Category: Monmouth County

Upper Freehold Swears in New Firefighters

April 21, 2021

ALLENTOWN – UPPER FREEHOLD TWP, NJ (MONMOUTH)–On April 19th, 2021 Upper Freehold Township held a very small ceremony where 3 New Firefighters were sworn in by Business Administrator Dana Tyler at the fire station. After the new personnel were sworn in each Firefighter was “Pinned” by a close family member. The “Pinning” is the placing of the Firefighter’s Official Badge of Service on their uniform for the first time, as they begin their service for our community. Due to COVID-19 restrictions the event was limited to immediate family of the 3 Firefighters, co-workers, and representatives from local fire departments.

Firefighter Scott Royle took the position of Captain, charged with oversight of the Fire & Emergency Services for Upper Freehold Township and The Borough of Allentown under the direction of The Township Committee. Captain Royle comes to us with 18 years of experience at various agencies in Monmouth County. He is a US Navy Veteran and worked in the private fire investigation industry prior to coming to us. He continues to volunteer with the Matawan Fire Department and is a great asset to the town.

Firefighter Nick Brown a resident of Eatontown, NJ. He volunteered with Eatontown Fire Department, Tinton Falls Fire Department, & Eatontown Emergency Medical Services before coming to Upper Freehold Township. He has been a firefighter since 2015. He worked Per-Diem for South Wall Fire Rescue since 2019 and with us since early 2020, before being offered a spot as a full-time firefighter.

Firefighter Blake Nebbia grew up in the Upper Freehold Twp. and Allentown area. He has lived here for 17 years. He joined Hope Fire Company 9 years ago and has work extremely hard to get to this spot. Firefighter Nebbia is a graduate of Allentown High School and worked for Upper Freehold School District till he was offered a full-time position. He also worked Per Diem with Ewing Township as a firefighter.



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Stone Bridge Middle School, True North Robotics Team

April 19, 2021

ALLENTOWN, UPPER FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP, NJ (MONMOUTH)–This year a competitive Lego robotics team was established at Stone Bridge Middle School. Melissa Domen, the business leader of the Allentown high school robotics team, is the founder of the middle school team.

The name of the middle school team, True North Robotics, unites Stone Bridge Middle School’s motto of “Finding your True North” with the students’ passion for robotics. With the guidance of high school students on Redbird Robotics, 14 middle school students have learned programming, building, and teamwork skills, while having a successful rookie season this year so far.

On Feb. 13, 2021, True North Robotics did an outstanding job at the virtual Qualifying Event competition and headed to the virtual Southern NJ District Championship competition on April 10. The team received the Robot Design Award and the Breakthrough Award. At the Qualifying Event, the students placed fifth and sixth in the robot challenge game. At the Southern NJ District Championship competition, the students won the Rising Star Award and held an overall score well above the average for a rookie team.

Participating teams were judged on four different components during the competition including the Robot Game, a Robot Design Presentation, an Innovation Project Presentation, and a Core Values activity. For the Robot Game and Robot Design, the team built and programmed two different robots made out of Legos to complete a series of obstacles in 2.5 minutes. For the Innovation Project, True North Robotics invented and created prototypes of special swimming gear to help prevent swimmer’s ear and a mobile gym to encourage everyone to be more active.

In February 2020, Melissa Domen was awarded a grant by the Upper Freehold Regional Education Foundation to start True North Robotics. Since middle school level robotics competitions have a limit of 10 team members per team, True North Robotics split into two smaller competition teams. One competition team is called True North Robotics Impact and has eight students (Aaryan Desai, Ioanna Varouhakis, Vishek Desai, Luke Greenbaum, Taylor Lalla, Elena Mathew, Theo Renzulli, Jeremy George) , and the other competition team is called True North Robotics Innovation and has six students (Sean Gavin, Mia Laudien, Remy Fortsch, Aarav Patnaik, Benjamin Utset, Sienna Jones). Each of the smaller group team names are named after the Core Values of FIRST: Discovery, Innovation, Impact, Inclusion, Teamwork, Fun, Coopertition, and Gracious Professionalism.

The nonprofit organization FIRST stands for For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology. FIRST runs many types of robotics competitions for different grade levels from PreK through 12th grade. Both True North Robotics and Allentown High School Redbird Robotics are FIRST robotics competition teams. The True North Robotics’s competition level is called FIRST Lego League, and the Allentown High School Redbird Robotics’s competition level is called FIRST Robotics Competition.

What makes this team unique compared to other middle school robotics teams is that this team is 100% student run. Shane Conlin, Amelia Tricker, and Liam Granaghan are current Allentown high school students on the Redbird Robotics team and have been helping the True North Robotics team this season. Mr. Mark Guterl, Mrs. Stefanie Folino and Mr. Brian Myslinski have also been a great support for the team since its start. It has certainly been a team effort to get this team up in running with success. It has been quite an experience starting up a new competitive robotics team during a pandemic. The season kicked off in the summer of 2020 with online meetings. Students learned several skills like coding a robot, building robots, robotics competitions, the culture of the FIRST organization, and high school robotics. The end of the summer was also spent meeting in-person to build robots and obstacles made out of Legos. Safety measures such as social distancing and sanitizing were practiced at every single meeting. Both online and in-person meetings were held four days a week throughout the school year. Usually the competition season for middle school robotics starts in August and ends in December. But with it being a new team in a pandemic, this year’s season started in June 2020 and will be continuing until the end of April 2021. Soon, the team will start planning next year’s season. The team is always looking for new Stone Bridge Middle School students to apply for the team. Also, if you are a local individual or business that would like to get involved with the Upper Freehold Regional School District Robotics Teams, please email 1807frc@gmail.com




“Remains” Found At Allaire State Park Were Fake Possibly Discarded Halloween Decoration

April 18, 2021

HOWELL-WALL TOWNSHIP, NJ (MONMOUTH)–There were unconfirmed reports of a skull and “remains” found last night and a crime scene investigation at Allaire State Park.

Sgt. Philip Curry of the New Jersey State Police, Public Information Unit told MidJersey.news “NJSP detectives responded to the report of recovered human remains in Allaire State Park.  An analysis of the remains determined that they were fake and not actual human remains.”

Another source told MidJersey.news that the remains could have been a realistic discarded Halloween decoration.


Crash On I-195 East Bound At Exit 16 Injures One, One Arrested For Suspicion Of DWI

April 12, 2021 — Updated

MILLSTONE TOWNSHIP, NJ (MONMOUTH)–NJ State Police tells MidJersey.news that at 10:36 am a crash occurred involving a Toyota and a Volvo XC40. The vehicles were traveling east bound on I-195 just prior to Exit 16B (County Road 537) at mile marker 16.6 one of the vehicles overturned.

Millstone Township Fire Department Fire and EMS responded to the scene. Upon arrival there was no entrapment but 1 person was injured from the Volvo and was transported to Centra State Medical Center in Freehold.

NJ State Police was on scene investigating and appeared to have one person under arrest but it was unclear what involvement that person had in the crash.

NJ DOT closed the left lane until the vehicles could be removed.

The driver of the Toyota was arrested at the scene for suspicion of DWI.  The crash remains under investigation.


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Marlboro Police Investigate Pedestrian Struck On Route 9

April 12, 2021

MARLBORO TOWNSHIP, NJ (MONMOUTH)–On Sunday, April 11, 2021 at approximately 9:10pm, the Marlboro Township Police Department received a 911 call about a motor vehicle crash in which a pedestrian was struck.

The crash occurred on Route 9 Northbound in the area of Willow Lane. The pedestrian, identified as Nathanial Martinez, (unknown age and hometown) was crossing the street when he was struck by a Kia Seltos driven by Lauren Wlodarski,  26 years old of Rockaway, NJ.

Mr. Martinez was transported by ambulance by the Morganville First Aid Squad to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital with broken bones and internal injuries.

