Category: Freehold

NJ Sharing Network Foundation Announces New Board Officers to Advance Life-Saving Mission

January 14, 2021

The NJ Sharing Network Foundation  Board of Trustees is pleased to announce the election of its 2021-2022 Board Officers to lead its strategic efforts to increase the number of lives saved through innovative research, family support, public awareness and education about the life-saving benefits of organ and tissue donation and transplantation. Effective January 1, 2021, the new officers include:


Chair – Christopher J. Bautista of Spring Lake Heights, NJ

Christopher J. Bautista first became involved with NJ Sharing Network in 2016, shortly after his son Luke passed away at age 15 and donated his heart, both kidneys, liver and pancreas to save the lives of five people. This past year, Bautista served as Chair of NJ Sharing Network’s 5K Celebration of Lifein Long Branch. He used his advanced web development and event management skills to spearhead an online program that inspired thousands of viewers from 18 different countries, 38 states, and all across New Jersey, making it one of our state’s largest online community events during the COVID-19 pandemic. Bautista and his family also created Team Luke, a 5K team that has raised nearly $300,000 since 2016 to support the NJ Sharing Network Foundation.

Bautista is the Director of Digital Services at altered image in Matawan, NJ. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Communications from Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY, where he was the first basketball manager/player in NCAA Division 1 history.


Vice Chair – Jane A. Buckiewicz of Point Pleasant, NJ

Jane A. Buckiewicz has served as a member of the NJ Sharing Network Foundation Board since 2018 and currently serves as Chair of the Annual Golf Classic & Tennis Tournament to honor the memory of her son Dan, who passed away in 2009 and saved the lives of three people through organ donation and enhanced the lives of 70 more through tissue donation. Thanks to Buckiewicz’s leadership, this year’s event raised more than $150,000. Buckiewicz and her family also honor Dan with a team at the 5K Celebration of Life. Team Buck has participated every year since the inception of the event in 2011, raising more than $115,000.

Buckiewicz is retired after serving as Vice President of Finance and Human Resources at Blue Buffalo Co., Ltd. in Wilton, CT. She earned an MBA from Pace University and a bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University.


Vice Chair – Ron Oswick of Freehold

Ron Oswick recently commemorated the 25th anniversary of his wife Tanya’s life-saving heart transplant by speaking at the 22nd Annual Golf Classic & Tennis Tournament. Oswick has been a member of the NJ Sharing Network Foundation Board since 2018. The Oswick’s also celebrate Tanya’s gift of life with a team at the 5K Celebration of Life. Their team, Second Chance, has participated since the inception of the event in 2011, and they have raised more than $65,000.

Oswick is a Senior Operations Analyst at Seix Investment Advisors in Park Ridge, NJ. He earned his master’s and bachelor’s degrees in Business Administration and Management at Loyola College in Maryland.


Treasurer – Bhavna Tailor of Clifton, NJ,

Bhavna Tailor has served on the NJ Sharing Network Foundation Board since 2015 and is a tireless advocate for organ and tissue donation. With 25 years of experience in education, Tailor is Vice President of Operations at Eastwick College & HoHoKus Schools directly assisting the president, overseeing marketing and technology, and managing the day-to-day operations to ensure the campus runs smoothly. Tailor plays a key role in leading Eastwick College’s student and community education programs that work throughout the year to raise awareness about organ and tissue donation.

Tailor serves on the Board of Trustees for Eastwick College and the Essex and Newark Workforce Investment Board. She is also a member of the Board of Directors for the Career Education Colleges and Universities (CECU). She began her career in Nutley at the HoHoKus School of Rets Institute as a Financial Aid Officer, serving as Career Services Advisor, Corporate Director of IT and School Director.


Secretary – Elizabeth Stamler of Scotch Plains, NJ

Elizabeth Stamler is a lifelong resident of Scotch Plains, NJ, where she serves as an elected member of the Township Council and as Deputy Mayor for 2021. Stamler has been touched by organ and tissue donation in more ways than one. Her brother, aunt and father, the late Union County Prosecutor John H. Stamler, each received a life-saving heart transplant. Her other brother later passed away and gave the gift of life as a tissue donor, enhancing the lives of over 30 people. Stamler is a longtime volunteer at NJ Sharing Network and has served on the NJ Sharing Network Foundation Board of Trustees for four years.

Stamler is employed as a Procurement Specialist with Union County Emergency Services. She holds a master’s degree in Accounting from New Jersey City University and a certificate in Public Administration from Kean University. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Criminology from The College of New Jersey.

The NJ Sharing Network Foundation Board of Trustees is comprised of a diverse group of individuals from both public and private sectors, many of whom have been touched by donation, including donor families and transplant recipients.

“Chris, Jane, Ron, Bhavna and Elizabeth are all dedicated volunteers and advocates who hold a true passion for organ and tissue donation,” said Elisse E. Glennon, Executive Director, NJ Sharing Network Foundation. “They are respected leaders who bring a wealth of diverse experience, talent and expertise in their fields to further our mission to save and enhance lives.”

About the NJ Sharing Network Foundation

The NJ Sharing Network Foundation is committed to help increase the number of lives saved through innovative research, family support, public awareness and education about the life-saving benefits of organ and tissue donation and transplantation.

About NJ Sharing Network

NJ Sharing Network is the federally designated non-profit organization responsible for recovering organs and tissue for the nearly 4,000 New Jersey residents currently waiting for a life-saving transplant. With headquarters in New Providence, NJ, the organization is part of the national recovery system, serving the 110,000 people on the national waiting list. NJ Sharing Network was selected by NJBiz as one of the state’s “Best Places to Work” for the third consecutive year. To learn more, get involved and register as an organ and tissue donor, visit www.NJSharingNetwork.org


Brooklyn Man Charged With Luring And Sexual Assaulting A 13 Year Old

January 8, 2021

WALL TOWNSHIP, NJ (MONMOUTH)–A Brooklyn man accused of luring and sexually assaulting a 13-year-old child in a Wall Township motel back in November is being held in the Monmouth County Correctional Facility following his arrest in Rockland County, New York last month, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.

Michael Torenheim, 33, of Brooklyn, New York was arrested in Spring Valley, New York, by members of the U.S. Marshals Service, New Jersey State Police and Wall Township Police Department. Torenheim now faces charges of second degree sexual assault, second degree luring and third degree endangering the welfare of a child. The charges were the result of a joint investigation of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and Wall Township Police Department.

The investigation began after the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Special Victims Bureau received a report that Torenheim sexually assaulted a 13-year-old child in a motel in Wall Township. The investigation determined Torenheim met the child in Lakewood and drove him to Wall Township where the offense was committed. Wall Township Police were notified and joined the investigation.

Investigators are seeking additional information about Torenheim’s activities and are concerned about the potential for additional victims. Anyone with additional information is urged to call 1-800-533-7443 to speak with MCPO Detective Joshua Rios.

Anyone who feels the need to remain anonymous but has information about a crime can contact Monmouth County Crime Stoppers confidential telephone tip-line by calling 1-800-671-4400; or, they can post their tip at https://www.p3tips.com/1182 Monmouth County Crime Stoppers will pay up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest of criminals and fugitives.

If convicted of the second degree charges, Torenheim faces a sentence of five to ten years in a New Jersey state prison. If convicted of third degree chare, he faces up to 5 years in state prison.

The case is assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Thomas Fichter.

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.


New Chief Announced For Monmouth County SPCA

FREEHOLD, NJ (MONMOUTH)–A former Eatontown police chief has been named as the new Chief of the Monmouth County SPCA, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.

Michael D. Goldfarb has been named the Monmouth County SPCA’s new Chief of Law Enforcement, responsible for overseeing the enforcement of animal cruelty cases in the county.

Goldfarb, replaces Ross Licitra, who has been Chief since May of 2015. Licitra is stepping down from this position after winning the open Freeholder seat in November’s election.

“We want to congratulate Chief Michael Goldfarb on the new role. Michael’s enthusiasm for animal welfare, coupled with his extensive law enforcement background and deep roots in Monmouth County, makes him an excellent fit and creates a smooth transition to the role of Chief of the SPCA. We would like to thank Ross Licitra for his unwavering dedication to the position for the past five plus years,” Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni stated.

“Working side by side with Michael, protecting and advocating for the humane treatment of all animals in Monmouth County has been an honor. As I continue in my role as the Executive Director of the Monmouth County SPCA, Michael and I will continue this mission always remembering the importance of animal welfare” Monmouth County SPCA Executive Director Ross Licitra stated.

