MILLSTONE TOWNSHIP, NJ (MONMOUTH)–The Millstone Township Fire Department is pleased to announce that a shared service agreement has been entered between the Millstone Township Fire District and Millstone Township. This shared agreement has allowed for the Fire Department to create an EMS division, becoming the sole provider for Basic Life Support (BLS) Ambulance service. Previously, the township was served by the Millstone Township First Aid Squad, which served Millstone since 1954. Since 2016, Millstone has received ambulance service supplemented by 2 different third party vendors. The fire department has been providing EMS first responder services starting in 2007. As the years went by the criteria increased in which Fire Department EMT’s responded and provided medical care to township residents and visitors. This program proved to be quite successful and included a number of CPR saves. The creation of this new division has been an involved process over the past several months. The line officers and staff of the Fire Department, the Board of Fire Commissioners, the Township Committee and Township Administrator have worked together to formulate a program to best serve the residents of Millstone Township. Currently, the process to obtain a license with the NJ Department of Health is being completed. Vehicles have been acquired and will be outfitted. Additional per diem staff will be hired and applications will be accepted for prospective EMS volunteers. Plans to launch this program and begin service are planned for later this year.This is a new chapter for the fire department. We want to thank all of the individuals who have supported us in the development of this program. We would be remiss if we did not thank the Millstone Township First Aid Squad for their many years of service. Further, we want to thank the residents of Millstone, for their continued support of our Department.
UPDATE As of 9:30 parts of Robbinsville and Upper Freehold have been restored. Others in East Windsor and Hightstown are still out.
UPDATE At of 11:30 pm Hightstown and East Windsor is still without power and estimated restore time is 1:30 am.
UPDATE 9:00 am 9/29/2020 the outage reporting map is still showing some power failures in East Windsor and Millstone with an estimated 11:30 am restoration time. Most have been restored over night but a few are still without power.
ROBBINSVILLE-UPPER FREEHOLD- EAST WINDSOR- MILLSTONE– Wide area power problems in Robbinsville, East Windsor, Upper Freehold and Millstone in areas served by JCP&L no status or cause reported.
Check back for more photos, still having photos sent into MidJersey.News and will be updated again tomorrow or later tonight.
STAFFORD TOWNSHIP, NJ (OCEAN)–The Police Unity Tour held a one day bike ride today starting in Asbury Park and proceeding on shore routes towards Stafford Township ending at the Stafford Township Police Memorial.
This year’s spring four day ride that is usually held in May was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic that ends at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C.
This year’s ride was shortened to one day and two hundred sixty police officers participated from fourteen states including California and Missouri.
History of the Police Unity Tour:
In 1997, Florham Park (NJ) Police Officer Patrick Montuore had a simple idea: organize a four-day bicycle ride from New Jersey to Washington, DC to raise public awareness about law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty, and to ensure that their sacrifice is never forgotten. With that, the Police Unity Tour was formed.
What started with 18 riders on a four day fund-raising bicycle ride from Florham Park, NJ to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C. has grown into 9 chapters consisting of nearly 2,600 members nationwide who make the trip annually. Participants include riders, motorcycles, and support personnel.
The journey is long and challending but for the Police Unity Tour participants it is what they prepare for throughout the year. Through fundraising and physical training, they know that their efforts raise awareness of the ultimate sacrifice made by so many law enforcement officers.
The last leg of the jouney ends at the Memorial, where the participants are greeted by friends, family, and survirors. Once there, many Police Unity Tour members present remembrance braclets worn on their wrists throughout the journey to the families of the fallen.
May 2020, the Police Unity Tour was proud to donate more than $2.0 million to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, bringing our total donations to more than $30 million since their inception.
The Police Unity Tour is the sponsor of the National Law Enforcement Museum’s Hall of Remembrance, the Memorial Fund’s Officer of the Month Award, and Recently Fallen Alert programs.
UPPER FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP, NJ (MONMOUTH)–The 5th Annual NJ Fire Museum Open House and Firefighters Memorial Services were held today at the Fire Museum. There were views of several generations of apparatus and equipment, demonstrations, food served by Hope Fire Company, and a memorial service held at the NJ Firefighters Memorial for fallen firefighters.
MIDDLETOWN, NJ (MONMOUTH)–New Jersey State Police Seeking Public’s Assistance with Locating Missing Endangered Woman The New Jersey State Police Missing Persons Unit and Middletown Township Police Department are seeking the public’s assistance with locating Mary Silengo, 62, of Middletown Township, N.J.Ms. Silengo was last seen on Tuesday, September 22, at approximately 11:00 p.m. at her residence in the area of Concord Court , Middletown Township, Monmouth County. Ms. Silengo is described as a white female, 5’2″, 121 pounds, with blonde-grey hair and blue eyes. She was last seen wearing a bright pink pajama shirt, grey sweatpants, a dark-colored jacket and black boots. She left without her vehicle and cell phone. Ms. Silengo suffers from a mental illness and is in need of her medications. Anyone with information is asked to call the New Jersey State Police Missing Persons Unit at (609) 882-2000 ext. 2554 or Middletown Police Department at (732) 615-2100. Anonymous tips are welcome.
Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone announced today that a former Long Branch police officer was sentenced today to county jail as part of his sentence for striking and killing a pedestrian on September 22, 2017.
Jake Pascucci, 31, of Long Branch was sentenced by Superior Court Judge Michael A. Toto to 8 months in the county jail.
Pascucci was originally sentenced on June 28, 2018 to serve 364 days in the county jail as a condition of 5-years of probation to be served upon his release. He was also sentenced to 30 days for driving while intoxicated which was to run concurrent to the county jail time. He forfeited his public employment with the Long Branch Police Department and lost his driving privilege for three months.
That sentence was imposed after Pascucci pleaded guilty on April 3, 2018 in accordance with an agreement reached with Middlesex County Assistant Prosecutor Keith Abrams, to strict liability vehicular homicide in the third degree and driving while intoxicated in the death of Karen Borkowski, 66 of Stanhope.
The June 28, 2018 sentence was appealed, and the Judge stayed the custodial portion of the sentencing pending that appeal. The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court remanded the case back to Superior Court for resentencing.