The cause of the crash is still currently under investigation, but we do not believe drugs or alcohol are factors.

It is possible that Mr. Martinez was struck by a second vehicle. If anyone has information regarding the crash or anyone believes they may have struck something on Route 9 Northbound in the area of Willow Lane at approximately 9:10pm on Sunday evening, they are asked to contact Cpl. David Ruditsky of the Marlboro Township Police Traffic and Safety Bureau at (732) 536-0100 ext. 1090 or druditsky@marlboropd.org.

Route 9 Northbound was closed for approximately 3 hours while the crash was being investigated.    

Chick-fil-A Announces New Hazlet Restaurant to Open on April 1

Restaurant to Bring Approximately 100 Full- and Part-Time Jobs to Community


March 23, 2021

HAZLET, NJ (MONM0OUTH)–Chick-fil-A Hazlet, located in Monmouth County, on the boarder of Hazlet and Holmdel, is slated to open for business on Thursday, April 1. Chick-fil-A®, Inc. has selected Brandon Jones as the independent franchised Owner/Operator of this new Chick-fil-A restaurant in Hazlet. Jones will be responsible for all day-to-day activities of the business, including employing approximately 100 full- and part-time Team Members, cultivating relationships with local organizations and neighboring businesses, and serving Guests. Chick-fil-A Hazlet is located at 2819 State Route 35 and will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday through Saturday.

At Chick-fil-A, safe service is our first priority. New Chick-fil-A restaurants will take additional time to review operations and make sure appropriate precautions are in place before opening their dining rooms, to ensure the safety of Guests and Team Members. Currently, Chick-fil-A Hazlet will open via drive-thru only. Guests can take advantage of contactless ordering and payment through the Chick-fil-A mobile app. To learn more about Chick-fil-A’s response to the coronavirus, please visit our safe service page.

In place of the traditional Chick-fil-A First 100® Grand Opening celebration, Chick-fil-A Hazlet will be surprising 100 local heroes making an impact in Monmouth County with free Chick-fil-A for a year. Additionally, in honor of the new restaurant opening, Chick-fil-A will donate $25,000 to Feeding America. The funds will be distributed to partners within the greater Hazlet area to aid in the fight against hunger.

Locally Owned and Operated

Born and raised in Monmouth County, Brandon Jones has been determined to bring a Chick-fil-A restaurant to his community. So much so, that he began the process of becoming an Operator more than 10 years ago, holding off on moving into this role until there was an opportunity in Monmouth County. Prior to joining Chick-fil-A, Jones held a number of sales and marketing positions at industry-leading organizations, such as ZOLL Medical Corporation and Hologic Inc.

“Becoming an Operator in Monmouth County is a dream that has been a decade in the making and I couldn’t be more thrilled to finally see it come to life,” said Jones. “I look forward to making this restaurant a cornerstone of the community, creating a place that delivers great food with excellent service and provides personal and professional growth opportunities for Team Members.”

Team Member Investment

Chick-fil-A franchised Operators are committed to hiring, developing and retaining top talent, and providing a great work environment for people of all ages and backgrounds. They also offer their Team Members opportunities for flexible work hours and leadership growth, competitive pay and benefits, hands-on training and mentoring, and the chance to apply for scholarships to support their continuing education. As with all Chick-fil-A restaurants, Team Members are guaranteed Sundays off.

Quality Ingredients; Delicious Food

Chick-fil-A focuses on serving customers great-tasting food made with high quality ingredients. The produce we use in our recipes – from whole lemons and chopped apples, to fresh romaine lettuce and tomatoes – is delivered to our restaurants up to six times a week. Chick-fil-A Lemonade is made from three simple ingredients: lemon juice, sugar and water. All U.S. Chick-fil-A restaurants now serve chicken raised with No Antibiotics Ever, starting from the egg. By not allowing antibiotics of any kind, Chick-fil-A chicken meets the highest commitment for non-antibiotic use. For more information about the Chick-fil-A No Antibiotics Ever commitment, visit www.chick-fil-a.com/no-antibiotics-ever.


Commitment to Customer Service

With a longstanding tradition in the restaurant industry for setting high standards in customer service, Chick-fil-A earned recognition for providing the “best fast food customer service in America” according to America’s Best Customer Service 2020 report by Newsweek, among other honors. 

            For more information about Chick-fil-A and stories about the Brand’s food, people and customers across the country, visit chick-fil-a.com. For the latest news and updates on Chick-fil-A Hazlet, visit the Chick-fil-A Hazlet Facebook page.


About Chick-fil-A, Inc.

Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A, Inc. is a family owned and privately held restaurant company founded in 1967 by S. Truett Cathy. Devoted to serving the local communities in which its franchised restaurants operate, and known for its Original Chick-fil-A® Chicken Sandwich, Chick-fil-A serves freshly prepared food in more than 2,600 restaurants in 47 states, Washington, D.C., and Canada.

A leader in customer service satisfaction, Chick-fil-A was named top fast food restaurant in Newsweek’s 2019 America’s Best Customer Service report and received several honors in QSR’s 2019 Reader’s Choice Awards, including “The Most Respected Quick-Service Brand” and “Best Brand for Overall Experience”.  Additionally, Glassdoor named Chick-fil-A one of the top 100 best places to work in 2020. More information on Chick-fil-A is available at www.chick-fil-a.com.



Another Accident On Route 524 Curve Near TSC

March 21, 2021

UPPER FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP, NJ (MONMOUTH)–A car lost control struck a utility pole on CR Route 524 severing it, causing wires to fall to the ground this morning at a curve known for serous accidents over the years.

The Hope Fire Company of Allentown, NJ State Police and Capital Health EMS were dispatched around 9:35 a.m. for an overturned vehicle near Tractor Supply Company. Upon arrival of EMS it was determined that there were no injures in the accident but wires from the down pole were across the roadway. Hope Fire Company and NJSP closed the CR Route 524 roadway from the 2nd driveway at Tractor Supply to Sharon Station Road. Barricades were called for from Monmouth County Highway Department to shut roadway until the repairs can be made.

A known curve with serious accidents over the years and recently on November 21, 2020 a similar accident occurred. The curve is posted at 35 MPH it is unknown why the vehicle lost control at this time.

November 21, 2020 accident here: Crash Knocks Out Power In Part Of Upper Freehold


Trenton man admits conspiring to distribute fentanyl that caused the death of a Monmouth County woman

March 11, 2021

By: Tyler Eckel

TRENTON (MERCER)– A Trenton man admitted conspiring with others to distribute fentanyl that caused the death of a Monmouth county woman, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced today.

Quasaan Bethea, 33, pleaded guilty by videoconference before Chief U.S. District Judge Freda L. Wolfson on March 10, 2021, to Count Two of an indictment charging possession with intent to distribute fentanyl.

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

On May 15, 2018, Bethea conspired with others to distribute fentanyl to a 39-year-old Monmouth County woman, referred to in the indictment as Victim-1. Victim-1 had sought out Bethea and others to purchase heroin, not fentanyl, a significantly more potent narcotic than heroin. Bethea admitted that the fentanyl he sold to Victim-1 was stamped “CAMEL” and packaged to look like heroin. Shortly after Victim-1’s second purchase of fentanyl from Bethea and others, Englishtown police responded to a report of an overdose death. Upon their arrival, they discovered Victim-1, and in Victim-1’s possession were several wax folds of suspected heroin stamped “CAMEL” and empty wax folds stamped “CAMEL” as well. Laboratory analysis of these wax folds bearing the “CAMEL” stamp determined the substance to be fentanyl. An autopsy of Victim-1 found her cause of death to be acute fentanyl toxicity.

The count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute fentanyl carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine. Sentencing is scheduled for July 26, 2021.

Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited special agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Susan A. Gibson; detectives from the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni; the Englishtown Police Department, under the direction of Peter S. Cooke, Jr., and the Trenton Police Department’s Narcotics Task Force, under the direction of Police Director Sheilah Coley, with the investigation leading to the guilty plea.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan L. O’Neill, of the Office’s Opioids Abuse & Prevention Task Force.


Five juveniles facing charges after crashing stolen Audi

March 4, 2021

By: Tyler Eckel

WALL TOWNSHIP (MONMOUTH)– Five juveniles are facing charges following a crash in Wall Township early Thursday morning.

The crash occurred in at approximately 1:14 am on March 4th. The Wall Township Police Department located a 2017 Audi that was reported stolen out of New Providence, after the car crashed into a telephone pole at the intersection of Allaire Road and New Bedford Road.

When officers arrived on the scene, they observed five occupants fleeing from the vehicle on foot. They were all apprehended a short distance from the scene of the crash. All five occupants of the stolen Audi are juveniles from Newark. They were charged with receiving stolen property, joyriding, obstructing the administration of justice, and multiple motor vehicle summonses.

The Monmouth County area has seen an increase in motor vehicle thefts as of recently. Wall Township Police Department is reminding residents to remove the keys from their vehicles along with all personal effects, and lock their car doors.



$1,000 Reward For Capture Of Robbery Suspects Who Stole Chain Saws And Other Equipment From Barg’s Lawn And Garden

UPDATE 63/3/2021: According to Detective Vincent Bonner of the Howell Township Police Department Detective Bureau the robbery occurred at approximately 2:30 am on March 2, 2021. The robbers smashed though the front door using a sledgehammer and took $15,000. Worth of merchandise. Police are looking for a Silver Ford Expedition 1997-2002 operated by heavyset Hispanic male. If you have information relevant to the robbery please call Detective Bonner of Howell Twp. Police Department at 732-938-4575 extension 2647 with any details.

March 2, 2021

HOWELL TOWNSHIP, NJ (MONMOUTH)–Barg’s Lawn and Garden posted several videos of a robbery last night on their Facebook page and is reportedly offering a $1,000.00 reward. This family owned and operated business since 1954 and if you happen to know anything about the robbery contact please call Detective Bonner of Howell Twp. Police Department at 732-938-4575 extension 2647 with any details. In the videos you can see the robbers break in and steal several chain saws and other small equipment before leaving.




BPU Sets March 16 Hearing in Optimum/ Altice Investigation

ROBBINSVILLE-HAMILTON TOWNSHIPS, NJ (MERCER)–In response to a wave of complaints regarding poor service and unfair consumer pricing by Optimum/Altice USA, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) has found sufficient cause to investigate Optimum/Altice USA and convene a public hearing on March 16, 2021.

The BPU said in a February 17 order it had:

“reviewed the various complaints, municipal government official resolutions and requests for Board investigation and intervention in this matter, and HEREBY FINDS that there is sufficient cause to convene a proceeding to afford the municipal officials and Altice customers the opportunity to voice their concerns about the services received from Altice; as well as afford the company the opportunity to respond to these concerns before determining what corrective action may be warranted and should be taken in this matter.”


The Board designated Commissioner Mary-Anna Holden as the Presiding Officer. Holden “is authorized to rule on all motions that arise during the proceedings and modify any schedules that may be set as necessary to secure a just and expeditious determination of the issues.”

The public hearing will be held virtually. Information concerning participation in the public hearing will be posted on the BPU website. Attorneys for the Townships of Robbinsville and Hamilton filed dual letters to Lawanda Gilbert, Director of the BPU Office of Cable Television and Telecommunications, requesting an investigation into the under performing utility in August, 2020.

In addition to Hamilton and Robbinsville, the order lists the boroughs of Dunellen and Sayreville, along with the Townships of Green Brook, Howell, Jackson, Montville, North Brunswick and Piscataway. The BPU received complaints and resolutions from at least 10 municipalities and several state legislators concerning various issues their residents and constituents cited alleging inadequacy and lack of service provided by Altice USA. In the complaints, the municipal and legislative officials cited: “Frequent and lengthy service disruptions (across all services), inconsistent connections and fluctuating Internet speeds, long telephone wait times, poor customer service, and an inability to get a satisfactory response to these issues from the company both before and after the COVID-19 pandemic.”


READ THE ROBBINSVILLE HAMILTON LETTERS TO BPU 

The letters detail just 11 examples from the hundreds of complaints received by the respective municipal offices at Robbinsville and Hamilton over the past several months citing poor customer service, unstable Internet connections, insufficient network capacity and allegations of price-gouging.

“It is the duty of Optimum (Altice USA) as a utility to furnish safe, adequate and proper service for its customers … and they have failed in that duty,” Robbinsville Township Mayor Dave Fried said last summer. “We should not have to continuously pressure this provider to do its job.”

Hamilton Township Mayor Jeff Martin also received a flood of complaints regarding Optimum/Altice USA (formerly Cablevision) and requested the BPU immediately commence an investigation into the services being provided to both Robbinsville and Hamilton pursuant to powers vested in the Board.


“Having reliable cable and internet service has never been more of a necessity than this year has proved it to be,” Martin said. “Both municipalities’ residents have experienced similar, unacceptable issues and a lack of timely remediation from Optimum. Mayor Fried and I will fight for our residents by partnering together on this issue and hope that by doing so it will provide for a stronger likelihood of these concerns being taken seriously by the State. “

Related MidJersey.news stories here:

Mayors Testify At NJ Senate Committee On Law And Public Safety About Utility Company Problems

Hamilton and Robbinsville Request BPU Investigation Into Optimum/Altice







Workers Making Roof Repairs Set Roofing Materials Ablaze Quickly Extinguished

February 17, 2021

MILLSTONE TOWNSHIP, NJ (MONMOUTH)–Just after 11:00 am Millstone Township Fire Department was dispatched to 532 Route 537-Monmouth Road for a fire on a roof of a commercial building with reported smoke and flames visible. Mutual Aid fire departments from Hope Fire Company-Allentown, Plumstead Township-New Egypt Fire Company, Jackson Township and Monroe Township were dispatched to the scene. Upon arrival firefighters reported light smoke and fire from the roof and were able to quickly knock the fire down bringing it under control within minutes. Initial radio reports are that workers on the roof making repairs caught the roofing materials on fire using a torch. The fire is under investigation by the Millstone Township Fire Marshal’s Office and no additional details are available at this time. Firefighters remained on scene for at least an hour for overhaul and checking for hot spots. Thanks to a quick response and extinguishment by firefighters, the business was expected to reopen shortly with almost no business interruption.

Monmouth County man sentenced to 18 months in prison for unlawfully possessing a firearm

February 10, 2021

By: Tyler Eckel

KEYPORT (MONMOUTH)– A Keyport man was sentenced today to 18 months in prison for illegally possessing an assault rifle, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced.

Ahmed A-Hady, 36, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Court Katharine S. Hayden to an information charging him with one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Judge Hayden imposed the sentence by videoconference today.

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

On Dec. 10, 2019, there was a mass shooting in Jersey City in which a Jersey City Police Officer and three civilians were shot and killed by a male (Individual 1) and a female (Individual 2). After the shooting, law enforcement recovered a handwritten note from Individual 1’s right rear pants pocket that contained a telephone number ending in 4115 and a Keyport, New Jersey, address. Law enforcement also recovered several weapons possessed by Individuals 1 and 2, including an AR-15 rifle.

FBI agents determined that the phone number ending in 4115 contained on the note belonged to A-Hady. Law enforcement also determined that the Keyport address listed on the note was a storefront for a pawn shop. On the evening of Dec. 13, 2019, law enforcement officers traveled to the pawnshop and interviewed A-Hady and two of his relatives.

Law enforcement officers lawfully searched both the pawnshop and A-Hady’s private residence and recovered multiple rifles, handguns, and one shotgun. During the searches of the pawnshop and A-Hady’s private residence, law enforcement also recovered over 400 rounds of ammunition, including a large number of hollow point bullets.