Goldfarb’s law enforcement career began in 1992 as a Patrolman for Eatontown. He later moved up through the ranks and eventually was promoted to Chief of Police in 2007. Goldfarb remained as Chief for ten years, until retiring in 2018, after twenty-five years of service to the community. In August 2018, Michael joined the Monmouth County SPCA Prosecutor’s Office Law Enforcement Division as a Humane Law Enforcement Officer. In March of 2019, Goldfarb was promoted to Lieutenant of Human Law Enforcement.

A lifelong resident of Middletown, Goldfarb still resides there with his wife and family.

Also promoted today was Michael Magliozzo, a 25-year law enforcement veteran who retired from this Office earlier this year as a Detective Sergeant. Magliozzo was promoted to lieutenant work alongside Chief Goldfarb.

Murphy USA To Acquire QuickChek Corporation for $645 Million

December 14, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Supplemental Disclosure Regarding Non-GAAP Financial Information

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

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

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


Freehold Man Arrested In Shooting And Stabbing Of Holmdel Man

December 4, 2020

FREEHOLD, NJ (MONMOUTH)–A Freehold man is facing charges related to the shooting and stabbing of a 28-year-old Holmdel man occurring this past Monday, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.

Julian Lee, 25, of Freehold, is charged with first degree Attempted Murder, first degree Armed Robbery, second degree Possession of a Firearm for an Unlawful Purpose, second degree Unlawful Possession of a Firearm, third degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose, and fourth degree Unlawful Possession of a Weapon.  Lee is being held in the Monmouth County Correctional Institution pending a future court date.

On Monday, November 30, 2020, Holmdel Township Police were dispatched to the area of Holmdel Road at approximately 10:40 p.m. in response to multiple 911 calls for a report of an injured male, whom a Good Samaritan transported to an area hospital. Upon his arrival at the hospital, the 28-year-old victim was treated for serious injuries resulting from apparent gunshot and stab wounds. After a swift, yet thorough investigation, Lee was identified as the assailant.  On Thursday December 3, 2020, detectives located Lee in Atlantic City, where he was taken into police custody.

Prosecutor Gramiccioni and Holmdel Township Police Department Chief John Mioduszewski wish to assure local residents that this incident was quickly determined to be an isolated incident and there was never a direct threat to the community while the investigation was taking place.

The Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and Holmdel Township Police Department were aided in this investigation by the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office, the Hazlet Township Police Department, the Howell Township Police Department, the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office, and the New Jersey State Police Gaming Commission.

Anyone with any information about this incident is urged to call Detective Christopher Guy of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office at  800-533-7443 or Detective Eric Hernando of the Holmdel Township Police Department at 732-946-4400.

If convicted of Attempted Murder or Armed Robbery, Lee faces a minimum sentence of 20 years in a New Jersey state prison, 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 release from state prison.

If convicted of the second degree firearm offenses, Lee faces a sentence of five to ten years in prison.  Each of these crimes is subject to the Graves Act, which requires a mandatory period of parole ineligibility of one half of the custodial sentence imposed, or 42 months, whichever is greater.  If convicted of the third degree weapons offense, Lee faces a sentence of three to five years in prison. If convicted of the fourth degree weapons offense, Lee faces a sentence of up to 18 months in prison.

The case is assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Caitlin Sidley, of the Major Crimes Bureau.

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.

Former Pharmaceutical And Marketing Company Sales Representative Today Admitted His Role In A Conspiracy To Defraud Health Benefits

Joshua Darstek, 38, of Freehold, New Jersey, pleaded guilty by videoconference before U.S. District Judge John Michael Vazquez to a superseding information charging him with conspiracy to commit health care fraud.

November 18, 2020

FREEHOLD, NJ (MONMOUTH)–A former pharmaceutical and marketing company sales representative today admitted his role in a conspiracy to defraud a New Jersey state health benefits program, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

Joshua Darstek, 38, of Freehold, New Jersey, pleaded guilty by videoconference before U.S. District Judge John Michael Vazquez to a superseding information charging him with conspiracy to commit health care fraud.

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

Compounding is a practice in which a pharmacist or physician combines, mixes, or alters ingredients of a drug to create a medication tailored to the needs of an individual patient. The Food and Drug Administration does not approve compounded drugs and thus does not verify the safety, potency, effectiveness, or manufacturing quality of compounded drugs. Generally, a physician may prescribe compounded drugs when an FDA-approved drug does not meet the health needs of a particular patient.

Between May 2014 and January 2016, Darstek worked as a sales representative on behalf of two compounding pharmacies and a marketing company – referred to in the superseding information as the “Compounding Companies.” He marketed and sold compounded drugs to physicians, including pain, scar, and wound creams and certain supplements and vitamins. The Compounding Companies paid Darstek based on a percentage of the reimbursement payments they received from health care benefit programs for each prescription that he referred to the compounding pharmacies. Darstek participated in a conspiracy that recruited patients, many of whom had prescription drug coverage under the New Jersey School Employee’s Health Benefits Program, to submit medically unnecessary prescriptions for compounded drugs to the pharmacies. Darstek caused physicians to write prescriptions for individuals with whom they did not have any interaction for purposes of determining that a prescription for a compounded drug was medically necessary.

The conspiracy to commit health care fraud count carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gain or loss from the offense. As part of his plea agreement, Darstek must forfeit $148,500 in criminal proceeds and pay restitution of at least $594,639. Sentencing is scheduled for March 23, 2021.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr. in Newark, and the U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Inspector General, Defense Criminal Investigative Service, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Leigh-Alistair Barzey, with the investigation leading to today’s plea.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Bernard J. Cooney, Acting Chief of the Opioid Abuse Prevention & Enforcement Unit.

20-427

Defense counsel: Marco Laracca Esq., Orange, New Jersey

Four High End Car Thieves Nabbed By Marlboro and Freehold Police

“Car thieves have been feasting on a smorgasbord of high-end vehicles in Monmouth County’s affluent neighborhoods, but they are about to find out the buffet is closed. –Prosecutor Gramiccioni

November 12, 2020

FREEHOLD, NJ (MONMOUTH)–The collaborative efforts of two local police departments led to the arrest Sunday morning of four car thieves from Essex County.  The arrests are yet another example of the concerted efforts by local police to combat the onslaught of Monmouth County high end car thefts, according to Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.

“Car thieves have been feasting on a smorgasbord of high-end vehicles in Monmouth County’s affluent neighborhoods, but they are about to find out the buffet is closed. State, county and local law enforcement officers are working diligently and are focused on ending the feeding frenzy,” Prosecutor Gramiccioni said.

Marlboro Police were alerted early Sunday morning to a suspicious motor vehicle located within the Morganville section of town about 12:45 a.m.  Upon response, police determined the suspected thieves entered a motor vehicle parked in a resident’s driveway and attempted to enter another vehicle parked outside of the same resident’s home.  Despite the swift response, police were unable to locate the suspicious vehicle but notified surrounding towns about the incident.

Several hours later, the same vehicle was reportedly traveling around the area attempting to enter and steal vehicles.  As a result of information obtained, Marlboro Police notified police in Freehold Township the dark Maserati occupied by multiple males may have been entering their jurisdiction and it was suspected they were attempting to steal motor vehicles.  Shortly after this notification, a Freehold Township police officer observed a vehicle fitting the description on Rustic Way heading towards him, causing him to have to make evasive maneuvers to escape being struck.  The officer turned around and activated his emergency lights in an attempt to conduct a motor vehicle stop.  The vehicle, however, failed to stop and fled at a high rate of speed and in an extremely reckless manner as it travelled north on Route 79.  Shortly thereafter, the officer, from a distance, observed the vehicle crash and roll several times.

As the officer approached the vehicle, he saw three males fleeing the scene of the crash.  After a foot chase, the officer was able to arrest the three males.  As this was ongoing, other officers arrived on scene to assist.  One of the other officers gave chase to two additional vehicle occupants. The officer apprehended one of the two.  After apprehending 4 of the 5 males, police determined that the crashed vehicle, a 2016 maroon Maserati Ghibli, was stolen the prior day in Irvington.

As police continued to investigate this incident, Marlboro Police were contacted by homeowners on a street in town, indicating a group of individuals attempted to steal their vehicles.  Upon arrival, police spoke with the homeowners and were able to view several surveillance cameras to corroborate the actors were the same as those in the Maserati that crashed moments after fleeing this street and encountering the Freehold police vehicle.

As a result of the combined efforts of Freehold Township and Marlboro police, four individuals from Newark were charged with various crimes in both towns. Police charged 19-year-old Sharrod Rodgers and 18-year-old Isaiah Davis, both of Newark, with third degree burglary, two counts of third degree attempted burglary, second degree receiving stolen property and fourth degree resisting arrest.  Aziz McCloud, 18, of Newark, was similarly charged; however, after police determined he was the driver of the stolen vehicle, he was additionally charged with second degree eluding, third degree aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer and third degree possession of a controlled dangerous substance (cocaine).  The fourth vehicle occupant was charged on a Juvenile Delinquency complaint.  He was later released to a guardian.

