Category: Monmouth County

Asbury Park Man Convicted at Trial for Home Invasion, Sexual Assault

September 30, 2023

FREEHOLD – A Monmouth County Jury has returned convictions against an Asbury Park man who a little more than two years ago entered a stranger’s home, threatened and robbed two occupants at knifepoint, and sexually assaulted one of them, Monmouth County Prosecutor Raymond S. Santiago announced Friday.

Shawn Connolly, 36, was found guilty of first-degree Aggravated Sexual Assault, first-degree Armed Robbery, second-degree Burglary, second-degree Sexual Assault, third-degree Making Terroristic Threats, and three related weapons offenses.   

Shortly before 5:30 a.m. on Tuesday, September 14, 2021, members of the Asbury Park Police Department responded to a home on 7th Avenue for a 911 call. Upon arrival, they immediately located Connolly and took him into custody without incident, recovering proceeds from the robbery in his pockets.  

An investigation by members of the Prosecutor’s Office and the Asbury Park Police Department determined that shortly before the officers’ arrival, the two victims, an adult male and female, suddenly awoke to Connolly in their bedroom wielding a knife and threatening to harm them, having entered through a kitchen window. During the course of the robbery, the female victim was sexually assaulted by Connolly after he ordered the male to leave the room to retrieve cash; as he did so, the male victim also called 911 and left the line open.

Connolly was indicted in November 2021 before the case proceeded to trial earlier this month. Following a little more than two weeks of proceedings before Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Henry P. Butehorn, the jury returned guilty verdicts yesterday afternoon.

“Yesterday’s verdict was the end product of a swift initial police response by the Asbury Park Police Department, a diligent follow-up investigation, and an exemplary prosecution,” Prosecutor Santiago said. “The facts revealed at trial were deeply unsettling, and we’re pleased that the jury reached the appropriate conclusion, winning justice for the victims and the community at large.” 

This case was tried by Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutors Keri Schaefer and Christopher Ammon. Connolly was represented by John M. Murphy III, Esq., of Staten Island.

Connolly will face a term of up to life in state prison upon sentencing, which has yet to be scheduled. A separate case against Connolly related to a second home invasion that took place in Asbury Park on the same night as this incident has yet to be adjudicated.

Asbury Park Man Charged with Attempted Murder

September 26, 2023

FREEHOLD – An Asbury Park man has been arrested and charged in connection with a nonfatal shooting that took place last month, Monmouth County Prosecutor Raymond S. Santiago announced Tuesday.  

Nazzir Wallace, 18, is charged with first-degree Attempted Murder, three second-degree weapons offenses, two third-degree drug offenses, fourth-degree Eluding, fourth-degree Obstruction of Justice, a fourth-degree weapons offense, and Resisting Arrest, a disorderly persons offense.    

At approximately 11 p.m. on Wednesday, August 30, members of the Asbury Park Police Department responded to the 100 block of Memorial Drive on a report of shots fired. Minutes later, authorities received notification that an adult male with a gunshot injury had been admitted to a nearby local hospital.  

An investigation involving members of the MCPO Major Crimes Bureau and the Asbury Park Police Department resulted in Wallace being identified as a suspect.  He was apprehended in Asbury Park late last week following a brief pursuit – after which he was found to be in possession of a loaded firearm and a quantity of cocaine and heroin. Wallace was then lodged in the Monmouth County Correctional Institution (MCCI) pending future proceedings in Monmouth County Superior Court.  

This case is being prosecuted by MCPO Assistant Prosecutor Michael Luciano of the Major Crimes Bureau. Information about Wallace’s legal representation was not immediately available.

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 Man Arrested and Charged for Impersonating an Officer and Robbery

September 26, 2023

FREEHOLDA Borough man has been arrested and charged in connection with two separate incidents, including impersonating a police officer, Monmouth County Prosecutor Raymond S. Santiago announced on Friday.

Anthony Burke, 46, was charged with one count of both fourth-degree Impersonating an Officer and second-degree Robbery. Burke was also charged with four counts of third-degree Possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance.