Jake Pascucci is due to surrender to the Middlesex County Sheriff’s Department on Friday, September 25, 2020.
Pascucci was charged after an investigation by Detective Donald Heck of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office which determined that on September 22, 2017, the pedestrian was struck and killed by a car driven by the off-duty police officer as she attempted to cross Ocean Boulevard. Karen Borkowski was pronounced dead at the scene following the crash.
ALLENTOWN, NJ (MONMOUTH)–An Allentown resident told MidJersey.News that around 11 pm last night a delivery crew installed a Vote-By-Mail Drop Box in front of Allentown at Borough Hall on Main Street. There are currently 17 Vote-By-Mail Drop Box locations for Monmouth County, this is the furthest west serving Western Monmouth County.
Pursuant to State law, the November 3, 2020 General Election will be conducted primarily by Mail-In Ballot in New Jersey.
If you wish to place your Mail-In Ballot in a secure drop box, below are the locations throughout the County which will be available starting the week of September 15. Addresses in the list below are clickable and will bring up Google Maps.
Voters can drop their voted Mail-In Ballot into these Board of Elections Drop Boxes anywhere in the County up until 8 p.m. on November 3, 2020. You do not have to be a resident of the town where the drop box is located. Be advised that these drop boxes are under video surveillance and are monitored by the Monmouth County Board of Elections, which can be reached at 732-431-7802.
For more information about the General Election process, click here.
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–A Middlesex County, New Jersey, man today admitted that he conspired to distribute more than 100 grams of heroin as part of a conspiracy responsible for distributing significant quantities of heroin and cocaine in the Bayshore area of Monmouth and Middlesex counties, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.
Daniel McHugh, 50, of Sayreville, New Jersey, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Brian R. Martinotti via videoconference to an information charging him with one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin. McHugh also admitted to conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute a quantity of cocaine and possessing with intent to distribute a quantity of crack cocaine.
Today’s guilty plea follows a coordinated takedown in November 2018 of 15 defendants charged by complaint with conspiracy to distribute heroin and cocaine. To date, 13 defendants have pleaded guilty, including supplier Gregory Gillens and lead defendant Guy Jackson. Gillens was sentenced on Sept. 8, 2020, to 10 years in prison. Jackson is awaiting sentencing.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
From May 2017 to November 2018, McHugh and others engaged in a narcotics conspiracy that operated in the Raritan Bayshore region of Middlesex and northern Monmouth counties. Through the interception of telephone calls and text messages pursuant to court-authorized wiretap orders, controlled purchases of heroin and cocaine, the use of confidential sources of information, and other investigative techniques, law enforcement learned that McHugh regularly obtained heroin and cocaine for further distribution from Jackson. Some of the heroin distributed by the conspiracy contained fentanyl, a dangerous synthetic opioid.
On the date of his arrest, McHugh gave consent to search his residence. During that search, law enforcement recovered quantities of heroin, cocaine, and crack cocaine intended for further distribution.
The heroin conspiracy count to which McHugh pleaded guilty carries a statutory mandatory minimum term of five years in prison, a maximum of 40 years in prison, and a fine of up to $5 million. Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 20, 2021.
U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited Special Agents of the FBI, Newark Division, Red Bank Resident Agency, Jersey Shore Gang and Criminal Organization Task Force (including representatives from the Bradley Beach Police Department, Brick Police Department, Howell Police Department, Marlboro Police Department, Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office, Toms River Police Department, and Union Beach Police Department) under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr.; Special Agents of the FBI, Philadelphia Division, Scranton Resident Agency, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael J. Driscoll; the New Jersey State Police, under the direction of Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent; the Matawan Police Department, under the direction of Chief Thomas J. Falco, Jr.; the Holmdel Police Department, under the direction of Chief John Mioduszewski; the Highlands Police Department, under the direction of Chief Robert Burton; the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni; the Old Bridge Police Department, under the direction of Chief William A. Volkert; the Keansburg Police Department, under the direction of Chief James K. Pigott; the Hazlet Police Department, under the direction of Chief Philip Meehan; and the Aberdeen Police Department, under the direction of Chief Richard A. Derechailo, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Elisa T. Wiygul of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Criminal Division in Trenton.
The charges and allegations against the two remaining defendants are merely accusations and they are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Defense counsel: James R. Murphy Esq., Princeton, New Jersey
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and the Division of Consumer Affairs today announced actions against a dozen merchants for consumer protection violations related to COVID-19, with penalties totaling tens of thousands of dollars. Among those subject to enforcement actions are two North Jersey businesses that allegedly made false or unsubstantiated claims in the sale of COVID-19 antibody tests and a Monmouth County business that was selling face masks at as much as six times the manufacturer’s retail prices.
These actions are the latest of many taken by the Division to address the unprecedented number of consumer complaints and referrals received during the current public health emergency.
To date, the Division has sent 1,884 cease and desist letters to retailers suspected of price gouging and other unconscionable business practices during the coronavirus pandemic, and issued 110 subpoenas seeking additional information in its investigations of alleged violations of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act.
“Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, we made clear that we would take a tough stand on price gouging and other abuses of New Jersey consumers,” said Attorney General Grewal. “Enlisting the help of residents to report unconscionable practices works. Most businesses are following the law. For those that are not, these actions are a reminder that the penalties for violations are significant.”
The Notices of Violation (NOVs) filed in this latest round of enforcement actions carry individual penalties ranging from $500 to $12,500, depending on the severity and number of violations.
The single largest civil penalty was assessed against Performance Supply LLC, for allegedly making false and misleading statements in advertising N95 mask respirators for sale to personnel from the New York City Office of Citywide Procurement. The Division alleges that the company’s quote misleadingly suggested the company is an authorized dealer or distributor for 3M Company and offered to sell seven million face masks that retailed between $1.02 and $1.31 for $6.05 and $6.35 each.
