Category: Toms River

2nd Alarm Fire Chadwick Beach Section Of Toms River

May 6, 2021

By: Ryan Mack, MidJersey.news Jersey Shore Bureau – Jersey Shore Fire Response

TOMS RIVER, NJ (OCEAN)–Toms River Police Department stated that On Thursday, May 6, 2021 at approximately 9:25 AM, multiple police and fire units were dispatched to Tamiami Drive in Chadwick Beach for a house fire.  The homeowners were able to get out of the house safely, and there is nothing suspicious at this time.  The incident remains under investigation and a full release will be available upon completion.


Around 9:27 AM Ocean County toned out Stations 27,44,45,69 & 26 for RIT with the OC Fire Coordinators to a working structure fire on the East side of Toms River (Chadwick Beach). Station 44 (seaside heights) was first due they quickly upgraded the working fire assignment to a 2nd alarm. Upon arrival they made a recuse for one resident that was still inside the home along with Toms River Police Department. They quickly stretched a line from the ladder truck and got to work while they figured out a water supply. The second truck in was TRFD East Dover and crews got to work fast as the fire started to pick back up. After hooking the hydrant they started to knock the fire that was now well involved in the 2nd and 3rd floor. TRFD Stations 25,26,28 & 29 were also on scene to provide RIT and more manpower. After the bulk of the fire was knocked they ran the master streams for a bit. After 15 mins the fire was completely knocked and overhaul started. The fire is under investigation at this time by the Toms River Fire Bureau.



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Toms River Couple Charged With Promoting Prostitution And Money Laundering

May 5, 2021

TOMS RIVER, NJ (OCEAN)–Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that on April 28, 2021, and April 29, 2021, Wayne Lefkowitz, 56, of Toms River, and Guihua Cui, 51, also of Toms River, were each charged with Promoting Prostitution in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:34-1b(2), as well as and two counts of Money Laundering in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:21-25. Lefkowitz and Cui are a married couple.

A year-long investigation conducted by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Economic Crime Squad and Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Special Victims Unit revealed that a business known as Spa 1800, located on Lakewood Road in Toms River, was owned and operated by Lefkowitz and Cui. Although the spa appeared to be operating as a legitimate business, individuals patronizing the spa were offered sexual favors in exchange for money. Additionally, the investigation revealed that Lefkowitz and Cui would deposit monetary proceeds from the spa into several different bank accounts in an attempt to avoid transaction reporting requirements under New Jersey state law.

On April 28, 2021, Detectives from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Economic Crime Squad, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Internal Affairs Unit, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Crime Squad, Toms River Township Police Department Detective Bureau, Toms River Township Police Department Patrol Division, and New Jersey State Police, executed court-authorized search warrants on Spa 1800 and Lefkowitz’s and Cui’s residence on McCormick Drive in Toms River. Detectives also executed court-authorized seizure orders on bank accounts held by Lefkowitz and Cui. Lefkowitz and Cui were each charged on summonses pending a future court date.

Prosecutor Billhimer commends the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Special Investigations Unit, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Economic Crime Squad, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Special Victims Unit, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Internal Affairs Unit, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Crime Squad, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Homeland Security/Intelligence Squad, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Narcotics Strike Force, Toms River Township Police Department Detective Bureau, Toms River Police Department Patrol Division, and New Jersey State Police, for their cooperative assistance in connection with this investigation.

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


Brick Township Man Sentenced To 2 Years Probation And 10 Days Community Service For Animal Cruelty

May 5, 2021

TOMS RIVER, NJ (OCEAN)–Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that on May 5, 2021, Quintin Alec-Manning, 22, of Brick Township, was sentenced by the Honorable Guy P. Ryan, J.S.C., to a two-year term of probation as a result of a previously entered guilty plea to Animal Cruelty in violation of N.J.S.A. 4:22-17c(1). Alec-Manning was also sentenced to perform ten days of community service, and is prohibited from owning or working with animals during the term of his probation. The State argued for Alec-Manning to serve 90 days in the Ocean County Jail as a condition of probation. Alec-Manning pled guilty to the charge before Judge Ryan on March 15, 2021.

On May 29, 2019, Officers from the Toms River Township Police Department were notified that a motor vehicle struck five geese in the parking lot of the Indian Head Plaza in Toms River, causing their death. A subsequent investigation by the Toms River Police Department identified Alec-Manning as the individual who purposely hit the geese with his motor vehicle. On May 30, 2019, Alec-Manning was arrested, charged, and released on a summons pending future court appearances.

