Category: Lakewood

Teen Charged With Murder Waived To Adult Court

September 16, 2020

FREEHOLD, NJ (MONMOUTH)–A judge ruled last week a Lakewood teenager charged in the October 2019 death of a man whose body was found lying in the roadway in Howell will now face those charges in adult court, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.

Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Richard W. English waived Alberto Rojas Hernandez, now 18, from family court up to adult court to face charges of first degree Conspiracy to Commit Murder, first degree Murder, third degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose and fourth degree Unlawful Possession of a Weapon.

Rojas Hernandez, of Joe Parker Avenue in Lakewood, is being held in the Middlesex County Youth Detention Center in North Brunswick, pending a First Appearance and Detention Hearing scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020.  Rojas Hernandez has been held in the Youth Detention Center since his arrest in October. 

Rojas Hernandez’s uncle, Juan Carlos Rivera Rojas (also known as Omar Rivera Rojas), 29 of Linden Avenue, in Lakewood was previously charged in the killing with first degree Murder.  Rivera Rojas was ordered detained pending trial on Nov. 12, 2019 by the Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Paul X. Escandon.

The Howell Township Police Department responded to a 911 call at about 3:46 a.m. on Oct. 18, 2019, reporting an unconscious male laying in Hurley Pond Road just east of Route 547.  Upon arrival, a Hispanic male was located lying face down in the roadway.  The incident was initially investigated as a fatal hit and run motor vehicle incident.  However, upon the arrival of SCART investigators it was quickly determined that his death was not the result of a hit and run event.

The man, identified as Domingo Merino Rafael, 33, of Lakewood, was unresponsive and obviously deceased. MONOC personnel responded and the victim was pronounced deceased at the scene. Rafael was taken to the Middlesex County Regional Medical Examiner’s Office where an autopsy determined the cause of death was a Homicide.

A joint investigation by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and Howell Township Police Department determined Rojas Hernandez, Rivera Rojas and Merino Rafael traveled from Lakewood to Middlesex County on the evening of Oct. 17, 2019.  The men were returning to Lakewood in the early morning hours of Oct. 18, 2019, when the trio got into an argument that culminated with the murder of Merino Rafael.

The Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and the Howell Township Police Department also credited the Lakewood Police Department and the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office for their assistance during the investigation.

If convicted of Murder, Rojas Hernandez faces a minimum sentence of 30 years in a New Jersey state prison without parole and a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, subject to the provisions of the “No Early Release Act” (NERA) requiring him to serve 85 percent of the sentence imposed before becoming eligible for release on parole. He would also be under parole supervision for five years following his release from state prison.

The case is assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutors Stephanie Dugan and Tara Wilson.

Rivera Rojas is represented by Joseph Champagne, Esq. of Toms River.

Rojas Hernandez is represented by Carlos Diaz-Cobo, Esq. of New Brunswick.

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

Off Duty Lakewood Police Officer Dies In Motorcycle Crash In Jackson Twp

September 6, 2020

Please keep the Lakewood Police Department in your prayers they lost an off duty active police officer and a retired officer yesterday.

JACKSON-LAKEWOOD, NJ (OCEAN)–A fatal accident occurred around 4:54 pm in the 100 Block of Thompson Bridge Road involving a motorcycle, yesterday afternoon. Jackson Township Fire Department, Jackson Township EMS and Jackson Township Police all responded to the scene to try and save the man that was reported to be an off duty Lakewood Police Officer. Lakewood Township Police Department has announced the officer’s passing see below:

It is with an extremely heavy heart that the Lakewood Police Department announces the untimely passing of Officer Nicklas Shimonovich.

Twenty-three year old Nicklas Shimonovich was involved in an off duty motorcycle accident in Jackson Township earlier this afternoon in which he sustained life threatening injuries. He was transported to Monmouth Medical Southern Campus were he tragically succumbed to his injuries a short time later. At this time the accident is under investigation by the Jackson Township Police Department and the Ocean County Prosecutors Office.

Officer Shimonovich was hired in March of 2018 and was assigned to our Patrol Division on the evening shift. He was well respected by his peers, supervisors and the community he loved to serve. We ask that you keep him and his family and friends in your thoughts during this difficult time.


Jackson Police Department News Release

Fatal MVC Investigation

On Saturday September 5, 2020 at 4:54 pm, officers and emergency personnel responded to Thompson Bridge Road on the report of a motor vehicle crash with injuries involving a motorcycle.

Responding officers and First Aid located the single vehicle and driver which was involved in this incident and provided care and transported the driver to an area hospital where he succumbed to the injuries received in the crash.

The driver was identified as Nicklas Shimonovich, age 23 of Jackson, NJ.

Initial investigation of the crash indicated that Mr. Shimonovich was travelling east on Thompson Bridge Road on a 2015 Harley Davidson when the motorcycle ran off the roadway and struck a mailbox and utility trailer which was parked on a property. He was wearing a helmet at the time of the crash.

The crash is under investigation by the department’s Traffic Safety Unit. Anyone who may have witnessed this crash is asked to contact Police Officer Tristan Bennett or Kevin Chesney at 732-928-1111.

Captain Steven Laskiewicz
Investigations Division Commander
Jackson Township Police Department
September 6, 2020



The Lakewood Police Department has also lost a retired member of their force Det. Larry Doyle #189 (Retired).

It’s been a sad day for the Lakewood Police Department.

It is with a heavy heart that we announce the passing of Det. Larry Doyle #189 (Retired).

Det. Doyle was hired by the Lakewood Police Department in September of 1980. After 25 years and 4 months of service he retired in December of 2005.

Det. Doyle spent many years in our Patrol Division where he made numerous arrests and helped train newly hired Officers.

In 2002, he earned the rank of Detective and conducting numerous investigations involving burglary, theft and stolen cars.

Det. Doyle was also our resident expert regarding Hazardous Materials Training. Something he had vast knowledge in due to his time with the Fire Service.

Law Enforcment, Firefighting and his Family were his passion.

Toms River Man Sentenced To NJ State Prison For Lakewood Fatal Hit And Run

August 26, 2020

TOMS RIVER, NJ (OCEAN)–

Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that on August 26, 2020, Alexander Politan, 31, of Toms River, was sentenced by the Honorable Guy P. Ryan, J.S.C., to seven years in New Jersey State Prison. On February 25, 2020, Politan pled guilty to Knowingly Leaving the Scene of a Motor Vehicle Accident Resulting in Death in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:11-5.1, as well as Driving with a Suspended License in violation of N.J.S.A. 39:3-40, before Judge Ryan. Judge Ryan also imposed a six-month loss of driving privileges.

On Friday, October 4, 2019, at approximately 9:20 p.m., Lakewood Police were summoned to Oak Street, south of Albert Avenue in Lakewood Township for a report of a pedestrian struck by a vehicle. Investigation at the scene revealed that Jesus Lopez-Grande, 15, of Lakewood, and his father, Jesus Lopez-Ramirez, 37, also of Lakewood, were walking near the shoulder portion of Oak Street when they were struck by a vehicle. Jesus Lopez-Ramirez sustained an injury to his elbow. Jesus Lopez-Grande was found lying face down in the driveway of a home on Oak Street. Jesus Lopez-Grande suffered fatal injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Further investigation revealed vehicle debris was left at the scene. Detectives determined from the debris that vehicle parts located at the crash scene belonged to a black 2014 Jeep Cherokee. At that time, the Lakewood Police Department, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Vehicular Homicide Unit, and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office launched an extensive search to locate that vehicle. On Sunday, October 6, 2019, a black Jeep Cherokee matching the description of the suspect vehicle was discovered in the driveway of a residence on New Hampshire Avenue in Toms River. The residence was unoccupied. The black Jeep Cherokee had damage to the passenger side. A search warrant was obtained for the Jeep Cherokee.

Further investigation revealed that Politan was operating the vehicle when it struck Jesus Lopez-Grande and Jesus Lopez-Grande. Politan was located and apprehended on October 8, 2019. He has been lodged in the Ocean County Jail since the date of his arrest.

Prosecutor Billhimer acknowledges the diligent efforts of Senior Assistant Prosecutor Robert Cassidy and Assistant Prosecutor Kate Burke who handled the case on behalf of the State, and extends his gratitude to the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Vehicular Homicide Unit, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Victim Witness Advocacy Unit, Lakewood Township Police Department, Toms River Police Department, and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit for their combined efforts in securing this state prison sentence.


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

August 20, 2020


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


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

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

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

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

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

The case is being investigated by members of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and the Asbury Park Police Department. Anyone with information about this case is urged to call Detective William Anton of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office at 1-800-533-7443 or Asbury Park Police Detective Dillon Gourley at 1-732-774-1300.

Anyone who feels the need to remain anonymous but has information about a crime can submit a tip to Monmouth County Crime Stoppers by calling their confidential telephone tip-line at 1-800-671-4400; or by downloading and using the free P3 Tips mobile app (available for iOS and Android – https://www.p3tips.com/community/index.htm).

If convicted of Attempted Murder, Jackson faces up to 20 years in a New Jersey state prison, subject to the provisions of the “No Early Release Act” (NERA) requiring him to serve 85 percent of the sentence imposed before becoming eligible for release on parole. He would also be under parole supervision for five years following his release from state prison.If convicted of Aggravated Assault, the maximum potential sentence is a State Prison term of up to 10 years.  Any sentence imposed for the crime of Aggravated Assault would also be subject to “N.E.R.A.”
           

