri Jr., for its valuable assistance with arrests and search warrants.

Finally, Attorney General Grewal thanked all of the prosecutors, detectives, investigators, and staff of the following county prosecutors’ offices, which participated as members of the ICAC Task Force:

  • Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Camden County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Essex County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Sussex County Prosecutor’s Office

Firefighters Save Shopping Center Bringing Fire Under Control Within Minutes

August 23, 2020

PLAINSBORO, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Around 10 pm., the Plainsboro Fire Department was dispatched to 660 Plainsboro Road for a fire in the Cake Walk Bakery. Chief 49 reported a column of smoke in the air prior to arrival and called for a full first alarm. When Chief 49 arrived he reported a heavy smoke condition in a store in the center of the shopping center. Smoke was pushing from vents on the roof and no viability in the store due to smoke.

The first arriving fire apparatus laid a 5 inch supply line and pulled a 1 3/4″ line to start knocking down the fire that was mostly in the kitchen area of the store. Units reported darkening the fire down in about 10 minutes of dispatch and bulk of the fire was knocked down in about 15 minutes. Fire was declared under control in about 25 minutes.

Additional fire apparatus from Monroe Township Fire Department, East Windsor Fire Company, West Windsor Fire Company, Kendall Park-South Brunswick, and Princeton Fire Department were all on scene. Additional crews searched the attached stores for extension.

NJ Board of Nursing Temporarily Suspends Certification of Homemaker-Home Health Aide Charged with Criminal Sexual Contact Against 84-Year-Old Patient in Jackson Twp Assisted Living Facility

Action Comes as Division Focuses on How Professional Boards Address Allegations of Sexual Misconduct by Licensees

July 7, 2020

Filed Orders:

Edwards https://www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/Actions/20200622_26NH13812500.pdf

De Gonzalez https://www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/Actions/20200702_26NH17216200.pdf

De Fernandez  https://www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/Actions/20200615_26NH16790500.pdf

Llanes  https://www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/Actions/20200521_26NH10139400.pdf

Dornelus https://www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/Actions/20200521_26NH10179200.pdf

Protas https://www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/Actions/20200213_26NH10594800.pdf

Pade https://www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/Actions/20200213_26NH10164200.pdf

Dungee https://www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/Actions/20200129_26NH16121200.pdf

NEWARK – Continuing its commitment to protecting the elderly from abuse at the hands of their caretakers, and addressing sexual misconduct and abuse by licensed professionals, the Division of Consumer Affairs (“the Division”) today announced the temporary suspension of a certified homemaker-home health aide (“CHHA”) charged with aggravated criminal sexual contact against an 84-year-old patient at an Ocean County long-term care facility where the CHHA worked. 

Michael A. Edwards, a.k.a. Michael A. Donaldson, 32, of Manchester, was arrested on May 21 after his employer, Sunrise Senior Living facility in Jackson, told police that another employee caught Edwards inappropriately touching an elderly woman in her room at the facility. His employment at the facility has been terminated.

Edwards is one of eight CHHAs sanctioned by the State Board of Nursing (“the Board”) this year following arrests for crimes allegedly committed on or off the job. In a Consent Order filed by the Board on June 22, Edwards agreed to the temporary suspension pending the outcome of his criminal case.

His suspension comes as the Division, under the direction of Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal, undertakes a sweeping review of how its 51 professional boards  — which oversee approximately 720,000 active licensed professionals, from accountants and doctors to plumbers and veterinarians — address allegations involving the sexual misconduct and abuse of licensees and applicants.

The review, which is currently underway, will include evaluations of whether boards should ask additional questions on license applications, how boards approach investigations and discipline, and how boards engage with complainants alleging sexual misconduct and abuse by a licensee or applicant.

“It’s an egregious abuse of trust when any licensee sexually preys on a patient or client, but it is especially heinous when the victim is an elderly individual under their care,” said Attorney General Grewal. “The actions announced today underscore both the need for our professional boards to remain vigilant in protecting vulnerable patients, as well as the importance of the review they are presently undertaking to better protect victims and hold licensees accountable for their actions.”

 “We take all allegations of sexual misconduct and abuse by licensees seriously, especially when they involve patients or clients in positions of vulnerability,” said Paul R. Rodríguez, Acting Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs. “It is to protect victims in cases like these that we are committed to undertaking this review of how professional and occupational licensing boards handle allegations of sexual misconduct and abuse.”