Prosecutor Gramiccioni commended the Freehold Township and Marlboro police officers involved in this investigation and pointed out that officers across the County have been extremely vigilant in attempting to catch these high-end car thieves.  While this is a prime example of a successful joint effort, there have been others.

Recently, Deal Police Department has been inundated with high end vehicle thefts and officers made several arrests after a multi-day investigation. On October 12, 2020, around 10:18 a.m., Deal Police responded to Parker Avenue for a report of a motor vehicle theft.  While on scene, police were alerted to an additional motor vehicle theft on the same street.  Based on surveillance video, it was determined the two vehicles, a BMW and a Mercedes, were stolen in the early morning hours.  Utilizing Mercedes Benz tracking software, officers learned the stolen Mercedes Benz was driven north and ended up at a motel in Linden.  Upon responding to the motel, the two stolen vehicles were located and secured.  The suspects were identified, as was the vehicle they used to travel to and from Deal.

Additionally, in the early morning hours of October 15, 2020, another Deal police officer conducted a motor vehicle stop on a vehicle speeding out of Asbury Park.  Ultimately, it was determined they were operating the vehicle which had been used to steal the Mercedes and BMW three days earlier.  Deal police, with the assistance of police in Brielle, were able to link the occupants to a motor vehicle burglary in Brielle earlier that morning.  Three men, 18-year-old Jeron Pitt of Somerset, 18-year-old Ishmil Fate of Newark and 19-year-old Christopher Rodriguez, also of Newark, were all charged with second degree theft, two counts of third degree theft and two counts of third degree attempted theft, as well as third degree Burglary in Brielle.

“While not all of these motor vehicle thefts are committed on unlocked cars, it appears these thieves continue to target high-end motor vehicles, whose owners continue to leave their cars unlocked with their key fob inside.  Locking your doors and securing your keys will go a long way towards reducing these crimes.  While police officers across Monmouth County have relentlessly investigated these high-end thefts, the community needs to be aware that a reduction in car thefts is unlikely until careless owners begin to lock their vehicles, said Prosecutor Gramiccioni.

If convicted of a second degree crime, each defendant faces a sentence of five to ten years in a New Jersey state prison for each count.  If convicted of a third degree crime, each defendant faces a sentence of three to five years in prison for each count.  If convicted of a fourth degree crime, each defendant faces up to an additional 18 months 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.

Man Admits Animal Cruelty In Death Of 4 Puppies

November 5, 2020

FREEHOLD, NJ (MONMOUTH)–A man pleaded guilty today to charges of animal cruelty admitting his neglect caused the deaths of four German Shepard puppies in his care, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.

Daniel McDonald, 26, of Freehold, pleaded guilty to four counts of third degree Animal Cruelty before Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Vincent N. Falcetano, Jr. The charges are related to the deaths of four German Shepherd puppies found deceased on a property in Howell where he was temporarily residing.

McDonald also pleaded guilty to third degree Receiving Stolen Property after admitting he was in possession of a John Deere front end loader reported stolen out of Monroe.  

McDonald is scheduled to return for sentencing on January 8, 2021.  Per the plea agreement, the sentencing recommendation is five years in a New Jersey state prison to run concurrent to McDonald’s pending charges in Middlesex and Bergen counties.  As part of the plea, McDonald will be required to perform community service, and agreed to an order to never to own or reside with animals. 

The remains of two deceased German Shepherd puppies were found in a fire pit on a property in Howell where McDonald was temporarily residing on Monday, May 18, 2020.  The Howell Township Police Department and Monmouth County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Law Enforcement Division, conducted an investigation leading to the discovery of the remains of two more deceased puppies which had been buried on the property.    

The joint investigation ultimately revealed that the puppies were stolen from a farm in Somerset County on or about May 12, when the puppies were only three weeks old.  Investigators learned McDonald was staying at the Somerset County farm prior to the time the puppies went missing. Investigators also learned the puppies were ill, in distress, and were struggling to breathe prior to their deaths.  A necropsy performed on the two buried puppies revealed the puppies suffered from parasites and also were severely emaciated and malnourished with “no indications of recent nutritional ingestion.”  During his plea, McDonald took full responsibility for not getting the puppies the proper care resulting in their deaths.

This case is assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Melanie Falco, Director of the Office’s Professional Responsibility and Bias Crimes Unit, and liaison to the Monmouth County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Law Enforcement Division. 

McDonald is represented by Paul Zager, Esq. of Red Bank.

29 People Facing Charges For Racketeering And Various Criminal Gang Activities

October 30, 2020

FREEHOLD, NJ (MONMOUTH)–An 8-month investigation into ongoing acts of gang criminality and organized street crime has led to charges against 29 people from Monmouth and Ocean counties for Racketeering, Conspiracy, Attempted Murder, drug and gun trafficking and Dogfighting, announced Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.  The probe revealed a power grab by a Bloods gang leader to consolidate his command of the gang’s criminal activities through violence, intimidation, illegal drug and gun sales, and the operation of a dogfighting ring. 

During the investigation titled “Operation Golden State,” law enforcement officers recovered numerous firearms, a vehicle used in criminal activity, various quantities of cocaine and marijuana, 12 canines used in the dogfighting operation, and other evidence related to the dogfighting operation.  The dogs are safe and currently being sheltered in an Ocean County animal facility.  Of the 29 people charged as part of this investigation, nine are facing charges of racketeering, five are facing charges of conspiracy to commit murder, two are facing charges as a leader of a dogfighting network, and four are facing dogfighting charges.

The joint investigation by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, in cooperation with federal, state, county and local law enforcement agencies, concluded that Xavier Reed, 30, of Hyson Road in Jackson Township, controlled a vast criminal enterprise operating in Asbury Park, Neptune Township, Freehold and Lakewood.  Reed, a/k/a “HS”, assembled a gang alliance consisting of G-Shine Bloods, 47 Neighborhood Crips and the Grape Street Crips that worked towards the unitary control of most illegal activity in Monmouth and Ocean Counties.  Reed is currently incarcerated in the Essex County Correctional Facility in Newark on unlawful gun possession charges.   

As a G-Shine Bloods leader, Reed was responsible for administering punishment, controlling the channels for generating revenue from various quantities of drug sales (heroin, cocaine, prescription pills and marijuana) and the administration of the dogfighting ring, where thousands of dollars were typically earned during a single dogfight.  These activities served as a means of funding the violent crime carried out by the group, and to further advance Reed’s power. 

Reed intensified his energies to maintain control over criminal activity in Monmouth County by intimidating individuals who were disloyal to him or the organization, and engaged in efforts to violently retaliate against former members of his organization and rivals.  Reed’s intimidation tactics included a conspiracy with others charged to murder a pair of Reed’s rivals and a member of a Lakewood-based G-Shine set, who resisted Reed’s efforts to consolidate that set into his organization. 

Reed was cognizant of the ongoing wars between rival criminal street gangs, namely the G-Shine Bloods and Grape Street Crips, and boasted about his assembly of members from different gangs that worked towards a common criminal goal, which he and others referred to the group as “Golden State” and would retaliate against anyone who disrespected them.

The criminal enterprise also possessed, transferred and sold weapons within their organized crime alliance, and were responsible for more than a dozen shooting incidents that have recently plagued Asbury Park, Long Branch, Tinton Falls, Keansburg and Neptune Township. 

The investigation further revealed Reed and his affiliates in other criminal street gangs, including Daishon Smith a/k/a “Beefy” of Asbury Park, were responsible for violent criminal activity throughout Asbury Park, Freehold Borough, and Neptune Township.

The dogfighting part of the enterprise worked in cooperation with out-of-state breeding facilities that focused on training dogs to kill and engaged in interstate dogfighting events.  In one instance, Reed lost $5,000 on one of his own dogs in a dogfight held in Philadelphia.  In another instance, Reed bragged about maintaining his fighting dogs by feeding them chickens and rabbits, remarking how much the dogs loved killing the animals.

The Monmouth County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals seized eight Pit Bull-type dogs in Monmouth and Ocean counties in February 2020. All the dogs are believed to be owned by Reed.  The dogs were left outside in sub-freezing temperatures and all had bite marks on their limbs, necks and ears indicative of dogfighting. 