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

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

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

NJ MVC FAILURE: 1,000s Wait In Extreme Long Lines At NJ Motor Vehicle Commission Buildings, Complete Chaos as Fights Reported In Trenton and Edison

Motor Vehicle Commission Wait Times A Total Disaster With Times Exceeding Three Hours, with new reports some waited 6+ hours with nothing done. Fights were reported in at least Trenton and Edison. Edison Police had to call neighboring departments for help.

July 7, 2020 posted at 4 pm, updated at 9 pm.

TRENTON, LAWRENCE TOWNSHIP, (MERCER), SOUTH BRUNSWICK, (MIDDLESEX), NJ –People set up camp and waited in line, some earlier than 6 am but, they were not waiting in line for a Black Friday Sale, A Trump Rally or even concert tickets, they were just waiting for a visit to the local NJ Motor Vehicle Commission office.

It has been months since people could process an in person transaction to get or renew a license, register a car, get new plates and any other in person transaction that the MVC office processes.

The extremely long lines, snaked though parking lots, around buildings and even up the side of highways as the first day the NJ MVC opened its doors since the COVID-19 closures months ago.

Just after 8 am, a fight was reported this morning at the NJ Motor Vehicle Commission in Trenton on South Stockton Street. Trenton Police responded and reported that the line was wrapped around the building.

In South Brunswick/Dayton hundreds were in line as the line snaked back and fourth though the parking lot then eventually up Route 130. A group of people still about 100 deep at that location reported they had been in line since 6 am.

In Lawrence at Bakers Basin the scene was similar with lines wrapping around and though parking lots. People sat in chairs and under umbrellas and even a frozen dessert truck set up in the area near Route 1.

Edison, NJ we have a report of a disturbance at the Edison NJ Motor Vehicle Commission and Edison Police had to call mutual aid departments to the scene around 1:42 pm.


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South Brunswick-Dayton: NJ Motor Vehicle Commission:


Photos below by: Brian McCarthy OnScene News

Trenton NJ Motor Vehicle Commission:


Lawrence Township: NJ Motor Vehicle Commission Bakers Basin:

Photos by: Brian McCarthy OnScene News

2020 BlueClaws, Minor League Baseball Seasons Cancelled

July 1, 2020

LAKEWOOD, NJ (OCEAN)–The BlueClaws shared the unfortunate news today that the 2020 Minor League Baseball season, and with it the 2020 BlueClaws season, has been cancelled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is news that we had hoped we wouldn’t have to share, but unfortunately we will not be playing baseball at the Jersey Shore this summer,” said BlueClaws Team President Joe Ricciutti.

This decision was made with the interests of fan, player, coach, and staff safety at the forefront.

“We understand and cherish our place as a much-needed outlet for fun and entertainment across our communities, but we also understand and support the need to prioritize the public health crisis,” said Art Matin, the managing partner of BlueClaws ownership group Shore Town Baseball.

BlueClaws ticket package holders will be contacted by staff members to go over their options. Additionally, BlueClaws ticket staff members will coordinate with group leaders that have booked 2020 outings as well. Those that have tickets as part of a group outing should wait to hear from their group leader directly.

Communication from BlueClaws staff members will begin on Wednesday morning, and the team asks that ticket holders be patient as the BlueClaws work through outreach on an individual basis.

“We thank each of our ticket package holders and group leaders for their patience while we waited for a resolution,” said Ricciutti. “This has been a trying time for us all and we want to make sure that each ticket holder hears directly from the BlueClaws.”

2020 was to be the 20th season in BlueClaws history with much planned to celebrate. The team will shift many of these 20th season promotions into 2021.

“We are already working on making 2021 the biggest and most exciting season in team history,” said Ricciutti. “We’ll just celebrate our 20th season and our 20th anniversary all together!”

Matin added: “The BlueClaws have many amazing fans and partners and we appreciate each and every one of them. We had lots of plans to celebrate our 20th season this year. Our message is simple – we want everyone to stay healthy and we can’t wait to open the gates and welcome people from across the Jersey Shore for some family entertainment and great baseball.”

A 2021 BlueClaws schedule has not yet been released. The team will announce their 2021 schedule, complete with the 2021 Opening Night, when available.

FirstEnergy Park executive offices remain closed to the general public as of today, though staff is working remotely. Please check BlueClaws.com and the team’s social media channels for additional information.

The BlueClaws are the Jersey Shore’s top stop for affordable, family entertainment and have drawn 7.7 million fans to FirstEnergy Park since their 2001 inception.

Lakewood, NJ Man And Utah Man Indicted For $8 Million Credit Card Fraud

May 29, 2020

NEWARK, NJ—A grand jury today indicted two men, one from Ocean County, New Jersey, and the other from Utah, with carrying out a fraudulent scheme to obtain credit cards in the names of third parties, make purchases on the cards to generate rewards points, monetize the points, and cancel the purchases.

Aharon Lev, a/k/a “Aaron Lev,” a/k/a “Aron Lev,” a/k/a “David Gold,” a/k/a “David Monroe,” 33, of Lakewood, New Jersey, and Timothy Gibson, 43, of Lehi, Utah, are charged by indictment with one count each of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Lev is also charged by indictment with two counts of wire fraud and two counts of aggravated identity theft. Lev was previously charged by complaint and released on bond to Israel; he is required to return to New Jersey by June 9, 2020, to be arraigned on the indictment. Gibson will make his initial appearance at a date to be determined.

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

From August 2014 through May 2016, Lev recruited individuals to give him their personally identifiable information, such as names and Social Security numbers, which Lev used to open numerous small-business accounts in their names with the victim credit card company. With Gibson’s assistance, Lev then used those accounts to make purchases that generated rewards points, which could be redeemed for frequent-flyer miles with various airlines. Once the points were issued, Lev cancelled the purchases and sold the points to Gibson, who resold them to third parties for use as miles to purchase airfare. Over two years, the scheme cost the credit card company more than $8 million in fees paid to the airlines for acceptance of points for miles.

Each charge of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, restitution, and forfeiture. Each charge of aggravated identity theft carries a mandatory sentence of two years in prison, to be served consecutive to any sentence on the wire-fraud and conspiracy charges.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Gregory W. Ehrie in Newark, and postal inspectors with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, under the direction of Inspector in Charge James Buthorn, with the investigation leading to the charges.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah A. Sulkowski of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Cybercrime Unit in Newark.

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

20-156

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Lakewood Man Charged With Terroristic Threats And Other Charges At Dollar General In Jackson

May 20, 2020

JACKSON, NJ (OCEAN)–On Monday May 18, 2020 at 6:22 pm, Police Officers Matthew Jamison, Ryan Gladysz and Jody Benecke responded to the Dollar General located in Manhattan Street Plaza on the report of a disorderly person. It was reported that there was a male inside the store who had removed a face mask he had been wearing and then was refusing store employee’s requests to put it back on while he was also purposely touching other customers inside the store.

Officers located the male inside the store and had him go outside to speak with him. As they attempted to obtain his name, he refused multiple times to provide them with the information, claiming he did not have to and was from another state and did not have identification on him. When advised he was detained and needed to provide identification, he turned around and placed his hands behind his back and told the officers to arrest him. He was told he was under arrest and as the officers went to handcuff him, he pulled away and ran from the officers. He was caught after a short foot pursuit and then a struggle ensued as he refused to allow the officers to place handcuffs on him. After gaining control of his hands, the officers were able to handcuff him and a search then revealed his New Jersey driver’s license which identified the male.

The male then refused to cooperate with officers to be seated inside the patrol vehicle for transport to headquarters as he struggled with their attempts to seat him inside the vehicle and seatbelt him. He was then able to maneuver his hands from behind his body and get them to the front while seated.

While being processed at headquarters, the male continued to yell profanities at the officers while also threatening to assault them. During this time, he then spit directly into Officer Jamison’s face and claimed that he had the Coronavirus. The male was secured in a holding cell and it was soon observed that he placed the mattress from the cot over the camera to obstruct the view, and then began to use the toilet to flood the cell as water was observed coming from under the door. He was then secured in another room where he continued to yell obscenities at the officers, spit all over the room and cough at officers as they attempted to continue to process him while claiming to have the Coronavirus. For unknown reasons, he then disrobed and took his clothes off and sat in the room naked.

Arrested:

Marquise Cadet, age 26 of Lakewood, NJ. The Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office was contacted and approved the following charges: obstruction, resisting arrest, hindering apprehension, 4th degree aggravated assault (throwing bodily fluids at law enforcement officers while in performance of their duties) and 2nd degree terroristic threats (made during a state of emergency).

As officers from the oncoming patrol shift prepared to transport Mr. Cadet to the Ocean County Jail, it was discovered that he was able to free himself from the transport belt in the rear of the patrol vehicle. This required the officers to have to remove him from the vehicle, where he again refused to comply and struggled with them, and re-secure him for the transport to the jail, where he was eventually lodged. Mr. Cadet’s actions also required an immediate cleaning and disinfecting of the cell block area where he was processed.

– The media and the public are reminded that any persons arrested or charged with any offenses or crimes are presumed innocent until proven guilty in court.