The arrest is in relation to an incident that took place in Freehold Township on Sunday, September 17, 2023, where Burke attempted to impersonate a law enforcement officer by pulling over a driver and prior to leaving, he then stole the victim’s cell phone. Burke was arrested on Wednesday evening during a traffic stop in Freehold Borough.

Anyone with information about Burke’s activities in Freehold or the surrounding areas, is urged to contact MCPO Detective Kayla Santiago at 800-533-7443 or Freehold Township Police Officer Charles Lasky at 732-462-7500.

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 –, by calling 800-671-4400 or by going to the website at

The case has been assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Stephanie Dugan of the Special Victims Bureau. Burke’s legal representation was not immediately available.

Crimes of this nature can be punishable by up to ten years in state prison.

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.

Head-On Crash on Route 537 Leaves One Dead and One in Serious Condition

September 17, 2023

UPPER FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP, NJ (MONMOUTH)–New Jersey State Police, SFC Philip Curry of the Office of Public Information told that on September 17, 2023, a crash occurred at 2:50 p.m. on County Road 537 westbound milepost 34.4 in Upper Freehold. The preliminary investigation revealed that a Jeep Laredo was traveling westbound on County Route 537 in Upper Freehold Township, Monmouth County. A Buick Enclave was traveling eastbound on County Route 537. In the area of milepost 34.4 the Jeep crossed over the center line in an attempt to overtake traffic and impacted the Buick head on. As a result of this crash the driver of the Buick, a 79-year-old female from Manalapan, NJ, sustained fatal injuries. The driver of the Jeep, John Shovelin III, 23, of Rumson, NJ, sustained serious injuries. The crash remains under investigation.

Law Enforcement Seeks Public’s Help With 2021 Big Brook Park, Marlboro Twp. Sexual Assault Case

September 14, 2023

FREEHOLD –   Law enforcement officials are requesting the public’s assistance with identifying the individual responsible for a 2021 sexual assault that occurred at Big Brook Park in Marlboro, Monmouth County Prosecutor Raymond S. Santiago announced Wednesday.

The joint investigation by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office’s Special Victims Bureau and the Marlboro Township Police Department into the sexual assault of a female jogger is still active and ongoing.

The incident took place shortly after 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, November 4, 2021, approximately 100 feet off the Henry Hudson Trail in Big Brook Park, not far from the Trail’s eastern terminus at Boundary Road. The investigation determined that the female victim was running in the area when she noticed a male stretching nearby.

The suspect is described as a tanned white adult male with medium-length hair, possibly of Eastern European descent, standing approximately 6 feet tall and weighing approximately 240 pounds, wearing a dark-colored hooded sweatshirt and sweatpants. He also reportedly had a raised scar on one ear, light facial hair, and a distinctive neck tattoo – a sketch of the tattoo is being provided along with this press release.

It was further revealed that the man physically attacked the victim, causing her to fall to the ground, and brandished a box cutter-style knife, which he used to cause minor injuries to her arms. The man then allegedly exposed himself and sexually assaulted the woman. He fled in an unknown direction.

 “We want to thank all the residents of Marlboro and Monmouth County who have already come forward to provide any information they may have had on this case, but we need more,” Prosecutor Santiago stated. “We are confident that there is information out there and that a member, or members, of our community have valuable details that will ultimately assist us in making an arrest. We are requesting information from anyone who may live, work or frequent the area in the vicinity of Big Brook Park in or around the time of November 2021. We would like to remind everyone to remain vigilant and always be aware of your surroundings to help protect and preserve the safety of our community.”

Anyone with information about this matter is being urged to contact Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Detective Joshua Rios at 1-800-533-7443 or Marlboro Police Department Detective Michael Pecoraro at 732-536-0100.

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 –, by calling 800-671-4400 or by going to the website at

Allentown FFA Reports On Summer Activities

September 12, 2023

ALLENTOWN, NJ (MONMOUTH)–Allentown FFA reported the following activities over the summer:


We had our annual June chapter meeting and cookout on June 7 to finish out the school year.
We made the most of what we could amidst the smoke from the Canadian Wildfires. There were
lots of fun games like inside kickball and shop cornhole. We introduced the new leadership team
of the Allentown FFA. We were also incredibly grateful to our alumni for coming back and helping
make food for everyone. Overall, it was a fantastic way to kick off summer vacation.