Two businesses were cited for making false or unsubstantiated claims in the sale of COVID-19 antibody tests. Hudson Drug of Cresskill was assessed $3,000 in civil penalties for advertising that the COVID-19 antibody tests it sold were suitable for at-home use, contrary to the manufacturer’s instructions. Retro Fitness of Rockaway was assessed a $2,000 civil penalty for allegedly making unsubstantiated claims related to antibody testing made available to club members via a health and wellness center affiliated with the club.
“The Division is working tirelessly during this pandemic to protect consumers from threats to their health in the form of unsubstantiated claims and predatory pricing on personal protective equipment,” said Acting Director Paul R. Rodríguez. “We are committed to reviewing and investigating every complaint to ensure that merchants operate responsibly and refrain from unscrupulous behaviors, including violating our price gouging laws, at a time when many New Jerseyans are facing significant financial hardship.”
New Jersey’s price-gouging law, which took effect on March 9 upon Governor Murphy’s declaration of a state of emergency, prohibits excessive price increases during a declared state of emergency and for 30 days after its termination. A price increase is considered excessive if the new price is more than 10 percent higher than the price charged during the normal course of business prior to the state of emergency, and the increased price is not attributable to additional costs imposed by the seller’s supplier or additional costs of providing the product or service during the state of emergency.
Price-gouging and other consumer fraud violations are punishable by civil penalties of up to $10,000 for the first violation and $20,000 for the second and subsequent violations. Violators may also be required to pay consumer restitution, attorney’s fees, and investigative fees, and will be subject to injunctive relief.
The following merchants received NOVs and were assessed civil penalties for alleged price gouging on essential items such as bottled water, rice, face masks and disinfectant spray:
The following merchants received NOVs and were each assessed $500 in civil penalties for their alleged failure to post selling prices for merchandise such as bottled water, toilet paper and sanitizers, a violation of the Merchandise Pricing Statute:
Consumers who suspect consumer fraud violations, or believe that businesses have unfairly increased their prices in response to COVID-19, are encouraged to file complaints online to report specific details related to the increased prices. Photographs of items being sold, their price, and receipts can now be uploaded to our new price gouging complaint form.
* * *
The mission of the Division of Consumer Affairs, within the Department of Law and Public Safety, is to protect the public from fraud, deceit, misrepresentation and professional misconduct in the sale of goods and services in New Jersey through education, advocacy, regulation and enforcement. The Division pursues its mission through its 51 professional and occupational boards that oversee 720,000 licensees in the state, its Regulated Business section that oversees 60,000 NJ registered businesses, as well as through its Office of Consumer Protection, Bureau of Securities, Charities Registration section, Office of Weights and Measures, and Legalized Games of Chance section.
HOLMDEL, NJ (MONMOUTH)— NJSP Spokesperson, Trooper Charles Marchan told MidJersey.News that NJ State Police responded to a motor vehicle accident involving a pedestrian at 9:48 p.m. last night on the Garden State Parkway southbound local lanes M.P 115.9, Holmdel Township, Monmouth County.
Based on a preliminary investigation, a Cadillac was stopped and unoccupied on the right shoulder. Pedestrian John Carroll was outside of the vehicle. A Jeep entered the right shoulder striking pedestrian Carroll and the Cadillac. As a result of the accident Carroll suffered fatal injuries.
Deceased- John Carroll, 60 year old male of Belmar, New Jersey.
Driver of the Jeep suffered no injuries- Pedro A. Carlo, 41 year old male of Hopelawn, New Jersey.
The accident is currently still under investigation and there is no further information available at the moment.
“Thank a Police Officer Day” is a national observance honoring law enforcement on the third Saturday in September. If you happen to see a police officer in your travels today, thank them for their service.
FREEHOLD, NJ (MONMOUTH)–A judge ruled last week a Lakewood teenager charged in the October 2019 death of a man whose body was found lying in the roadway in Howell will now face those charges in adult court, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.
Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Richard W. English waived Alberto Rojas Hernandez, now 18, from family court up to adult court to face charges of first degree Conspiracy to Commit Murder, first degree Murder, third degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose and fourth degree Unlawful Possession of a Weapon.
Rojas Hernandez, of Joe Parker Avenue in Lakewood, is being held in the Middlesex County Youth Detention Center in North Brunswick, pending a First Appearance and Detention Hearing scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020. Rojas Hernandez has been held in the Youth Detention Center since his arrest in October.
Rojas Hernandez’s uncle, Juan Carlos Rivera Rojas (also known as Omar Rivera Rojas), 29 of Linden Avenue, in Lakewood was previously charged in the killing with first degree Murder. Rivera Rojas was ordered detained pending trial on Nov. 12, 2019 by the Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Paul X. Escandon.
The Howell Township Police Department responded to a 911 call at about 3:46 a.m. on Oct. 18, 2019, reporting an unconscious male laying in Hurley Pond Road just east of Route 547. Upon arrival, a Hispanic male was located lying face down in the roadway. The incident was initially investigated as a fatal hit and run motor vehicle incident. However, upon the arrival of SCART investigators it was quickly determined that his death was not the result of a hit and run event.
The man, identified as Domingo Merino Rafael, 33, of Lakewood, was unresponsive and obviously deceased. MONOC personnel responded and the victim was pronounced deceased at the scene. Rafael was taken to the Middlesex County Regional Medical Examiner’s Office where an autopsy determined the cause of death was a Homicide.
A joint investigation by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and Howell Township Police Department determined Rojas Hernandez, Rivera Rojas and Merino Rafael traveled from Lakewood to Middlesex County on the evening of Oct. 17, 2019. The men were returning to Lakewood in the early morning hours of Oct. 18, 2019, when the trio got into an argument that culminated with the murder of Merino Rafael.
The Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and the Howell Township Police Department also credited the Lakewood Police Department and the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office for their assistance during the investigation.
If convicted of Murder, Rojas Hernandez faces a minimum sentence of 30 years in a New Jersey state prison without parole and a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, subject to the provisions of the “No Early Release Act” (NERA) requiring him to serve 85 percent of the sentence imposed before becoming eligible for release on parole. He would also be under parole supervision for five years following his release from state prison.
The case is assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutors Stephanie Dugan and Tara Wilson.
Rivera Rojas is represented by Joseph Champagne, Esq. of Toms River.