Lakewood Woman Missing

LAKEWOOD, NJ (OCEAN)–The New Jersey State Police Missing Persons Unit and the Hillsdale Police Department are seeking the public’s assistance with locating Dale Murberg, 66, of Lakewood Township, N.J., Ocean County. Ms. Murberg was last seen, April 18

Lakewood and Burlington Among List of COVID-19 Stay At Home Orders This Week

May 16, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)—Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, today announced enforcement actions from the past week, including coughing and spitting assaults and noteworthy violations of Governor Murphy’s Executive Orders.  The Attorney General also announced enforcement actions targeting price-gouging, consumer fraud violations, and alcoholic beverage control violations. “We’re cracking down on those who jeopardize public health and undermine public safety,” said Attorney General Grewal. “We have zero patience for those who spit on cops, gouge prices, or try to exploit this pandemic for their personal gain.” “Although law enforcement and medical professionals are on the frontlines of the battle against COVID-19, we are ultimately winning the war because of the extraordinary resolve and fortitude of New Jersey citizens who are doing their part day in and day out, abiding by the executive orders and sacrificing for the greater good,” said Colonel Patrick Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police.  “Those who choose to ignore the law and selfishly place others at risk will face swift law enforcement action.” 

Violations of Executive Orders, Including “Stay at Home” Order, and Ordinance:

  • Antwan Strickland, 20, of Roebling, Jemir Jones, 21, of Mount Laurel, and Rashaun Turner, 33, of Burlington Township were charged May 14 with violating the emergency orders after Burlington Police responded to a report of a dozen people gathered in the back yard of an abandoned home in Burlington city. Strickland, Jones and Turner were previously warned by police in connection with several similar incidents involving large gatherings. In addition, Strickland and Jones were among four people charged with violating the emergency orders and other disorderly persons offenses in Burlington city on May 10.
  • Chan Kwon, 49, of Perth Amboy, N.J., was charged on May 13 with violating the emergency orders by operating a non-essential business. Kwon owns a beauty supply store in Perth Amboy. The May 13 incident was the second time Kwon has been charged with violating the emergency orders. He received a summons on May 5 under similar circumstances.
  • Yisrael Knopfler, 44, of Lakewood, N.J. was charged with violating the emergency orders and other disorderly persons offenses on May 11 in connection with an incident that began when police found him hosting a gathering of more than 10 people in his back yard, where a tent was set up. Upon the officers’ arrival, a group of approximately 20 men approached and began yelling at them. Host Knopfler allegedly became verbally aggressive and uncooperative with the police and, at one point, made physical contact with an officer.
  • Chaim Oestreicher, 52 and Sarah Oestreicher, 49, of Lakewood, were cited on May 11 after police arrived at their home to find approximately 15-to-20 people gathered in the back yard next to an uncontained fire.
  • Chaim Gutman, 37, was cited on May 11 with violating the emergency orders after police responded to a report of loud music and found a band playing on the deck at his home before a crowd of between 50 and 100 people.
  • Miran Lee, 45, of Passaic, N.J., was charged on May 12 with violating the emergency orders and risking/causing widespread injury (4th degree) after police found her massage business – New Asian Massage – open and serving customers. On two prior occasions, Lee was issued summonses for violating the emergency orders by operating the same non-essential business and failing to practice social distancing. 
  • Mohammad Bahar, 42of Cliffside Park, N.J., was charged on May 12 with violating the emergency orders by operating a non-essential retail business — S&S Furniture Gallery in Irvington. Bahar, the store manager, was cited after police observed the store open and operating with customers inside.
  • Diana Ron, 38, of Union, N.J. and Dunia Mora, 59, of Irvington, N.J. were both cited for violating the orders on May 11. Ron owns Antojito’s Restaurant in Irvington, while Mora is the restaurant’s manager. Both received a summons after police observed that the bar/restaurant was open for business on May 11 and serving alcoholic drinks to customers inside the establishment.
  • James Robyn, 69, of Chester, N.J., was charged with violating the orders on May 11 after police found his retail pool and hot tub store open for business, with multiple customers shopping inside. Robyn was reportedly warned two weeks ago that the store could not be open. He was charged with violating the emergency orders by operating a non-essential business
  • Rami Jabara, 45, of Little Ferry,  N.J., was charged by the Paterson Police Department on May 10 with violating the emergency orders for opening the jewelry store he owns, Jerusalem Jewelry on Main Street.  Officers found the store open with customers inside shopping, despite the fact that Jabara was warned by police the day before for opening the non-essential business.
  • Sergio J. Moya Jr., 27, of Jersey City, was charged by the Port Authority Police Department on the night of May 8 with resisting arrest (disorderly persons offense), disorderly conduct (petty disorderly persons offense), and violating the emergency orders. Moya allegedly harassed ticket agents at Newark Airport and refused to leave. 

AG Grewal and Col. Callahan Issue Weekly Round-Up on COVID-19 Enforcement Matters

May 1, 2020

TRENTON – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, today announced enforcement highlights from the past week, including coughing and spitting assaults and bias incidents, and noteworthy violations of Governor Murphy’s Executive Orders.  The Attorney General also announced enforcement actions targeting price-gouging, consumer fraud violations, and alcoholic beverage control violations. “We’re cracking down on those who jeopardize public health and undermine public safety,” said Attorney General Grewal. “We have zero patience for those who spit on cops, gouge prices, or try to exploit this pandemic for their personal gain.” “Although law enforcement and medical professionals are on the frontlines of the battle against COVID-19, we are ultimately winning the war because of the extraordinary resolve and fortitude of New Jersey citizens who are doing their part day in and day out, abiding by the executive orders and sacrificing for the greater good,” said Colonel Patrick Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police.  “Those who choose to ignore the law and selfishly place others at risk will face swift law enforcement action.” Assaults and Threats Against Police Officers, EMTs, or Others

  • John R. Hendricks, 19, of Rumson, was charged on April 25 by the Middletown Township Police Department with terroristic threats during an emergency (2nd degree), aggravated assault on a police officer (3rd degree), resisting arrest (3rd degree), criminal mischief (3rd degree), and violating the emergency orders.  Andrew R. Jacome, 18, of Fair Haven, was charged with criminal mischief (3rd degree) and violating the emergency orders.  Homeowners called police to report two subjects throwing rocks at their door, vandalizing their vehicle, and exploding fireworks in their mailbox.  Police arrested Hendricks and Jacome nearby.  Hendricks allegedly attempted to flee and physically resisted arrest.  He allegedly screamed at the victims, threatening to return and burn their house down.  At police headquarters, Hendricks allegedly tried to kick officers and spat on the floor, claiming he had the coronavirus.         
  • Alana B. Hall, 24, of Wenonah, was charged on April 26 by the Woodbury Police with terroristic threats during an emergency (2nd degree), aggravated assault (3rd degree), and disorderly conduct. It is alleged that Hall purposely coughed on medical staff at Inspira Medical Center and said she was infected with COVID-19.  She allegedly scratched and struck a nurse technician, spat on her, and fought with other medical personnel.
  • Jaymee Tice, 37, of Point Pleasant Borough, was charged on April 26 by the Point Pleasant Borough Police with second-degree terroristic threats during an emergency.  Tice entered the driver’s seat of an occupied vehicle while the driver was inside getting ice cream at Sundaes on Route 88.  The car owner saw Tice and returned to her vehicle. She managed to get Tice out, but Tice allegedly shouted at her, saying, “Do you want corona? Do you want to die?”
  • Jenna Richardson, 24, of West Deptford, was charged on April 29 by the West Deptford Police with second degree terroristic threats during an emergency and fourth-degree throwing bodily fluid at an officer. Richardson allegedly spat on an officer and said she had COVID-19.
  • Quentin Daniels, 33, of Mount Laurel, was charged by the Mount Laurel Police on April 28 with aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer (4th degree) and obstruction (disorderly persons offense).  Police responded to a report of a domestic dispute.  Daniels refused to cooperate and attempted to leave. While being handcuffed, he allegedly purposely coughed on officers and said he had the coronavirus.  Throughout his transport and upon his initial detention at headquarters, he continually removed the N95 mask placed on him by police and repeatedly coughed on officers, saying, “I hope you all get the virus.”

Theft of Personal Protective Equipment

  • Stephen Milligan, 54, of South Amboy, was charged yesterday with conspiring with Kevin R. Brady, 49, of Point Pleasant Beach, to steal up to 1,600 respirator masks from Prudential Financial in Iselin.  Brady was charged in the theft on April 23.  Like Brady, Milligan was charged with theft by unlawful taking and conspiracy to commit theft, both third-degree charges. The two men were charged in an ongoing investigation by the New Jersey State Police, Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, Woodbridge Police Department, and Point Pleasant Beach Police Department, based on a referral from the National Hoarding & Price-Gouging Task Force headed by New Jersey U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito.  Brady and Milligan were on-site electrical contractors who had access to storage areas in the Prudential Financial facility.  Between March 27 and April 1, Brady and Milligan allegedly stole seven to eight cases of N95 respirator masks, each case containing 200 masks.  Prudential Financial had intended to donate the masks to a local hospital.  The Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office issued a press release detailing this further.

Price Gouging Enforcement ​AG Grewal announced updates on the Division of Consumer Affairs’ actions to stop price gouging. As of this week: 

  • The Division has issued 92 subpoenas to retailers and online market places reported by consumers for allegedly engaging in unfair price increases.
  • Approximately 756 cease-and-desist letters have been sent, warning retailers about the penalties for violating New Jersey’s price-gouging law, and the Consumer Fraud Act’s protections from gross and unreasonable inflation of the price of any product during a state of emergency.