The leadership team hit the ground running with POW (Performance Objective
Workshop)-WOW. The first of many leadership training courses for officers. There was lots of planning
for the year, as well as team-building activities to bring the leadership team together.


Monmouth County Fair Produce

The Monmouth County Fair was held July 26-29, 2023. Members and alumni from the chapter
worked with the other Monmouth County FFA chapters at the FFA Produce stand. This event
helps raise for all chapters funds to help support travel and other expenses throughout the year.
Safe Tractor Operator Career Development Event (CDE)

During the summer, the Allentown FFA sent two contestants to the Burlington County Farm Fair
to participate in the Safe Tractor Operation contest. During the contest, the members had to
safely back up a four-wheeled wagon and a two-wheel trailer. They also had to operate a skid
steer to carry a bucket of water and the contestants also had to operate a front-end loader.

Meat Evaluation & Technology Career Development Event

During the summer, the chapter sent a team of 4 individuals to participate in the Meat
Evaluation & Technology CDE held in Jacksonville NJ. Participants in the competition delve into
the science of meat. During this team event, students evaluate beef carcasses for quality and
yield grade; identify various meat cuts and place carcasses; and identify wholesale and/or retail
cuts. The team placed 2nd overall!!


Canoe Trip

The newly elected leadership team participated in a canoe trip down the Wading River to work
on getting to know each other, learn to work together, and have fun! There were lots of good
memories from having lunch along the river and the advisors splashing everybody!!

9th-Grade Orientation

On August 29, the leadership team gave presentations and set up displays to show incoming
freshmen what the FFA was all about. We wanted to spark interest and introduce them to our
Agriculture program with its many opportunities.
Allentown Officer Leadership Training

To finish up our summer of planning and preparing, the leadership team stayed over at the
Allentown Presbyterian Church after Freshman orientation. We spent the day working with our
Committees to plan the year’s events. In addition, there were various team-building activities to
improve our teamwork. We ended the night with our sponsor’s dinner to communicate with our
sponsors and discuss ways to improve the chapter and better connect with the community!!

Asbury Park Woman Sentenced to Eight Years for Toddler’s Fatal Overdose

September 10, 2023

FREEHOLD – An Asbury Park woman has been sentenced to eight years in state prison for being responsible for the overdose death of her 2-year-old son earlier this year, Monmouth County Prosecutor Raymond S. Santiago announced Saturday.     

Quanique Smith, 27, must serve at least 85 percent of the sentence before the possibility of parole under the provisions of New Jersey’s No Early Release Act (NERA), in accordance with the terms set down during a hearing before Monmouth County Superior Court Assignment Judge Marc C. Lemieux.

Shortly after 1 a.m. on Thursday, January 5, members of the Asbury Park Police Department responded to an apartment unit on the 100 block of Langford Street on a report of an unresponsive child. At that location they found the child, who was rushed to a local hospital, where despite lifesaving efforts he was pronounced deceased shortly before 2 a.m.  

An investigation led by Detective Stephen Cavendish of the Prosecutor’s Office’s Major Crimes Bureau and Detective Anthony Houlis of the Asbury Park Police Department determined that quantities of heroin and fentanyl belonging to Smith had been left in the family’s home, within reach of the 2-year-old and his 5-year-old sibling, with the former child ingesting the drugs that directly caused his death. Smith was arrested later on the same day and transported to the Monmouth County Correctional Institution (MCCI) before being indicted in late March.  

In May, Smith pleaded guilty to a charge of first-degree Aggravated Manslaughter, to be treated as a second-degree offense for the purposes of sentencing.

This case was prosecuted by Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Stephanie L. Dugan. Smith was represented by Allison Friedman, Esq., with an office in Freehold.

Former Sea Bright Police Officer Admits to Crimes Against Ex-Girlfriend

September 6, 2023

FREEHOLD – A former Sea Bright Police Officer has admitted to committing a series of crimes against an ex-girlfriend late last year into early this year, Monmouth County Prosecutor Raymond S. Santiago announced Wednesday.