Rojas Hernandez is represented by Carlos Diaz-Cobo, Esq. of New Brunswick.
Despite these charges, every defendant is presumed innocent, unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, following a trial at which the defendant has all of the trial rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and State law.
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–The New Jersey Forrest Fire Service has been sending equipment and manpower to the west coast to help fight many wildfires. San Francisco Fire Department reports that units from Section B-10 have landed safely at the airport. Three additional engines and ten crew members were sent to California to help.
Section B-10 provides wildland fire suppression for the State of New Jersey covering Middlesex and Monmouth Counties in Central New Jersey primary response areas include: East Brunswick Twp, Englishtown, Freehold Borough, Freehold Twp, Helmetta, Holmdel Twp, Jamesburg, Manalapan Twp, Marlboro Twp, Monroe Twp, Old Bridge Twp, Plainsboro, Sayreville, South Amboy, South Brunswick Twp, South River, Spotswood and surrounding towns as requested.
FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP, NJ (MONMOUTH)—Members of Freehold Township Fire Independent Company # 1, Freehold Township Police, Township Officials and the public came together to honor the innocent lives lost and recognize the courage of those who made the ultimate sacrifice to save others 19 years ago.
About the Freehold Township 9/11 Memorial:
The Freehold Township community joined together to build a Memorial as a tribute to the men, women and children who perished on September 11, 2001. The Memorial was unveiled at a Dedication Ceremony on Tuesday, September 10, 2002. The Memorial is located at the Municipal Complex, Schanck and Stillwells Corner Roads.
This memorial encompasses all of the events of September 11, 2001. The base of this monument is Pentagon shaped. Enshrined inside the base are pieces of the World Trade Center. While they are not visible, they are entombed forever as a symbolic final resting place for those victims never recovered. Atop the Pentagon, Ground Zero is represented by a granite circle of 50 gold stars, one for each state. On top of Ground Zero, the twin towers stand forever. Each tower is 9 feet 11 inches tall, carved in black granite.
The five sides of the Pentagon are engraved and inlaid in gold. The front face is engraved with the date: September 11, 2001. The other four faces are engraved with the flight numbers of the four planes lost that day: United Flights 93 and 175 and American Flights 11 and 77. Mountain Laurels, the Pennsylvania State Flower, are planted on the site to honor the heroes of Flight 93.
Photos by: Steve Bibby and Scott Bibby for Freehold Independent Fire Company #1
ALLENTOWN, NJ (MONMOUTH)–On September 3rd, 2020 around 3:05 PM, Ptl. Daniel Dascoli #8232 was on patrol in the area of Allentown-Yardville Road. While on patrol, Ptl. Dascoli observed a red Mazda with several motor vehicle violations driving down Allentown-Yardville Road.
After initiating a motor vehicle stop in this area, Ptl. Dascoli through investigation discovered that the driver, who is identified as Edwin Y. Sackie Jr, maintained an active Fourth Degree Sexual Assault warrant out of the state of Michigan. This warrant stated that it was Full Extradition from the state of Michigan.
Ptl. Dascoli spoke to authorities in Michigan who confirmed the warrant. Edwin Y. Sackie Jr. was placed under arrest and later transported to the Monmouth County Correctional Institution in Freehold without incident.
*** The media and the public are reminded that criminal charges are merely accusations and that the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty. ***
ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)–Everyone remembers where they were and what they were doing when terrorists hijacked four airliners in order to commit the worst act of terrorism in American history.
Nearly 700 New Jerseyans—147 from Monmouth County alone—lost their lives that day.
No one remembers the shock, horror and numbing sorrow more, however, than the families and close friends of the victims.
Because it was a surprise attack, there was no chance to fight back that day although when Todd Beamer and other passengers learned what happened to the Twin Towers, Todd famously said “let’s roll” and they attacked the terrorists on board the flight that crashed in a Pennsylvania field.
Who can forget the courageous first responders running up the stairs of the burning buildings—with total disregard for their own safety.
On the morning of 9/11, I got a mere glimpse—I say again, a mere glimpse—into the sense of horror suffered by the victim’s families when I couldn’t reach my own brother Tom—an American Airlines 757 Captain who often piloted Flight 11 from Logan to LA, the flight that crashed into the North Tower.
Evacuated from the Capitol and stuck in traffic within sight of the burning Pentagon, cell phones were all but gridlocked. About noon I got through. He and his flight attendant wife Sandy were safe but were in anguish because they knew the pilots and crew on board Flight 11.
For 19 years, the families and friends of those who died that day and since have had to endure their loss and a broken heart.
Both then—and now 19 years later—words are inadequate to convey our empathy for those who died and for the victims’ families.
For many, their faith in God has helped them survive and overcome.
Some, including the Jersey Girls—four amazing women who lost their husbands at the World Trade Center—pushed the Congress to create the historic and transformative 911 Commission that was led so effectively by former Governor Tom Kean.
As you know, 19 years later, the consequences—the ongoing loss of life and health attributable to 9/11—are even worse than anyone could have ever imagined.
Congress enacted the World Trade Center Health Program Fund (WTCHP) & Victims Compensation Fund to provide health services for responders at the three crash sites, and others in the vicinity of the WTC site for health conditions related to toxic exposures from the attacks.
Of the 105,272 individuals enrolled in the program—9,157 are from New Jersey alone—and a total of 19,150 responders and survivors have been diagnosed with cancer and more than 3,500 have died after September 11th .
Rigorous testing and early interventions offer some hope to those manifesting illness.
So today, we remember and honor all the victims of 9/11—past, present and future.
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Governor Murphy today signed legislation (A4486) which authorizes the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) to use stored driver’s license or identification card photos for longer than eight years and limits certain appointment times at MVC locations to senior citizens and persons with certain medical conditions during COVID-19 pandemic. The Governor also signed A4520, which temporarily extends deadlines to register vehicles and obtain driver’s licenses for new State residents during the COVID-19 public health emergency.