 The Division has logged a total of 4,245 complaints related to the COVID-19 emergency against 2,358 locations. Nearly 90 percent of the complaints allege unlawful price hikes on essential items like food, bottled water, cleaning products, and personal protective equipment such as masks, disinfectants and sanitizers. Examples of alleged price hikes that consumers have reported to the Division include:

  • a convenience store allegedly charging $4.50 for a quart of milk
  • a wholesale store allegedly selling a case of paper towels for $65, almost double the previous $35 price
  • a supermarket allegedly raising the price of bacon from $4 to $9.99—an increase of over 50%
  • a medical supply store allegedly selling a 2.4-once bottle of hand sanitizer for $13.42
  • a convenience store allegedly charging $30 for a single face mask
  • a dollar store allegedly charging $3.99 for a package of gloves that used to cost $1.49
  • a gas station allegedly selling purified water that normally costs $3 for $14 a pack
  • a pharmacy allegedly charging $10 for small plastic containers of sanitizing wipes, which were previously sold for $3.99
  • a deli allegedly selling a dozen eggs for $5.99

 In addition to price gouging, the Division is looking into complaints from consumers alleging unlawful refund practices as a result of closures related to the COVID-19 health emergency. To date, the Division’s overall complaints include 202 reports of health clubs, hotels, ticket agents and other business allegedly refusing to issue refunds after they closed or suspended services as a result of theCOVID-19 pandemic. New Jersey’s price-gouging law, which took effect on March 9 upon Governor Murphy’s declaration of a state of emergency, prohibits excessive price increases during a declared state of emergency and for 30 days after its termination. A price increase is considered excessive if the new price is more than 10 percent higher than the price charged during the normal course of business prior to the state of emergency, and the increased price is not attributable to additional costs imposed by the seller’s supplier or additional costs of providing the product or service during the state of emergency. Price-gouging and other consumer fraud violations are punishable by civil penalties of up to $10,000 for the first violation and $20,000 for the second and subsequent violations. Violators may also be required to pay consumer restitution, attorney’s fees, and investigative fees, and will be subject to injunctive relief. Each sale of merchandise is considered a separate violation. Consumers who suspect consumer fraud, violations, or believe that businesses have unfairly increased their prices in response to COVID-19, are encouraged to file complaints online to report specific details investigators can follow up on. Photographs of items being sold, receipts and pricing can now be uploaded to our new price gouging complaint form.           Other Violations of Executive Orders, Including “Stay at Home” Order, and Ordinances

  • Newark Enforcement.  The Newark Police Department’s COVID-19 task force issued 490 summonses for violations of the emergency orders and ordered eight non-essential businesses closed in enforcement actions during the past week, April 24 through 30.
  • Paterson Enforcement.  The Paterson Police Department’s issued 21 summonses for violations of the emergency orders in enforcement actions on April 27.
  • Stephanie Hazelton, 48, of Medford, was charged with violating the emergency orders for her role in organizing and participating in a protest at the Capitol Complex in Trenton on April 28.  She was served with a complaint-summons at her residence.
  • Christopher Pitts, 38, of West Deptford, was charged on April 25 by the West Deptford Police Department with violating the emergency orders by allowing golfers to play at the golf course he operates, Westwood Golf Course.  Police had previously warned Pitts, but found approximately 24 people golfing on the course and sharing golf carts without social distancing. 
  • Naman Rafi, 39, of Galloway, was charged by the Galloway Police Department on April 24 with two violations of the emergency orders for opening his business, Tobacco Outlet on Jimmie Leeds Road.  Rafi had been warned several times about closing the business.
  • Delvis Rivera, 34, of Newark, was charged on April 24 by the North Arlington Police with violating the emergency orders for cutting hair at the business where he works, Avenue Cuts 34 on Ridge Road.  This was the second complaint about the barber shop being open.
  • Zachary Novosellar, 62, of Lakewood, was charged on April 28 by the Lakewood Police for hosting an engagement party at his residence on 14th Street.  Police found 25 to 30 cars parked on the street and approximately 20 people standing in front of the residence, without social distancing.  Novosellar said he arranged for the parties to meet to pick up engagement gifts. 
  • John C Bigham, 46, of Chatham, was charged on April 28 with violating the emergency orders by holding a large birthday party for his wife.  Police found a gathering of 25 to 30 people congregating and drinking on his front lawn. The crowd dispersed once the police came.
  • Miran Lee, 44, of Passaic, was cited twice by the Passaic Police Department, on April 29 and April 30, for violating the emergency orders by opening her massage business on Brook Avenue, which operates under the names Sky Spa, Ohangs and New Asian Massage.
  • Janice Lauria, 52, of Point Pleasant, was charged by the Point Pleasant Police on April 28 with violating the emergency orders by ignoring repeated warnings from the police and allowing individuals to exercise in the gym she owns on Route 88, Anytime Fitness.

 Violation of the emergency orders is a disorderly persons offense carrying a sentence of up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.  Such violations are charged by summons, without arrest. COVID-Related Violations of State Alcohol Laws AG Grewal announced that the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) this week issued charges against 20 bars, restaurants, breweries and liquor stores for violating executive orders related to COVID-19. All 20 establishments face suspension of their liquor licenses for at least 10 days. Two other establishments were issued fines for lesser COVID-19 related infractions. Under executive orders issued by Governor Murphy, businesses licensed to sell alcohol in the state are permitted to remain open during the COVID-19 state-of-emergency, but only for take-out or delivery services of food and alcohol. No table or bar service is permitted, on premise alcohol consumption is prohibited, and alcoholic beverages “to go” must be in sealed original containers. The establishments facing suspension for violating the orders are:

  • Alchemist and Barrister in Princeton
  • Bask Bar and Grill in Woodland Park
  • Buteco Sports Bar in Long Branch
  • Core 3 Brewery in Clayton
  • Devil’s Creek Brewery in Collingswood
  • Disabled American Veterans, Clifton Chapter #2 in Clifton
  • Lina’s Restaurant in Bloomingdale
  • Linwood Inn in Linden
  • Medina Liquor Store in Elizabeth
  • Old Glory Kitchen and Spirits in Keyport
  • Quilvio’s Tavern in Paterson
  • Rail’s Steak House in Towaco
  • Randolph Diner in Randolph
  • Riviera Maya in Branchville
  • Riviera Maya in Rockaway
  • Tacos El Tio in Medford
  • Taphouse 15 in Wharton
  • The Sawmill in Seaside Heights
  • Vincenzo’s Ristorante in Middlesex

The establishments that received fines are:

  • Juliano’s Restaurant in Egg Harbor Township ($500) for offering investigators a beer before they identified themselves.
  • The Liquor King in Pennsauken ($750) for violation of face mask requirements.

 Since the state of emergency was declared in New Jersey on March 9, at least 28 people have been charged with second-degree terroristic threats during an emergency for spitting, coughing, or otherwise threatening to deliberately expose officers, medical personnel, or others to COVID-19.  Second-degree offenses carry a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000. Third-degree charges carry a sentence of three to five years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000, while fourth-degree charges carry a sentence of up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. The charges are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty. If you are seeing a lack of compliance with the Governor’s emergency orders in your town, please contact your local police department or report here https://covid19.nj.gov/violation The Attorney General’s Office and New Jersey State Police will continue to work with law enforcement throughout New Jersey to deter non-complaint behavior. No one should take advantage of this pandemic to further their own biased agendas.  COVID-19 is no excuse to promote anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and or other biased stereotypes.  Please report bias crimes at 1-800-277-BIAS.

Rep. Chris Smith’s Annual High School Art Competition Opens ‘Virtually’

April 24, 2020

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER) – For the first time ever, the annual Congressional Art Competition held by Rep. Chris Smith as part of a national competition for his district’s high school students, will be a “virtual” online show to ensure the safety of students, parents, teachers and the interested public.

    In response to the coronavirus national emergency, the artwork, which is normally displayed for a month at the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton’s Lakefront Gallery, will be posted on Smith’s congressional website ensuring that the students who have worked for many months can still take part in the national competition.

    “For these young student artists whose school year has been turned upside down by coronavirus, I am happy we found a way forward and I am grateful to the parents, judges and teachers for making needed adjustments,” Smith said.

    “We received strong support for a virtual art competition rather than cancel the show outright due to COVID-19 restrictions,” Smith said. “Safety is paramount, and a virtual gallery enables us to proceed safely not only for the students and parents, but for the patients and workers at RWJ-Hamilton, which has in the past, graciously hosted the show,” he said.

“I am delighted that this year’s show wasn’t canceled, but continued as an online competition,” said Wall High School art teacher, Jill Alexander, who has been preparing her students to enter the show every year for the past six years. “Students in the 4th district are thankful for the great show that Congressman Chris Smith puts on each year, but especially this year because of the challenges everyone is facing.”

“We love going to Robert Wood Johnson’s impressive gallery, and unfortunately that just wasn’t possible this year. My students start working in September preparing their best artwork to submit, and this show is the highlight of the year for us. 

“High school students across the country will miss the opportunity to participate in many events this year, including proms, sporting events and even graduation,” Alexander said. “We are really pleased the art competition survives.” 

             The 2020 show will be exhibited in a virtual art gallery, will use online judging, with winners to be announced in May. Smith’s three-member team of professional judges, whose works are also normally displayed at the show, will also have artwork posted in an online gallery.

     This year, students who place in the competition—as best-of-show, and first, second and third runners-up and honorable mentions—will receive ribbons and all participants will be mailed Congressional Certificates, instead of being presented them in person.

   The best-in-show winner will be displayed in the Capitol Building in Washington along the busy public corridor/tunnel between the Cannon House Office Building and the Capitol Building for one year with other winners from across the nation. All the artwork entered into Smith’s competition this year will be displayed in his online gallery for one year.