Prosecutor Billhimer acknowledges the efforts of Assistant Prosecutor Victoria Veni who handled the case on behalf of the State, as well as the Toms River Township Police Department, Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit, and New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Division of Fish and Wildlife, for their combined assistance in connection with this investigation, ultimately resulting in Alec-Manning’s guilty plea and today’s sentence.


Toms River Man Charged With Terroristic Threats

May 4, 2021

TOMS RIVER, NJ (OCEAN)–Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that on May 3, 2021, David Giordano, 36, of Toms River, was charged with Terroristic Threats in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:12-3a, and False Public Alarm in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:33-3c. These charges are typically crimes of the third degree, but have been elevated to crimes of the second degree because they were committed during a declared State of Emergency.

“On April 12, 2021, three videos were uploaded to a public YouTube Channel entitled ‘Toms River Police are the Best.’ These videos included images of Giordano, news coverage Giordano’s previous arrest in connection with painting a blue line on Hooper Avenue, images of the Ocean County Justice Complex as well as Toms River Township Town Hall – followed by a video of a homemade bulldozer destroying public buildings in Granby, Colorado in 2004. The videos also included graphics stating the person posting the video would turn Toms River Township Town Hall and the Ocean County Justice Complex “upside down.” An investigation by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Crime Unit determined that Giordano produced and posted the videos to the YouTube Channel,” Prosecutor Billhimer stated.

On May 3, 2021, Detectives from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Crime Unit, Toms River Township Police Department, and Berkeley Township Police Department executed court-authorized search warrants on two residences – one in Toms River and the other in Berkeley Township – where Giordano is known to reside. As a result, Detectives recovered and seized several items containing digital evidence. A motor vehicle stop was subsequently performed by Toms River Township Police Officers on a vehicle operated by Giordano. Giordano was arrested and taken into custody without incident. Giordano was transported to the Ocean County Jail, where he is currently lodged pending a detention hearing.

Prosecutor Billhimer commends the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Crime Unit, Toms River Township Police Department, and Berkeley Township Police Department, for their cooperative efforts in connection with this investigation and subsequent arrest of Giordano.

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

Seaside Heights Man Charged With Murder

May 4, 2021

TOMS RIVER, NJ (OCEAN)–Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that on May 1, 2021, Gerardo Ruiz, 50, of Seaside Heights, was charged with Murder in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:11-3a(1), relative to the death of Alecia Perreault, age 29, of Seaside Heights, that occurred in the early morning hours of May 1, 2021, in Seaside Heights.

On May 1, 2021, at approximately 7:30 a.m., Seaside Heights Police received a telephone call from an individual claiming to have knowledge that Ruiz killed a female at the Offshore Motel in Seaside Heights. The caller further advised that Ruiz was staying at the Surfside Motel in Seaside Heights. Officers responded to a room at the Offshore Motel, where they located the body of Ms. Perreault with apparent wounds to her neck; Ms. Perreault was pronounced deceased at the scene. Officers subsequently responded to Ruiz’s room at the Surfside Motel, and discovered that he had experienced an apparent drug overdose. Ruiz is currently in the protective custody of the Ocean County Sheriff’s Office at a medical facility. Ruiz is currently listed in serious but stable condition.

An investigation by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit, Ocean County Sheriff’s Office and Seaside Heights Police Department Detective Bureau determined that Ruiz is the individual responsible for Ms. Perreault’s death. “The Ocean County Medical Examiner has preliminarily determined this to be a homicide but the cause and manner are currently pending further testing,” Prosecutor Billhimer stated.

Prosecutor Billhimer acknowledges the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Vitim Witness Advocacy Unit, Seaside Heights Police Department Detective Bureau, and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit, for their cooperative assistance in connection with this investigation.

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

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

April 30, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hundreds Welcome Home Firefighter Who Was Hospitalized From Intentionally Set Fire In Lakewood On March 14, 2021

April 23, 2021

BRICK – LAKEWOOD – TOMS RIVER, NJ (OCEAN)–Brian Sauers who is a State of NJ Forrest Fire Service fire fighter, a volunteer member of East Dover Fire Company and municipal engineer for Lakewood was released from the hospital today. He was injured on March 14, 2021 at a fire that was determined to be intentionally set. Sauers was working the fire in back of the Lowe’s store on the Brick/Lakewood border when he had a medical emergency and has been hospitalized since.

Hundreds lined the sidewalk as he left the hospital and was escorted to a NJ Forrest Fire Service vehicle for a ride home. A motorcade of fire and other vehicles proceeded from the hospital to his home.