“The temporary, but necessary closure of our MVC facilities earlier this year has resulted in an undeniable burden on many residents,” said Governor Murphy. “Under the leadership of Chief Administrator Sue Fulton, the MVC has made great progress in providing residents with the services that they need, under unprecedented circumstances. This legislation will reduce wait times and allow our vulnerable populations to have the access they need to obtain critical services.”
“Over the past year we’ve more than doubled our online transactions; A4486 will allow even more New Jerseyans to ‘Skip the Trip’ to Motor Vehicle Centers,” said MVC Chief Administrator Sue Fulton. We continue to work collaboratively with our legislative partners and the Governor’s office to overcome the obstacles posed by COVID-19, reduce wait times, and keep New Jerseyans on the road.”
Primary Sponsors of A4486 include Assemblymembers Daniel R. Benson, Valerie Vainieri Huttle, and Aura K. Dunn, and Senators Patrick J. Diegnan Jr., and Nicholas P. Scutari.
“Since the beginning of the pandemic, businesses across the nation have designated seniors-only hours for elderly residents. I am pleased the MVC will now do the same,” said Assemblyman Benson. “With designated appointment times, seniors will be able to access MVC services while largely avoiding crowds. Additionally, extending the time the MVC can use stored photos to update driver’s licenses will limit the number of times seniors need to visit the MVC amid this public health crisis.”
“Seniors are at a higher risk of experiencing complications from COVID-19. As a result, many are exercising an abundance of caution when it comes to going out in public,” said Assemblywoman Vainieri Huttle. “Allowing seniors to use stored photos to update their licenses will reduce the amount of trips they need to make to the MVC, and designating specific ‘senior hours’ at agencies will limit their exposure to the public during the pandemic.”
“As we work through these unprecedented times it is important that we mitigate the need to be physically present at MVC locations,” said Senator Diegnan. “These laws will help MVC locations function more efficiently, reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19, and accommodate our seniors and immunocompromised so they are not forced to risk their health over a visit to the MVC.”
“As we continue to work through this public health crisis, it is imperative we take an agency-wide look at the MVC’s operations to ensure all possible steps are being taken to protect the public, especially our most vulnerable residents,” said Senator Scutari. “It is vital that we provide relief by loosening regulations in order to achieve maximum efficiency during these tough times, extending deadlines is a simple way to aid our residents and cut down lines.”
A4486 extends the validity of all driver’s license and identification card photographs from a maximum of eight years to a maximum of 12 years. The bill further allows residents 65 years of age or older to be eligible to use a stored photograph for each standard driver’s license or standard identification card renewal. The legislation also requires the chief administrator, during the COVID-19 public health emergency, to reserve one day per week or a certain time each day or each week, to be determined by the chief administrator, at certain commission agency locations to offer appointments exclusively to the following individuals to register a newly purchased, newly acquired, or transferred motor vehicle: (1) senior citizens, and (2) customers who, due to a medical condition diagnosed by a licensed medical doctor or osteopathic physician and evidenced by proof, in a form prescribed by the chief administrator, cannot wear masks or face coverings.
Primary sponsors of A4520 include Assemblymembers Daniel R. Benson, Anthony S. Verelli, and Ralph R. Caputo, and Senators Patrick J. Diegnan Jr., and Shirley K. Turner.
“While the pandemic put many things on hold, we still need the ability to get new driver’s licenses or register vehicles during this crisis,” said Assemblyman Benson. “We have to do whatever it takes to fix the MVC, so you don’t have to camp out overnight or wait all day at an agency just to get these simple tasks done. This law will give many drivers relief, while helping the MVC eliminate its backlog.”
“New residents who’ve just moved to New Jersey cannot update their documentation online,” said Assemblyman Verrelli. “With only two months to register vehicles and get new licenses, new residents are rushing to MVC agencies to get their new information squared away. By doubling the amount of time they’ll have to visit the MVC, we’ll make the process easier on the agency and residents alike during these difficult times.”
“The MVC won’t be able to clear its backlog overnight,” said Assemblyman Caputo. “One way we can help alleviate this burden is by staggering when new residents need to visit the MVC. This law will grant this flexibility to new residents, which in turn will give the MVC some much-needed relief.”
“It has been two months since the MVC offices reopened and they are still struggling to overcome the backlog that accumulated during their closure,” said Senator Turner. “This extension will provide greater leeway for new residents of the state, allowing them to avoid the long lines and postpone registering their vehicle and obtaining a New Jersey license.”
A4520 provides that a person who is allowed to operate a motor vehicle as a non-resident has 120 days (up from 60 days) to obtain a New Jersey driver’s license and to register a motor vehicle upon becoming a resident of the State, if that person becomes a resident during the Coronavirus 2019 public health emergency, which is defined as the period of time during which Executive Order No. 103 of 2020, and any subsequent executive order extending the public health emergency, is in effect.
UPPER FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP, NJ (MONMOUTH)–New Jersey State Police spokesman Sgt. Philip Curry stated Troopers were detailed to Sharon Station Road in Upper Freehold Township at 2:09 pm for a male injured at a construction site. The male construction worker suffered serious injures and was transported to the Trauma Center at Capital Health Regional Medical Center in Trenton. The accident is currently under investigation.
Firefighters from Hope Fire Company of Allentown-Upper Freehold Twp., Capital Health-Allentown EMS, and paramedics responded to the scene. A landing zone was set up near the accident for a helicopter but was recalled due to length of time for the helicopter to respond.
The USGS has received over 5,100 reports of the earthquake being felt from all though the center of New Jersey from New York City though Philadelphia, PA.
2.1 km (1.3 mi) SSE of East Freehold, New Jersey2.4 km (1.5 mi) E of Freehold, New Jersey5.2 km (3.2 mi) ENE of West Freehold, New Jersey5.9 km (3.7 mi) S of Marlboro, New Jersey42.6 km (26.4 mi) E of Trenton, New Jersey
Looking at the Earthquake Reports Map it makes you wonder if A Greater Authority was defining if Central Jersey really does exist since it would almost be similar to how some people feel where Central Jersey really is.
FREEHOLD, NJ (MONMOUTH)–A Brielle police officer pleaded guilty Thursday to taking more than $700 from the expense account of the local police union, announced Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.