   Every year the Congressional Institute sponsors this national high school art competition to recognize and foster artistic talent in each congressional district. Since the competition began in 1982, more than 650,000 high school students have participated. Participation in the contest is at the discretion of each Member office. Currently, the Institute plans to accept the top winning artwork from every congressional show in America by June 18 and hold a reception in Washington on July 22.

     For information about the 2020 NJ-04 show or to view the 2019 and prior year winners visit Congressman Smith’s Congressional Art Competition web page.

Terroristic Threats in Hampton, Bias Crimes in Ft. Lee, Bayville Man Charged With Sexual Assault, Lakewood Wedding, Gathering, School Open, More Charges In Newark In Daily COVID-19 Violations

April 22, 2020

TRENTON – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, announced the following recent enforcement actions related to COVID-19, including those involving individuals in violation of Governor Murphy’s Executive Orders: Assaults and Threats Against Police Officers, EMTs, or Others

  • Daniel Lurie, 48, of Hampton, N.J., was arrested on April 19 by the New Jersey State Police on charges of terroristic threats during an emergency (2nd degree), resisting arrest (3rd degree), throwing bodily fluid at an officer (4th degree), obstruction (4th degree), and violating the emergency orders.  State troopers were called to Lurie’s residence on a “medical assist” after Lurie called 9-1-1.  When troopers arrived, Lurie was combative.  He allegedly stated he had the coronavirus and spat and coughed on troopers.  He was arrested and taken to the hospital.

Bias Incidents

  • Afrim Haxhaj, 30, of Jackson Heights, N.Y., was charged yesterday, April 21, by the Fort Lee Police Department with bias intimidation (4th degree) and harassment (petty disorderly persons offense).  Haxhaj allegedly confronted a Jewish man in a Dunkin Donuts in Fort Lee on Monday, April 20, and told him to get out, saying Jews are responsible for the coronavirus. He allegedly warned the victim not to return.  When the victim returned to the Dunkin Donuts yesterday, Haxhaj allegedly threatened him again, saying he does not want Jews in his neighborhood and bumping his chest into the victim.  The victim left and called 9-1-1.

Other Criminal Charges Involving Indictable Offenses

  • Robert Murphy, 19, of Bayville, N.J., was charged by the Morris Plains Police Department and Morris County Prosecutor’s Office with attempted aggravated sexual assault (2nd degree), endangering the welfare of a child (3rd degree), and violating the emergency orders.  Murphy allegedly had arranged to meet an underage girl last night, April 21, at Community Park in Morris Plains for sexual activity.  He had contacted the girl through social media.  The victim’s parents became aware in advance and alerted police, who arrested Murphy when he showed up at the park at about 11 p.m.
  • Tyriese J. Reddick, 30, of Gloucester Township, was charged yesterday, April 21, by the Gloucester Township Police with four counts of burglary (3rd degree) and violating the emergency orders.  Reddick allegedly broke into four vehicles in a neighborhood in Gloucester Township and took money from them.  He also was wanted on warrants in the City of Camden.

Other Violations of Executive Orders, Including “Stay at Home” Order, and Ordinances

  • Newark Enforcement.  The Newark Police Department’s COVID-19 task force issued 29 summonses for violations of the emergency orders in enforcement actions yesterday, April 21.
  • Michael Masi, 47, of Branchburg, was charged yesterday afternoon, April 21, by the Plainfield Police Department with violating the emergency orders.  Police were called to  Michael Anthony Auto Sales on Richmond Street in Plainfield on a report of a dispute.  When police arrived, they found people in the lot shopping for a car and three customers inside attempting to buy a car.  Masi said he was making “curbside auto sales.”
  • Andres Torres, 31, and Jose Nolasco, 51, of Union City, were charged with violating the emergency orders on April 18 by the Union City Police Department.  Torres owns La Roca supermarket on Bergenline Avenue in Union City.  Police conducted a walk-through and found more than 50 people in the grocery store, with customers crowding around certain sections of the store. This had occurred on at least two prior occasions and the business was warned about occupancy limits.  Nolasco is the store manager.
  • Shmuel Hirth, 49, Asher Jacobs, 23, Shmuel Weneintraub, 21, Pinchos Sinsky, 19, Shcomo Rosenfeld, 18, Arych Penstien, 22, Yuhuda Bronspigez, 25, and Rivka Jacobs, 47, were charged yesterday by the Lakewood Police and Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office with violating the emergency orders.  Police responded to a report of a school that was open in the first block of Drake Road.  Police found a group of male students at the school who had been given permission to study there by the head of the school, Shmuel Hirth.  Rivka Jacobs is the mother of one of the students, who is a juvenile.
  • Yakov Makukha, 40, Pinchos Aron, 25, Miriam Aron, 33, Yehudah Aron, 36, Tziporah Aron, 33, Yaakov Wiesner, Peninah Wiesner, 30, Ephraim Aron, 34, and Shmarya Aron, 20, were charged yesterday, April 21, by the Lakewood Police and Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office with violating the emergency orders.  Police responded to Read Place on a report of a back yard wedding.  Officers found a van in the driveway occupied by two adults and three children. The driver advised that she was there for family photos for a wedding. In the back yard, there was a photographer, Yakov Makukha, photographing a family of six.  Summonses were issued to all of the adults who were present.
  • Alexander Ellinson, 64, of Lakewood, was charged yesterday, April 21, with disorderly conduct.  As the Lakewood Police and Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office were investigating a report of a large gathering at a home on 8th Street, Ellinson, a neighbor, pulled up in his SUV and began yelling at police about their actions at his neighbor’s house.  He continued to yell and nearly struck an officer as he drove away. Police stopped him and issued a summons.
  • William Teachen, 59, of Metuchen, was charged yesterday, April 21, by the Metuchen Police with obstruction and violating the emergency orders, both disorderly persons offenses.  An officer found Teachen riding his bicycle along the Middlesex County Greenway, a closed county park, and told him to exit the park.  Teachen allegedly failed to comply and rode away.  After the officer activated his siren and exited his vehicle to request identification, Teachen allegedly tried to ride past the officer, disobeyed commands, and had to be physically removed from his bicycle.  The park entrances are taped off and there are signs indicating the park is closed
  • Dajour Clybourn, 23, of Bridgeton, was charged yesterday by the Bridgeton Police with resisting arrest, obstruction, possession of drug paraphernalia, and violating the emergency orders, all disorderly persons offenses.  Police responded to a report that Clybourn was panhandling and harassing another person.  Clybourn ran away when officers arrived.  When police apprehended her, they allegedly found a crack cocaine pipe in her possession.

 The defendants who were charged strictly with violating the emergency orders or local ordinances and who do not face more serious charges were charged by summons— they were not arrested.  Those cases will be adjudicated in municipal court.  “One month after Governor Murphy issued his emergency orders, we are flattening the curve and saving lives, because the vast majority of our residents are conscientiously obeying the social distancing rules and doing their share to fight COVID-19,” said Attorney General Grewal.  “Unfortunately, there are still those who violate the orders, risking the further spread of this deadly virus.  What is worse, there are some who deliberately threaten our brave police officers, medical personnel, and other essential workers, impeding their vital work.  Our message to violators is that we will hold you accountable, whether it is through a summons for those who violate the social distancing orders, or an arrest on indictable charges for those who deliberately harm or threaten others during this emergency.”    “Although law enforcement and medical professionals are on the frontlines of the battle against COVID-19, we are ultimately winning the war because of the extraordinary resolve and fortitude of New Jersey citizens who are doing their part day in and day out, abiding by the executive orders and sacrificing for the greater good,” said Colonel Patrick Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police.  “Those who choose to ignore the law and selfishly place others at risk will face swift law enforcement action.” Violations of the emergency orders constitute a disorderly persons offense carrying a potential sentence of up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.  However, violators can potentially face criminal charges including second, third, and fourth degree indictable offenses. On April 1, Attorney General Grewal announced enhanced charges against six people who were charged with assaulting and threatening law enforcement officers and violating the emergency orders.  Specifically, those enhanced charges included making terroristic threats during a state of emergency, which is a second degree offense carrying a sentence of five to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $150,000.  Eighteen additional defendants, including Daniel Lurie, have been similarly charged since that time for alleged assaults or threats against law enforcement officers, medical personnel, or others. Third-degree charges carry a sentence of three to five years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000, while fourth-degree charges carry a sentence of up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. The charges are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty. If you are seeing a lack of compliance with the Governor’s emergency orders in your town, please contact your local police department or report here https://covid19.nj.gov/violation The Attorney General’s Office and New Jersey State Police will continue to work with law enforcement throughout New Jersey to deter non-complaint behavior. No one should take advantage of this pandemic to further their own biased agendas.  COVID-19 is no excuse to promote anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and or other biased stereotypes.  Please report bias crimes at 1-800-277-BIAS.