Appearing before Superior Court Judge Joseph W. Oxley late last week, 47-year-old Erich A. Bennett pleaded guilty to third-degree Computer Theft, third-degree Criminal Mischief, fourth-degree Hindering Apprehension, and fourth-degree Stalking.

During his plea hearing, Bennett acknowledged that between October 2022 and January 2023, he engaged in a course of conduct that would put the victim in fear, to include at one point disabling security cameras on the exterior of her home and causing damage to her property by slashing her tires and keying her car. He further admitted to driving by her residence and threatening her with physical harm, both in person and via a fake social media account. Additionally, Bennett stated that while he was on duty with the Sea Bright Police Department, he conducted unauthorized lookups of the victim and four of her associates in law enforcement databases, absent any legitimate law enforcement purpose.

Bennett was arrested without incident in late January 2023. He currently remains incarcerated at the Monmouth County Correctional Institution (MCCI) pending future court proceedings. As a result of today’s plea, Bennett permanently forfeited the right to hold any public office in the State of New Jersey.

Sentencing in the case has been tentatively scheduled for Friday, November 3, at which time the State intends to recommend a sentence of five years in state prison. Under the terms of the plea agreement, Bennett would also have to submit to surrender of his privately owned firearms, a permanent restraining order barring him from contact with the victim, and restitution in the amount of nearly $4,800.

This case is being prosecuted by Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Melanie Falco, Director of the MCPO Professional Responsibility Unit. Bennett is being represented by Mitchell J. Ansell, Esq., with an office in Ocean Township.

Recovery Diversion Program Expanding to Cover Five Municipalities

September 5, 2023

FREEHOLD – By the end of next month, nearly one in every five Monmouth County residents will live in a municipality participating in an innovative program designed to shepherd individuals battling substance abuse and mental health disorders into recovery – and that ratio will only continue to grow in the years to come, Monmouth County Prosecutor Raymond S. Santiago announced Tuesday.  

The MCPO Recovery Diversion Program (RDP), which started as a pilot initiative in Long Branch in 2021, has since expanded to Asbury Park and Red Bank this year, with Howell Township and Keansburg slated to also begin participating by the end of October.

“When the Long Branch pilot program began, I was serving as the City’s Municipal Public Defender, allowing me to witness firsthand just how effective it can be – and as County Prosecutor, I’m now blessed to be in the position to oversee its expansion throughout the County,” Prosecutor Santiago said. “RDP participants routinely express amazement in discovering that when they visit Municipal Court to answer to minor criminal offenses, an entire team of dedicated professionals is already there waiting for them, eager to help them get their lives back on track.”

The RDP framework is simple: first, upon arraignment, a Municipal Prosecutor will offer participation to a defendant charged with a non-violent, low-level crime who has a substance use or mental health disorder. If interested, the candidate will be scheduled for a preliminary RDP session, during which he or she will meet a recovery specialist from Hope Sheds Light, a rehabilitative nonprofit organization serving individuals and families in Monmouth and Ocean counties.

The recovery specialist will then explain the program and introduce the candidate to a clinician from CPC Behavioral Healthcare or New Hope Integrated Behavioral Health Care who will schedule an intake appointment and mental health evaluation. After attending the appointment, the participant will begin treatment at the recommended level of care, with regimens ranging in length from 12 weeks to six months.

The 10-person RDP team, under the supervision of RDP Coordinator and Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Lindsay Ashwal, receives monthly compliance reports for each participant, and if he or she completes all recommended treatment, maintains contact with Hope Sheds Light, and remains arrest-free, the Municipal Prosecutor will make a motion for dismissal of the charges against them before the Municipal Court Judge. Dismissals are then left to the discretion of the Judge.

Upon completion of the program, each candidate is then encouraged to invite family and friends to attend a graduation ceremony – Asbury Park held its first such ceremony this past Friday, the first day of September’s National Recovery Month.

