Category: Freehold

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.

31 Arrests in Santander ATM Scams In Monmouth County

August 21, 2020

FREEHOLD, NJ (MONMOUTH)–Investigations into regional criminal scams across the state involving the fraudulent use of debit cards to make unauthorized cash withdrawals at Santander Bank ATMs led to the arrest of more than two dozen people in Monmouth County on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.

The thieves were able to exploit a glitch in Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) belonging to Santander Banks, allowing them to use prepaid debit cards to make continuous withdrawals of cash from the ATMs. The prepaid debit cards, like the Green Dot cards used by other scammers involved in telephone schemes, can be purchased at most retail stores. The bank was alerted to higher-than-usual ATM withdrawals and eventually closed down its ATM locations.

Santander Bank has subsequently corrected the glitch in their ATM machines.

“This is a great example of inter-agency cooperation and how it works to everyone’s benefit. These local police departments received the information about this growing scam from state and federal authorities and they kept a watchful eye that resulted in arrests. Everyone involved did an outstanding job,” said Prosecutor Gramiccioni.

The following arrests were made:

By Englishtown Police Department:

  • Cesar Armando Ortiz, Jr., 25, of Brooklyn, New York, is charged with fourth degree Conspiracy – Theft by an Unlawful Taking, third degree Criminal Attempt – Theft by an Unlawful Taking; and disorderly persons offenses of Possession of Less than 50 grams of Marijuana and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.
  • Asaun Stone, 24, of Brooklyn, New York, is charged with fourth degree Conspiracy – Theft by an Unlawful Taking, third degree Criminal Attempt –Theft by an Unlawful Taking; and disorderly persons offenses of Possession of Less than 50 grams of Marijuana and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.
  • David Gorin Redding, 23, of Brooklyn, New York, is charged with fourth degree Conspiracy – Theft by an Unlawful Taking, third degree Criminal Attempt –Theft by an Unlawful Taking; and disorderly persons offenses of Possession of Less than 50 grams of Marijuana and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.
  • Noel Machado, 29, of Brooklyn, New York, is charged with fourth degree Conspiracy – Theft by an Unlawful Taking, third degree Criminal Attempt –Theft by an Unlawful Taking; and disorderly persons offenses of Possession of Less than 50 grams of Marijuana and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.
  • Denzel I. Gravenhise, 26, of Brooklyn, New York, is charged with fourth degree Conspiracy – Theft by an Unlawful Taking, third degree Criminal Attempt –Theft by an Unlawful Taking; and disorderly persons offenses of Possession of Less than 50 grams of Marijuana and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.
  • Teru J. Pratt, 26, of Brooklyn, New York, is charged with fourth degree Conspiracy – Theft by an Unlawful Taking, third degree Criminal Attempt –Theft by an Unlawful Taking; and disorderly persons offenses of Possession of Less than 50 grams of Marijuana and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.
  • Gregory M. Harrington, 31, of Brooklyn, New York, is charged with fourth degree Conspiracy – Theft by an Unlawful Taking, third degree Criminal Attempt –Theft by an Unlawful Taking; and disorderly persons offenses of Possession of Less than 50 grams of Marijuana and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

By Freehold Township Police Department:

  • Damon C Joseph, 23, of The Bronx, New York, is charged with third degree Theft, fourth degree Possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance and fourth degree Possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance with Intent to Distribute.
  • Quran E Martin, 25, of East Harlem, New York, is charged with third degree Theft, fourth degree Possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance and fourth degree Possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance with Intent to Distribute.

By Holmdel Township Police Department:

  • Derrick Jackson, 23, of Brooklyn, New York, is charged with third degree Criminal Attempt – Fraudulent Use of a Credit Card.

By Little Silver Police Department:

  • Robert F. Aiello, 55, of Mountain Lakes, is charged with fourth degree Credit Card Theft, third degree Fraudulent Use of a Credit Card, third degree Conspiracy – Theft by Unlawful Taking, third degree Receiving Stolen Property, Theft of United States Currency, and a disorderly persons offense of Possession of Less than 50 mg of Marijuana.
  • Raim A Duplessis, 23, of  Newark, is charged with fourth degree Credit Card Theft and fourth degree Conspiracy to Commit Credit Card Theft.
  • Zamir Zhaire Knox, 21, of Union, is charged with fourth degree Credit Card Theft, third degree Fraudulent Use of a Credit Card, third degree Conspiracy – Theft by an Unlawful Taking, two counts of third degree Receiving Stolen Property; and fourth degree Obstruction.
  • Giovanni Neville Tyrell, 24, of Teaneck, is charged with fourth degree Credit Card Theft, third degree Conspiracy to Commit Credit Card Theft, and a disorderly persons offense of Possession of Less than 50 mg of Marijuana.
  • Martin J. Rosendary, 24, of Union, is charged with fourth degree Credit Card Theft, third degree Fraudulent Use of a Credit Card, third degree Conspiracy – Theft by an Unlawful Taking, and fourth degree Obstruction.
  • Briana Aviles, 22, of Newark, is charged with fourth degree Credit Card Theft, third degree Fraudulent Use of a Credit Card, third degree Conspiracy – Theft by an Unlawful Taking, third degree Receiving Stolen Property; and a disorderly persons offense of Possession of Less than 50 grams of Marijuana.
  • Markeem Louise Jackson, 36, of Brooklyn, New York, is charged with fourth degree Credit Card Theft, third degree Receiving Stolen Property; and disorderly persons offenses of Possession of Less than 50 grams of Marijuana and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.
  • Wayne Hill, 22, of Brooklyn, New York, is charged with fourth degree Credit Card Theft, and third degree Conspiracy – Theft by an Unlawful Taking.

By Marlboro Township Police Department:

Marlboro police officers observed individuals loitering in a lobby of the ATM at Santander. The suspects were subsequently detained during a traffic stop by Old Bridge Police Department, who charged the following individuals:

  • Ishmil Q. Harmon, 28, of Brooklyn, New York, is charged with third degree Theft by Unlawful Taking and third degree Computer Crime to Access with the Purpose to Defraud.
  • Devaim K. Fulmore, 23, of Brooklyn, New York, is charged with third degree Theft by Unlawful Taking and third degree Computer Crime to Access with the Purpose to Defraud.
  • Shyiem L. McLean, 22, of Brooklyn, New York, is charged with third degree Theft by Unlawful Taking and third degree Computer Crime to Access with the Purpose to Defraud.
  • Charles E. Sprowal Jr., 22, of Brooklyn, New York, is charged with third degree Theft by Unlawful Taking and third degree Computer Crime to Access with the Purpose to Defraud.

By Wall Township Police Department:

  • Anthony J. Kelly, 31, of Brooklyn, New York, is charged with one count of third degree theft by unlawful taking and possession of marijuana under 50 grams, a disorderly persons offense.
  • Clifton Davis, 29, of Brooklyn, New York, is charged with one count of third degree theft by unlawful taking, one count of third degree possession of oxycodone and possession of marijuana under 50 grams, a disorderly persons offense. 
  • Barrington L. Wright, 25, of Brooklyn, New York, is charged with one count of third degree theft by unlawful taking and possession of marijuana under 50 grams, a disorderly persons offense.
  • Sean Bennett, 22, of Chester, New York, is charged with one count of fourth degree theft by unlawful taking, possession of marijuana under 50 grams and possession of drug paraphernalia, both disorderly persons offenses.
  • Robert J. Glisson Jr., 24, of The Bronx, New York, is charged with possession of marijuana under 50 grams and possession of drug paraphernalia, both disorderly persons offenses.
  • Timothy Gonzalez, 26, of The Bronx, New York, is charged with one count of fourth degree theft by unlawful taking, possession of marijuana under 50 grams and possession of drug paraphernalia, both disorderly persons offenses.
  • Quenton L. Price, 24, of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania is charged with one count of fourth degree theft by unlawful taking, possession of marijuana under 50 grams and possession of drug paraphernalia, both disorderly persons offenses.
  • Tyrell T. Mingo, 24, of Teaneck, is charged with one count of third degree theft by unlawful taking, possession of marijuana under 50 grams and possession of drug paraphernalia, both disorderly persons offenses.  Mingo is being held the Monmouth County Correctional Institution and pending a future court date.
  • Leroy C. Woods-Williams, 24, of Hackensack, is charged with one count of third degree theft by unlawful taking, possession of marijuana under 50 grams and possession of drug paraphernalia, both disorderly persons offenses.  Woods-Williams is being held the Monmouth County Correctional Institution and pending a future court date.

If convicted of a third degree crime, each defendant faces a sentence of three to five years in a New Jersey State Prison. 

