Category: Lacey

Lacey Township Dispatcher Charged In Theft From Lanoka Harbor Emergency Medical Service Volunteer EMS

July 2, 2021

LACEY TOWNSHIP, NJ (OCEAN)–Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that on July 1, 2021, Matthew Bender, age 33, of Lacey Township, was charged with Theft in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:20-3a.

The charge is a result of an investigation conducted by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Economics Crime Squad. The investigation revealed that Bender, a volunteer with the Lanoka Harbor Emergency Medical Service (LHEMS) and current dispatcher with the Lacey Township Police Department, was responsible for maintaining the LHEMS website. Bender also had access to the LHEMS PayPal account. On February 2, 2021, LHEMS was awarded a grant from Benevity, an organization that facilitates grants on behalf of the Macy’s corporation. The investigation further revealed that the grant money was disbursed to the LHEMS PayPal account managed by Bender.

Further investigation revealed that approximately $4690.00 was transferred the LHEMS PayPal account to Bender’s personal PayPal account. The investigation also revealed numerous purchases, in small denominations, for various restaurants, pharmacies and auto stores, confirming that the grant money was not used for the benefit of the LHEMS. It was determined that Bender misappropriated these funds for personal use.

Bender was processed at the Berkeley Township Police Department and released on a summons pending a future court date.

Prosecutor Billhimer would like to acknowledge the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Economic Crime Squad, the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Crime Unit, the Lacey Township Police Department, and the Berkeley Township Police Department for their collaborative efforts in this investigation.

The charges referenced above are merely accusations and 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. R.P.C.3.6(b)

According to NJOIT Open Data Center Active NJ Pension Members updated on 3/31/2021 shows that Matthew J. Bender a Lacey Township, Ocean County employee is enrolled in the Public Employees Retirement System at a salary of $40,315.00 He was enrolled in the pension system on February 1, 2017.



4 Charged With Narcotics Distribution

June 30, 2021

Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that Detectives from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Narcotics Strike Force joined forces with Barnegat Township Police Department Crime Reduction Unit and Patrol Division, Toms River Township Police Department Special Enforcement Team, Stafford Township Police Department Drug Enforcement Unit and K-9 Unit, Ocean Township Police Department Detective Bureau, Lacey Township Police Department Detective Bureau and the Ocean County Sherriff’s Office, to conduct an investigation into the distribution of narcotics in the Ocean County area. The investigation identified a residence in Barnegat as being utilized by Elex Hyman, age 49 and Jaime Steen, age 38, to store and distribute cocaine.

On June 29, 2021, Detectives from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Narcotics Strike Force, Barnegat Township Police Department Crime Reduction Unit and the Toms River Township Police Department Special Enforcement Team established surveillance on the residence in Barnegat. Detectives maintained surveillance on Hyman and Steen as they traveled to an area in Toms River. Detectives observed Hyman meet with another vehicle that was occupied by Jesse Jackson, age 38, of South Toms River and Alicia Walker, age 44, of Union Beach. After the vehicles parted ways, motor vehicle stops were executed on both vehicles and the occupants detained. As a result of the motor vehicle stops, Detectives recovered approximately 63 grams of powder and crack cocaine, 150 wax folds of heroin and 100 Ecstasy tablets. Hyman, Steen, Jackson and Walker were all placed under arrest. Detectives applied for and were granted a search warrant for the residence in Barnegat. As a result of the execution of the search warrant, approximately $14,500 in US currency was seized. Arrested and charged were;

Elex Hyman, age 49, of Barnegat, was charged with Possession of Cocaine in an Amount Greater than One-Half Ounce but Less than Five Ounces with Intent to Distribute in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5b(2); Distribution of Cocaine in an Amount Greater than One-Half Ounce but Less than Five Ounces in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5b(2); Possession of Cocaine in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10a(1); and Knowingly Wander to Obtain or Sell a Controlled Dangerous Substance in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:33-2.1B. Hyman is currently lodged in the Ocean County Jail pending a detention hearing.