Video by: Ryan Mack, Jersey Shore Fire Response

Video by: Ryan Mack, Jersey Shore Fire Response


See more at the Lakewood Scoop

Video credit: Yossi Brander,  The Lakewood Scoop


Video credit: Yossi Brander,  The Lakewood Scoop

Related MidJersey.news story: BREAKING: Investigation reveals Lakewood wildfire was intentionally set, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office says


Video by: Ryan Mack, Jersey Shore Fire Response


Video by: Ryan Mack, Jersey Shore Fire Response


Holzapfel, McGuckin & Catalano Legislation Would Prohibit Use of COVID-19 Vaccine Passports in NJ

Legislators Say People Shouldn’t Be Discriminated Against Based on Vaccination Status

The 10th Legislative District covers parts of Ocean County

April 19, 2021

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)--Senator Jim Holzapfel, Assemblyman Greg McGuckin, and Assemblyman John Catalano (all R-10) are taking action to prevent the use of COVID-19 vaccine passports in New Jersey that could lead to discrimination against people based on their vaccination status.

“We’re extremely concerned by Governor Murphy’s willingness to consider the use of vaccine passports that could prevent people from working, going to school, or visiting public places,” said Holzapfel. “In a free society that respects individual rights, we believe health decisions should be a personal, private choice that a patient doesn’t have to discuss with anyone but their doctor. Our new legislation would prevent vaccine passports from being employed here in New Jersey.”

So-called vaccine “passports” are physical or electronic documents or credentials that could be used to demonstrate that an individual has been immunized against COVID-19.

They could be used to prevent unvaccinated individuals from traveling, accessing public places or events, attending school, or even working.

“We don’t think our state government should threaten or allow for personal freedoms to be restricted based on vaccination status,” said McGuckin. “Requiring vaccine passports to engage in everyday activities would be discriminatory and raise a host of serious constitutional and privacy concerns. This fatally flawed idea needs to be nipped in the bud.”

Holzapfel will introduce legislation in the Senate that makes it unlawful to ask a person if they have received a COVID-19 vaccination or require a person to display proof of vaccination as a condition of or as a prerequisite to:

  • the exercise of any privilege or right granted under State or federal law;
  • conducting any business or commerce;
  • travelling to, outside, or within the State;
  • obtaining or maintaining an internship, obtaining or maintaining employment, or receiving a promotion from an employer;
  • participation in any governmental or political activity;
  • admission or enrollment into any child or adult day care program;
  • admission to, enrollment in, or graduation from a preschool program, elementary or secondary school, college, university, or any other institution of education;
  • participation in any activity, internship, opportunity, program, or sport offered by a preschool program, elementary or secondary school, college, university, or any other institution of education;
  • receiving adequate dental care or health care;
  • maintaining, receiving, or renewing a professional certification or license;
  • obtaining or renewing membership in any professional organization;
  • entrance into or service from any place of business, including, but not limited to, any market, restaurant, or store;
  • entrance into and service from any public building, office, or structure;
  • entrance into and use of any public park or beach; or
  • admission into or service from any amusement park, concert venue, theater, or sporting event.

Additionally, the legislation makes it unlawful to discriminate against or to take any adverse action against any individual who has not received a COVID-19 vaccine or who does not disclose whether the individual has received a COVID-19 vaccine.

McGuckin and Catalano will join as co-sponsors of identical companion legislation that is pending introduction in the General Assembly.

“After a year of watching Governor Murphy take extreme actions by executive orders, people don’t want their rights to be further eroded,” added Catalano. “Just like shutting down businesses and closing houses or worship, forcing people to show their documents to go out in public seems completely un-American. We have to fight back.”


Man Sentenced To 7 Years In NJ State Prison For Vehicular Homicide While DWI

April 3, 2021

TOMS RIVER, NJ (OCEAN)–Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that on April 1, 2021, Jeydon Lowe, 25, of Barnegat, was sentenced by the Honorable Linda G. Baxter, J.S.C., to a term of seven years New Jersey State Prison as a result of a previously entered guilty plea to Vehicular Homicide in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:11-5.  This sentence is subject to the terms of the No Early Release Act, N.J.S.A. 2C:43-7.2, meaning Lowe will be required to serve at least 85 percent of his prison sentence before he may be considered for parole eligibility.  Additionally, Judge Baxter suspended Lowe’s driving privileges for a period of five years in connection with his previously entered guilty plea to Driving While Intoxicated in violation of N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.  Lowe pled guilty to both charges before Judge Baxter on January 27, 2021.