Reed is charged with first degree Racketeering Conspiracy, first degree Gang Criminality, first degree Conspiracy to Commit Murder, first degree Promotion of Organized Street Crime, Second Degree Aggravated Assault, Second Degree Solicitation to Join a Criminal Street Gang, Second Degree Conspiracy to Commit Unlawful Possession of a Weapon (Firearm), Second Degree Unlawful Possession of a Weapon (Firearm), Second Degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose (Community Firearm), Second Degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose, Second Degree Conspiracy to Possess a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose, Second Degree Leader of a Dog Fighting Network, Third Degree Conspiracy to Commit Dog Fighting, Third Degree Conspiracy to Commit Witness Tampering, Third Degree Conspiracy to Distribute CDS (Marijuana), and Second Degree Certain Persons Not to Possess Weapons.

Reed was aided in his efforts by a network of people who are charged with various crimes:

Rashad Anderson a/k/a “C-Devine”, 39, is charged with second degree Leader of a Dog Fighting Network and third degree Conspiracy to Commit Dog Fighting.

Kaniesha Bacon, 30, of Hyson Road in Jackson, is charged first degree Racketeering Conspiracy, third degree Conspiracy to Commit Witness Tampering, third degree Conspiracy to Distribute Controlled Dangerous Substance (CDS) [Marijuana].

Itayasia Berry a/k/a “TayTay”, 21, of Corlies Avenue in Neptune Township, is charged with second degree Conspiracy to Commit Unlawful Possession of a Weapon (Firearm), second degree Unlawful Possession of a Weapon (Firearm), second degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose (Community Firearm), third degree Conspiracy to Distribute CDS (Cocaine), and third degree Conspiracy to Distribute CDS (Prescription Pills).

Jawaun Boggs a/k/a “Jig”, 24, of Atlantic Avenue in Asbury Park, is charged with First Degree Racketeering Conspiracy, Second Degree Conspiracy to Commit Unlawful Possession of a Weapon (Firearm), Second Degree Unlawful Possession of a Weapon (Firearm), Second Degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose (Community Firearm), Second Degree Possession

of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose (Unlawful Use), Second Degree Conspiracy to Possess a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose, Third Degree Conspiracy to Distribute CDS (Prescription Pills), Third Degree Conspiracy to Possess CDS (Prescription Pills), and Second Degree Certain Persons Not to Possess Weapons.

King Brent a/k/a “Pay”, 25, of Atlantic Avenue in Asbury Park, is charged with Third Degree Conspiracy to Possess CDS (Prescription Pills).

Alahji Conteh a/k/a “Stash”, 25, of Atlantic Avenue in Asbury Park, is charged with Second Degree Conspiracy to Possess a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose (Firearm), Second Degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose, Second Degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose (Community Firearm).

Thomas Cutillo, Jr., 25, of Garfield Avenue in Avon-By-the-Sea, is charged with third Degree Conspiracy to Distribute CDS (Prescription Pills) and Third Degree Conspiracy to Possess CDS (Cocaine and/or Heroin).

Sammy Davis, 55, of Monroe Avenue in Neptune Township, is charged with third Degree Conspiracy to Possess CDS (Cocaine).

Nakee Davis-Ruffin a/k/a “Squad”, 21, of Third Avenue in Asbury Park is charged with First Degree Racketeering Conspiracy, Second Degree Conspiracy to Commit Unlawful Possession of a Weapon (Firearm), Second Degree Unlawful Possession of a Weapon (Firearm), Second Degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose (Community Firearm), Second Degree Conspiracy to Possess a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose, and Second Degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose.

Jahquan Fenn a/k/a “Capo” and “Trey”, 30, of Center Street in Freehold Boro, is charged with First Degree Racketeering Conspiracy, Second Degree Conspiracy to Commit Unlawful Possession of a Weapon (Firearm), Second Degree Unlawful Possession of a Weapon (Firearm), Second Degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose (Community Firearm), Second Degree Certain Persons Not to Possess Weapons.

Dale Ghee a/k/a “Budda”, 23, of Sewall Avenue in Asbury Park is charged with Third Degree Conspiracy to Distribute CDS (Marijuana).

Marciyah Gill, 25, of Bond Street in Freehold Boro, is charged with Third Degree Conspiracy to Distribute CDS (Cocaine).

Richard Ivery, 35, of State Route 33 in Wall Township, is charged with Third Degree Possession of CDS (Marijuana) with Intent to Distribute and Fourth Degree Possession of Over 50 Grams of Marijuana.

Jy’Zaire Jones a/k/a “Ceemo”, 25, of Allen Avenue in Ocean Township, is charged with First Degree Racketeering Conspiracy, Second Degree Conspiracy to Possess a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose, Second Degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose, Second Degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose (community firearm), Second Degree Conspiracy to Distribute CDS (Cocaine), and Third Degree Conspiracy to Commit Witness Tampering.

A juvenile male from Asbury Park is charged with First Degree Racketeering Conspiracy, Second Degree Conspiracy to Commit Unlawful Possession of a Weapon (Firearm), Second Degree Unlawful Possession of a Weapon (Firearm), Second Degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose (Community Firearm), Second Degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose, and Second Degree Conspiracy to Possess a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose.

Tyree Kirkpatrick a/k/a “Ree”, 32, of Third Avenue in Asbury Park, is charged with First Degree Racketeering Conspiracy, Second Degree Conspiracy to Commit Unlawful Possession of a Weapon (Firearm), First Degree Unlawful Possession of a Weapon (Firearm), Second Degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose (Community Firearm), Second Degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose, Second Degree Conspiracy to Possess a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose, and Second Degree Certain Persons Not to Possess Weapons.

Zion Langhorne a/k/a “Too Brazy”, 19, is charged with First Degree Racketeering Conspiracy, First Degree Conspiracy to Commit Murder, and Second Degree Solicitation to Join a Criminal Street Gang.

Marcella Mallory, 57, of East Sunset Avenue in Red Bank, is charged with Third Degree Conspiracy to Distribute CDS (Cocaine) and Third Degree Conspiracy to Possess CDS (Cocaine).

Mark McMillian a/k/a “Noodle”, 43, of Bangs Avenue in Asbury Park, is charged with Third Degree Conspiracy to Commit Dog Fighting.

Julissa Miles, 32, of Third Avenue in Asbury Park, is charged with Second Degree Conspiracy to Commit Unlawful Possession of a Weapon (Firearm), Second Degree Unlawful Possession of a Weapon (Firearm), Second Degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose (Community Firearm).

Jose Mosely a/k/a “Brazy”, 33, of State Route 70 in Manchester Township, is charged with First Degree Racketeering Conspiracy, Second Degree Conspiracy to Commit Unlawful Possession of a Weapon (Firearm), First Degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose (Community Firearm), and Second Degree Certain Persons Not to Possess Weapons.

Jamar Ousley, 37, of Colts Neck Road in Freehold Township, is charged with First Degree Racketeering Conspiracy and Fourth Degree Solicitation to Join a Criminal Street Gang.

Daishon Smith a/k/a “Beefy” or “Atkins Ave.”, 29, of Atlantic Avenue in Asbury Park, is charged with First Degree Racketeering Conspiracy, Second Degree Conspiracy to Commit Unlawful Possession of a Weapon (Firearm), Second Degree Unlawful Possession of a Weapon (Firearm), Second Degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose (Community Firearm), Second Degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose, Second Degree Conspiracy to Possess a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose, Second Degree Conspiracy to Distribute CDS (Cocaine), Third Degree Conspiracy to Distribute CDS (Prescription Pills), and Second Degree Certain Persons Not to Possess Weapons.

Rufus Squarewell a/k/a “Ru”, 38, is charged with Third Degree Conspiracy to Commit Dog Fighting.

Jimmy Tran, 29, of Broadway in Freehold Township, is charged with Third Degree Conspiracy to Distribute CDS (Marijuana).

Melanie Tucker, 36, of Monroe Avenue in Neptune Township, is charged with Second Degree Conspiracy to Distribute CDS (Cocaine).

Marcus Washington a/k/a “Mo Shine”, 25, of Brockton Avenue in Neptune Township, is charged with First Degree Racketeering Conspiracy, Third Degree Conspiracy to Commit Witness Tampering, Second Degree Conspiracy to Commit Unlawful Possession of a Weapon, Second Degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose (Community Firearm), and Second Degree Certain Persons Not to Possess Weapons.