Jaime Steen, age 38, of Barnegat, was charged with Possession of Cocaine in an Amount Greater than One-Half Ounce but Less than Five Ounces with Intent to Distribute in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5b(2); Distribution of Cocaine in an Amount Greater than One-Half Ounce but Less than Five Ounces in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5b(2); Possession of Cocaine in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10a(1); and Knowingly Wander to Obtain or Sell a Controlled Dangerous Substance in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:33-2.1B. Steen was charged on a Summons and released pending a future court date.

Jessie Jackson, age 38, of South Toms River, was charged with Possession of Cocaine in an Amount Greater than One-Half Ounce but Less than Five Ounces with Intent to Distribute in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5b(2); Possession of Heroin with the Intent to Distribute in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5b(3); Possession of Cocaine in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10a(1); Possession of Heroin in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10a(1); and Knowingly Wander to Obtain or Sell a Controlled Dangerous Substance in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:33-2.1B. Jackson is currently lodged in the Ocean County Jail pending a detention hearing.

Alicia Walker, age 44, of Union Beach, was charged with Possession of Cocaine in an Amount Greater than One-Half Ounce but Less than Five Ounces with Intent to Distribute in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5b(2); Possession of Heroin with the Intent to Distribute in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5b(3); Possession of Ecstasy tablets with the Intent to Distribute in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-3b(3); Possession of Heroin in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10a(1); Possession of Cocaine in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10a(1); Possession of Ecstasy tablets in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10a(1); Possession of Drug Paraphernalia in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:36-2a; and Knowingly Wander to Obtain or Sell a Controlled Dangerous Substance in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:33-2.1B. Walker is currently lodged in the Ocean County Jail pending a detention hearing.

Prosecutor Billhimer commends the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Narcotics Strike Force, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Asset Forfeiture Unit, Barnegat Township Police Department Crime Reduction Unit and Patrol Division, Toms River Township Police Department Special Enforcement Team, Stafford Township Police Department Drug Enforcement Unit and K-9 Unit, Ocean Township Police Department Detective Bureau, Lacey Township Police Department Detective Bureau and the Ocean County Sherriff’s Office, for their collaborative assistance in connection with this investigation.

The charges referenced above are merely accusations and 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. R.P.C.3.6(b)(6).




3 Dogs Abandoned, Left For Dead In Lacey Township; Toms River Woman Indicted For Three Counts Of Animal Cruelty

June 25, 2021

TOMS RIVER, NJ (OCEAN)–Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that on June 23, 2021, Allissa DeStefano, age 30, of Toms River, was indicted by a Grand Jury sitting in Ocean County on three counts of Animal Cruelty in violation of N.J.S.A. 4-22-17c(2).

During the evening hours of November 11, 2019, the Lacey Township Police Department responded to a residence in Lacey Township for a report that dogs had possibly been abandoned in the residence. Upon arrival, the officers determined that the house was indeed abandoned, and the remains of three dogs were discovered. An investigation by Detectives from the Lacey Township Police Department and the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office revealed that DeStefano was responsible for the care of the dogs and had abandoned them in the residence, which resulted in their death. DeStefano was arrested without incident, and processed at the Lacey Township Police Department. She was released on a summons pending a future court date.

Prosecutor Billhimer acknowledges the diligent efforts of Assistant Prosecutor Kimberly Carr who is handling the case on behalf of the State, as well as the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office and the Lacey Township Police Department for their collaborative efforts relative to this investigation resulting in DeStefano’s indictment.

The charges referenced above are merely accusations and 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. R.P.C.3.6(b)(6).



Lacey Township And Jackson Men Charged With Theft

June 25, 2021

LACEY TOWNSHIP, NJ (OCEAN)–Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer and Lacey Township Police Chief Michael DiBella announced that on June 23, 2021 and June 24, 2021, Ross Miserendino, 55, of Lacey Township, and Enrique Roldan, 42, of Jackson, were charged with Theft in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:20-3. Miserendino was also charged with one count of Theft in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:20-3; Uttering a Forged Instrument in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:21-1a(3); Fraudulent Use of a Credit Card in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:21-6h; and Making a False Statement in Procuring Issuance of a Credit Card in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:21-6h.