The graduation ceremonies are barely recognizable as court hearings – they’re far more celebratory than procedural, and regularly interrupted by laughter, tears, and too many rounds of applause to count. The first defendant to appear in Asbury Park Municipal Court on Friday afternoon got a fist-bump from the Municipal Prosecutor and a hug from the County Prosecutor.

“You’re our first RDP graduate (in Asbury Park), and you are setting such an example, not only to your friends and family, but to this community,” Santiago told the graduate as his five children and a host of loved ones looked on, prior to presenting him with a certificate of graduation. “You are going to be the example of all we’re trying to do here.”

“I am giving you the fresh start you deserve for being here today,” Asbury Park Municipal Court Judge Ronald J. Troppoli added while dismissing all of the remaining charges against the graduate, who just recently got hired to a new job and has developed a passion for cooking while in recovery. “We’re going to call him the ambassador of goodwill for this program.”

Asbury Park Municipal Prosecutor James “Jimmy” Butler noted that while he has served in the capacity since 1984, Friday was “one of my best days ever here.”

“It warms my heart to be a part of this,” he said.

“I’ve been mayor here since 2015,” added Asbury Park Mayor John B. Moor, also in attendance, “and this is my best day.”

Moor added that the introduction of RDP in Asbury Park was made possible in great part due to support the idea received from the City Council and Municipal Court staff.

“I am grateful to have the chance to offer this opportunity to those people who are interested,” Asbury Park Municipal Court Administrator Joanne Pilliod said. “It is an incredible program for all of us to be involved with.” 

Funding for RDP has been provided by an Operation Helping Hand grant administered by the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General (OAG). Additional partner organizations include the New Jersey Reentry Corporation, a nonprofit group that helps connect participants to education and job training and placement, as well as the municipal police departments, local elected leaders, and municipal court administrators, judges, public defenders, and prosecutors in each participating town.

“To call this a group effort would be a massive understatement,” Prosecutor Santiago said. “Each expansion of RDP, tailored to suit the needs of each newly participating municipality, necessitates buy-in from virtually every branch of municipal government – but we’re finding that once we outline precisely how the program works, what the benefits are, and the fact that it comes at no cost, there has been an overabundance of receptive audiences.”

Local towns haven’t been the only audiences to hear about the program from Prosecutor Santiago, Ashwal, and others involved – over the last two years alone, they have delivered presentations about RDP to the OAG Advocacy Institute, New Jersey State Bar Association, Monmouth County Bar Association’s Municipal Court Committee, Monmouth County Court Administrators Association, and other groups.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) most recent National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that more than 46 million people nationwide meet the criteria for having a substance use disorder, yet 94 percent of them do not receive any treatment. The Survey also found that approximately 1 in 4 American adults experienced signs of mental illness over the past year.

More than a million Americans have died due to a drug overdose in the 21st century, including a record high of nearly 110,000 last year. An estimated 1,500 lives were lost across Monmouth County in the decade stretching from 2012 through 2021.

“The twin scourges of substance abuse and mental illness together constitute the defining public-health challenge of our times,” Prosecutor Santiago said. “And the only path to victory will involve programs such as these, which directly connect individuals in crisis with the social services they so desperately need.”

For more information about the Recovery Diversion Program, go online to

Red Bank

Long Branch

Recovery Diversion Program Graduation

Trenton, NJ, Men Busted In Holmdel Township

September 5, 2023

HOLMDEL TOWNSHIP, NJ (MONMOUTH)–The Holmdel Township Police Department reported that on September 3, 2023 around 5:30 p.m., police dispatchers received a call from loss prevention employees at Best Buy, 2130 State Hwy 35. Loss prevention employees reported that several individuals known to them as shoplifters from other Best Buy’s were around the store. Ptl. Sasso and Ptl. DePinho arrived on scene and located two subjects walking away from the store with employees following. The subjects were identified as Clifton Owens (age 43) and Jerome Christie (age 33), both of Trenton NJ.

Owens was arrested after he was found to be a wanted fugitive from Pennsylvania due to a forgery charge. He was lodged in the Monmouth County Correctional Institution pending an extradition hearing.

Jerome Christie was arrested for an outstanding warrant issued by the Delran Municipal Court. He was processed and released as per the court.