Michael W. Palmer, Jr., 33, of Wall Township, pleaded guilty to an Accusation charging him with one count of third-degree Theft. Palmer acknowledged during the plea before Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Ellen Torregossa-O’Connor that between February 20 and March 25, 2020, while treasurer for the PBA, he took $734.25 in cash withdrawals from the PBA bank account for personal purposes and without authorization.
The sentencing recommendation will be non-custodial probation; however, Palmer is allowed to apply to PreTrial Intervention. An order forfeiting his position as a Brielle police officer and permanently forfeiting public office in New Jersey was also entered today and was a condition of the plea. Palmer also agreed to pay the victim, the Brielle PBA, $734.25 in restitution. Sentencing is scheduled for October 22, 2020.
“We will continue to hold law enforcement officers accountable for their actions and will prosecute those who violate the law. Police officers who betray their oaths fail our citizens, their fellow officers, and make it harder for the law enforcement community to obtain the public’s trust. We will not tolerate this conduct and the added burden that it places on the work of honorable law enforcement officers who are working tirelessly to serve their communities,” Gramiccioni said.
Palmer was charged in July after an internal affairs review by the Brielle Police Department and follow-up investigation by this Office’s Professional Responsibilities and Bias Crimes Unit revealed Palmer made several ATM cash withdrawals in Wall Township, Ocean Township and Neptune City from the expense account of the Brielle Policemen’s Benevolent Association (PBA) Local 395, while serving as their treasurer between January and June of this year. These withdrawals were unrelated to PBA business and were made for personal reasons.
Palmer was employed as a Brielle Borough police officer on Dec. 1, 2018, where he earned $105,383. Prior to today’s forfeiture order, Palmer was suspended without pay.
“I can’t stress this enough; Mr. Palmer’s behavior was inexcusable and is by no means a representation of the high level of professionalism and integrity of every Brielle police officer. As a department, and as an association, we are very pleased with the outcome of this case and we look forward to moving on and recovering from this,” said Brielle Police Chief Gary J. Olsen.
The case is being prosecuted by Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Melanie Falco, Director of the Office’s Professional Responsibilities and Bias Crimes Unit.
Palmer is represented by Charles Uliano, Esq., of West Long Branch.
On June 16, 2020, Jovanny Galindo, 32, of Neptune City, N.J, a Senior Correctional Police Officer at Mid-State Correctional Facility, allegedly confronted a seated inmate and sprayed OC spray into the face of the inmate without any apparent justification.
September 4, 2020
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal today announced that a criminal charge has been filed against a senior correctional police officer at Mid-State Correctional Facility who allegedly falsified two New Jersey Department of Corrections reports concerning his unauthorized use of oleoresin capsicum (OC) spray, commonly known as “pepper spray,” against an inmate.
Jovanny Galindo, 32, of Neptune City, N.J., was charged yesterday, Sept. 3, 2020, by complaint-summons with third-degree conspiracy to tamper with public records or information. The charge is the result of a joint investigation by the New Jersey Department of Corrections Special Investigations Division and the Attorney General’s Office of Public Integrity and Accountability (OPIA).
On June 16, 2020, Galindo, a Senior Correctional Police Officer at Mid-State Correctional Facility, allegedly confronted a seated inmate and sprayed OC spray into the face of the inmate without any apparent justification. In the “special custody report” and “use of force report” Galindo filed on the incident, he stated that the inmate ignored an order, became argumentative, and verbally threatened Galindo, which prompted him to use the spray. It is alleged that Galindo’s statements in the reports were false and his use of force against the inmate was not authorized under the Department of Corrections’ Use of Force Policy.
Third-degree charges carry a sentence of three to five years in state prison and a fine of up to $15,000. The charge is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The case is being prosecuted by the OPIA Corruption Bureau. Attorney General Grewal thanked the Department of Corrections Special Investigations Division for its work on the investigation.
Anthony Goltsch, of Manchester Township in Ocean County, and the owner of the Golden Goose jewelry store located at 7 West River Road in Rumson, was charged today with second degree Theft By Failure To Make Required Disposition of Property Received.
September 3, 2020
FREEHOLD, NJ (MONMOUTH)–The owner of a Rumson jewelry store was charged with theft today after failing to return jewelry totaling over $260,000 that was left at his store on consignment or for redesign, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.
Anthony Goltsch, of Manchester Township in Ocean County, and the owner of the Golden Goose jewelry store located at 7 West River Road in Rumson, was charged today with second degree Theft By Failure To Make Required Disposition of Property Received.
Over the last several months, The Rumson Police Department received complaints from three customers of the store who reported that they had left pieces of jewelry for either consignment or redesign at the Golden Goose, and Goltsch has failed to pay them any cash proceeds or return the jewelry despite numerous requests by the customers.
A joint investigation by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and Rumson Police Department uncovered three victims who have failed to receive any payment from Goltsch or a return of the items involved in the theft.
The first victim reported that between July and August 2017, she consigned two rings for sale at the Golden Goose with a combined appraisal value of over $180,000. To-date she has not received payment for the rings from Goltsch, and he has failed to return the rings, despite the victim’s numerous requests.
The second victim reported that she consigned eight pieces of jewelry to the Golden Goose in March 2019, with a combined appraisal value of approximately $59,000. She has not received payment for the jewelry from Goltsch despite numerous requests made and he has failed to return any of the pieces.
The third victim reported that in June 2019, she brought three pieces of jewelry to the Golden Goose to be redesigned. The jewelry had an appraised value of approximately $24,000. As with the other victims, despite numerous requests for the jewelry to be returned, Goltsch has refused to do so.
If anyone has information regarding the Golden Goose, please contact Detective Michael Acquaviva of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, Financial Crimes Unit at 732-431-7160, ext 2233, or Rumson Police Detective Donald Schneider at 732-842-0500.
If convicted of the Theft charge, Goltsch faces a sentence of five to ten years in a New Jersey state prison.
The case is assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Lawrence Nelsen.
Despite these charges, every defendant is presumed innocent, unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, following a trial at which the defendant has all of the trial rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and State law.