The charges are the result of an investigation conducted by the Lacey Township Police Department and the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Economic Crime Squad. The investigation revealed that beginning in 2019, the victim of these offenses had medical issues arise which caused her to be temporarily unable to manage her finances. Miserendino, whom was in a romantic relationship with the victim at the time, agreed to assist her by paying her bills for her, and was given access to her checks and bank account information for that purpose. Between 2019 and 2020, Miserendino signed the victim’s name without her authorization on 146 checks totaling $171,000. The majority of those checks were written out to Enrique Roldan, while others were written directly to Miserendino. Both Roldan and Miserendino shared in the proceeds of the theft. Additionally, during that time period Miserendino stole approximately $11,000 worth of personal property located at the victim’s residence in Lacey Township. Miserendino also obtained an American Express credit card in the victim’s name without her authorization, and subsequently made approximately $34,000 worth of charges on that card for his benefit.

Miserendino and Roldan were processed and released on a summons pending a future court date.

Prosecutor Billhimer and Chief DiBella would like to acknowledge the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Economic Crime Squad and the Lacey Township Police Department for their collaborative efforts in this investigation.

The charges referenced above are merely accusations and 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.

R.P.C. 3.6(b)(6).


Lacey Twp. Man Charged With Strict Liability Death After Selling Victim Heroin And Cocaine

April 30, 2021

LACEY TOWNSHIP, NJ (OCEAN)–Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer and Toms River Township Police Chief Mitchell Little announced that on April 29, 2021, Jehmar Barrett, 34, of Lacey Township, was charged with Strict Liability Drug Induced Death in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-9a, relative to the death of a 35-year-old female in Toms River on November 24, 2020.

On November 24, 2020, Toms River Police Officers responded to a residence on Alabama Avenue for a report of an unresponsive female. Upon arrival, Officers discovered the body of the victim, who was already deceased from an apparent drug overdose.

A subsequent investigation by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit and Toms River Police Department Detective Bureau determined that Barrett allegedly sold the victim Heroin and Cocaine on November 23, 2020. Barrett was initially charged on November 24, 2020 with Distribution of Heroin in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5b(3); Distribution of Cocaine in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5b(3); Conspiracy to Distribute Heroin in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:5-2a(1) and N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5b(3); Possession of Heroin in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10a(1); Possession of Cocaine in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10a(1); and Eluding in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:29-2b.

Further investigation and toxicology analysis recently received by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office confirmed the presence of Fentanyl in the victim’s system. It was determined through laboratory analysis that the controlled dangerous substance allegedly sold to the victim by Barrett – initially believed to be Heroin – was, in fact, Fentanyl, matching the Fentanyl found in the victim’s system. Based upon the toxicology analysis, the Ocean County Medical Examiner’s Office opined that the Fentanyl found in the victim’s system was the cause of her death. As a consequence, Barrett was charged with Strict Liability Induced Death on April 29, 2021. This morning, Barrett surrendered himself to the Toms River Police Department. He was transported to the Ocean County Jail, where he remains lodged pending a detention hearing.

Prosecutor Billhimer and Chief Little commend the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Victim Witness Advocacy Unit, Toms River Township Police Department Detective Bureau, Toms River Township Police Department Patrol Division, Berkeley Township Police Department, Lacey Township Police Department, Ocean County Medical Examiner’s Office, and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit, for their collaborative efforts in connection with 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.

Manalapan Man Charged With Aggravated Assault In Lakeside Diner Incident

October 1, 2020

See a related NJ 101.5 news story on the incident here: Kockout punch kills man, 78, after Lacy biker brawl, owner says

Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that Edward Chandler, 54, of Manalapan, was charged with Aggravated Assault in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1b(1) relative to an incident which occurred outside the Lakeside Diner in Lacey Township during the evening hours of September 30, 2020.