Breaking: Search For Missing 24-Year-Old Swimmer In Beach Haven

Update: Person is being transported to local hospital for treatment. The family says the person has passed away and once we have confirmed with Gofundme representatives we will post the Gofundme page for the Beach Haven swimmer. Two swimming tragedies this past weekend Seaside Park and Beach Haven.

See updates below for other area incidents including missing swimmer in Seaside Heights

September 3, 2023-Updated September 4, 2023

BEACH HAVEN, NJ (OCEAN)–Around 2:53 p.m. lifeguards, police and EMS were detailed to 5th Street for a submerged swimmer. Two people were pulled from the water but a third a reported 24-year-old male was missing. The fire department was requested as well as NJ State Police Marine Division and the United States Coast Guard to help with the search.

As of 3:17 p.m. the search is still ongoing for the 24-year-old missing swimmer.

3:38 p.m. NJ State Police helicopter on scene assisting in search.

3:45 p.m. U.S. Coast Guard starting vector search with helicopter.

4:08 p.m. there are reports of a body being recovered from the water and CPR in progress.

First Aid and Paramedics treating the victim and preparing for transport to hospital.

Beach Haven First Aid and Paramedics transporting the victim to the local hospital for treatment: (Photos taken just before 5:00 p.m. in Ship Bottom)

Times are approximate

Once official information is released the story will be updated.

Beach Haven First Aid and Paramedics transporting the victim to the local hospital for treatment: (Photos taken just before 5:00 p.m. in Ship Bottom)

Multiple other incidents this afternoon too many to keep up with. Some are listed below:

BERKELEY TOWNSHIP- ISLAND BEACH STATE PARK–In another incident about 5:00 p.m. there are reports of CPR being performed on Island Beach State Park on the beach at Area 23 reports of 70-year-old male in cardiac arrest.

SURF CITY –At 5:20 p.m. a medical helicopter was called to 12 Street Surf City for a traumatic injury. Pulling the person off the beach and victim will be flown to a hospital for treatment.

NJ State Police medical helicopter landed at 5:40 p.m. at EJ Elementary School recreation field commonly used for landing zones on the island.

The person was transported to Atlantic City Medical Center by NJ State Police helicopter.

Numerous other water rescues in Seaside Park, and Belmar late this afternoon.

BERKELEY TOWNSHIP ISLAND BEACH STATE PARK – a young male has been pulled from the water and not breathing around 6:50 p.m.

Landing Zone for helicopter will be at the Governor Mansion on Island Beach State Park. RWJ University Hospital helicopter en route at 7:08 p.m. 7:18 p.m. helicopter canceled for transport.

SEASIDE HEIGHTS— Several swimmers in distress rescued reports of 27 year old male missing.

Calling for Aqua Eyes sonar for missing person search. Still missing as of 8:15 p.m.

Search called off for tonight will resume in morning.

9/4/2023 Update for Seaside from Seaside Park Fire Company:

Yesterday morning at 5:21 a.m. the Seaside Park Fire Department was dispatched with zone 1 for a forest fire assignment, 4531’s crew spent 12 hours on a structural protection assignment. While that assignment was being conducted other crews responded to multiple other emergencies in town and in the State Park. These emergencies included multiple water rescues. When the crew from the forest fire returned they assisted the other 2 crews for a total of 10 emergencies for the day. Unfortunately, the final call of the day was a tragic one and someone did not get to go home with their family. Crews were on the Stockton Ave beach until after 9:00 p.m. on a recovery mission. Some of our members left their homes and did not return for 17 hours yesterday. We cannot stress enough the importance of staying out of the ocean when the lifeguards are off duty, we remind the public that today is the last day of guarded beaches in Seaside Park!

POINT PLEASANT BEACH – 7:30 p.m units responding for a submerged subject. 3 subjects out of water and safe.

BAY HEAD – Reports of 3 swimmers in water in distress all out upon arrival of first responders.

BELMAR — At approximately 6:06pm, the Belmar Police Department received a report of a group swimmers in distress off the 6th Avenue beach. Upon police arrival, multiple Belmar lifeguards/ Water Rescue members had entered the water and were able to rescue five swimmers. Another unresponsive swimmer was rescued from the water at the 5th Avenue beach and transported to Jersey Shore University Hospital. Two other swimmers were also transported to the hospital. There is no further information at this time.