On March 25, 2020, at approximately 5:30 p.m., officers from the Stafford Township Police Department responded to a single vehicle crash on Stafford Avenue near Hilliard Boulevard.  An investigation by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Vehicular Homicide Unit, Stafford Township Police Department, and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit revealed that a 2009 Chevrolet Cobalt operated by Lowe was traveling eastbound on Stafford Avenue at an extremely high rate of speed.  Lowe lost control of the vehicle as he was attempting to navigate a right-hand turn, and consequently crashed into a tree.  A passenger in the front seat of the vehicle, Robert Parlin, 24, of Little Egg Harbor, succumbed to his injuries as a result of the crash and was pronounced deceased at the scene.

Lowe sustained minor injuries and was taken to Hackensack Meridian Health Southern Ocean County Medical Center in Stafford Township. A search warrant was obtained for a draw of his blood.  On April 14, 2020, Detectives received the laboratory results from the blood draw which indicated that Lowe had a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of nearly .12 percent.  An operator of a motor vehicle is presumed to be over the legal limit for purposes of alcohol consumption where his/her BAC is .08 or greater.

“This is an absolutely tragic case, which should serve as a cautionary tale for anyone who is tempted to drink and drive,” Prosecutor Billhimer stated.  “Let me be clear:  drunk driving kills, and it has the potential to tear families apart.  Sadly, these types of cases are wholly preventable, particularly in this day and age of Uber, Lyft, and other readily available transportation services.  While this young defendant will go to prison for a long time for his senseless conduct on the night in question, nothing will bring Mr. Parlin back to his family” Prosecutor Billhimer concluded.  

Prosecutor Billhimer acknowledges the diligent efforts of Senior Assistant Prosecutor Jamie Schron who handled the case on behalf of the State, as well as the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Vehicular Homicide Unit, Stafford Township Police Department, and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit for their combined efforts in connection with this investigation which resulted in Lowe’s guilty plea, and ultimately his state prison sentence.

See previous MidJersey.News story here: Barnegat Man Pleads Guilty To Vehicular Homicide And DWI For March 25, 2020 Fatal Crash In Stafford Twp.


Jackson Man Sentenced To 5 Years In NJ State Prison For Death By Auto

March 1, 2021

TOMS RIVER, NJ (OCEAN)–Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that on March 1, 2021, Douglas Thompson, 56, of Jackson, was sentenced by the Honorable Guy P. Ryan, J.S.C., to five years New Jersey State Prison as a result of a previously entered guilty plea to Death By Auto in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:11-5a. This sentence is subject to the terms of the No Early Release Act, N.J.S.A. 2C:43-7.2, meaning that Thompson will be required to serve at least 85 percent of his prison sentence before he may be considered for parole eligibility.  Furthermore, Judge Ryan ordered that Thompson’s driving privileges be suspended for life in connection with his sentence for Death by Auto.  Thompson pled guilty to this offense before Judge Ryan on November 19, 2020

At the time of he was sentenced on the Death by Auto offense, Thompson pled guilty to Driving While Intoxicated (“DWI”) in violation of N.J.S.A. 39:4-50, for which Judge Ryan sentenced Thompson to 180 days incarceration to run concurrent with the five-year state prison sentence imposed on the Death by Auto conviction.  Judge Ryan suspended Thompson’s driving privileges for a period of ten years relative to the DWI offense, which as a practical matter will be subsumed by the life-time ban on his driving privileges imposed as a consequence of the Death by Auto conviction.  

On October 15, 2019, Toms River Township Police were dispatched to the intersection of Route 9 and Stevens Road for a report of a motor vehicle accident.  Thomas Marciano, 65, of Toms River, was stopped behind a motor vehicle making a left-hand turn when he was struck from behind by a vehicle operated by Thompson.  Mr. Marciano was transported to Community Medical Center and was subsequently flown to Jersey Shore Medical Center due to the severity of his injuries.  Mr. Marciano ultimately succumbed to those injuries on October 28, 2019.  Thompson submitted to chemical breath testing on the date of the crash, which revealed his Blood Alcohol Concentration to be .17 percent – more than double the legal limit under New Jersey law for purposes of alcohol consumption.    

Prosecutor Billhimer acknowledges the diligent efforts of Supervising Assistant Prosecutor Robert Cassidy and Senior Assistant Prosecutor Jamie Schron who handled the case on behalf of the State, and commends the Toms River Township Police Department Traffic Safety Division, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Vehicular Homicide Unit, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Victim Witness Advocacy Unit, Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit, Toms River EMS, and Silverton EMS, for their combined efforts in this investigation which ultimately resulted in Thompson’s guilty plea, state prison sentence, and life-time ban of his driving privileges.