One of the weapons recovered from the pawnshop was a Sig Sauer .22 caliber rifle capable of accepting a large capacity magazine. Records showed that A-Hady purchased this rifle in Florida on Oct. 23, 2012, approximately five months after A-Hady was convicted in New Jersey Superior Court of a crime that was punishable by a term of imprisonment of more than one year.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Hayden sentenced A-Hady to three years of supervised release. A-Hady forfeited his interest, if any, in the firearms recovered during the search of the pawnshop.

Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited special agents of the FBI and task force officers of the Joint Terrorism Task Force, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr. in Newark; special agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Charlie J. Patterson in Newark; the Office of the New Jersey Attorney General, under the direction of Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal; and the N.J. State Police, under the direction of Col. Patrick J. Callahan, with the investigation leading to today’s sentencing. Acting U.S. Attorney Honig also thanked the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Esther Suarez, and the Jersey City Police Department, under the direction of Director James Shea, for their assistance.

The government is represented by Ronnell Wilson, Chief of the National Security Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey, and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Dean C. Sovolos and Thomas S. Kearney, of the National Security Unit.



Monmouth County Father and Son Sentenced for Orchestrating Scheme that Defrauded Life Insurance Companies of Over $4 Million

February 10, 2021

By: Tyler Eckel

ASBURY PARK/HIGHLANDS (MONMOUTH)– Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced that two Monmouth County men have been sentenced for engaging in a fraudulent scheme, pursuant to which they unlawfully issued free life insurance policies to individuals and recouped more than $4 million in fraudulent commissions on those policies from various insurance companies.

Frank Pescatore, 73, of Asbury Park, was sentenced to three years in State prison by Superior Court Judge Lourdes Lucas in Monmouth County on Monday. Pescatore pleaded guilty to second-degree insurance fraud on December 3, 2020. He was sentenced as a third-degree offender under a plea agreement.

“Frank Pescatore will serve time in prison for his lead role in a scheme that defrauded the insurance system of millions for his personal gain,” said Attorney General Grewal. “His crimes not only involved issuing policies that should not have been issued and that lapsed prematurely, but are also the type of offenses that contribute to higher insurance costs in the long run for all of us. This sentence sends a strong deterrent message that we will hold accountable those that cheat the system.”

Pescatore’s son, Evan Pescatore, 38, of Highlands, a former life insurance agent, was sentenced to three-years of non-custodial probation on Monday for participating in the scheme. He pleaded guilty to third-degree insurance fraud on December 3, 2020.

In pleading guilty, the two men admitted to defrauding insurance companies in a scheme to provide high-value life insurance policies at no cost to applicants in order to obtain commissions from the insurance companies. Eighteen policies – with face values totaling $61.5 million – were caused to be issued by eight insurance companies in the scheme.

This process of providing applicants and insureds with an inducement to apply for life insurance policies by paying their premiums, known as “rebating,” is prohibited by the insurance industry, as well as by New Jersey law.

The FBI estimates that the total cost of non-medical insurance fraud is more than $40 billion per year, costing the average U.S. family between $400 and $700 per year in the form of increased premiums.

“My office will continue to pursue these cases to protect the integrity of New Jersey’s insurance industry,” said Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Tracy M. Thompson. “These crimes affect every policyholder who must pay higher insurance costs to cover the losses suffered by insurance carriers.”

Deputy Attorney General Jennifer L. Menjivar represented the State at sentencing. Detectives Natalie Brotherston, Taryn Seidner, and Matthew Armstrong coordinated the investigation with assistance from analyst Kelly Celenza.

Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Thompson noted that important cases have started with anonymous tips. People who are concerned about insurance cheating and have information about a fraud can report it anonymously by calling the toll-free hotline at 1-877-55-FRAUD, or visiting the Web site at www.NJInsurancefraud.org. State regulations permit a reward to be paid to an eligible person who provides information that leads to an arrest, prosecution and conviction for insurance fraud.



Ocean County man facing child pornography charges

February 5, 2021

By: Tyler Eckel

FREEHOLD (MONMOUTH)– An Ocean Township man is facing charges for the possession and distribution  of child pornography following a tip he uploaded the materials to his social media account, announced  Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni. 

Alexander Mejia, 35, of the 3100 block of Willow Drive in Ocean Township, is charged with  second degree distribution of child pornography and third degree possession of child pornography.  Mejia was taken into custody on Feb. 4, 2021, and transported to the Monmouth County Correctional  Institution in Freehold Township pending a detention hearing. 

The Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Computer Crimes Unit/Internet Crimes Against  Children Task Force received a referral from the New Jersey Internet Crimes Against Children (NJ ICAC) Task Force in June 2020. The referral came after a complaint was filed by the social media  platform Instagram reporting a user utilized the platform to upload child pornography. Further  investigation traced the account to Mejia at his Willow Drive address.  

A search warrant was executed on Jan. 22, 2021, at his Ocean Township address where  evidence was recovered, including eight (8) electronic devices. 

If convicted of distribution of child pornography, Mejia faces a sentence of five to ten years in  a New Jersey state prison. If convicted of possession of child pornography, he faces a sentence of  three to five years in prison.  

The case is assigned to 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. 



Storm Updates For Selected Towns

February 1, 2021

For the latest information on your township’s trash collection or town office information visit your local town’s website. Here are current updates for selected towns:

MANASQUAN–


ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)– Municipal Offices are closed on Tuesday, February 2 and Tuesday’s trash collection is postponed to Saturday, February 6. Any questions please contact the Public Works Department at 609-259-0422. See Robbinsville Township’s website for all updates here.


ALLENTOWN, NJ (MONMOUTH)–Borough Hall is closed on Tuesday, February 2nd. Due to a heavy accumulation of snow today, overnight and into tomorrow, Borough Hall will be closed on Tuesday, February 2nd with our municipal office staff working remotely. All calls will go to voice mail. For an email directory click here. We do not have an update on tomorrow’s recycling collection at this time. An update will be posted once it is available. Tomorrow’s Council meeting is still scheduled for 7PM. All elected officials are asked to attend remotely on Zoom.  For Allentown updates see this link.


HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Township Offices will be CLOSED tomorrow, Tuesday, February 2nd. Garbage collection scheduled for Tuesday, February 2nd will be cancelled in order to assist with the snow removal process. The Hamilton Township Council meeting is still scheduled for Tuesday, February 2nd at 6:30 PM via Zoom. Participants may join by visiting: http://www.zoom.us/join or by phone 1-929-205-6099 Meeting ID: 946 3214 8692 Passcode: 444652 Please remember to exercise caution if you must travel. To see when your street is scheduled to be plowed be sure visit Snow Plow Sal.


MILLSTONE TOWNSHIP, NJ (MONMOUTH)– Check website for updates here.


EAST WINDSOR, NJ (MERCER)–For latest East Windsor information check the e-alert section of the website you can access that page here.

Due to current winter storm conditions:

  • No Township Curbside Garbage Collection Will Occur Tomorrow Tuesday, February 2. Garbage Collection for Area #2 residents, normally on Tuesday, February 2, will be on the next scheduled collection date of Friday, February 5.
  • Residents are strongly reminded to remove ALL vehiclesfrom Township roadways to allow for snow removal.
  • Residents are reminded to clear all snow from sidewalks and fire hydrants within 24 hours of the end of the snow fall.

SOUTH BRUNSWICK TOWNSHIP, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–DUE TO THE INCLEMENT WEATHER, REPUBLIC SERVICES HAS CANCELLED ALL TRASH AND RECYCLING COLLECTIONS FOR MONDAY FEB, 1ST AND TUESDAY, FEB 2ND

They are scheduled to resume regular operations on Wednesday, February 3rd. All of Monday’s and Tuesday’s material will be collected next week on their regular day. Sorry for any inconvenience. Any further questions, please call the Garbage and Recycling Dept. at (732)329-4000 Ext 7274

For the latest information for South Brunswick visit the website here.