If convicted of a fourth degree offense, each defendant faces up to 18 months in a New Jersey State Prison.

A disorderly persons offense carries a sentence of up to six (6) months.

Authorities are aware of multiple attempts that were made in municipalities across Monmouth County but have not resulted in any arrests. If anyone has additional information about this statewide scam, please call your local police department or contact Detective Elethia Baldwin of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office at 1-800-533-7443 and ask to speak to a detective in the Financial Crimes and Public Corruption Bureau.

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

The case is assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Barbara Suppa, Director of the Office’s Financial Crimes and Public Corruption Bureau, and Assistant Prosecutor Lawrence Nelsen.

Despite these charges, every defendant is presumed innocent, unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, following a trial at which the defendant has all of the trial rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and State law.

Lakewood Man Has Been Arrested For Attempted Murder In Shooting Of 4 Year Old Girl

August 20, 2020


See previous MidJersey.News story here: Law Enforcement Asking For Public’s Assistance In Finding Shooter Of 4 Year Old Child In Monmouth County


FREEHOLD, NJ (MONMOUTH)—A Lakewood man has been arrested and charged for his role in the shooting of a four-year-old Asbury Park girl, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.

Sciaire N. Jackson, 27, of Lakewood, has been arrested and charged with first degree Attempted Murder, second degree Aggravated Assault, second degree Possession of a Weapon For an Unlawful Purpose, second degree Unlawful Possession of a Weapon and second degree Certain Person Prohibited from Possessing a Weapon.

At approximately 1:35 p.m. on Tuesday, August 18, 2020, a 4-year-old child was shot while sitting outside the family’s home with other family members on Boston Way, a residential village in Asbury Park.  The child was shot in the upper thigh area, breaking the femur bone. Physicians treating the child have deemed the injury as serious, but non-life threatening.

A joint investigation by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and the Asbury Park Police Department revealed that Jackson rode up on a bicycle and began firing a handgun at several people located outside of an apartment.  The child was just playing outside and was not the intended target.  A second person returned fire at Jackson; however that person has not has not yet been identified.

The Prosecutor’s Office would also like to extend a special thank you to the Lakewood Police Department for their help in this investigation.

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 William Anton of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office at 1-800-533-7443 or Asbury Park Police Detective Dillon Gourley 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; or by downloading and using the free P3 Tips mobile app (available for iOS and Android – https://www.p3tips.com/community/index.htm).

If convicted of Attempted Murder, Jackson faces up to 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 his release from state prison.If convicted of Aggravated Assault, the maximum potential sentence is a State Prison term of up to 10 years.  Any sentence imposed for the crime of Aggravated Assault would also be subject to “N.E.R.A.”
           

If convicted of either Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose or Unlawful Possession of a Weapon, the maximum potential sentence is a State Prison term of 10 years, and pursuant to the “Graves Act” there is a mandatory period of parole ineligibility of one half of the custodial sentence imposed, or 42 months, whichever is greater.If convicted of Certain Persons Not to Possess Weapons, he faces up to 10 years in state prison with a five-year mandatory period of parole ineligibility.

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.

Law Enforcement Asking For Public’s Assistance In Finding Shooter Of 4 Year Old Child In Monmouth County

See MidJersey.News update here: Lakewood Man Has Been Arrested For Attempted Murder In Shooting Of 4 Year Old Girl

August 19, 2020

FREEHOLD, NJ (MONMOUTH)–Monmouth County law enforcement officials are asking for the public’s assistance to bring a shooter, responsible for causing serious injuries to a 4-year-old, to justice. The shooting took place in Asbury Park on August 18, 2020, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.

At approximately 1:35 p.m. on Tuesday, August 18, 2020, a 4-year-old child was shot while sitting outside the family’s home on Boston Way. The child was shot in the upper thigh area, breaking the femur bone. The injury is deemed serious, but non-life threatening.

“Enough is enough,” Gramiccioni stated. “We have a toddler who was struck and injured by a stray bullet while sitting outside her apartment in the middle of the day.  Thankfully, all indications are that the little girl will recover.  Unfortunately, though, this has not always been the case.  In 2018, 10-year-old Yovanni Banos-Merino, lost his life while hiding under a bed from gunfire. These senseless acts of violence must stop.  We must do everything in our power to ensure that Monmouth County’s citizens, and their children, are safe and protected.  We are requesting the public’s assistance to help bring the perpetrator to justice for this heinous and monstrous act.”