Toms River Man Sentenced To 5 Years In State Prison For Child Pornography

February 27, 2021

TOMS RIVER, NJ (OCEAN)–Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that on February 26, 2021, Henry Ziolkowski, 56, of Toms River, was sentenced to five years New Jersey State Prison by the Honorable Michael T. Collins, J.S.C., as a result of a previously entered guilty plea to Possession of Child Pornography in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(b)iii.  Ziolkowski will also be subject to Parole Supervision for Life.  Ziolkowski pled guilty before Judge Collins on December 1, 2020.

This investigation was the result of several referrals from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children through the New Jersey State Police Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, which identified a residence in Toms River as the location of several uploads of child pornography.  On July 7, 2020, Detectives from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Crime Unit and Toms River Township Police Department executed a search warrant on the subject residence.  As a result, Detectives seized a computer belonging to Ziolkowski which contained numerous images of child pornography.  Ziolkowski was arrested and processed at Toms River Police headquarters.  He has been lodged in the Ocean County Jail since the date of his arrest.

Prosecutor Billhimer acknowledges the diligent efforts of Assistant Prosecutor Shanon Chant-Berry who handled the case on behalf of the State, as well as the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Crime Unit, Toms River Township Police Department, New Jersey State Police Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, and National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, for their collective and combined assistance in this investigation leading to Ziolkowski’s apprehension, and ultimately his state prison sentence.

WANTED: Florida Man Charged With Theft By Deception

February 22, 2021

BARNEGAT TOWNSHIP, NJ (OCEAN)–Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer and Barnegat Township Police Chief Keith A. Germain announced that on February 12, 2021, Juan C. Piedrahita, 49, of Hollywood, Florida, was charged with Theft by Deception in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:20-4.

The charges are the result of a joint investigation conducted by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Economic Crimes Unit and Barnegat Township Police Department Detective Bureau in January 2021.  The investigation revealed that Piedrahita, posing as an attorney, telephonically contacted an elderly victim advising him that his nephew had been in a motor vehicle accident.  Piedrahita convinced the victim that his nephew was under arrest and that $10,000 cash bail was needed to secure his release.  The victim obtained the cash and met Piedrahita – now posing as a courier – at a CVS parking lot in Barnegat.  After leaving the parking lot, the elderly victim was contacted once again and instructed to provide an additional $10,000 as payment to the alleged victim of the purported motor vehicle accident.  It was only when the victim was questioned by bank staff that he contacted his nephew and confirmed that his nephew was not in actual trouble.  Detectives were able to obtain surveillance footage of the area surrounding the CVS parking lot, which captured the rental vehicle Piedrahita had rented at Newark International Airport, and were thereafter able to confirm Piedrahita’s identity based on that footage.

Juan C. Piedrahita’s location is presently unknown, and a Warrant for his arrest has been issued.  Anyone in possession of information concerning Piedrahita’s whereabouts is urged to contact Detective James Purcell of the Barnegat Township Police Department at 609-698-5000, extension 262.

“Sadly, these types of scams targeting senior citizens are all too prevalent in Ocean County,” Prosecutor Billhimer stated.  “I urge our residents to speak with their elderly family members about potential scams that target seniors, so as to prevent them from falling victim to predators seeking to cheat and extort them,” Prosecutor Billhimer concluded.

Prosecutor Billhimer and Chief Germain commend the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Economic Crimes Unit and Barnegat Township Police Department Detective Bureau for their collaborative efforts in connection with this investigation.

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

UPDATE: Woman Rescued From House Fire As Winds Whip Flames In Freezing Temperatures

January 29, 2021

Update to the early morning: BREAKING: House Fire In Toms River

TOMS RIVER, NJ (OCEAN)–On January 28th, 2021 at approximately 11:30 PM, multiple Toms River Police, Fire and EMS units responded to Loxley Drive for a reported structure fire. Upon arrival, officers observed a two story, single family home actively on fire. Due to strong winds in the area responding officers evacuated surrounding residences.

Neighbors believed the homeowner was still in the residence at the time of police arrival. Officer Rebecca Sayegh forced entry through the front door and located the homeowner in the foyer who was unable to open the door and exit due to the heavy smoke. Officer Sayegh confirmed that there were no other occupants inside the residence and escorted the homeowner, and her pets, across the street to the neighbors’ residence where she was evaluated by Toms River EMS.