EWING TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–UPDATED TRASH PICKUP DELAY INFORMATION FOR FEB. 2ND, 2021

Due to the weather conditions scheduled trash pickup for today, Monday February 1st, has been delayed until Friday, February 5th, and the scheduled trash pickup for Tuesday, February 2nd, has been delayed until Saturday, February 6th.

Please do not put out your trash for these delayed pickups until the rescheduled day to help keep the road clear for plows. Thank you for your cooperation and stay warm.

For the latest information for Ewing Township visit the township’s website here.


Winter Storm Warning Continues

February 1, 2021

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–A Winter Storm Warning from the National Weather Service continues as Winter Storm Orlena moves though the area.

The National Weather Service Philadelphia-Mount Holly reports that heavy snow will continue with an additional snow accumulations of 4 to 7 inches. Winds will gusting as high as 40 mph. Travel could be very difficult there will be areas of blowing snow that could significantly reduce visibility. The hazardous conditions could impact the morning or evening commute. The heaviest snow will end by late this evening. Periods of light snow accumulating snow will linger through Tuesday. The Winder Storm Warning will expire on 4:00 PM on Tuesday February 2, 2021.

There have been multiple accidents in the area South Brunswick Police Department reported at 12:00 pm that they have responded to 34 crashes/assists and that the roads remain hazardous. The remind people to stay off the roads as they are very slippery. NJ State Police has responded to 583 motor vehicle crashes and 839 aid to motorists. All agencies are urging residents to remain off the roadways and let snowplows do their jobs.

At 1:58 pm the Robbinsville Township Fire Department responded to the New Jersey Turnpike north bound in the inner lanes for a tractor-trailer accident blocking a lane.

The Robbinsville Township Fire Department also reminds those with fire hydrants near their homes to make sure they are clear. Clear a space 3 feet around the hydrant and a path to the roadway. This will help firefighters locate the hydrant and not have to spend time shoveling it out when needed in an emergency.




National Weather Service Snow totals as of 4:35 PM EST Mon Feb 1 2021

Burlington County
  Florence                     6.3 in    0300 PM 02/01   Trained Spotter      
  Columbus                     5.1 in    0330 PM 02/01   Trained Spotter      
  Cooperstown                  4.1 in    1100 AM 02/01   NWS Employee         
  1 ENE Westampton Twp         3.9 in    0100 PM 02/01   Official NWS Obs     
  Moorestown                   3.8 in    0215 PM 02/01   Trained Spotter      
  Mount Laurel                 3.7 in    0115 PM 02/01   Trained Spotter      
  Southampton Twp              3.0 in    1154 AM 02/01   Public    

Middlesex County
  New Brunswick                18.0 in   0426 PM 02/01   Trained Spotter      
  South Plainfield             17.0 in   1230 PM 02/01   Public               
  Port Reading                 16.5 in   0320 PM 02/01   Public               
  Edison                       14.0 in   0200 PM 02/01   Public               
  Perth Amboy                  13.0 in   0120 PM 02/01   Public               
  South River                  13.0 in   0345 PM 02/01   Public               
  Carteret                     12.5 in   0125 PM 02/01   Trained Spotter      
  Colonia                      11.2 in   1205 PM 02/01   Broadcast Media      
  East Brunswick               11.0 in   0200 PM 02/01   Trained Spotter      
  Highland Park                11.0 in   0200 PM 02/01   Trained Spotter      
  Old Bridge                   11.0 in   0120 PM 02/01   Public                
  2 WSW Rossmoor               8.5 in    0100 PM 02/01   Trained Spotter    
 
Monmouth County
  Holmdel                      13.5 in   0230 PM 02/01   Trained Spotter      
  Belford                      12.0 in   1136 AM 02/01   Public               
  Keyport                      12.0 in   0250 PM 02/01   Trained Spotter      
  Colts Neck                   11.5 in   0400 PM 02/01   Trained Spotter      
  Freehold                     11.5 in   0130 PM 02/01   Trained Spotter      
  1 ENE Cliffwood              11.0 in   0200 PM 02/01   Trained Spotter      
  Manalapan Twp                9.8 in    0240 PM 02/01   Trained Spotter      
  Marlboro                     9.5 in    1240 PM 02/01   Trained Spotter      
  Eatontown                    8.7 in    0245 PM 02/01   Trained Spotter      
  Freehold Twp                 7.5 in    0200 PM 02/01   Public               
  Howell                       7.2 in    0130 PM 02/01   Trained Spotter      
  1 WNW Deal                   6.5 in    0200 PM 02/01   Trained Spotter  

Ocean County
  Jackson                      7.3 in    0430 PM 02/01   Trained Spotter      
  Brick                        5.3 in    0426 PM 02/01   Trained Spotter      
  Bayville                     0.5 in    0431 PM 02/01   Trained Spotter      
  Toms River                   0.4 in    0430 PM 02/01   Trained Spotter    

  Mercer County has not reported yet. 



...SIGNIFICANT WINTER STORM CONTINUES ACROSS THE REGION...

NJZ009-010-012-013-015-PAZ103>106-021015-
/O.EXT.KPHI.WS.W.0001.000000T0000Z-210202T2100Z/
Hunterdon-Somerset-Middlesex-Western Monmouth-Mercer-
Western Montgomery-Eastern Montgomery-Upper Bucks-Lower Bucks-
Including the cities of Flemington, Somerville, New Brunswick,
Freehold, Trenton, Collegeville, Pottstown, Norristown, Lansdale,
Chalfont, Perkasie, Morrisville, and Doylestown
401 PM EST Mon Feb 1 2021

...WINTER STORM WARNING NOW IN EFFECT UNTIL 4 PM EST TUESDAY...

* WHAT...Heavy snow. Additional snow accumulations of 4 to 7
  inches. Winds gusting as high as 40 mph.

* WHERE...Portions of central, northern and northwest New Jersey
  and southeast Pennsylvania.

* WHEN...Until 4 PM EST Tuesday.

* IMPACTS...Travel could be very difficult. Areas of blowing
  snow could significantly reduce visibility. The hazardous
  conditions could impact the morning or evening commute.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS...The heaviest snow will end by late this
  evening. Periods of light snow accumulating snow will linger
  through Tuesday.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

If you must travel, keep an extra flashlight, food, and water in
your vehicle in case of an emergency.

The latest road conditions for the state you are calling from can
be obtained by calling 5 1 1.

Be Prepared For Significant Winter Storm, NWS Issues Winter Storm Warning For Total Snow Accumulations of 16″ to 22″

January 31, 2021

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–The New Jersey State Police is urging New Jersey residents to prepare for a nor’easter that will affect the entire state. From late Sunday night through Tuesday morning, most of New Jersey will be under a Winter Storm Warning.

The storm is expected to create hazardous travel conditions statewide, so if you do not need to travel, please stay home to allow crews to safely treat our roadways. If you must travel, here are some safety tips to follow:

• Drive slowly. It’s harder to control or stop your vehicle on slick or snow-covered surfaces

• Increase the following distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you, which will help prevent rear-end crashes on slick roads

• Make sure your cell phone is fully charged before you leave for your trip

• Pack bottled water, blankets, and dry food goods in the event you get stranded

• Leave a friend or family member a travel itinerary so that they can alert police should you get stranded and/or lose cell service

• Make sure your gas tank is full before you leave in case you get stuck in traffic

• Top off your windshield washer fluid to clear salt from your windshield

• Pack a few bags of sand or cat litter, which can create traction for vehicles stuck on slippery road grades

If your vehicle becomes disabled during the storm, follow these safety rules:

• Call 9-1-1

• Stay inside your car. You are safer inside your car than outside

• Turn on your hazard lights

• To avoid asphyxiation from carbon monoxide poisoning, don’t run your car for long periods of time with the windows fully up. If you must run your vehicle, clear the exhaust pipe of any snow and run it only sporadically — just long enough to stay warm

The best way to avoid storm-related travel hazards is to stay off of the roads, but if you must travel, please take the time to prepare. Before you leave, make sure you check for the latest weather updates.