Shakon Winslow a/k/a “Stick-up” or “Wise”, 26, of Bangs Avenue in Neptune Township, is charged with First Degree Racketeering Conspiracy, First Degree Gang Criminality, First Degree Conspiracy to Commit Murder, Second degree Aggravated Assault, Second Degree Conspiracy to Commit Unlawful Possession of a Weapon, Second Degree Unlawful Possession of a Weapon (Firearm), Second Degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose (Community Firearm), Second Degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose, Second Degree Conspiracy to Possess a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose, Third Degree Conspiracy to Commit Witness Tampering, Third Degree Conspiracy to Distribute CDS (Cocaine), Third Degree Conspiracy to Distribute CDS, Fourth Degree Solicitation to Join a Criminal Street Gang, and Second Degree Certain Persons Not to Possess Weapons.

Prosecutor Gramiccioni would like to thank the following agencies for their assistance in conducting the investigation: New York/New Jersey Regional Task Force and Capitol Area Regional Task Force of the United States Marshal’s Office; the Red Bank field office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF); the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) HIDTA, the New Jersey State Police; the New Jersey State Parole Board; the Monmouth County Sherriff’s Office; the Union County Prosecutor’s Office; the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office; the Monmouth County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals; and police departments in Union Beach, Keansburg, Highlands, Neptune Township, Neptune City, Tinton Falls, Eatontown, Long Branch, Howell, Spring Lake, Asbury Park, Freehold Township, Freehold Borough, Red Bank, Middletown, Jackson, Lakewood, Keyport and Oceanport.

If convicted of Attempted Murder, each defendant 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. Each defendant would also be under parole supervision for five years following his release from state prison.

The Racketeering charges allege that the defendants engaged in a continuous pattern of interrelated criminal conduct, namely drug trafficking, gun trafficking and dogfighting, among other crimes.  If convicted of first degree Racketeering, each defendant faces up to 20 years’ imprisonment, and a period of parole ineligibility equal to 85% of the sentence imposed.  Additionally, the Racketeering counts will not merge with other charged counts. 

If convicted of Promoting Organized Street Crime, each defendant faces 15 to 30 years’ imprisonment and a fine up to $200,000.  If convicted of any other first degree crime, each defendant faces a sentence of up to 20 years in state prison.  If convicted of any of the second degree crimes, each defendant faces a sentence of five to ten years in state prison.  If convicted of any third degree crime, defendants face three to five years in state prison. 

The cases are assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutors Matthew Bogner and Joshua Carmel.

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.

15 Arrested In Monmouth And Mercer County For Possessing and/or Trafficking Child Sexual Abuse Materials

October 19, 2020

FREEHOLD, NJ (MONMOUTH)–Separate investigations have netted fifteen Monmouth County individuals for possessing and or trafficking child sexual abuse materials, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.

Between July 21, 2020 and October 15, 2020, the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Computer Crimes Unit and Monmouth County Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force arrested individuals. Assisting in this Operation were members of the New Jersey State Police Digital Technology Investigations Unit (DTIU), the New Jersey ICAC Task Force, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Monmouth County Sherriff’s Office, The Monmouth County Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, which includes members from the following police departments: Eatontown, Howell Township, Long Branch, Manalapan, Marlboro, Neptune Twp., Spring Lake, Tinton Falls, and Holmdel; and support from the following Monmouth County Police Departments: Asbury Park, Aberdeen, Middletown, Highlands, Freehold Township and Freehold Borough.

            These arrests were designed to reduce online threats to Monmouth County to decrease the market for child sexual exploitation by focusing on those individuals seeking out and trafficking in child pornographic-materials.

The following individuals were arrested:

Antonio Mejia, 38, of 806 5th Avenue, Asbury Park. Mejia was arrested on July 21, 2020 following an investigation that revealed he transmitted numerous images of child sexual abuse materials and engaged in sexual conversations with 3 males under the age of 16. Mejia was charged with one count second degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Distribution of Child Sexual abuse materials, contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(a)(i), one count of Attempted Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Manufacturing an Image of Child Exploitation Material), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(3), one count of Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Materials), contrary to 2C:24-4b(5)(b)iii, three counts of Endangering the Welfare of a Child, N.J.S.A 2C:24-4a(1) and three counts of Attempted Obscenity to Minors, 2C:34-3. On July 30, 2020, defendant appeared for a detention hearing before the Honorable Paul X. Escandon, J.S.C. was released on the condition that he have no contact with the victims, no access to social media and no contact with anyone under 18. Mejia is represented by Joy Anderson, Esq. of Eatontown.

Brody Sullivan, 20, of 2 Ithaca Court, Aberdeen was arrested on July 22, 2020 following an investigation that revealed that he was in possession of child sexual abuse materials. Sullivan was charged with one count of second degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexaul Abuse Material), contrary to 2C:24-4b(5)(b)ii and released on the condition that he have no contact with anyone under 18 and no internet access. Sullivan is represented by Anthony Palumbo, Esq. of Cranford.

Anthony Lichtenau, 36, of 72 Brentwood Road, Eatontown was arrested on July 24, 2020 following an investigation that revealed he was in possession of child sexual abuse materials. Lichtenau was charged with one count of third degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Material), contrary to 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(iii) and released on the condition that he have no contact with anyone under 18 and no internet access. Lichtenau is represented by Mitchell Ansell, Esq. of Ocean Township.

Matthew Fahmie, 33, of 30 Northover Place, Middletown, was arrested on September 10, 2020 following an investigation which revealed that he possessed over 1,000 images of child sexual exploitation material. Fahmie was charged with one count of second degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(ii) and was released on the condition that he have no contact with anyone under 18 and restricted internet access. Fahmie is represented by Richard Incremona, Esq. of Freehold Township.

Valentin Valdetano, 20, of 359 North Bath Avenue, Long Branch, was arrested on July 31, 2020 following an investigation that revealed he possessed and traded images of child sexual abuse materials using a chat platform. Valdetano was charged with second degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Distribution of Child Sexual Abuse Materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(a)(i) and third degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(iii). Valdetano was released on the condition that he have no contact with anyone under 18 and that he not use the internet. Valdetano is represented by Charles Moriarty, Esq. of Long Branch.

Zachary Barnett, 24, 984 Twilight Way, Aberdeen, was arrested on August 7, 2020 following an investigation that revealed he possessed images of child sexual abuse materials. Barnett was charged with one count of third degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(iii). Barnett was released on a summons. Barnett is represented by Allison Friedman, Esq. of Freehold.

Brian Wioncek, 62 of 317 Shore Drive, Apartment C, Highlands, was arrested on September 9, 2020 following an investigation that he possessed child sexual abuse materials. Wioncek was charged with one count of third degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(iii). Wioncek was released on the condition that he have no contact with anyone under 18 and that his internet usage is restricted.

John Hynes, 21, of 90 Bannard Street, Freehold, was arrested on August 21, 2020 following an investigation that revealed he possessed images of child sexual abuse materials. Hynes was charged with one count of third degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(iii) and one count of disorderly persons possession of a controlled dangerous substance contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10(a)(4). Hynes was released on a summons. Hynes is represented by Charles Clark, Esq. of Freehold.

Michael Townend, 19, 203 Colts Neck Road, Howell, was arrested on August 25, 2020 following an investigation that revealed he possessed images of child sexual abuse materials. Townend was charged with one count of third degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(iii). Townend was released on a summons. Townend is represented by Steven Nelson, Esq. of Neptune.

Robert Sherman, 62, of 112 Route 36, Highlands, was arrested on September 1, 2020 following an investigation that revealed he possessed images of child sexual abuse materials. Sherman was charged with one count of third degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4B(5)(b(iii). Sherman was released on a summons. Sherman is represented by Michael Polloway, Esq. of Red Bank.

Michael Pipitone, 38, of 157 Rutledge Drive, Middletown, was arrested on September 2, 2020 following a proactive investigation which revealed he shared over 1,000 images and/or videos of child sexual abuse material. Pipitone was charged with one count of first degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Distribution of Child Sexual Abuse Materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(a)(iii) and second degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(ii). Pipitone was released on the condition of home detention, no internet usage and no contact with anyone under 18. Pipitone is represented by John Hogan, Esq. of Woodbridge.

George Ichkitidze, 39, of 27-08 Whistler Drive, Freehold Township, was arrested on September 25, 2020 following a proactive investigation which revealed he shared over 1,000 images and/or videos of child sexual abuse material. Ichkitidze was charged with one count of first degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Distribution of Child Sexual Abuse Materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(a)(iii) and second degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(ii). Ichkitidze was released on the condition of home detention, no internet usage and no contact with anyone under 18. Pipitone is represented by Kevin Clark, Esq. of Ocean Township.

Juvenile, of Freehold Borough, was arrested on September 11, 2020 following an investigation that revealed he possessed images of child sexual abuse materials. The juvenile was charged with one count of second degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(ii).