165th New Jersey State Police Recruit Training Class Graduates; 149 Troopers Receive Badges at Brookdale Community College

August 31, 2023

Lincroft, N.J. – Today, New Jersey State Police Superintendent Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, and New
Jersey First Assistant Attorney General Lyndsay Ruotolo, presented badges to New Jersey’s newest
state troopers during a graduation ceremony at Brookdale Community College in Lincroft, N.J.

The 165ᵗʰ New Jersey State Police Class graduated 141 men and 8 women. Of this graduating class,
126 have college degrees, 24 are prior military, and 27 have prior law enforcement experience.
Among the class, 55 were college athletes, 2 were firefighters, 5 were emergency medical
technicians, and 1 was a professional athlete.

The class completed 24 weeks of strenuous physical and academic training consisting of classroom
lessons and practical training scenarios. The recruits also participated in role-playing exercises
such as motor vehicle stops and domestic violence situations. In the area of cultural diversity,
the class received detailed instruction from community leaders and cultural organizations.

The life of a recruit is challenging in many ways. The New Jersey State Police Training Academy is
one of the few residential academies in the nation. Recruits report to the academy before dawn on
Monday morning, and they do not return home until dismissal on Friday evening. Therefore, recruits
are away from their families during significant life events. During this academy class one recruit
had a child born.

The newly graduated troopers have been assigned to stations throughout the state, and over the next
few months, they will begin their careers under the watchful eye of their Trooper-Coaches and
immediate supervisors.

“I am honored to welcome the latest class of brave and courageous State Troopers, who will
undoubtedly uphold the core values of the New Jersey State Police – honor, duty, and fidelity,”
said Governor Murphy. “This class is joining the thousands of State Troopers who exemplify the very
essence of New Jersey’s finest, with exceptional dedication to protecting and serving
those in our state. I look forward to witnessing the legacy they will build upon.”

“The New Jersey State Police are one of the nation’s finest law enforcement agencies and this
newest group of Troopers has received the training and preparation necessary to continue that
tradition,” said First Assistant Attorney General Lyndsay V. Ruotolo. “The class also represents
the diversity of our State. A quarter of the class is multilingual, most have college
degrees, including one member who has a Ph. D., some are military veterans and the majority are the
first in their families to serve in law enforcement. Their dedication to public service is an
inspiration to us all and I wish them well as they begin what will undoubtedly be challenging and
meaningful careers protecting the people of New Jersey.”

“Today marks the culmination of 24 weeks of intense training for the women and men of the 165th
Class as they begin their careers as New Jersey State Troopers. These new troopers will face a
multitude of challenges in a forever changing environment,” said Colonel Patrick J. Callahan,
Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “I am confident that they are prepared to serve the
communities across this state while upholding our core values of Honor,
Duty, and Fidelity. They are not only role models but, sons, daughters, brothers, and sisters from
diverse backgrounds who are resilient and chose a profession of service, demonstrating their
commitment to selflessness. I look forward to what their futures hold as they continue to lead by

Manalapan Township Police Officer Charged With Endangering The Welfare Of A Child, Official Misconduct, Computer Theft, Hindering Apprehension, Stalking, And False Imprisonment

Ruditsky had been sending inappropriate messages and photos to a 16-year-old girl. The investigation determined that the conduct began during Manalapan Township’s National Night Out event

August 31, 2023

FREEHOLD – A Manalapan Township Patrolman has been arrested and charged with engaging in a pattern of illegal behavior involving a teenage girl, Monmouth County Prosecutor Raymond S. Santiago announced Thursday.  

Kevin Ruditsky, 46, is charged with second-degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child, second-degree Official Misconduct, third-degree Computer Theft, third-degree Hindering Apprehension, fourth-degree Stalking, and False Imprisonment, a disorderly persons offense.