Winter Storm Warning

URGENT – WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE

National Weather Service Mount Holly NJ

1050 AM EST Sun Jan 31 2021

NJZ009-010-012-015-PAZ105-106-010500-

/O.CON.KPHI.WS.W.0001.210131T2200Z-210202T1800Z/

Hunterdon-Somerset-Middlesex-Mercer-Upper Bucks-Lower Bucks-

Including the cities of Flemington, Somerville, New Brunswick,

Trenton, Chalfont, Perkasie, Morrisville, and Doylestown

1050 AM EST Sun Jan 31 2021

…WINTER STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 5 PM THIS

AFTERNOON TO 1 PM EST TUESDAY…

* WHAT…Heavy snow expected. Total snow accumulations of 16 to 22

  inches. Winds gusting as high as 35 mph.

* WHERE…Portions of central, northern and northwest New Jersey

  and southeast Pennsylvania.

* WHEN…From 5 PM this afternoon to 1 PM EST Tuesday.

* IMPACTS…Travel could be very difficult to impossible. The

  hazardous conditions could impact the morning or evening

  commute.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS…Snow develops late this afternoon and

  will last through Monday night or early Tuesday. Snow may be

  heavy at times on Monday.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

If you must travel, keep an extra flashlight, food, and water in

your vehicle in case of an emergency.

The latest road conditions for the state you are calling from can

be obtained by calling 5 1 1.






Mega Millions $1 Billion Ticket Sold In Michigan, $1Million In Ocean County, $10K Tickets Sold Locally, Tonight’s Cash 5 Passes $2 Million Record

January 23, 2021

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–

TRENTON (Jan. 23, 2021– One Michigan ticket matched all five of the five white balls and the Gold Mega Ball drawn winning the $1.05 billion Mega Millions jackpot. The estimated cash value was $776.6 million.

In New Jersey, there was one second-tier prizewinning ticket sold for the Friday, January 22, drawing that matched five of the five white balls drawn winning the $1,000,000 prize. The ticket was purchased at 7-Eleven #11027, 2075 Route 88, Brick in Ocean County.

There were ten third-tier prizewinning tickets sold that matched four of the five white balls and the gold ball winning $10,000. Those tickets were purchased at the following locations:

  • Bergen County: Krauszer’s Food Store, 403 Midland Ave., Garfield;
  • Burlington County: Wawa #8423, 76 Springside Rd., Westampton;
  • Mercer County: 7-Eleven #27391, 1517 Pennington Ave., Ewing;
  • Mercer County: Pennington Luk Oil LLC, 2558 Pennington Rd., Pennington;
  • Middlesex County: Park Deli, 80 Raritan Ave., Highland Park;
  • Monmouth County: Little Silver Family Pharmacy, 10 Church St., Little Silver;
  • Morris County: Krauszer’s Food Store, 95 West Main St., Chester;
  • Passaic County: 7-Eleven #11463, 356 Rifle Camp Rd., Woodland Park;
  • Sussex County: 7-Eleven #37251, 63 Water St., Newton; and,
  • Warren County: Mini Mart, 1312 US Highway 22 East, Phillipsburg.

In addition to the second and third-tier prizes won, 236 players matched four of the five white balls drawn making each ticket worth $50015 of those tickets were purchased with the Megaplier option, multiplying the prizes to $1,000. Moreover, 389,264 other New Jersey players took home $1,455,848 in prizes ranging from $2 to $400. The winning numbers for the Friday, January 22, drawing were: 04, 26, 42, 50, and 60. The Gold Mega Ball was 24, and the Megaplier Multiplier was 02.

The jackpot resets to $20 million for the next drawing on Tuesday, January 26, at 11:00 pm. All New Jersey Lottery Mega Millions tickets must be purchased before 10:45 pm to participate in the drawing. Mega Millions tickets cost just two dollars; by adding the Megaplier option for an extra dollar per play, players can increase their non-jackpot winnings up to five times. Mega Millions tickets are sold in 46 participating jurisdictions. Drawings are held on Tuesdays and Fridays.


Jersey Cash 5 Boasts the Biggest Cash Jackpot EVER

Jersey Cash 5 Leaps to Record $2 Million Jackpot

TRENTON (Jan. 23, 2021) – New Jersey Lottery would like to announce the record-breaking jackpot for tonight’s Jersey Cash 5 drawing. The drawing for the all-cash jackpot of $2 million happens tonight at 10:57 pm, so be sure to get your tickets in time. The $2 million jackpot is the highest jackpot for Jersey Cash 5, ever – topping the 2013 record of $1.96 million.

With daily drawings and jackpots starting at $100,000, seeing jackpots top the million-dollar milestone is a rare treat for the game’s loyal players, but the two-million-dollar jackpot breaks new ground for the Jersey Cash 5 record books. For just a dollar, Jersey Cash 5 is a great option for players to pick their lucky numbers – or go with a Quick Pick option – and hope for the five-out-of-five match tonight.

Jersey Cash 5, which held its first drawing in 1992, has already proven to be a vital component of the Lottery’s offerings to support our State.

Vessel Deployments at Little Egg and Manasquan Inlet Reefs

January 21, 2021

MANASQUAN, NJ (MONMOUTH)–On  Thursday, January 14, the Division’s Bureau of Marine Fisheries expanded the state’s artificial reef network through deployments on Little Egg and Manasquan Inlet Reefs. 

A 200-foot-long barge along with a 45-foot tugboat and 40-foot push boat were deployed at the Little Egg Reef site. These deployments were sponsored by the Beach Haven Charter Boat Association’s Junior Mate Program with donations by The Sportfishing Fund.

A 65-foot tugboat was sunk at the Manasquan Inlet Reef. The deployment was sponsored by the Manasquan River Marlin and Tuna Club with donations by The Sportfishing Fund.  This deployment was in memory of past Manasquan River Marlin and Tuna Club Lifetime Member John Geiges.

Monmouth County Prosecutor Warns Be Aware Of COVID-19 Scams

Scams Seek Personally Identifiable Information

January 19, 2021

FREEHOLD, NJ (MONMOUTH)–Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni is urging residents to beware of becoming victims of COVID-related scams, especially those scams targeting senior and elderly residents.

During this COVID-19 pandemic, scams targeting citizens, in particular the elderly, have taken a new twist and a new sense of urgency. Con artists are calling senior citizens offering early access to the COVID-19 vaccine for some form of payment, offering to ship the vaccine directly to you for a deposit or fee, offering to place you on a waiting list, or offering added medical testing and treatment when obtaining the vaccine. The offers come from scammers pretending to be a doctor’s office, insurance company or COVID-19 vaccine center. The scammer will ask for personal or medical information to determine if you “qualify” for the vaccine. Information sought will often include a social security number, Medicare ID number, date of birth, credit card or bank account information, or other personal information.

“We live in a world where scammers will try anything to get your personal information, medical information, and even your life’s savings using devious tactics. They are willing to pretend to be anyone just to take advantage of you. Please be vigilant – if it seems questionable, then trust your instincts that it is,” warned Prosecutor Gramiccioni.

Other scams are found on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other popular platforms showing ads from unknown sources advertising access to the COVID-19 vaccine. Federal authorities have created a public awareness campaign that includes useful information below to help identify these scams and where to find other information about the schemes.

“The most important piece of advice during this unusual time is to be overly skeptical of any unsolicited offers of any kind, to stay vigilant no matter how convincing the voice on the other side of the phone may be. Just because it is on the internet does not make it safe or true. Do not share personally identifiable information ever over the phone – social security numbers, Medicare ID numbers, your date of birth, credit card or bank account information – obtaining this information to defraud you is the ultimate objective,” Prosecutor Gramiccioni added.