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 William Anton of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office at 1-800-533-7443 or Asbury Park Police Detective Dillon Gourley 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; or by downloading and using the free P3 Tips mobile app (available for iOS and Android – https://www.p3tips.com/community/index.htm).

Suspended Police Officer Pleads Guilty To Possession of a Prescription Legend Drug Clenbuterol

August 14, 2020

*Clenbuterol according to Wikipedia is a bronchodilator and in some countries used for asthma. The drug also known by street name “bute” is used by bodybuilders in their “cutting” cycles for weight loss. As of 2011, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) listed Clenbuterol as an anabolic agent*

FREEHOLD, NJ (MONMOUTH)–A suspended Ocean Township police officer pleaded guilty Thursday admitting he unlawfully possessed Clenbuterol, a drug not approved for human use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration but popular among human consumers as a weight loss supplement, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.

Ryan Vaccaro, 38, of Ocean Township, pleaded guilty to fourth-degree Possession of a Prescription Legend Drug (Clenbuterol), before Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Lourdes Lucas, as part of a plea agreement with this Office.   During his plea, Vaccaro acknowledged that between May 1, 2018 and Feb. 19, 2019, he was knowingly in possession of five or more dosage units of Clenbuterol and that he did not have a lawful prescription for that substance.

Vaccaro was charged on February 19, 2019 with fourth degree Possession of a Prescription Legend Drug, second degree Possession with Intent to Distribute a Prescription Legend Drug, and second degree Distribution of a Prescription Legend Drug, as a result of an investigation connected to former Deal Police Officer Joseph Ammaturo, who entered a guilty plea last month.   The investigation revealed that Ammaturo obtained three boxes of Astralean Clenbuterol containing approximately 150 pills from Vaccaro and that Ammaturo distributed two of those boxes to other individuals.  The third box was ultimately recovered from Ammaturo’s residence.  Additional Clenbuterol pills were found in Vaccaro’s residence during the execution of a search warrant.

Clenbuterol is a drug used to treat breathing disorders in animals and is not approved for human use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.  It is popular among human consumers as a weight loss supplement despite its banned status.

As part of his plea agreement, an order permanently barring Vaccaro from holding public office in New Jersey was entered and signed by Judge Lucas today. The plea agreement also permits Vaccaro to apply to the pre-trial intervention program.

 “We will continue to prosecute law enforcement officers who fail to respect their responsibilities to the community and to their colleagues who put their lives on the line each and every day,” Gramiccioni said.

“I am pleased that this case has finally concluded and we as an organization can put this behind us. The Ocean Township Police Department is a highly professional and community-minded organization and we will not let the actions of a former police officer overshadow the great work and dedication by the men and women of this department,” said Ocean Township Police Chief Steven R. Peters.

Sentencing is scheduled for October 9, 2020, at which time Vacarro faces a probationary sentence.

The case has been assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Melanie Falco, Director of the office’s Professional Responsibility and Bias Crimes Unit.

Vaccaro is represented by Richard E. Incremona, Esq., of Freehold.

Neptune Man Arrested For Attempted Murder

August 11, 2020

FREEHOLD, NJ (MONMOUTH)–A Neptune Township man was arrested and charged for his role in an attempted murder in Asbury Park in May, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.

Ryan Taylor, 29, of Neptune Township, was arrested and charged with first degree Attempted Murder, second degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose, second degree Unlawful Possession of a Weapon, second degree Certain Person Not to Possess a Weapon, second degree Armed Burglary, and third degree Hindering Apprehension.

Asbury Park Police Department responded to a report of shots fired on May 15, 2020, around 10:33 p.m., in the area of the Asbury Park Village housing complex located on Atkins Avenue. Upon arrival, officers located a 26-year-old male victim suffering from a gunshot wound. The victim was taken to Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune Township where he was treated and later released.

A joint investigation by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and the Asbury Park Police Department revealed the victim was standing in the courtyard of the apartment complex when two men approached the group of people, including the victim and began shooting. Taylor was later identified as one of the shooters, the second shooter has not been identified.

Anyone with information regarding the case can reach out to Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Detective Ramon Camacho at (800)-533-7443 or Asbury Park Police Detective Cynthia Yost at (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; or by downloading and using the free P3 Tips mobile app (available for iOS and Android – https://www.p3tips.com/community/index.htm).