On September 30, 2020, at approximately 7:30 p.m., Lacey Township Police received a 911 call in reference to a male who was reported to be unresponsive at the Lakeside Diner on Lacey Road. Responding Officers found Robert Clarke, 78, of Whiting, unconscious and bleeding from an apparent head wound. Clarke was airlifted to Jersey Shore Medical Center. Clarke succumbed at approximately 1:30 a.m. and was pronounced deceased at the hospital.

An investigation by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit, Lacey Township Police Department, and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit revealed that an argument had taken place inside the diner between members of a motorcycle club. The owner of the diner asked everyone involved in the altercation to leave the premises. A second argument involving the same parties arose in the parking lot of the diner. During this argument, Chandler struck Mr. Clarke with a closed fist, causing the victim to fall to the ground resulting in severe head trauma. Chandler was taken into custody and transported to the Ocean County Jail where he is currently lodged pending a detention hearing.

“This is an active and ongoing investigation. We are continuing to interview potential witnesses, and are awaiting the results of Mr. Clarke’s post-mortem examination by the Ocean County Medical Examiner. I fully expect that additional charges will be forthcoming,” Prosecutor Billhimer stated.

Prosecutor Billhimer acknowledges the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit, Lacey Township Police Department, and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit for their collaborative assistance in connection with 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.


Fatal Accident On Route 539 In Lacy Township

September 18, 2020 Updated at 5:15 with full press release, see below original story for complete information.

7:00 pm update a source traveling though the area says the roadway has been reopened.

LACEY TOWNSHIP, NJ (OCEAN)–Around 6:00 am this morning sources say that a dump truck and a car collided with entrapment around mile marker 19. Sources also say there was a fatality at the scene and a fuel spill. The roadway has remained closed though late afternoon for accident investigation and clean up.

Route 539 is still closed as of 4:30 pm between Route 72 and Harry Wright Blvd. in Manchester Township. Seek alternate routes if you need to travel in that area.


Full press release below:

Michael C. DiBella Chief of Police

Lacey Township Police Department PRESS RELEASE:

On Friday, September 18, 2020, at approximately 0600 hours, the Lacey Township Police Department responded to a report of a motor vehicle crash on County Route 539 in the vicinity of mile marker 19.5. Initial reports indicated entrapment of an occupant of one vehicle that was fully engulfed in flames. Investigation at the scene revealed that a 2000 Lexus operated by a 37-year-old female from Staten Island, NY, was traveling north in the southbound lane on County Road 539 approaching mile marker 19.5.

A 2006 Kenworth tri-axle dump truck was traveling south at the same time and the Lexus struck the front of the dump truck at a high rate of speed.

Witnesses reported that the operator of the Lexus had passed multiple vehicles well in excess of the posted 55 MPH speed limit while traveling north just prior to the crash. Witnesses further reported that after passing another vehicle the operator of the Lexus failed to return to the northbound lane, and continued traveling north in the southbound lane, right into the path of the dump truck.

The impact caused the Lexus to burst into flames upon colliding with the truck, with the occupant still inside the vehicle. By all accounts it does not appear the initial impact was survivable. The operator of the dump truck, Sergio Pernilla, 37, of Hamilton, New Jersey suffered minor injury.

The identity of the driver of the Lexus is being withheld pending notification of next of kin.

The crash resulted in significant damage to the vehicles involved and caused the roadway to be shut down for an extended period of time. The crash also caused the diesel fuel tank of the dump truck to become compromised, resulting in the spill of a significant amount of diesel fuel onto the roadway.

As of 1500 hours on today’s date, clean-up efforts are still underway and the road remains closed. It is estimated that the roadway should be reopened by late evening.

The Forked River and Bamber Lakes Fire Department, Berkeley HAZMAT Team, Ocean County Medical Examiner’s Office, Ocean County Sheriff’s Office, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, New Jersey State Police, Stafford Township Police Department, Barnegat Police Department, Ocean County Road Department, NJ State DOT, and Accurate Towing all assisted with the investigation and/or clean-up efforts. Sergeant Robert Flynn, Lacey Township Police Department, is investigating the crash.