Federal authorities are warning the public about several emerging fraud schemes related to COVID-19 vaccines after receiving complaints of scammers using the public’s interest in COVID-19 vaccines to obtain personally identifiable information and money through various schemes. We continue to work diligently with law enforcement partners and the private sector to identify cyber threats and fraud in all forms.

The public should be aware of the following potential indicators of fraudulent activity:

• Advertisements or offers for early access to a vaccine upon payment of a deposit or fee

• Requests asking you to pay out of pocket to obtain the vaccine or to put your name on a COVID-19 vaccine waiting list

• Offers to undergo additional medical testing or procedures when obtaining a vaccine

• Marketers offering to sell and/or ship doses of a vaccine, domestically or internationally, in exchange for payment of a deposit or fee

• Unsolicited emails, telephone calls, or personal contact from someone claiming to be from a medical office, insurance company, or COVID-19 vaccine center requesting personal and/or medical information to determine recipients’ eligibility to participate in clinical vaccine trials or obtain the vaccine

• Claims of Food and Drug Administration approval for a vaccine that cannot be verified

• Advertisements for vaccines through social media platforms, email, telephone calls, online, or from unsolicited/unknown sources

• Individuals contacting you in person, by phone, or by email to tell you the government or government officials require you to receive a COVID-19 vaccine

Tips to avoid COVID-19 vaccine-related fraud:

• Consult your state’s health department website for up-to-date information about authorized vaccine distribution channels and only obtaining a vaccine through such channels.

• Check the Food and Drug Administration’s website (fda.gov) for current information about vaccine emergency use authorizations.

• Consult your primary care physician before undergoing any vaccination.

• Don’t share your personal or health information with anyone other than known and trusted medical professionals.

• Check your medical bills and insurance explanation of benefits (EOBs) for any suspicious claims and promptly reporting any errors to your health insurance provider.

• Follow guidance and recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other trusted medical professionals.

General online/cyber fraud prevention techniques:

• Verify the spelling of web addresses, websites, and email addresses that look trustworthy but may be imitations of legitimate websites.

• Ensure operating systems and applications are updated to the most current versions.

• Update anti-malware and anti-virus software and conduct regular network scans.

• Do not enable macros on documents downloaded from an email unless necessary and after ensuring the file is not malicious.

• Do not communicate with or open emails, attachments, or links from unknown individuals.

• Never provide personal information of any sort via email; be aware that many emails requesting your personal information may appear to be legitimate.

• Use strong two-factor authentication if possible, using biometrics, hardware tokens, or authentication apps.

• Disable or remove unneeded software applications.

If you believe you have been the victim of a COVID-19 fraud, immediately report it to your local police department.

For accurate and up-to-date information about COVID-19, visit:

http://coronavirus.gov/

http://cdc.gov/coronavirus

http://usa.gov/coronavirus

http://fbi.gov/coronavirus

http://justice.gov/coronavirus

http://oig.hhs.gov/coronavirus

65 Year Old Long Branch Teacher Arrested in Manalapan for Endangering the Welfare of a Child

January 19, 2021

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–A 65-year-old science teacher at Long Branch Middle School was arrested this morning and charged with one count of third-degree attempted endangering the welfare of a child, Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri reported. 

Jesse Rosenbaum was taken into custody during a motor vehicle stop near his home in Manalapan by detectives with the prosecutor’s Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Unit and Special Victims Unit (SVU).  He is being held in the Mercer County Correction Center pending a detention hearing.

Rosenbaum was the subject of a recent ICAC investigation into the sexual exploitation of children online.  The investigation revealed he was soliciting underage males online to participate in sexual acts and also sexual conversation.  The complaint alleges Rosenbaum engaged in sexually explicit emails, text messages and phone conversations with an individual he believed to be a 14-year-old male.

The investigation is ongoing.  Anyone with information on this investigation should contact Sgt. Joe Paglione of the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office Special Victims Unit at (609) 273-0065.


Two Killed In Route 9 Crash

January 19, 2021

Update Gofundme accounts of Ramirez and Rochford are located at these links:

Jonathan Ramirez Memorial Fund


Justin Rochford Memorial Fund

MANALAPAN, NJ (MONMOUTH)–At approximately 9:31 p.m. on Saturday January 16, Manalapan police responded to a single motor vehicle crash on Route 9 North, just south of Smallwood Lane. The investigation by the Monmouth County SCART Team and Manalapan Police Department revealed that a 2004 Infiniti G35, was travelling northbound when the driver lost control and left the roadway. The vehicle collided with a curb, utility pole and a guiderail, prior to coming to a final stop in a wooded area approximately 100 yards from where the vehicle left the roadway.

There were 2 occupants in the vehicle, the driver, Jonathan Ramirez, 20, and Justin Rochford, 20, both of Spotswood. Rochford was pronounced dead on the scene. Ramirez was taken to a local hospital where he was later pronounced deceased, at 1:24 a.m.

If anyone witnessed the crash, please contact Monmouth County Detective Kristian DeVito at 800-533-7443 or Manalapan Police Department Patrolman Matthew Porricelli or Detective Dominic Donatelli at 732-446-4300

Asbury Park Teen Sentenced To 10 Years For Aggravated Assault In Shooting Near Brick Memorial High School In 2019

Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that on January 14, 2021, Alonzo Legrande, 18, of Asbury Park, was sentenced by the Honorable Wendel E. Daniels, P.J.Cr.P, to ten years New Jersey State Prison (NJSP) as a result of a previously entered guilty plea to Aggravated Assault in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1b(1).  This sentence is subject to the terms of the No Early Release Act, N.J.S.A. 2C:43-7.2., meaning that Legrande will be required to serve at least 85 percent of his sentence before he may be considered for parole eligibility.  Additionally, Judge Daniels sentenced Legrande to ten years NJSP relative to his previously entered guilty plea to Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4a.  The sentences will run concurrently.  Legrande entered his guilty plea to both charges on September 17, 2020 before Judge Daniels.  Legrande’s guilty pleas were contemplated in connection with his voluntary waiver of the Family Court’s jurisdiction in this matter, and his further agreement to be charged and prosecuted as an adult in Criminal Court. 

On Tuesday, October 22, 2019, at approximately 1:45 p.m., Brick Township Police were summoned to Brick Memorial High School for a report of a student who had sustained a gunshot wound.  Investigation revealed that the student was walking home from school with three friends when he was shot approximately one-quarter mile away from Brick Memorial; he then ran back to the school for help.  As a precaution, Brick Township Police and school officials locked down the high school as well as neighboring schools before determining there was no immediate danger to students.  The victim was treated at Ocean Medical Center in Brick Township and released.

As part of their investigation, Detectives from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Crime Unit, Brick Township Police Department, and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office reviewed video surveillance footage from nearby residences.  The video surveillance depicted Legrande, who was 17 years-old at the time, and Luis Rivas, who was also a juvenile, acting together and in support of one another in carrying out the shooting.  Further investigation revealed that Legrande was, in fact, the individual who fired the weapon.  He was apprehended on October 23, 2019, and has been lodged in the Ocean County Juvenile Detention Center since his apprehension.  Rivas, who likewise agreed to be prosecuted as an adult, previously pled guilty to Conspiracy to Commit Aggravated Assault in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:5-2a(1) and N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1b(1), and was sentenced by Judge Daniels on October 2, 2020 to four years NJSP subject to the terms of the No Early Release Act.

“Our law enforcement partners at the local, county, state and federal levels displayed tremendous teamwork and cooperation in connection with this very thorough investigation,” Prosecutor Billhimer stated.  “As a result of their exceptional efforts, both Rivas and Legrande been held accountable for their brazen lawlessness with these state prison sentences,” Prosecutor Billhimer stated.