If convicted of Attempted Murder, Taylor faces up to 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 his release from state prison.

If convicted of Possession of Weapon for an Unlawful purpose, Unlawful Possession of a Weapon, Certain Persons Not to Possess a Weapon and Armed Burglary, Taylor faces a sentence of five to ten years in state prison, on each charge. If convicted of Hindering Apprehension, Taylor faces a sentence of three to five years in prison. 

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.

Jackson, Ocean County Man Pleads Guilty To Shooting Death of Manlapan Man

August 7, 2020

FREEHOLD, NJ (MONMOUTH)–An Ocean County man pleaded guilty yesterday for his role in the shooting death of a Manalapan man in October 2019, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.

Gerard A. Grimes Jr., 24, of Jackson, pleaded guilty to first degree Aggravated Manslaughter and second degree Unlawful Possession of a Firearm before Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Marc C. LeMieux. Grimes admitted shooting five times at the three men who were chasing after him, one of the shots struck and killed 43-year-old Narcisco Rodriguez-Corona.

Grimes is expected to return for sentencing on Nov. 20, 2020. As part of his plea agreement, prosecutors will recommend a 12-year sentence in a New Jersey state prison on the Aggravated Manslaughter charge, subject to the provisions of the “No Early Release Act” (NERA), requiring him to serve 85 percent of his imposed sentence before becoming eligible for release on parole. Grimes would also be under parole supervision for five years following his prospective release from state prison. There will also be a recommendation for a seven-year state prison term to run concurrent with the other sentence included in his plea agreement.

The case involving Grimes co-defendants, Zoey S. Monte, 21, and Tyler J. Martucci, 23, both of Jackson, are still pending.
The case stems from an Oct. 5, 2019, call reporting shots fired with a victim. Manalapan police officers responded to the 9:34 p.m. call reporting a fight at 25 Fawn Run in the township. Several minutes later, police received another call for a confirmed shooting victim. Manalapan police officers arrived on scene and discovered Rodriguez-Corona suffering from a gunshot wound. He was transported to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, where he was pronounced deceased.

After receiving initial information regarding the incident, police began to search the area. A few hours later, police attempted a motor vehicle stop of Grimes’ vehicle, but he failed to stop. Thereafter, Grimes fled the vehicle. Monte and Martucci were also onboard the vehicle and were arrested at that time. A short time later, Grimes was found in the backyard of a neighborhood residence.

A joint investigation by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and Manalapan Township Police Department revealed Grimes came to the Manalapan residence armed with a handgun. Grimes attempted to enter the residence while Monte and Martucci remained outside. Residents of the home were alerted to Grimes’ presence and attempted to stop him from entering, resulting in a brief confrontation outside the home. Shortly thereafter, a second encounter occurred nearby, where Grimes ultimately shot the victim. Grimes, Monte and Martucci all fled the area.

Monte was indicted on charges of one count of second degree Burglary, one count of second degree Conspiracy to Commit Burglary, one count of second degree Unlawful Possession of a Handgun, one count of second degree Possession of a Firearm for an Unlawful Purpose, one count of fourth degree Unlawful Possession of a Weapon, and one count of third degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose.

Martucci was indicted on one count of second degree Burglary, one count of second degree Conspiracy to Commit Burglary, one count of second degree Unlawful Possession of a Handgun, one count of second degree Possession of a Firearm for an Unlawful Purpose, one count of fourth degree Unlawful Possession of a Weapon, and one count of third degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose.

The case is assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutors Lawrence Nelson and Merlin Thomas.

Grimes is represented by Glenn Kassman, Esq. of Tinton Falls.

Monte is represented by John Perrone, Esq., of Long Branch.

Martucci is represented by Albert Kapin, Esq., of West Orange.

Despite these charges included in the indictment against Monte and Martucci, 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.

Neptune Township Special Police Officer Pleads Guilty To Using Law Enforcement Database For Non-Law Enforcement Purpose

August 6, 2020

FREEHOLD, NJ (MONMOUTH)–A Neptune Township Special Class 1 Police Officer pleaded guilty to computer theft today admitting he used a law enforcement database for a non-law enforcement purpose, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.