FREEHOLD-ASBURY PARK, NJ (MONMOUTH)–Monmouth County law enforcement officials are investigating a shooting that took place Wednesday night in Asbury Park that left one victim critically injured, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.
Rumors being circulated on social media falsely indicated that this incident involved a police involved shooting, which is not the case. Asbury Park Police responded to the area of 1031 Sewell Avenue at approximately 10:17 p.m. on Wednesday September 2, 2020, for a shots fired incident. Upon arrival, police officers located a male victim with five gunshot wounds. The victim was taken to a local hospital and is currently in critical, but stable condition. The investigation has thus far revealed a minimum of sixteen shots were fired in the area.
The case is being investigated by members of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and the Asbury Park Police Department. Anyone with information about this case is urged to call Detective Daniel Newman of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office at 1-800-533-7443 or Asbury Park Police Detective Cynthia Yost at 1-732-774-1300.
Anyone who feels the need to remain anonymous but has information about a crime can submit a tip to Monmouth County Crime Stoppers by calling their confidential telephone tip-line at 1-800-671-4400; by downloading and using the free P3 Tips mobile app (available on iOS and Android – https://www.p3tips.com/1182), or by going to the website at www.monmouthcountycrimestoppers.com
Many gyms reopened this morning, check with your local gym prior to working out.
September 1, 2020
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Governor Phil Murphy has allowed gyms to reopen today with a 25% capacity, you also have to wear a mask and follow other rules while working out.
In Robbinsville the crowds were light during lunch hour for the reopening of the gyms visit Jersey Stong’s web page for modified hours, cleaning schedules and other club information. It is highly recommended to download the Jersey Strong App to see what the club capacity is prior to visiting the gym. The application gives you an exact number of how many are working out in the club at one time.
The crowd was also light at Planet Fitness in Hamilton during lunch hour. Planet Fitness also has modified hours and is using a Crowd Meter available on the Planet Fitness App to give you a heads up how busy the gym is prior to arrival. There were not many cars in the parking lot at Planet Fitness during lunch hour and nothing was registering on the Crowd Meter.
Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control Imposes Record-High $4 Million Penalties on Wholesalers Allied Beverage Group & Fedway Associates Following Two-Year Investigation into Their Misuse of Rebate Programs.
September 1, 2020
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control (“ABC”) today announced that New Jersey’s two largest wine and spirits wholesalers will pay $4 million each to resolve findings that they engaged in discriminatory trade practices that unfairly favored their largest retail customers. In addition, twenty retailers statewide will pay a total of $2.3 million for their part in the unlawful scheme.
In separate Consent Orders with ABC, wholesalers Allied Beverage Group and Fedway Associates agreed to pay record-high monetary penalties and change their business practices to resolve trade violations uncovered during a sweeping two-year investigation by ABC’s Enforcement and Investigations Bureaus.
The investigation found that the wholesalers – which together account for approximately 70% of all wine and 80% of all spirits sold at wholesale in the State – unfairly favored 20 of the State’s largest wine and spirits retailers and put smaller retailers at a competitive disadvantage by manipulating the retailer incentive program (RIP), granting credit extensions and interest-free loans, and engaging in other discriminatory practices.
“Simply put, Allied Beverage Group and Fedway Associates rigged the market in favor of a handpicked group of powerful retailers, leaving smaller businesses struggling to compete. The unprecedented monetary penalties imposed reflect the egregiousness of this conduct and the widespread negative impact it had on New Jersey consumers and retailers,” said Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal. “This settlement sends a clear message that we will not tolerate this manipulative and anticompetitive behavior.”
The RIPs provide cash rebates payed to retailers by wholesalers for purchasing certain quantities of alcoholic beverages. ABC regulations control the program by making RIPs available to all retailers on a non-discriminatory basis, by keeping the RIP payments to retailers relatively small, and by not allowing wholesalers to substitute RIPs for interest-free loans.
The investigation found that Allied Beverage Group and Fedway Associates were giving chosen retailers a financial advantage by issuing rebates more often and in greater amounts than allowed. They also failed to wait the required 30 days before issuing rebates, thus allowing those retailers to use that money to pay for the orders for which the rebates were issued, which is against ABC regulations. Retailers who do not pay for orders within 30 days are put on an industry-wide cash-only delivery status, so the early rebates ensured that the larger retailers would have a ready cash flow to pay for their orders on time, giving them an unfair edge over smaller retailers who had to use their own money to pay for their wine and spirits orders within the required 30-day window. The investigation also found that Allied Beverage Group and Fedway Associates falsified records related to RIPs and/or used undocumented gift cards to make cash payments to chosen retailers that were not accounted for.
“Retail incentives are a legitimate marketing tool as long they are above board and available equally to all retailers. Discriminatory practices like these foster instability in the market by harming smaller retailers,” said James Graziano, Acting Director of the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control. “If left unchecked, the ability of small retailers to remain in business may have been jeopardized and consumers would have less access to retail stores and the specialized product selections that they offer. We will continue to monitor industry practices to ensure an equal playing field in New Jersey’s alcoholic beverage retail industry and hold violators accountable for noncompliance.”
The monetary payments from Allied and Fedway are the largest in ABC’s history, and in addition, both entities each agreed to adopt a corrective action plan; employ a compliance monitor for two years; make upgrades to their computer systems; and facilitate the retirement, resignation and/or termination of certain employees.
The following retailers were charged with ABC violations that included accepting the delivery of alcoholic beverages from Allied and/or Fenway upon terms that violated ABC regulations; accepting a loan from a wholesaler to pay a wholesaler and/or avoid being placed on cash-on-delivery status; receiving a RIP before paying the invoice, receiving a RIP in excess of allowed maximum on a product. Each retailer entered a Consent Order with ABC to resolve the charges, with the following settlement terms:
ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)–Just after 3 pm NJ Office Of Emergency Management, Urban Search and Rescue, New Jersey Task Force 1 returned to the area as the passed through the NJ Turnpike toll booths on their way back to their headquarters.
The team was activated for response to Hurricane Laura in the early morning hours of August 27, 2020. The team traveled south to stage near Atlanta, Georgia until needed. Early this morning the Federal Emergency Management Agency – FEMA adjusted the Federal response to local needs and NJ-TF1 received demobilization orders and begun the process of heading home.