COVID-19 Violators For April 21st Include Lakewood School Gym Opening, Criminal Mischief At Monmouth Medical Center Lakewood, Throwing Of Bodily Fluids And Other Things At Officers, EMTs Or Others Different Locations Around The State

April 21, 2020

TRENTON – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, announced the following recent enforcement actions related to COVID-19, including those involving individuals in violation of Governor Murphy’s Executive Orders: Assaults and Threats Against Police Officers, EMTs, or Others

  • Lettie Carstarphen, 29, an inmate at the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women, was charged on April 7 with terroristic threats during an emergency (2nd degree), aggravated assault on an officer (4th degree), throwing bodily fluid at an officer (4th degree), risking widespread injury (4th degree), and endangering (4th degree).  While at the clinic inside the correctional facility, Carstarphen allegedly intentionally and forcefully coughed and tried to spit at correction officers, stating “I’m going to give you corona and I hope you die.”
  • Immanuela Omini, 21, of Sickerville, was charged yesterday, April 20, by the New Jersey State Police with throwing bodily fluid at an officer (4th degree), obstruction (disorderly persons offense), and resisting arrest (disorderly persons offense).  A state trooper stopped Omini at about 5:30 p.m. for driving recklessly on Sicklerville Road and discovered that she had several outstanding warrants against her.  When Omini refused to get out of her vehicle, the trooper, assisted by officers of the Monroe Township Police Department, had to physically remove Omini from the vehicle.  Omini was placed under arrest on the warrants and for resisting arrest and obstruction.  As she was being placed in a Monroe Township Police vehicle, Omini allegedly spit twice at the trooper, once in her face and once on the chest.

Other Criminal Charges Involving Indictable Offenses

  • Paul J. Smith, 44, of Lakehurst, was charged yesterday, April 20, with false public alarm (2nd degree) and criminal mischief (3rd degree).  Smith allegedly pulled a fire alarm yesterday at Monmouth Medical Center Southern Campus in Lakewood.  He also allegedly broke a television, a sink faucet, and an IV pump, causing more than $2,000 in damage.  Hospital staff had to struggle to restrain him.

Other Violations of Executive Orders, Including “Stay at Home” Order, and Ordinances

  • Newark Enforcement.  The Newark Police Department’s COVID-19 task force issued 37 summonses for violations of the emergency orders and ordered four non-essential businesses closed in enforcement actions on Sunday and Monday, April 19 and 20.
  • Yosef M. Notis, 43, of Lakewood, was charged early this morning by the Lakewood Police Department for violating the emergency orders by giving children permission to open the gym at his school on Oak Street to play basketball. There were eight male youths in the gym.
  • Felipe Familia-Lugo, 31, of Dover, was charged yesterday, April 20, by the Dover Police Department with violating the emergency orders for opening his barber shop to cut hair.  Police also charged his brother Jesus Familia-Lugo, 27, of Dover, who was having his hair cut, and Manuel Pandolfo, 33, of Hackettstown, who was also present in the barber shop.  Police investigated when they saw lights on inside the business shortly before 11 p.m. last night.
  • Roland Nunez, 49, Saunialt Adams, 29, Warnetta Johnson, 70, and Juan Gnegorie, were charged late Saturday night, April 18, with violating the emergency orders by hosting gatherings outside their apartments at the Mallard Park Apartments in Penns Grove. Borough police responded to a report of altercations among the groups.  Officers dispersed the crowds.
  • Jarod Rieth, 21, of Haskell, was charged with violating the emergency orders after the Stanhope Police Department stopped his vehicle on Route 206 on the night of April 16.
  • William Hancock, 32, of East Orange, and Roberto St. Juste, 25, of West Orange, were charged on April 17 by the Hampton Police Department with shoplifting (disorderly persons offense) and violating the emergency orders.  Police stopped Hancock and St. Juste for alleged shoplifting and found items stolen from Lowe’s in their vehicle.
  • Tyrell Wright, 26, of Washington Township, Warren County, was charged on April 17 with distribution of less than one ounce of marijuana (4th degree) and violating the emergency orders. Wright allegedly was seen conducting a hand to hand marijuana sale with another individual. 
  • Ryan Peterson, 24, of Budd Lake, was charged on April 14 by the Mount Olive Township Police Department with violating the emergency orders for playing on a soccer field.
  • Shahiem Alston, 33, Shamir Williams, 26, and Jahmahli Carnegie, 19, all of Paterson, were charged yesterday, April 20, by the Paterson Police Department with violating the emergency orders for gathering in the area of 17th Avenue and East 28th Street without an essential purpose, refusing to disperse, and failing to practice social distancing.
  • Miguel Gonzalez, 40, Victor Corota, 50, Alberto Torres, 49, and Jose Montez, 56, all of Paterson, were charged yesterday, April 20, by the Paterson Police Department with violating the emergency orders for gathering in the area of Market and Summer Streets  without an essential purpose and refusing to disperse.
  • Clavon Radcliff, 31, Andre Gordon, 32, Jermaine Brown, 32, and Jerome McGraw, 32, all of Paterson, were charged yesterday, April 20, by the Paterson Police Department with violating the emergency orders for gathering  in the area of 10th Avenue and East 26th  Street without an essential purpose, refusing to disperse, and failing to practice social distancing.

 The defendants who were charged strictly with violating the emergency orders or local ordinances and who do not face more serious charges were charged by summons— they were not arrested.  Those cases will be adjudicated in municipal court.  “One month after Governor Murphy issued his emergency orders, we are flattening the curve and saving lives, because the vast majority of our residents are conscientiously obeying the social distancing rules and doing their share to fight COVID-19,” said Attorney General Grewal.  “Unfortunately, there are still those who violate the orders, risking the further spread of this deadly virus.  What is worse, there are some who deliberately threaten our brave police officers, medical personnel, and other essential workers, impeding their vital work.  Our message to violators is that we will hold you accountable, whether it is through a summons for those who violate the social distancing orders, or an arrest on indictable charges for those who deliberately harm or threaten others during this emergency.”    “Although law enforcement and medical professionals are on the frontlines of the battle against COVID-19, we are ultimately winning the war because of the extraordinary resolve and fortitude of New Jersey citizens who are doing their part day in and day out, abiding by the executive orders and sacrificing for the greater good,” said Colonel Patrick Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police.  “Those who choose to ignore the law and selfishly place others at risk will face swift law enforcement action.” Violations of the emergency orders constitute a disorderly persons offense carrying a potential sentence of up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.  However, violators can potentially face criminal charges including second, third, and fourth degree indictable offenses. On April 1, Attorney General Grewal announced enhanced charges against six people who were charged with assaulting and threatening law enforcement officers and violating the emergency orders.  Specifically, those enhanced charges included terroristic threats during an emergency, a second-degree offense carrying a sentence of five to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $150,000.  Seventeen additional defendants, including Lettie Carstarphen, have been similarly charged since that time for alleged assaults or threats against law enforcement officers, medical personnel, or others. Third-degree charges carry a sentence of three to five years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000, while fourth-degree charges carry a sentence of up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. The charges are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty. If you are seeing a lack of compliance with the Governor’s emergency orders in your town, please contact your local police department or report here https://covid19.nj.gov/violation The Attorney General’s Office and New Jersey State Police will continue to work with law enforcement throughout New Jersey to deter non-complaint behavior. No one should take advantage of this pandemic to further their own biased agendas.  COVID-19 is no excuse to promote anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and or other biased stereotypes.  Please report bias crimes at 1-800-277-BIAS.

Lakewood, Names Of 2 Deceased Individuals Released

April 17, 2020

Update from this morning’s story:

LAKEWOOD, NJ (OCEAN)–Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that the two deceased individuals who were discovered in a residence on Central Avenue in Lakewood on April16, 2020, have been identified as Fabiola Rubiano, 86, and James Rubiano, 51.

The investigation into this matter by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit, Lakewood Township Police Department and the Ocean County Sheriff’s Office remains ongoing.

Breaking: Ocean County Prosecutor Reports 2 Deceased Discovered In Lakewood Residence

April 17, 2020

UPDATE HERE

Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that on April 16, 2020, Lakewood Township Police were summoned to a residence on Central Avenue to perform a wellness check. Responding Officers found two individuals – an eighty six year-old female and a fifty one year-old male, both were deceased.

An investigation by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit, Lakewood Township Police Department and the Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit is currently underway. “At this time, the information available to us indicates that both of the decedents have extensive medical histories. A post mortem examination of both decedents will be performed today. We will release their identities hopefully later today as soon as we have confirmation regarding family notification,” Prosecutor Billhimer stated.

AG Grewal and Colonel Callahan Issue Daily Update on Charges Filed Against Violators of Governor Murphy’s COVID-19 Executive Orders

April 14, 2020

TRENTON – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, announced the following recent enforcement actions against violators of Governor Murphy’s Emergency Orders related to COVID-19: 