Prosecutor Billhimer acknowledges the diligent efforts of Chief Juvenile Assistant Prosecutor Anthony Pierro and Assistant Prosecutor Madeline Buczynski who handled the case on behalf of the State. Additionally, Prosecutor Billhimer is grateful for the hard work and persistence of all of the law enforcement agencies involved in securing this these state prison sentences for Rivas and Legrande:  Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit; Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Crime Unit; Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Victim Witness Advocacy Unit; Brick Township Police Department; Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit; Toms River Township Police Department; Lakewood Township Police Department; Bay Head Borough Police Department; Point Pleasant Beach Police Department; Asbury Park Police Department; Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit; Monmouth County Emergency Response Team; Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office; New Jersey State Police; New Jersey State Police Regional Operations and Intelligence Center; and the United States Marshals Service. 


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

January 14, 2021

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


Vice Chair – Ron Oswick of Freehold

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

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


Treasurer – Bhavna Tailor of Clifton, NJ,

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

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


Secretary – Elizabeth Stamler of Scotch Plains, NJ

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

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

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

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

About the NJ Sharing Network Foundation

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

About NJ Sharing Network

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


Allentown Man Charged With Theft From TD Bank In Metuchen

January 12, 2021

METUCHEN, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone and Chief David Irizarry of the Metuchen Police Department announced today that an Allentown man has been arrested and charged with defrauding a bank. 

Robert Nuccio, 52, of Allentown was arrested and charged with two counts of identity theft, two counts of forgery, two counts of false government documents, one count of theft by deception, one count of attempted theft by deception, one count resisting arrest, and one count of hindering apprehension following an investigation by officers of the Metuchen Police Department.  The investigation determined that, on January 9, 2021, Nuccio fraudulently withdrew approximately $13,000 from the TD Bank in Metuchen after he displayed a fake driver’s license bearing another person’s identifying information.  Further investigation revealed that, on January 10, 2021, Nuccio returned to the bank in an attempt withdraw an additional $7,500 where he again displayed a fake driver’s license.  Nuccio was arrested following a foot chase by responding patrol officers as he exited the bank. 

Nuccio is presently lodged at the Middlesex County Adult Correction Center where he is pending a detention hearing in Superior Court. 

The investigation is active and ongoing. Anyone with information is asked to call Detective James Keane IV of the Metuchen Police Department at (732) 632-8561.

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


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

January 8, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Howell Man Charged With Vehicular Homicide

January 6, 2021

MANCHESTER, NJ (OCEAN)–Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer has announced that on January 5, 2021, Stephen McGuire, 43, of Howell, was charged with Vehicular Homicide in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:11-5a, as well as Strict Liability Vehicular Homicide in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:11-5.3a, in connection with the death of James Grover, 62, also of Howell, on December 12, 2020.  Additionally, McGuire was charged with three counts of Endangering the Welfare of a Child in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4a(2), Criminal Trespass in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:18-3b, and the motor offenses of Driving While Intoxicated in violation of N.J.S.A. 39:4-50, Driving While Intoxicated with a Minor as a Passenger in violation of N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.15, and Reckless Driving in violation of N.J.S.A. 39:4-96.

On December 12, 2020, at approximately 8:30 p.m., Officers from the Manchester Township Police Department responded to Heritage Minerals Mine, also known as ASARCO, on Route 70 in Whiting, for a report of a motor vehicle accident with a submersion. Responding Officers spoke to a group of individuals who were operating Utility Terrain Vehicles (UTVs); the group related to the Officers that a UTV had entered the lake at the center of the property, causing the UTV and its passengers to be submerged in the lake. 

See Related MidJersey.news story here: 62 Year Old Drowns 25 Feet Of Water As UTV Crashes Into A Forming Mining Lake

An investigation by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Vehicular Homicide Unit and Manchester Township Police Department revealed that a UTV being driven by McGuire, which included James Grover and three minors as passengers, had entered the lake.  The UTV and Mr. Grover did not resurface.  The other passengers and members of the group attempted to locate Mr. Grover but were unsuccessful.  Manchester Township Police and members of the Manchester, Ridgeway and Whiting Volunteer Fire Companies conducted an underwater dive search and rescue operation and located the UTV overturned and submerged in 25 feet of water.  Mr. Grover was attached to the UTV by his safety harness.  Mr. Grover was removed from his safety harness, and life saving measures were performed by Manchester Township Emergency Medical Technicians and Robert Wood Johnson Paramedics.  Mr. Grover succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene.

In furtherance of the investigation, McGuire was taken to Community Medical Center in Toms River.  A search warrant was obtained for a draw of his blood; laboratory results from the blood draw – received by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office on January 5, 2021 – revealed that McGuire had a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of .127 %.  In the State of New Jersey, an operator of a motor vehicle is presumed to be over the legal limit for purposes of alcohol consumption where his/her BAC is .08 or greater.

On January 5, 2021, McGuire was arrested without incident at his residence in Howell by Detectives from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Vehicular Homicide Unit and Officers from Manchester Township Police Department.  He is currently lodged in the Ocean County Jail pending a detention hearing.

Prosecutor Billhimer commends the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Vehicular Homicide Unit, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Victim Witness Advocacy Unit, Manchester Township Police Department, New Jersey State Police Aviation Unit, Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit, Manchester Volunteer Fire Company, Ridgeway Volunteer Fire Company, Whiting Volunteer Fire Company, Manchester Township Emergency Medical Services, Robert Wood Johnson Paramedics, and Ocean County Medical Examiner’s Office, for their collaborative efforts relative to this investigation.

The press and public are reminded that all defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Hit And Run Investigation Involving A Pedestrian In Wall Township

January 4, 2021

WALL TOWNSHIP, NJ (MONMOUTH)–On Sunday, January 3, 2021 at approximately 8:55 p.m., the Wall Township Police Department responded to the area of Belmar Boulevard and Birchwood Lane for a report of pedestrian struck by a motor vehicle.  The investigation revealed that the vehicle that struck the pedestrian left the scene prior to police arrival. 

The pedestrian, a 32 year old man from Asbury Park, was transported to Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune Township with serious injuries by the Wall Township Police Department Emergency Medical Services and paramedics from Hackensack-Meridian.  Glendola Fire Department also responded to the incident to provide scene support.

The incident is currently being investigated by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, the Monmouth County Serious Collision Analysis Team (“SCART”) and the Wall Township Police Department.  The Wall Township Police Department is asking anyone who may have witnessed the collision or may have any information that may aid in the investigation to contact Lieutenant Chad Clark at (732) 449-4500 ext. 1143 or cclark@wallpolice.org ; or Patrolman Megan Alexander at (732) 449-4500 ext. 1183 or malexander@wallpolice.org.

Driver DWI Hits NJ State Police Vehicle At Emergency Scene

January 3, 2021

UPPER FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP, NJ (MONMOUTH)–Trooper Alejandro Goez from the NJSP Public Information Bureau told MidJersey.news: At 8:16 pm last night, troopers attempted to stop a Nissan Altima for a traffic violation eastbound on I-195 at Mile Post 11 in Upper Freehold Township. The driver failed to stop and troopers using lights and sirens pursued the vehicle. A short time later, the vehicle stopped in the median in the area of Mile Post 12.4.

The driver was arrested and troopers moved the vehicle to a safer location on the right shoulder to continue the investigation. The driver, Joel Morales, 23, of Toms River, NJ, was later charged with eluding and various traffic offenses.

During the on-scene investigation, the right lane was shutdown and a troop car with emergency lights was parked in the right lane. At approximately, 8:37 pm a Chevy Equinox traveling eastbound struck the parked troop car. The troop car was unoccupied at the time. Troopers determined the driver, Michael Costantino, 36, of Staten Island, NY, was under the influence and arrested him for DWI. No injuries were reported to the driver.


MidJersey.News has put out reminders over and over again to SLOW DOWN AND MOVE OVER at emergency scenes. If you are unfamiliar with NJ Move Over Law you can review it here: Slow Down, Move Over! National Move Over Day