NJ-TF1 deployed as a Type 1 Team consisting of 80 team members, three tractor-trailers, two box trucks, five F-450 utility vehicles, two crew carriers, an F-250 towing vehicle, two passenger vans, two utility terrain vehicles, and a fleet service truck. A water rescue component of six boats with trailers and a water support trailer were also deployed.
Local members known to MidJersey.News are:
Hamilton Township Fire Department:
Jarred Pierson, Jason Ryan, Kinte Holt, Brad Ladislaw, Jeff Barlow and Joe Flynn.
West Windsor Emergency Service, and West Windsor Police Department:
MARLBORO TOWNSHIP, NJ (MONMOUTH)–Marlboro Township Police Department advises that Ryan Road in the area of Cloverleaf Road is closed due to a motor vehicle crash. A telephone pole was snapped and live wires are down in the roadway. JCP&L crews are in route to the scene. A detour will be in place and officers are on location. There are reports that power is out in the area as well. Please avoid the area if possible.
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.”
“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:
FREEHOLD, NJ (MERCER)–An Asbury Park police officer and a former city Special Law Enforcement Officer, Class 2 (SLEO-2) entered guilty pleas today admitting they vandalized vehicles belonging to a citizen who filed an internal affairs complaint against them, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.
Asbury Park Police Officer Stephen Martinsen, 31, and former SLEO-2 Thomas Dowling, 27, both of Asbury Park entered guilty pleas virtually today to fourth-degree Criminal Mischief before Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Vincent N. Falcetano, Jr., in connection to the vandalism of two vehicles, one in Ocean Grove and one in Asbury Park, between 3 a.m. and 4 a.m. on September 3, 2019. Dowling and Martinsen admitted during their pleas that they slashed the tires of the vehicles and smashed a window of one of the vehicles, causing over $500 in total damage. They further admitted that they vandalized the vehicles after the victim filed a complaint against them with the Asbury Park Police Department.
As part of the plea agreements, the defendants permanently forfeited any future public employment in the State of New Jersey. Additionally, the State agreed to recommend a probationary sentence conditioned upon restitution being made to the victim for damage to the motor vehicles. Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 16, 2020.
“Spiteful retaliation from law enforcement officers towards a citizen for any reason is an unacceptable option. This is in no way condoned at any level, for any reason. All members of the law enforcement community must maintain the public’s trust by conducting themselves at the highest level of integrity and decency,” Gramiccioni said.
“The cooperative efforts of the Asbury Park Police Department’s Internal Affairs Unit and the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office’s Professional Responsibility Unit is a clear example of how effective our current internal affairs policies are. These officers were held accountable for their actions and misconduct and we will continue to hold our officers responsible to build upon the trust of the community that we serve,” Asbury Park Police Chief David Kelso said.
Martinsen has been suspended without pay since this incident. Dowling was terminated when the initial charges were filed. Martinsen had been part of the department since 2013, starting as a Special Law Enforcement Officer, Class 1 in May 2013, becoming a SLEO-2 in May 2014 and then becoming a full-time member of the force since July 2017. Dowling had been a SLEO-2 since May 2015.
The case is being prosecuted by Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Melanie Falco, Director of the Office’s Professional Responsibilities and Bias Crime Unit.
Dowling is represented by Lisa Krenkel, Esq., of Allenhurst.
Martinsen is represented by Joseph Surman, Esq., of New Brunswick.
FREEHOLD, NJ (MONMOUTH)–A former Ocean Township Police officer was charged with Theft by Deception and two counts of Forgery on Thursday in connection with a forged document he submitted to secure a $425,000 loan to purchase a property on Borrie Avenue in Brielle in July 2019. He was also charged with additional counts of Theft and Forgery in connection with keeping a tenant’s $4,200 security deposit with respect to a different property he owned on Fisk Avenue in Brielle and attempting to justify retaining the security deposit using a forged document, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.
Cory R. Cole, 49, of Brielle, is charged with second degree Theft by Deception, third degree Theft by Failure to Make Required Disposition of Property Received, two counts of fourth degree Forgery, and two counts of fourth degree Uttering a Forged Document. Cole was previously charged by this office on Jan. 27, 2020 with third-degree Theft by Failure to Make Required Disposition of Property Received and two counts of fourth-degree Forgery in connection with retaining $4,200 security deposit of another tenant and forging a lease to the victim’s school district. If convicted Cole faces up to ten years in New Jersey State Prison on the second degree charge, up to five years in state prison on each third degree charge, and up to 18 months on each of the fourth degree offenses.
An investigation by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office revealed that Cole, who buys, flips and rents real estate, forged a letter from his former matrimonial attorney in order to falsely establish a judgment she had against him for unpaid attorney’s fees had been satisfied, and Cole submitted this letter to enable his purchase of a property on Borrie Avenue in Brielle. Cole would have been unable to secure the $425,000 loan to purchase the property if the lender was aware the judgment against Cole was outstanding. Additional investigation revealed that in addition to the victim identified in January of this year, Cole retained the $4,200 security deposit from his tenants at a property on Fisk Avenue. He attempted to justify retaining the security deposit by claiming the tenants owed money in unpaid utility bills on the property and providing them with a forged bill from New Jersey Natural Gas which falsely indicated they had an outstanding balance.
Cole resigned from his employment with the Ocean Township Police Department earlier this year on the heels of the investigation after the initial set of criminal charges were filed.
“It doesn’t matter if you are a former, current or retired member of law enforcement, you will be held accountable for your actions. Your unlawful or improper actions will be discovered and prosecuted,” said Prosecutor Gramiccioni.
Anyone with information about Cole’s activities is urged to call Detective Sergeant Ryu Washburne at 1-800-533-7443.
The case is being prosecuted by Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Melanie Falco, Director of the Office’s Professional Responsibilities and Bias Crimes Unit.
Cole is represented by Steve Nelson, Esq., of Neptune City.
Despite these charges, every defendant is presumed innocent, unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, following a trial at which the defendant has all of the trial rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and State law.