  • Newark Enforcement.  The Newark Police Department’s COVID-19 task force issued 24 summonses for violations of the emergency orders and ordered one non-essential business closed in enforcement actions yesterday, April 13.
  • Anthony McKee, 31, Camden, was charged yesterday, April 13, by the Camden Police with spitting on officers and claiming he had COVID-19 after he was arrested in a domestic incident.  While McKee was seated in the rear of a marked police vehicle and officers were attempting to speak to him through the an open window, McKee allegedly spat on two officers and the vehicle. He allegedly stated that he had the coronavirus and that the officers were going to get it. McKee was transported to Cooper University Hospital for testing. While at the hospital, he allegedly spat on another police officer.  McKee is charged with two counts of terroristic threats during an emergency (2nd degree), two counts of throwing bodily fluid at an officer (4th degree), criminal mischief (4th degree), disorderly conduct, and two violations of the emergency orders.
  • Scott P. Thompson, 45, of Stockholm, was charged yesterday, April 13, by the Hamburg Police Department with throwing bodily fluid at an officer (4th degree), aggravated assault on an officer (4th degree), and violation of the emergency orders.  Officers responded to a report of an intoxicated man and encountered Thompson, who allegedly became belligerent.  When warned of the pandemic and health risks posed by his behavior, he spat and coughed on officers.  
  • Jeffrey Carter, 36, Justin Kaplan, 21, Samuel Zenna, 20, Widyawati Pertusi, 47, and Deepak Kausal, 44, all of Mendham, and Richard Lee, 57, of Long Valley, were charged yesterday, April 13, by the Mendham Police with violating the emergency orders for opening and using The Club at Mendham, a tennis and fitness club.  Carter, the owner, was also charged with aiding and abetting violations of the emergency orders, a disorderly persons offense.
  • Yossi Itzkowitz, the owner, and Tzvi Blau, 29, the manager, were charged yesterday afternoon, April 13, by the Lakewood Police Department with violating the emergency orders for operating their toy store, Toys4U.  Police found an estimated 50 or more people outside the store, with an employee taking orders at the door. The parking lot was completely filled and there were 10 cars in the fire lane in front of the store.  Customers were not social distancing or wearing masks. There were 10 employees in the store who were not social distancing. Only three wore masks.
  • Mendel Steiner, 27, Dina Endzweig, 26, Johnathan Schick, 31, Hindy Schick, 32, Ephraim Weiss, 31, and Chaya Weiss, 29, all of Brooklyn, N.Y., were charged on Sunday, April 12, by the Lakewood Police Department with violating the emergency orders and child neglect.  Israel Goldenberg, 23, of Monsey, N.Y., was charged with violating the emergency orders. Police found a large gathering of adults and children in the back yard of a house, with children playing in a bouncy castle and a long table set up with a tablecloth, plates, utensils, and chairs.  A chef and two waiters were catering the event.
  • Robert Bell, 35, of Pleasantville, was charged yesterday morning, April 13, by the Pleasantville Police with contempt (4th degree), resisting arrest (disorderly persons offense), defiant trespass (disorderly persons offense), and two violations of the emergency orders.  Bell entered a Dunkin Donuts without wearing a face mask and refused to leave when asked by employees. When police arrived, Bell started walking toward a nearby Wawa store and stated he would go there instead. Bell allegedly failed to obey officers directions to stop and resisted arrest.  Bell was cited on April 11 and 12 for failing to wear a face mask at two other establishments. Based on his repeated, willful defiance of the emergency orders, Bell was charged by complaint-warrant.
  • Louis Capelli Jr., 33of Wenonah, was arrested yesterday, April 13, by the Harrison Township Police (Gloucester County) and charged with burglary (3rd degree), theft (disorderly persons offense), and violation of the emergency orders for allegedly breaking into a vehicle.
  • John Fernicola, 68, of Brielle, and Amanda Wood, 34, of Point Pleasant Beach, operators of Beach Amethyst Motel in Point Pleasant Beach were charged on Saturday, April 11, with four violations of the emergency orders for shutting off power to four tenants for late payments.
  • James Rodgers Jr., 57, of Trenton, was charged yesterday, April 13, by the New Brunswick Police with defiant trespass (petty disorderly persons offense) and violating the emergency orders when he was found inside the Wellness Plaza parking deck on Patterson Street.
  • Jose Gonzalez, 20, and Gildaro Flores-Mendez, 30, both of New Brunswick, were charged on Sunday, April 12, by the Seaside Park Police with defiant trespass (petty disorderly persons offense) and violating the emergency orders for walking and taking pictures at the Brighton Avenue beach entrance, which they knew was closed.  They were with two juveniles.
  • Konstanti Apessos Jr., 21, of Manchester, was charged on Sunday, April 12, by the Seaside Park Police, with defiant trespass (petty disorderly persons offense) and violating the emergency orders for sitting on a lifeguard stand on the beach reading a book.  He admitted that he knew the beach was closed.
  • Hiram Woods, 22, of Atlantic City, was charged yesterday, April 13, by the Atlantic City Police Department with first-degree robbery, second-degree conspiracy to commit robbery, second-degree weapons offenses, obstruction (disorderly persons offense), and violation of the emergency orders.  Woods and an unidentified man went to a residence on Caspian Avenue and asked to see one of the residents.  While waiting inside, Woods grabbed money from a counter, and when a female resident tried to stop him, he allegedly pointed a gun at her head.  The men ran out of the house as the victim’s boyfriend arrived. Woods also was wanted on a warrant.
  • Justin Gibson, 39, of Gibbstown, was charged yesterday, April 13, by the Waterford Township Police with aggravated assault (3rd degree), terroristic threats (3rd degree), violation of a restraining order (4th degree), and violating the emergency orders.  Gibson allegedly went to the home of his ex-girlfriend in violation of a restraining order and fought with her new boyfriend, striking the male victim multiple times with a rock and also striking him with a rake.  Gibson allegedly threated to come back with a gun and shoot people.

 “Our police officers are working bravely and tirelessly every day to protect us during this health crisis.  Regrettably, they are being called upon far too often to deal with people violating the emergency orders— or what is more egregious, people using the virus to spread fear or impede officers in their vital work,” said Attorney General Grewal.  “Staying home and maintaining social distance isn’t just the best advice to stay healthy, it’s the law.  Make no mistake, we will do everything in our power to keep our residents and officers safe, and that means we won’t hesitate to file charges against violators.”    “Law enforcement and medical professionals are on the frontlines of this battle to protect the citizens of New Jersey from the COVID-19 virus, and we cannot stress enough how important it is that each person follow the guidelines set forth in the Executive Order,” said Colonel Patrick Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “Because lives are at stake, enforcement action will be taken without hesitation against those who are blatantly placing the lives of others at risk.” Violations of the emergency orders constitute a disorderly persons offense carrying a potential sentence of up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.  However, violators can potentially face criminal charges including second, third, and fourth degree indictable offenses. On April 1, Attorney General Grewal announced enhanced charges against six individuals who were charged with assaulting law enforcement officers and violating the emergency orders.  Specifically, those enhanced charges included making terroristic threats during a state of emergency, which is a second degree offense and carries a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000.  Defendant Anthony McKee is similarly charged for his conduct against officers. Third-degree charges carry a sentence of three to five years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000, while fourth-degree charges carry a sentence of up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. The charges are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty. If you are seeing a lack of compliance with the Governor’s emergency orders in your town, please contact your local police department or report here https://covid19.nj.gov/violation The Attorney General’s Office and New Jersey State Police will continue to work with law enforcement throughout New Jersey to deter non-complaint behavior. No one should take advantage of this pandemic to further their own biased agendas.  COVID-19 is no excuse to promote anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and or other biased stereotypes.  Please report bias crimes at 1-800-277-BIAS.

Smith: College Students, Schools in NJ04 get $24M in CARES Act Emergency Funds

Mercer County Community College – $3,851,115, West Windsor, Mercer County

Ocean County College – $4,265,169, Toms River, NJ

Brookdale Community College – $ 6,334,411, Lincroft, Monmouth County

April 13, 2020

More than $24 million has been approved for institutions of higher learning and career institutes in the Monmouth, Ocean and Mercer areas of Rep. Chris Smith’s Fourth Congressional District to help these schools and their students overcome the costs and the impact of the coronavirus, said Smith today.

   The $24 million on its way to educational facilities in or bordering Smith’s district is part of a broader $238 million award to colleges across the state which was announced today by the U.S. Department of Education—following a bipartisan letter by the New Jersey congressional delegation which Rep. Smith cosigned with his NJ colleagues in the House and which was led by NJ’s two senators.

   Smith said the funding—$24,147,003 which will help pay for the impact of COVID-19 of the higher education system—comes from the comprehensive, bipartisan $2 trillion stimulus bill to help communities devastated by the coronavirus pandemic which Smith supported and was signed into law by President Trump March 27.

   “Our students and colleges have seen immense financial challenges due to the coronavirus outbreak across America,” said Smith (NJ-04), who spoke on the floor in support of quick passage of the CARES Act. “This funding will help stabilize the higher education system which has been turned upside down in this health crisisIt’s good news from Education Secretary Betsy DeVos for our higher learning educational system in New Jersey.”

   Among the recipients are Brookdale County College which will receive $6.3 million, Ocean County College $4.2 million, Mercer County College $3.8 million, Beth Medrash Govoha of America $5.8 million and Georgian Court nearly $1.7 million.

   Numerous learning institutions in the Fourth District area Rep. Smith serves are receiving funds, including:

  • Advantage Career Institute – $41,609, Eatontown, Monmouth County
  • Bais Medrash Mayan Hatorah – $46,377, Lakewood, Ocean County
  • Bais Medrash Toras Chesed – $68,038, Lakewood, Ocean County
  • Beth Medrash Govoha of America – $5,899,593, Lakewood, Ocean County
  • Beth Medrash of Asbury Park – $109,145, Lakewood, Ocean County
  • Brookdale Community College – $ 6,334,411, Lincroft, Monmouth County
  • Georgian Court University – $1,690,335, Lakewood, Ocean County
  • Medical Career Institute – $332,030 Ocean Twp., Monmouth County
  • Mercer County Community College – $3,851,115, West Windsor, Mercer County
  • Ocean County College – $4,265,169, Toms River, NJ
  • Saint Francis Medical Center – $23,963, Trenton, Mercer County
  • Seminary Bnos Chaim – $255,559, Lakewood, Ocean County
  • Talmudical Academy – $122,458, Adelphia, Monmouth County
  • Yeshiva Bais Aharon – $64,039, Lakewood, Ocean County
  • Yeshiva Chemdas Hatorah – $112,892, Lakewood, Ocean County
  • Yeshiva Gedola Tiferes Yerachmiel – $179,422, Lakewood, Ocean County
  • Yeshiva Gedolah Keren Hatorah – $229,239, Lakewood, Ocean County
  • Yeshiva Gedolah Shaarei Shmuel – $85,372, Lakewood, Ocean County
  • Yeshiva Toras Chaim – $347,751, Lakewood, Ocean County
  • Yeshiva Yesodei Hatorah   $73,641, Lakewood, Ocean County
  • Yeshivas Emek Hatorah     $56,454, Howell, Monmouth County

    The CARES Act is the third and the largest phase of the federal response enacted into law. Smith supported Phase I, the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020—which provided $8.3 billion for treatment and prevention measures in NJ. Phase II, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act—provided paid sick leave, family medical leave, free testing, and expanded unemployment benefits among other provisions to help working Americans.