An investigation by the MCPO Professional Responsibility Unit was initiated earlier this month upon receipt of information that Ruditsky had been sending inappropriate messages and photos to a 16-year-old girl. The investigation determined that the conduct began during Manalapan Township’s National Night Out event, part of an annual community outreach campaign in which numerous police departments countywide participated.

Ruditsky was in full uniform at the time, and after allowing the victim to sit in his patrol car, later that evening and in the days that followed, he began sending her sexually explicit messages and photos via social media – despite the victim having repeatedly informed him of her age. The investigation also determined that several days after National Night Out, while the victim was driving on Route 9, Ruditsky pulled her over, unlawfully handcuffed her, and attempted to kiss her while his dash camera and body-worn camera were both deactivated.

The investigation further revealed that Ruditsky conducted lookups of the victim in a law enforcement database, outside the purview of any legitimate law enforcement purpose, and on one occasion he parked his marked patrol vehicle outside of the victim’s home – after she had refused to provide him with her home address.

Ruditsky was arrested without incident yesterday and lodged in the Monmouth County Correctional Institution (MCCI) pending a first appearance to take place today.

 “That a sworn member of law enforcement would begin to so egregiously violate the public’s trust while in uniform at an event specifically intended to strengthen trust between law enforcement and the public is, in a word, unconscionable,” Prosecutor Santiago said. “Swift action in addressing this conduct, culminating in the charges being announced today, was an absolute imperative.”

“The men and women of the Manalapan Township Police Department are and should be held to the highest moral and ethical standards, and it troubles me that the actions of one individual can stain the reputation of all of us. We are deeply saddened and disturbed that this victim had her trust betrayed by a man wearing one of our uniforms. I want to emphasize that this Department will continue to provide our community with the most professional service with integrity and compassion, as we have always done,” Township Police Chief Edward Niesz added. “We want our community to know that once the Manalapan Township Police Department became aware of the investigation into the conduct of Kevin Ruditsky, he was suspended, and upon being charged today, that suspension is without pay. The Department has fully cooperated and assisted the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office in this investigation from the onset and continues to support the Prosecutor’s Office through the arrest made yesterday. We will remain transparent and accountable to our community.” 

This case is being prosecuted by MCPO Assistant Prosecutor Melanie Falco, Director of the Professional Responsibility Unit. Ruditsky is being represented by Mitchell J. Ansell, with an office in Ocean Township.

Anyone with information about this or related matters is urged to contact MCPO Detective Gregory Hilton II at 800-533-7443.

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.

Kevin Ruditsky, 46, is charged with second-degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child, second-degree Official Misconduct, third-degree Computer Theft, third-degree Hindering Apprehension, fourth-degree Stalking, and False Imprisonment, a disorderly persons offense.

Wall Twp. Police Warn Of Distraction Thefts

August 31, 2023

WALL TOWNSHIP, NJ — The Wall Township Police Department is alerting the community not to fall victim to distraction thefts. On August 31st, 2023 a motorist was parked in the parking lot of Acme located at 2007 state Hwy 35 when she was approached by 3 unknown actors. While one of the actors motioned to the motorists that something was under her vehicle the other two actors opened the passenger side door and attempted to remove valuables. Luckily for this motorist, she realized what was occurring before the unknown actors could take anything. The unknown actors left the scene prior to patrols’ arrival. The incident is still under investigation.

These types of thefts may occur as an individual working alone or a small team working together. These thieves use some type of distraction as their tool as opposed to physically accosting their victim. Here are some tips to help you avoid becoming a victim:

Stay cautious: Be aware of your surroundings and remain alert when approached by strangers.

Stay in control: Be cautious of distractions and be wary of helpful individuals who claim you have a problem with your car.

Lock your doors: Always lock your vehicle doors whether you’re out in public or at home.

Secure your valuables: Make sure to store your valuables out of sight, like under the passenger seat or under a jacket, or take them with you. Never leave items such as purses, wallets, electronics or other valuable items in plain view.

Park wisely: When possible park in well-lit and populated areas, especially during nighttime.

Report suspicious activity: Immediately contact police if you notice any suspicious behavior or believe you’ve been a victim of a distraction theft. Your prompt report can help us identify patterns and apprehend the culprits.