Since January, the Board has also filed Orders against the following CHHAs charged with crimes:

  • Yolanda A. Penalo De Gonzalez, 40, of Hackensack. De Gonzalez’s certification was temporarily suspended on June 29 pending the outcome of criminal charges filed against her in connection with an alleged knife attack on her husband during a domestic dispute on March 14, 2020.  De Gonzalez is charged with aggravated assault, terroristic threats, and domestic violence. The incident was unrelated to her employment.
  • Josefina Milagros Brito De Fernandez, 49, of Camden. De Fernandez’s certification was temporarily suspended on June 15 pending the outcome of criminal endangerment charges stemming from her care of an 80-year-old woman during the COVID-19 public health crisis, which the Office of the Attorney General announced on May 15. De Fernandez allegedly defied health officials’ orders to self-isolate over fears she may have contracted the coronavirus, and instead continued caring for her elderly charge without wearing a face mask or other personal protective equipment.  The woman and four other people living in the household later contracted COVID-19. The elderly woman was subsequently hospitalized and died.
  • Emma Llanes, 57, of North Bergen. Llanes’ certification was permanently revoked on May 21 after she pled guilty to endangering another person in connection with her mistreatment of a 90-year-old bedridden patient she cared for in the woman’s Clifton home. Llanes was arrested in May 2019 as a result of incriminating video showing her slapping the elderly woman’s legs, grabbing her by the neck and shoving her head forward, and otherwise mistreating her. The footage was captured by a hidden camera the victim’s family borrowed from Division’s Safe Care Cam program.
  • Myrlande Dornelus, 41, of Elizabeth.  Dornelus’ certification was temporarily suspended on May 21 pending the outcome of murder and related weapons charges in connection with an alleged incident involving an elderly patient. Dornelus is accused of fatally stabbing Anna Pollard, a 62-year old woman she was caring for in the woman’s Elizabeth home on April 13, 2020.
  • Oleg Protas, 53, of Marlton. Protas’ certification was permanently revoked on February 13, after he pled guilty to criminal sexual contact in connection with a 2017 incident involving a female acquaintance. Protas’ certification had been temporarily suspended by the Board pending the outcome of the criminal charges against him. The incident was unrelated to his employment.
  • Adeola S. Pade, 53, of Plainsboro. Pade’s certification was temporarily suspended on February 13 pending the outcome of criminal charges stemming from a hit and run accident that killed a pedestrian in East Windsor in December 2019. Pade was charged with knowingly leaving the scene of an accident that resulted in death, and other related offenses. The incident was unrelated to her employment.
  • Elizabeth H. Dungee, 33, of Roselle.  Dungee’s certification was temporarily suspended on January 29 pending the outcome of criminal charges in connection with the theft of a patient’s credit card. Dungee was working at Brightview Senior Living in Warren in October 2019 when she allegedly stole a credit card from a resident and used it to make $240 worth of fraudulent charges. Warren Township police arrested Dungee on December 4, 2019 and charged her with credit card fraud and credit card theft in connection with the alleged incident.

Investigators with the Enforcement Bureau within the Division of Consumer Affairs conducted investigations in these cases.

Deputy Attorney General Shirley Dickstein of the Consumer Affairs Counseling Section of the Division of Law is representing the State in these matters.

For more information about the Division’s Safe Care Cam, or to learn how to apply for a camera, visit the Consumer Affairs website at https://www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/SCC.

Patients who believe that they have been treated by a licensed health care professional in an inappropriate manner can file an online complaint with the State Division of Consumer Affairs by visiting its website or by calling 973-504-6200 to request a complaint form.

Pedestrian Killed After Being Struck By Vehicle In Plainsboro

May 17, 2020

PLAINSBORO, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Middlesex County Acting Prosecutor Christopher L.C. Kuberiet and Chief Fred Tavener of the Plainsboro Police Department said today that a pedestrian was killed yesterday afternoon in the Township after being struck by a vehicle.

The deceased pedestrian was identified as Donna Lawrence, 60, of Plainsboro. She was airlifted to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital and was later pronounced dead due to the injuries she sustained in the crash.

The initial investigation by Patrolman Rich Wolak of the Plainsboro Police Department and Detective Jonathan Berman of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office determined that on May 16, 2020, at approximately 12:12 pm the woman was struck by a Buick Sedan while she was in the crosswalk on Plainsboro Road at Morris Davidson Park.

 The investigation is active and is continuing.

Anyone with information is asked to call Patrolman Wolak of the Plainsboro Department at (609) 799-2333 or Detective Berman  of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office at (732) 745-4328.

Car Strikes Building In Plainsboro, Occupant Of Building Transported With Traumatic Injures.

April 13, 2020

PLAINSBORO, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–A car lost control in the 100 Block of Hampshire Drive and crashed into a home. The Painsboro Police, Plainsboro Fire Departments and EMS responded and found a vehicle into the building and the occupant of the home was injured. Since there was heavy damage to the structure additional aid was called from Princeton Rescue 168 and Monroe Station 57 to help shoring up the building.

EMS transported the occupant of the home with traumatic injures and the driver was transported to the hospital under custody with possible DWI.