Thomas Vilanova, 49, of 133 Newbury Road, Howell, was charged on October 13, 2020 following an investigation that revealed that he possessed images of child sexual abuse material. Vilanova was charged with one Count of third degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Material), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(iii). Vilanova is currently on probation for a 2017 conviction for third Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Material), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(iii). Vilanova is scheduled to appear in court before the Honorable Paul X. Escandon, J.S.C. for a detention hearing on October 22, 2020. Vilanova is represented by Michael Wenning, Esq. of Bradley Beach.

Jamie Khan, 43 of 19 Oxford Drive, East Windsor, was charged on October 15, 2020 following an investigation that revealed he was viewing and sending child sexual abuse material while working for his employer in Freehold Township. The investigation further revealed that he was also in possession of child sexual abuse material at his home in East Windsor. Khan was charged with one Count of third degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of  Child Sexual Abuse Material), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(iii) and one count of second degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Distribution of Child Sexual Abuse Material), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(a)(i). Khan was released on the condition of no internet usage and no unsupervised contact with anyone under 18.

If convicted of the first degree Endangering charge, a defendant will face a maximum sentence of 20 years in New Jersey State Prison, Megan’s Law, and Parole Supervision for Life. If convicted of the second degree Endangering charge, a defendant will face a maximum sentence of ten years in New Jersey State Prison Megan’s Law and Parole Supervision for Life. If convicted of the third degree Endangering charge, a defendant will face a maximum sentence of five years in New Jersey State Prison and Parole Supervision for Life. A conviction for disorderly persons Possession of Less than 50 Grams of Marijuana exposes a defendant to a maximum sentence of six months incarceration.

Ichkitidze’s case is assigned to Assistant Prosecutor Diane Aifer, Financial Crimes and Public Corruption Unit; the remaining cases are assigned to Assistant Prosecutor Stephanie Dugan, Computer Crimes Unit.

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), by calling 800-671-4400 or by going to the website at www.monmouthcountycrimestoppers.com

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.

Long Branch Man Gets 40 Years In Prison For 2018 Murder

October 19, 2020

FREEHOLD, NJ (MONMOUTH)–A Long Branch man was sentenced to 40 years in prison for murder and attempted murder, stemming from a 2018 shooting inside a Long Branch restaurant, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.

On October 16, 2020, Miguel Camara, 42, of Long Branch, was sentenced by the Honorable Vincent Falcetano, J.S.C., to 40 years in New Jersey State Prison with 38 ½ years of parole ineligibility.  Camara previously pled guilty to first degree Murder, first degree Attempted Murder, and third degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child, in connection with the killing of Marco Moreira, attempting to kill Fernanda Silva, and endangering the welfare of Silva’s 5-year-old child.

Camara had previously entered his guilty plea on July 15, 2020, before Judge Falcetano.

On August 21, 2018 at approximately 3:15 p.m., Long Branch Police Officer George Samol was flagged down by a motorist on Broadway who reported a fight inside the Bom DMais restaurant and a shot fired through the front window.  Officer Samol responded to the restaurant and observed two males and one female wrestling with Camara who was holding a gun.  Officer Samol unholstered his duty weapon and ordered Camara to drop the weapon.  As the 18-year-old son of Fernanda Silva was able to gain control over Camara’s gun, Camara immediately turned to Officer Samol and grabbed ahold of his duty weapon, trying to take possession of it. Officer Samol was able to wrestle the gun from Camara as additional officers arrived on scene.  After Camara was placed under arrest, officers observed the victim, Marco Moreira lying deceased on the floor of the business.  He was pronounced dead at 3:38 p.m.

A joint investigation by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and the Long Branch Police Department determined Camara entered the Bom DMais restaurant and approached the table where his ex-girlfriend Fernanda Silva, her two children ages 18 and 5, and Marco Moreira were seated.  Camara threw a Final Restraining Order obtained by Silva less than a month earlier on the table, pulled out a handgun and pointed it at Marco Moreira’s head several times before shooting him. A struggle then ensued between Silva, her 18-year-old son and Camara for the gun.  During the struggle Camara repeatedly pointed the gun at Silva, firing it twice but missing her.  Silva’s five-year-old daughter was a few feet away during the struggle.

The sentence requires that defendant will serve 30 years New Jersey State Prison sentence with a 30 year period of parole ineligibility on the murder, a 10 year New Jersey State Prison sentence on the Attempted Murder charge, subject to the provisions of the No Early Release Act, which requires that the defendant serve 85 percent of the sentence before he is eligible for parole and 5 years New Jersey State Prison for the Endangering the Welfare of a Child.  The Attempted Murder sentence will run consecutively to the Murder sentence, and the Endangering sentence will run concurrently, for an aggregate 40 years in New Jersey State Prison with 38 ½ years of parole ineligibility.  Camara will also be under parole supervision for five years following his release from state prison and will face deportation back to his home country of Portugal.

The case is assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutors Hoda Soliman and Emily Cartmell.

Miguel Camara is represented by J. Michael Wicke, Esq., of Freehold

Law Firm Manager Facing Charges In 100k Theft

October 12, 2020

FREEHOLD, NJ (MERCER)–An Ocean County woman is facing theft charges following a 10-month investigation that revealed she stole more than $100,000 from the law firm where she was formerly employed as the office manager, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.

Patricia Vaughn, 62, of Toms River, was arrested and charged Friday with second degree theft following a joint investigation by Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and Wall Township Police Department. Vaughn was charged and released on a summons.

In January 2020, the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office was contacted by the Wall Township Police. The Wall Police had received a theft report from the owner of a law office in Wall Township. It was reported that Vaughn stole funds.

During the investigation, records of various business and personal accounts related to the law practice were reviewed revealing numerous unauthorized transfers from these accounts to the firm’s operating account. Vaughn made these transfers in her capacity as office manager from 2011 through 2019, although she hid them by creating false bank statements. Vaughan then used the additional money from the operating account to give herself unauthorized salary increases and to issue herself extra paychecks totaling approximately $105,552.50 to which she was not entitled.

The case is assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Diane Aifer.

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.

Monmouth County Voting Information And Video Tutorial

October 8, 2020

Visit: https://www.monmouthcountyvotes.com/ for the latest voting information in Monmouth County

FREEHOLD, NJ (MONMOUTH)–As you may be aware, this year’s November General Election in New Jersey is being conducted primarily by mail-in ballots, per State mandate. On November 3, 2020, Election Day, limited polling locations will be open for voting on paper provisional ballots only, except for disabled voters. 

Voters across Monmouth County are receiving their mail-in ballots this week and are encouraged to contact the County Clerk’s Election Office at 732-431-7790, Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with any questions about the delivery of their ballots. 

Due to this unprecedented change in our election process, Monmouth County Clerk Christine Giordano Hanlon has provided a comprehensive webpage on MonmouthCountyVotes.com, explaining this year’s election process.

In addition, our office has provided video tutorials, including an animated step-by-step video informing Monmouth County voters of how to properly complete and return their mail-in ballots. The tutorial also explains how the paper ballots are reviewed and verified by the Monmouth County Board of Elections.

The video can be viewed on our Facebook and YouTube pages. We encourage you to share this important information with your friends and neighbors.







Election Hotline Established to Secure Election Integrity

To help ensure free and fair elections in Monmouth County, the County Election Offices and Prosecutor’s Office have established an election hotline. To report any issues of voter fraud or misconduct in Monmouth County, residents can call the County Prosecutor’s Office hotline at 855-786-5878.

“Our democratic system of government depends on free and fair elections and, as such, election integrity and security is important to all of us,” said County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni and County Clerk Christine Giordano Hanlon. “For these reasons, our offices are working together to further safeguard the electoral process.”


Upcoming Dates and Voter Deadlines

  • Monday, October 12th: All County Offices closed in observance of Columbus Day
  • Tuesday, October 13th: Voter Registration Deadline for the November General Election
  • Friday, October 30th: Application Deadline for General Election Mail-In Ballots by Electronic Means for Qualified Overseas Civilian and Military Voters 
  • Tuesday, November 3rd: General Election Day!
  • Tuesday, November 3rd at 8 p.m.: Close of the polls; Deadline to deliver mail-in ballot by U.S. Postal Service mail, Drop Box, or in-person to the County Board of Elections at 300 Halls Mill Road in Freehold or at assigned Polling Place.