Multiple Fire Departments responded and assisted in extinguishing the fire. Toms River Fire Companies 1 and 2, East Dover Fire Department, Silverton Fire Department, Pleasant Plains Fire Company, and Island Heights Fire Department, as well as, Brick Twp Fire and EMS Mass Care Response Team. Toms River Police Detectives Roger Hull and Travis Seaman were on scene along with Toms River Fire Inspectors Matthew Janora and Dana Mitchell.

Due to freezing temperatures, Toms River Department of Public Works responded to the area to sand and salt the roadways to prevent hazardous road conditions.

One firefighter was transported to Community Medical Center for treatment of a minor injury. The cause of the fire is under investigation by Toms River Bureau of Fire Prevention and is believed to be accidental.

BREAKING: House Fire In Toms River

January 29, 2021

UPDATE: Woman Rescued From House Fire As Winds Whip Flames In Freezing Temperatures

TOMS RIVER, NJ (OCEAN)–Just after 11:30 pm last night a fire broke out in the 600 Block of Loxley Drive. The first arriving officer reported a well involved 2nd floor and fire though the roof. Additional fire apparatus was called to the scene. Ariel master streams were set up to combat the heavy fire conditions. A rehab unit from Brick Police Department was requested due to the cold temperatures. There were radio reports of one firefighter transported for a foot injury. No further information was available about the fire.

Edison And Toms River Residents Arrested And Charged In $4.5 Million Health Care Fraud Conspiracy

January 28, 2021

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER) – Three New Jersey residents were arrested today for allegedly participating in a long-running scheme to defraud the New Jersey Traumatic Brain Injury Fund (TBI Fund), a publicly funded health care benefit program, of more than $4.5 million, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced.

Harry Pizutelli, 62, of Edison, New Jersey, and C.R. Kraus, 55, and Maritza Flores, 43, both of Toms River, New Jersey were arrested by special agents of the FBI and IRS this morning and are charged by criminal complaint with conspiracy to commit health care fraud. They are scheduled to appear later today by videoconference before U.S. Magistrate Judge Tonianne J. Bongiovanni.

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

The TBI Fund is a publicly funded program run by the New Jersey Division of Disability Services, a component of the New Jersey Department of Human Services. The TBI Fund’s purpose is to provide New Jersey residents who have suffered a traumatic brain injury with services and support in order to maximize their quality of life when funding from insurance, personal resources, or other programs is unavailable to meet their needs. Services funded by the TBI Fund include physical, occupational, and speech therapy; service coordination; assistive technology; cognitive therapy; neuropsychological services; pharmaceuticals; wheelchair ramp installation and other home modifications; and general home management and maintenance.

After a prospective patient applies for services, TBI Fund personnel review the application and, if approved, the patient is authorized to secure designated services from a third-party vendor. Once a patient receives services approved by the TBI Fund, the vendor or service provider submits an invoice to the TBI Fund for payment. When an invoice is received, TBI Fund personnel review the invoice to ensure that the patient had been approved to receive the services. If the invoice is approved, an internal payment voucher is generated, authorized by TBI Fund personnel, and then submitted to the New Jersey Department of the Treasury for payment, which issues a check directly to the vendor.

Pizutelli was the manager of the TBI Fund and was responsible for the its day-to-day operation. He supervised, managed, and oversaw the process by which third-party vendors were paid for services rendered to eligible TBI Fund patients. From 2009 through June 2019, Pizutelli, Kraus, Flores, and others conspired to defraud the TBI Fund by misappropriating more than $4.5 million in fraudulent vendor payments for purported services that were never actually provided. Pizutelli orchestrated the distribution of fraudulent vendor payments to Kraus, Flores, and others by generating and processing false invoices and internal payment vouchers. Pizutelli generated these invoices and vouchers to give the appearance that Kraus, Flores, and other conspirators had provided approved services to eligible patients when, in fact, they had not provided any services. Pizutelli then approved and transmitted the internal payment vouchers so that his conspirators received vendor payments even though they had performed no services to eligible patients. Pizutelli orchestrated these fraudulent payments to maintain and further romantic and/or sexual relationships with Flores and other conspirators.

Pizutelli orchestrated the fraudulent payment of more than $4.5 million from the TBI Fund to members of the conspiracy, including more than $4 million in fraudulent distributions to Kraus and Flores, which they used for their own personal benefit and enrichment. To obscure their fraudulent conduct, Kraus and Flores also made material misstatements on their federal income tax returns, by significantly underreporting the income they had derived from the fraudulent scheme.