Syessence Davis, 27, of Neptune Township, pleaded guilty to third degree Computer Theft before Monmouth County Presiding Criminal Court Judge David F. Bauman, admitting he used a law enforcement database for a non-law enforcement purpose. As part of his plea agreement, Davis faces a probationary sentence when he returns for sentencing on Oct. 2, 2020. Judge Bauman also ordered that Davis permanently forfeit all future public employment in New Jersey.

An investigation by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and Neptune Township Police Department revealed that in May 2020, Davis contacted the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office Communications Center and requested that a driver’s license be run through the New Jersey Criminal Justice Information System. That inquiry, which the officer made through the Neptune Township Police Department booking telephone line, was subsequently determined to be made for a non-law enforcement purpose that was personal in nature.

“We were made aware of the infraction and immediately informed the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office about the actions of one of our officers,” explained Neptune Township Police Chief James Hunt.

“Every law enforcement officer has a responsibility to the general public to maintain a level of professional conduct. Accessing personal information of a citizen without a law enforcement need is unacceptable and will result in appropriate penalties, including loss of employment,” Prosecutor Gramiccioni said.

The case is assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Melanie Falco, Director of the Office’s Professional Responsibility and Bias Crime Unit.

Davis is represented by Taylor DiBenedetto, Esq., of Cherry Hill.

One Dead, One Injured In Freehold Shooting

August 1, 2020

FREEHOLD, NJ (MONMOUTH)–One man is dead and another injured as the result of a shooting that occurred early Saturday morning in Freehold Borough, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.

At approximately 1:04 a.m. on August 1, 2020, the Freehold Borough Police Department responded to multiple 911 calls in the area of 40 Jackson Street. Upon arrival, officers found 2 male victims, one deceased and one injured.  The deceased victim was pronounced dead at approximately 2:00 a.m., and the second victim was taken to a local hospital, where he is currently listed in serious but stable condition.

The case is being investigated by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and the Freehold Borough Police Department. Anyone with information about this case is urged to call Detective Christopher Guy of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office at 1-800-533-7443 or Detective Shaun Hobbs of the Freehold Borough Police Department at 732-577-8308.

Information can also be provided by calling 1-800-671-4400, visiting Monmouth County Crime Stoppers.com, or through the free “P3 Tips” mobile app available on the iOS and Android platforms.

Monmouth County Corrections Officer Sentenced To Probation

July 29, 2020

FREEHOLD, NJ (MONMOUTH)–A Monmouth County corrections officer was sentenced to two-years probation after admitting he engaged in sexual contact with an inmate at the Monmouth County Correctional Institution last year, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.

Thomas J. Mauro, 42 of Beachwood, was sentenced by Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Vincent N. Falcetano, Jr.  Although the State argued that Mauro should be incarcerated for 180 days in jail, Judge Falcetano instead suspended the imposition of any jail term on the defendant, indicating he would serve the 180 days if he violated his probation.  Judge Falcetano further ordered Mauro to maintain full time employment, obtain substance abuse and mental health evaluations, and follow all recommendations, and attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. The Court had previously ordered Mauro to permanently forfeit his ability to hold public office at his guilty plea earlier this year.

 The victim, a 31-year-old female inmate from Neptune City, was observed on April 27, 2019, entering a bathroom at the correctional facility reserved for the exclusive use of Monmouth County Correctional Institution (MCCI) staff. Moments later, Mauro followed her into the same bathroom. While in the bathroom, Mauro engaged in sexual contact with the inmate before they each exited the bathroom separately.  The investigation revealed that Mauro and the woman had a prior relationship in 2013 while the woman was not an inmate at the facility.  Regardless of any prior relationship, such sexual contact is prohibited by law.  A correction officer’s power and authority over an inmate invalidates any possible consent that an inmate could provide. 

 “Law enforcement officers have an obligation to maintain the public’s trust that they are conducting themselves at the highest standards.  Corrections officers have the added obligation to ensure that they are maintaining an environment free of the abuse demonstrated in this case,” Gramiccioni said.

“Let this serve as a warning to every officer: violating your oath does harm to your fellow officers, the inmates, and public. Any officer violating that oath will be held fully accountable for their conduct. I’m proud of the corrections officers who diligently serve this agency, and no one will tarnish that reputation,” said Sheriff Shaun Golden.

The case was prosecuted by Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Melanie Falco, Director of the Office’s Professional Responsibilities and Bias Crime Unit.

Mauro is represented by Jeffrey Garrigan, Esq., of Jersey City.