Monmouth County Secure Ballot Dropbox Locations:

LocationAddressEntry
1Aberdeen Municipal Building1 Aberdeen Square
Aberdeen, NJ 07747
2Allentown Borough Hall8 North Main Street
Allentown, NJ 08501
3Asbury Park City Hall1 Municipal Plaza
Asbury Park, NJ 07712
City Council Chambers (Bangs Avenue Entrance)
4Borough of Belmar Municipal Building601 Main Street
Belmar, NJ 07719
5Eatontown Borough Municipal Building47 Broad Street
Eatontown, NJ 07724
Rear Entrance
6Board of Elections Office300 Halls Mill Road
Freehold, NJ 07728
Side Entrance
7Hazlet Agency – NJ Motor Vehicle Commission1374 Highway 36
Hazlet, NJ 07730
Airport Plaza
8Howell Township Municipal Building4567 Route 9 North
Howell, NJ 07731
Rear Entrance
9Long Branch City Hall344 Broadway
Long Branch, NJ 07740
10Manalapan Township Municipal Building120 County Road 522
Manalapan, NJ 07726
11Middletown Municipal Building1 Kings Highway
Middletown Township, NJ 07748
12Croydon Hall900 Leonardville Road
Leonardo, NJ 07737
13Neptune Township Municipal Building25 Neptune Boulevard
Neptune, NJ 07753
Library Entrance
14Ocean Township Town Hall399 Monmouth Road
Oakhurst, NJ 07755
15Red Bank Borough Municipal Building90 Monmouth Street
Red Bank, NJ 07701
16Rumson Borough Hall80 East River Road
Rumson, NJ 07760
17Wall Township Municipal Building2700 Allaire Road
Wall, NJ 07719

Middlesex County Man With An Englishtown Accounting Firm Charged In $385,000 Swindle

October 8, 2020

FREEHOLD, NJ (MONMOUTH)–A Middlesex County man with an Englishtown-based accounting firm is charged with stealing about $385,000 in tax payments from a wholesale distributor now based in South Carolina, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.

William A. Berry, of South Plainfield, was arrested and charged Tuesday with second degree Theft by Failure to Make Required Disposition. Berry was arrested with assistance from the Englishtown Police Department following a 10-month investigation by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office.

If convicted, Berry faces up to 10 years in a New Jersey state prison.

Berry, who will be 49 years old next week, is the owner of William Berry & Associates, an accounting and tax preparation business in Englishtown. The investigation found Berry stole funds in the aggregate amount of $385,000 for his personal use from the victims between March 2017 and July 2019. The investigation revealed Berry received funds from the victims’ personal and business banking accounts for the purposes of remitting federal and state quarterly taxes on behalf of the victims.  In turn, Berry failed to remit tax payments to the proper tax collecting authorities.

The Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office was contacted in December 2019 by a civil attorney for victims, the owners of a multi-million-dollar wholesaler distribution company that specializes in holiday décor currently based in Charleston, South Carolina.

The victims, former New Jersey residents, were subsequently contacted by law enforcement and reported hiring Berry to file and remit corporate taxes for their business after their former accountant retired.  The victims reported having previous business dealings with Berry at his Englishtown-based practice.  The investigation revealed Berry corresponded with the victims to advise them of the amounts to be remitted to the federal and state tax collection authorities on a quarterly basis. The victims sent funds between March 2017 through July 2019 at the direction of Berry, from their Bank of America accounts to a Wells Fargo bank account held in the name of William Berry and Associates.  The victims received subsequent notifications from the State of South Carolina and the Internal Revenue Service for failure to file and remit taxes for the years 2017 and 2018. 

The case is being prosecuted by Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Kristen Anastos.

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.

Asbury Park Man Arrested For Possession Of Assault Firearm And Other Charges

October 1, 2020

FREEHOLD, NJ (MONMOUTH)–An Asbury Park man was arrested and charged with possession of an assault firearm, among other charges, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.

Eshawn T. Richardson, 23, of Asbury Park, was arrested and charged with second degree Unlawful Possession of a Weapon (assault firearm), fourth degree Possession of a Prohibited Weapons and Devices (large capacity magazine), fourth degree Obstruction, fourth degree Resisting Arrest, and disorderly persons possession of a controlled dangerous substance.

On Tuesday September 29, 2020, Neptune Township Police Department responded to a 911 call of shots fired at approximately around 12:07 a.m.  Officers arrived and began an investigation, which subsequently led to the recovery of an American Tactical Mil Sport rifle loaded with .223 rounds and other evidence on a trail between Sunshine Park and Graham Avenue.  Officers located Richardson in close proximity to the trail.  Richardson fled from the officers on foot but was taken into custody a short time later.

A joint investigation was thereafter conducted by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and the Neptune Township Police Department.  The investigation revealed that while no victims were injured, a residence on the opposite side of State Highway 18 was damaged by gunfire around the same time.

The shooting of the residence remains under investigation, and anyone with information regarding the case can reach out to Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Detective Daniel Newman at (800)-533-7443 or Neptune Township Police Detective Mysonn Ledet at (732)-988-8000 x420.

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), by calling 800-671-4400 or by going to the website at www.monmouthcountycrimestoppers.com

Richardson is currently being detained at the Monmouth County Correctional Institution until his First Appearance and Detention Hearing.

If convicted of Unlawful Possession of a Weapon, Richardson faces a sentence of five to ten years in state prison. If convicted of any of the fourth degree charges, Richardson faces up to 18 months in prison. The disorderly persons charge carries up to six months in jail.

The case is assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Matthew Bogner.

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.

Illegal Interstate Gun Traffickers Charged

September 30, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Three New Jersey men and a man and woman from Florida have been charged with conspiring to illegally sell firearms, including handguns and a semi-automatic rifle, in and around Monmouth County, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced today.

Enrique Quijada, 23, a/k/a “El Enano 13,” a/k/a “Kike,” of Freehold, New Jersey; Manuel Espinosa-Ozoria, 30, a/k/a “Chino,” of Bartow, Florida; his brother, Waldin Espinosa-Ozoria, 31, a/k/a “Manin,” of Freehold, New Jersey; Javier Rodriguez-Valpais, 31, a/k/a “Broly,” of Morganville, New Jersey; and Jacquelyn Dejesus, 41, of Bartow, Florida, are each charged by criminal complaint with one count of conspiracy to engage in the business of unlicensed firearms dealing. Manuel Espinosa-Ozoria and Rodriguez-Valpais are each additionally charged with one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Manuel Espinosa-Ozoria and Dejesus are also charged with one count of unlawfully selling a firearm to an individual that they knew did not reside in their state of residence, namely Florida.

Quijada, Rodriguez-Valpais and Dejesus were arrested today are scheduled to appear by videoconference before U.S. Magistrate Judge Zahid N. Quraishi. Manuel Espinosa-Ozoria and Waldin Espinosa-Ozoria remain at large,

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

From May 2020 through September 2020, Manuel Espinosa-Ozoria, Waldin Espinosa-Ozoria, Quijada, Rodriguez-Valpais, and Dejesus were members of a gun trafficking conspiracy that spanned from Florida to New Jersey. Dejesus allegedly assisted Manuel Espinosa-Ozoria – the alleged leader of the conspiracy – by acting as a “straw purchaser” of firearms in Florida. Manuel Espinosa-Ozoria and Dejesus then transported the firearms from Florida to Monmouth County, where Manuel Espinosa-Ozoria, assisted by Waldin Espinosa-Ozoria and Rodriguez-Valpais, allegedly sold the firearms to an individual working at the direction and supervision of the FBI. In addition, Rodriguez-Valpais allegedly sold a .223 caliber semi-automatic rifle to Quijada, who, in turn, allegedly sold the rifle to an individual working at the direction and supervision of the FBI.

The counts of conspiracy to engage in the business of unlicensed firearms dealing and unlawfully selling a firearm to an unlicensed resident of another state each carry a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The counts of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the FBI, Newark Division, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr., with the investigation leading to the charges and arrest. He also thanked the FBI Tampa Division, the ATF Newark and Tampa Field Divisions, and the Freehold Borough, New Jersey, Police Department for their assistance in the investigation.

This case is part of Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws. Initiated by the Attorney General in the fall of 2019, Project Guardian draws upon the Department’s past successful programs to reduce gun violence; enhances coordination of federal, state, local and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes; improves information sharing by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives when a prohibited individual attempts to purchase a firearm and is denied by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), to include taking appropriate actions when a prospective purchaser is denied by the NICS for mental health reasons; and ensured that federal resources are directed at the criminals posing the greatest threat to our communities. For more information, please see: Project Guardian. 

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ian D. Brater of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Criminal Division in Trenton.

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

20-331

Defense counsel:
Quijada: David Schafer Esq., Lawrenceville, New Jersey
Rodriguez-Valpais: Brian Reilly Esq., Assistant Federal Public Defender, Trenton
Dejesus: Bruce Throckmorton Esq., Trenton

Philadelphia Man Gets 19 Years For 2016 Robbery Of Ocean Township AT&T Store

September 30, 2020

FREEHOLD, NJ (MONMOUTH)–A Philadelphia man was sentenced to 19 years in state prison today after his conviction in February on charges he robbed employees at an Ocean Township AT&T store in 2016, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.