The health care fraud conspiracy charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and of $250,000 or twice the gross receipts to the defendants or gross loss sustained by any victims, whichever is greater.

Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited special agents of the FBI, Newark Division, Red Bank Resident Agency, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr., and special agents of the IRS – Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael Montanez, with the investigation leading to the charges. She also thanked the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office, Division of Law, and the New Jersey Department of Human Services, for their assistance.

The government is represented by J. Brendan Day, Attorney-in-Charge of the Trenton Branch Office of the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

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

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Defense counsel:
Pizutelli – Benjamin West Esq., Assistant Federal Public Defender, Trenton
Kraus – Bruce L. Throckmorton Esq., Trenton
Flores – Aidan P. O’Connor Esq., Hackensack, New Jersey


Lakewood Man Charged With Narcotics Distribution

January 15, 202`

TOMS RIVER, NJ (OCEAN)–Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that Detectives from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Narcotics Strike Force joined forces with Toms River Police Department Special Enforcement Team (SET) to conduct an investigation into the distribution of Heroin, Fentanyl and Cocaine in Ocean County. The joint investigation identified an apartment in the Hampton Gardens Apartment complex in Toms River as being utilized to store and distribute quantities of Heroin, Fentanyl and Cocaine. As a result of the investigation, Detectives obtained a search warrant for the apartment and also obtained probable cause to arrest Rizjoun Smullen, age 20, of Lakewood, for Distribution of Heroin and Fentynl.

On January 13, 2021, Detectives, observed Smullen leave the residence on foot. Smullen was detained and placed under arrest without incident.  Detectives from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Narcotics Strike Force, and Toms River SET, executed the search warrant at the apartment. As a result of the search warrant, Detectives seized approximately 150 dosage units of Heroin and $2,100 in cash.

Smullen was arrested and charged with Distribution of Less Than One Half Ounce of Heroin in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5b(3); two counts of Possession of Less Than One Half Ounce of Heroin with the Intent to Distribute in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5b(3); and two counts of Possession of Heroin in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10a(1). Smullen was transported to Toms River Township Police Headquarters and charged on a summons pending a future court date.

Prosecutor Billhimer would like to acknowledge the cooperative efforts of Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Narcotics Strike Force, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Asset Forfeiture Unit, Toms River Police Department Special Enforcement Team and the Point Pleasant Borough Police Department Detective Bureau in this investigation.

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

Sandy Fraud Contractors Indicted, 18 Counts Involving Theft Of Funds

January 7, 2021

TOMS RIVER, NJ (OCEAN)–Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that on January 6, 2021, Jonathan Price, 43, of Manahawkin, and Scott Cowan, 58, of Demarest, were indicted by an Ocean County Grand Jury for eighteen counts of Theft by Failure to Make Required Disposition of Property (Funds) Received in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:20-9.

An extensive investigation by Detectives from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Economic Crimes Unit revealed that Price and Cowan established the now-defunct Price Home Group, LLC, in February 2013 in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. From March of 2013 through March of 2016, Price Home Group entered into contracts with thirty-one homeowners in multiple towns throughout Ocean and Atlantic Counties to repair Sandy-ravaged homes or elevate their homes to protect them from future storms. The investigation revealed that despite having received considerable compensation in excess of two-million dollars from these individuals, Price and Cowan performed little to no work on the victims’ homes, and instead misappropriated the monies for their own personal use. Price and Cowan were arrested and charged on May 29, 2019.

“These two defendants preyed upon numerous homeowners who were at the lowest, most vulnerable points of their lives following the devastation of Superstorm Sandy. They took advantage of people who were utterly helpless, who trusted that the defendants would help them get them back into their homes as quickly as possible,” Prosecutor Billhimer stated. “Rather than honor their contractual obligations, these defendants betrayed the victims’ trust in favor of their own unjust enrichment, and now they will be made to answer for their unscrupulous behavior,” Prosecutor Billhimer concluded.

Prosecutor Billhimer acknowledges the Stafford Township Police Department, Little Egg Harbor Police Department, Toms River Township Police Department, Long Beach Township Police Department, Ocean County Department of Consumer Affairs, and the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, for assisting the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Economic Crimes Unit in conducting this very extensive and thorough investigation.