     The CARES Act is also providing direct financial assistance of $1,200 for individuals making under $75,000 per year, $100 billion in grants to hospitals to address coronavirus-related financial damage, $150 billion to assist state and local governments, $600 extra per week to unemployment benefits for four months, and $16 billion to assist in the procurement of medical supplies for the Strategic National Stockpile.


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AG Grewal: Police Are Cracking Down on Violators of COVID-19 Orders

April 3, 2020

Police Throughout New Jersey Are Filing Criminal Charges Against Violators of Orders to Stay at Home, Close Non-Essential Businesses, and Stop Gatherings

TRENTON – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal today announced that law enforcement officers across New Jersey have ramped up enforcement efforts over the past week by filing criminal charges against violators of the Governor’s Executive Orders (or “emergency orders”), including hundreds of offenders in Newark, where the Newark Police Department deployed a large COVID-19 task force. “Last week, I said we were done with warnings and would take strong law enforcement action against anyone who failed to heed the Governor’s COVID-19 related emergency orders,” said Attorney General Grewal.  “This crackdown will continue until everyone gets the message that they need to stop these violations, which are putting lives at risk, including the lives of the law enforcement officers who are striving courageously each day to protect us during this emergency. I especially want to commend Newark Public Safety Director Anthony Ambrose and Chief Darnell Henry, as well as the men and women of the Newark Police Department, for their extraordinary efforts to protect the residents of Newark and this state. Their work and the work of all our dedicated officers is saving lives.” “Law enforcement and medical professionals are on the frontlines of this battle to protect the citizens of New Jersey from the COVID-19 virus, and we cannot stress enough how important it is that each person follow the guidelines set forth in the Executive Order,” said Colonel Patrick Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “Because lives are at stake, enforcement action will be taken without hesitation against those who are blatantly placing the lives of others at risk.” During the past nine days, law enforcement agencies across New Jersey took the following actions to enforce the Governor’s COVID-19 related Executive Orders: 

  • Newark Enforcement.  The Newark Police Department’s COVID-19 task force issued 416 summonses for violation of the emergency orders and ordered 24 non-essential businesses closed in enforcement actions by their between March 30 and April 1.
  • Joseph Figueroa, 18, Hailey Leavens, 19, Alejandra Aguirre-Lopez, 22, Itayezci Pena-Noyola, 22, and Isais Pena, 20, all residents of Atlantic City, except Leavens, who lives in Mays Landing, were arrested on April 2 on second-degree weapons charges and violations of the executive orders after a loaded .38-caliber revolver was found in their vehicle during an investigation and motor vehicle stop by the Atlantic City Police Department.
  • Craig O’Neill, 42, of Gloucester City, was charged on March 28 in Gloucester City with violating the emergency orders and trespassing at a business, both disorderly persons offenses.
  • Edward Montero, 33, of Bridgeton, was charged on March 29 with violating the emergency orders for holding a health supplement sales presentation at a gym with over 10 people.
  • Rama Igbarra, 36, of Clifton, was charged on March 26 with violating the emergency orders for opening the business he manages, Bobby’s Discount Home Furnishings store in Orange, N.J., after police warned him that the store had to be closed.
  • Matthew Shrewsbury, 34, of Milford, was charged on March 31 with violating the emergency orders, terroristic threats, aggravated assault, risking widespread injury, and endangering another person.  He allegedly became combative with staff at Hunterdon Medical Center, where he was taken following a motor vehicle accident.  Shrewsbury allegedly removed a protective surgical mask from his face, yelled and coughed at nurses and other staff, and threatened to spit on nurses and patients.  He allegedly said he had COVID-19 and did not care if he gave it to others.
  • Wade Jackson, 54, of Ewing, was charged on March 28 with obstruction of administration of law and violation of the emergency orders for holding a party with a DJ and nearly 50 guests inside his one-bedroom apartment in Ewing.
  • Willi Rojas, 42, of Woodbridge, was charged on March 29 with violating the emergency orders for opening his barbershop in Woodbridge to customers.
  • Joseph H. Benigno, 56, of Holmdel, was charged on March 31 with violating the emergency orders for holding an auction with 15 to 20 people at a warehouse in Edison.
  • Steven P. Cato, 20, of Edison, was charged on April 1 with terroristic threats during an emergency, obstruction, resisting arrest, three counts of aggravated assault on an officer, and criminal mischief.  When police were called to his house for a domestic incident, he allegedly coughed at officers and claimed to have COVID-19.
  • Juan Ocampo-Quiceno, 29, of Wharton, was charged on April 1 with violating the executive orders for opening his business, Mine Hill Sports Complex in Wharton, after he was warned to close it.  Police found youths playing soccer and men lifting weights at the facility.
  • Christian Enriquez, 29, of North Plainfield, was charged on April 1 with violating the emergency orders.
  • Anekia Dawkins, 35, of Morristown, was charged on April 2 with violating the emergency orders.
  • Anthony J. Lodespoto, 43, of Matawan, allegedly sent messages through social media threatening to attack Jewish residents in Lakewood with a baseball bat.  He was charged on March 26 with making terroristic threats during a state of emergency.
  • William J. Katzenstein, 39, of Lakewood, was charged on March 26 with violating the emergency orders for holding a wedding with 20 to 30 people in his backyard.
  • Eliezer Silber, 37, and Miriam Silber, 34, of Lakewood, were charged on March 29 with violating the emergency orders and five counts of child neglect for holding a bat mitzvah with 40 to 50 adults and children outside their home.
  • David Gluck, 48, and Abraham Haberfield, 32, of Lakewood, were charged on March 30 with maintaining a nuisance for holding a gathering of approximately 35 males in a school facility that Gluck owns and Haberfield manages.
  • Yaakov Kaufman, 47, and Eti Kaufman, 45, of Lakewood, were charged on March 31 with violating the emergency orders and six counts of child neglect for holding an engagement party at their home with a large number of adults and children.  Thirteen adult guests also were charged with violating the emergency orders.
  • Samuel Manheim, 27, of Brooklyn, N.Y., and 16 other individuals were charged on April 1 with violating the emergency orders for attending an outdoor funeral in Lakewood.  Manheim was also charged with hindering apprehension for initially refusing to identify himself to police.  Approximately 60 to 70 people were present for the funeral.
  • Ephraim Adler, 42, and Sarah Adler, 18, of Lakewood, were charged on April 2 with violating the emergency orders for opening the Brooklyn Southwest clothing store in Lakewood to customers.  A sign on the door stated “Maximum of 50 People.”
  • Nathan Kline, 66, of Lakewood, was charged on April 2 with violating the emergency orders for illegally selling alcohol out of a rental truck in a residential neighborhood where more than 10 people were present.
  • Rafael Medina, 21, Robert Feliz, 18, Edwin Valera, 25, Miguel Lopez, 22, and Angel Gonzalez, 18, were charged on March 31 with disorderly conduct for violating the emergency orders after police stopped the vehicle in which they were riding in Passaic.
  • Joyce Billings, 59, of Columbia, was charged twice by police for opening her business, Post Time Pub in Blairstown, in violation of the emergency orders.  She was charged with obstruction on March 27 and violation of a law intended to protect public health on April 2.
     
  • Jacqueline Maltese, 48 of Hackettstown, was charged on April 2 with simple assault and filing a false police report.  During a domestic violence incident, Maltese repeatedly yelled at officers that she had tested positive for COVID-19.  That was not true.
  • Louis A. Nunez, 52, of Manalapan, was charged on April 2 with making terroristic threats during a state of emergency and throwing bodily fluid at an officer.  As he was being booked at the Monmouth County Jail on an unrelated matter he became belligerent and allegedly threated to spit on a corrections officer, stating he had the coronavirus.

 While a number of defendants identified above were also charged with indictable offenses that carry greater penalties, violations of the Governor’s emergency orders constitute a disorderly persons offense that carries a potential sentence of up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.  In addition, earlier this week, Attorney General Grewal announced enhanced charges against six individuals who were charged with assaulting law enforcement officers and violating the emergency orders.  Specifically, those enhanced charges included making terroristic threats during a state of emergency, which is a second degree offense and carries a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000. Defendants Cato and Nunez are similarly charged for their conduct against law enforcement officers.  If you are seeing a lack of compliance with the Governor’s emergency orders in your town, please contact your local police department or report here https://covid19.nj.gov/violation The Attorney General’s Office and New Jersey State Police will continue to work with law enforcement throughout New Jersey to deter non-complaint behavior. The charges are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty. No one should take advantage of this pandemic to further their own biased agendas.  COVID-19 is no excuse to promote anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and or other biased stereotypes.  Please report bias crimes at 1-800-277-BIAS.