Anthony Clark, 42, of Philadelphia was sentenced to a combined 19 years in a New Jersey state prison Wednesday afternoon by Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Ellen Torregrossa-O’Connor. The sentence is 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. The sentence follows his February conviction after a five-week trial on charges of first degree Armed Robbery, third degree Criminal Restraint, second degree Possession of a Handgun for an Unlawful Purpose, second degree Theft of Movable Property, and third degree Receiving Stolen Property.

At trial it was revealed Clark and four co-conspirators traveled from Philadelphia to Ocean Township on Sept. 6, 2016, in a stolen motor vehicle with plans to rob the AT&T store located on Route 35. Clark, posing as a customer, entered the store first and goaded a store employee into the far corner of the store under the guise of purchasing a cellphone. Shortly thereafter, three of his co-conspirators entered the store and forced the two store employees into a back inventory room at gunpoint. The store employees were forced to their knees and bound about their hands and feet with zip ties. While his co-conspirators proceeded to zip tie the staff members at gunpoint, Clark kept watch in the front of the store while communicating with another co-conspirator who was parked across the highway. Clark proceeded to fill numerous laundry bags with store merchandise, which were eventually loaded into the stolen motor vehicle. In total, Clark and his co-conspirators made off with over $130,000 worth of store merchandise.

The case was prosecuted by Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutors Joshua D. Detzky and Keri-Leigh Schaefer.

Clark is represented by Allison Friedman, Esq. and Anthony Cherry, Esq., of Freehold.


2020 Police Unity Tour Bike Ride Held In NJ


See related MidJersey.News coverage here: Police Unity Tour Memorial Service And Blessing Of Riders


September 27, 2020

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. 








Video provided by: Bucky For Sherriff










Vote-By-Mail Drop Box Arrives In Allentown

September 22, 2020

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.

A current list of Vote-By-Mail Drop Box locations for Monmouth County can be found here.

Vote-By-Mail Drop Box Locations

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.

LocationAddressEntry
1Aberdeen Municipal Building1 Aberdeen Square
Aberdeen, NJ 07747
2Allentown Borough Hall8 North Main Street
Allentown, NJ 08501
3Asbury Park City Hall1 Municipal Plaza
Asbury Park, NJ 07712
City Council Chambers (Bangs Avenue Entrance)
4Borough of Belmar Municipal Building601 Main Street
Belmar, NJ 07719
5Eatontown Borough Municipal Building47 Broad Street
Eatontown, NJ 07724
Rear Entrance
6Board of Elections Office300 Halls Mill Road
Freehold, NJ 07728
Side Entrance
7Hazlet Agency – NJ Motor Vehicle Commission1374 Highway 36
Hazlet, NJ 07730
Airport Plaza
8Howell Township Municipal Building4567 Route 9 North
Howell, NJ 07731
Rear Entrance
9Long Branch City Hall344 Broadway
Long Branch, NJ 07740
10Manalapan Township Municipal Building120 County Road 522
Manalapan, NJ 07726
11Middletown Municipal Building1 Kings Highway
Middletown Township, NJ 07748
12Croydon Hall900 Leonardville Road
Leonardo, NJ 07737
13Neptune Township Municipal Building25 Neptune Boulevard
Neptune, NJ 07753
Library Entrance
14Ocean Township Town Hall399 Monmouth Road
Oakhurst, NJ 07755
15Red Bank Borough Municipal Building90 Monmouth Street
Red Bank, NJ 07701
16Rumson Borough Hall80 East River Road
Rumson, NJ 07760
17Wall Township Municipal Building2700 Allaire Road
Wall, NJ 07719

Teen Charged With Murder Waived To Adult Court

September 16, 2020

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.

Freehold Township Remembers 9/11

September 12, 2020

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



Remembering the Victims of 9/11

September 11, 2020

By: Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ)

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.  

Governor Murphy Signs Legislation Extending MVC Deadlines and Streamlining Processes During Pandemic

September 10, 2020

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. 

The legislation will take effect immediately.




3.1 Earthquake Centered In Freehold, NJ, Reports Through Mid Jersey, Stretching NYC To Philadelphia

September 9, 2020

FREEHOLD, NJ (MONMOUTH)–At 2 am The USGS Earthquake Information Center, Hazards Program reports a 3.1 earthquake in Freehold, NJ in the area of Kozloski Road near First Responders Way-Burlington Road.

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.

Location40.262N 74.246W
Depth5 km
Distances2.1 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.

Brielle Police Officer Admits Stealing From Police Union

September 4, 2020

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.

One Critically Injured In Asbury Park Shooting

September 3, 2020

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 Reopen Today At 25% Capacity Many Have Modified Hours

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.

Robert Wood Johnson Fitness and Wellness Center is set to reopen on Monday September 8, 2020 at 5:00 am. See RWJ Fitness and Wellness announcement here.



For Jersey Strong covid-19 reopening information go to this link.

Planet Fitness Covid-19 information here

Robert Wood Johnson Fitness and Welness Center



Officers Admit Targeting Citizen After Complaint

August 25, 2020

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.

Former Ocean Township Police Officer Charged With Theft, Forgery

August 24, 2020

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.



Woman Receives 5 Years In Prison For Fatal Pedestrian Collision

Driver was Using Cellular Phone When Fatal Crash Occurred

August 21, 2020

FREEHOLD, NJ (MONMOUTH)–A Monmouth County judge sentenced a 51-year-old Keansburg woman to 5 years in prison in connection with the 2016 collision which took the life of 39-year-old Yuwen Wang on Laurel Avenue in Hazlet Township, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.

Alexandra Mansonet, 51, of Keansburg, was sentenced to 5 years in a New Jersey state prison by the Honorable Judge David F. Bauman on Friday, August 21, 2020. Mansonet’ s sentence is also subject to the provisions of the No Early Release Act (NERA) requiring her to serve 85 percent of the sentence imposed before becoming eligible for release on parole.  She will also be on parole for a period of three years once released. The trial jury returned a guilty verdict for second degree Vehicular Homicide following a three-week trial on November 22, 2019.

Evidence presented at the trial revealed that Mansonet was texting while driving at the time of the fatal crash.

The charges stem from a collision which occurred at approximately 8:20 a.m. on Sept. 28, 2016 at the intersection of Laurel Avenue and Sixth Street in Hazlet.  The initial collision involved a 2000 Mercedes Benz, operated by Mansonet and a 2011 Toyota Corolla, operated by Robert Matich of Keansburg.  Matich’s son was a passenger in the vehicle.  Matich’s vehicle was proceeding south on Laurel Avenue approaching the intersection with Sixth Street when he observed pedestrians looking to cross Laurel Avenue at the marked crosswalk.  In compliance with motor vehicle law that requires a driver to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk, Matich slowed his vehicle a significant distance prior to the intersection to allow the pedestrians to cross.  As Matich brought his vehicle to a controlled stop, Mansonet’s vehicle collided with the rear of his vehicle, which was propelled forward, striking the victim.

Wang was transported by helicopter to Robert Wood Johnson University Medical Center’s Trauma Unit in New Brunswick, where she died on Oct. 3, 2016.

An investigation by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, Monmouth County Serious Collision Analysis Response Team (SCART) and Hazlet Township Police Department determined Mansonet was using her cellular telephone while driving and made no observations of Matich’s vehicle. Accordingly, Mansonet never activated her brakes and collided with the vehicle, causing it to cast forward and strike the victim.

After Mansonet was sentenced, Raymond M. Brown, Esq., one of the attorneys handling her appeal, asked the Court to grant Mansonet’s release on bail while her appeal is pending, which was opposed by the State. Judge Bauman denied the motion.  Mr. Brown then asked Judge Bauman to stay his order pending an emergent appeal of the denial of bail pending appeal.  The stay was granted, allowing Mansonet to file and emergent appeal to the Appellate Division on the issue.

Accordingly, Judge Bauman released Mansonet, but ordered that she turn herself in on Tuesday, August 25, 2020 by 3:00 p.m. to begin serving her sentence unless the Appellate Division reverses his ruling and grants bail pending appeal.

The case was prosecuted by Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Christopher J. Decker, Director of the Office’s Major Crimes Bureau.

Mansonet was represented at trial and sentencing by Steven D. Altman, Esq. and Philip Nettl, Esq. of Benedict and Altman, New Brunswick.  She is now represented by Raymond M. Brown, Esq. and Rachel E. Simon, Esq. of Scarinci Hollenbeck, Lyndhurst.