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

Driver DWI Hits NJ State Police Vehicle At Emergency Scene

January 3, 2021

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

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

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


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



Three Men Arrested For Narcotics And Weapons Offences In Lakehurst

December 31, 2020

LAKEHURST, NJ (0CEAN)–Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that Detectives from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Narcotics Strike Force, Lakehurst Police Department, and Manchester Township Police Department Narcotics Enforcement Team conducted a collaborative investigation into the distribution of heroin and cocaine in the Ocean County area.  This cooperative, multi-agency investigation ultimately identified a room at the Travel Inn and Suites in Lakehurst, New Jersey, as being utilized by three individuals to store and distribute quantities of heroin and cocaine.

On December 29, 2020, Detectives observed the subject individuals exit the motel room in question and enter a vehicle.  A motor vehicle stop was conducted by the Lakehurst Police Department, and all three individuals were placed under arrest for possessing quantities of heroin and cocaine.  Detectives from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Narcotics Strike Force, Manchester Township Police Narcotics Enforcement Team, and Lakehurst Police Department executed a court-authorized search warrant on the motel room.  As a result, Detectives seized approximately five bricks of heroin, a small quantity of marijuana, and a large 9mm capacity 50 round drum style magazine with hollow point bullets.  Arrested were:





Prosecutor Billhimer commends the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Narcotics Strike Force, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Asset Forfeiture Unit, Lakehurst Police Department Detective Bureau, Lakehurst Police Department Patrol Division, Manchester Township Police Department Narcotics Enforcement Team, and Manchester Township Police Department K-9 Unit, for their collaborative efforts in connection with this investigation.

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

Berkeley Township Man Charged With Murder Now Has Additional Charges Of Child Porn Found On Phone

An additional search warrant and uncovered over 1000 images of Child Pornography.

December 15, 2020


Related MidJersey.News stories here:

Berkeley Township Man Charged With Murder

Man Charged With Attempted Murder In Berkeley Township


TOMS RIVER, NJ (OCEAN)–Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer has announced that Angelo Grenci, 44, of Berkeley Township, has been charged with Possession of Child Pornography in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)b(ii). This charge is in addition to the charge of Murder previously filed against Grenci on November 24, 2020 relative to death of Carlton Williams, 50, of Seaside Heights, and in furtherance of that investigation.

On November 16, 2020, Detectives from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Crime Unit, Ocean County Regional SWAT Team, and Berkeley Township Police Department Detective Bureau, executed a court-authorized search warrant at Grenci’s residence in Berkeley Township in connection with the stabbing of Mr. Williams which occurred in the Manitou Park section of Berkeley Township on November 14, 2020. Grenci was arrested and initially charged with Attempted Murder; he was subsequently charged with Murder on November 24, 2020 after Mr. Williams succumbed to the injuries inflicted upon him by Grenci. During the course of the Murder investigation, a forensic examination of Grenci’s phone was conducted by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Crime Unit which revealed images of child pornography. As such, a second court-authorized search warrant was obtained to allow for the search of Grenci’s phone specifically for child pornography. A thorough examination of Grenci’s phone recovered additional images of child pornography. Grenci has been lodged in the Ocean County Jail since he was apprehended on November 16, 2020.

“We were initially examining Grenci’s phone for evidence relative to the Murder investigation. Upon discovering evidence of another, independent crime, specifically Possession of Child Pornography, Detectives from our High Tech Crime Unit sought an additional search warrant and uncovered over 1000 images of Child Pornography. Grenci was charged accordingly and served with a copy of his complaint today in the Ocean County Jail,” Prosecutor Billhimer stated.

Prosecutor Billhimer acknowledges the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Crime Unit, Ocean County Regional SWAT Team, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Victim Witness Advocacy Unit, Berkeley Township Police Department Detective Bureau, Toms River Township Police Department, Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit, Ocean County Medical Examiner’s Office, Ocean County Department of Corrections, State of New Jersey Department of Corrections, and New Jersey State Parole Board, for their cooperative efforts in connection with this investigation leading to Grenci’s Murder charge, and now this additional charge of Possession of Child Pornography.

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


Ocean Beach, Toms River Drowning Victim Identified

December 13, 2020

TOMS RIVER, NJ (OCEAN)–Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that on December 12, 2020, at approximately 6:00 a.m., Officers from the Toms River Township Police Department responded to the Ocean Beach section of Toms River for a report of an unresponsive female lying on the beach near the water. Responding Officers found the deceased body of Jennifer Jack, age 43, of Lavallette. Later in the day, a post mortem examination was conducted by the Ocean County Medical Examiner’s Office – the results of the examination determined the cause of death to be drowning.

“At this point in time, there’s no evidence to suggest there was any foul play or criminal activity involved in this unfortunate incident. The Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit, Toms River Police Department and the Ocean County Sheriff’s Office will continue to investigate the manner of death to be sure our information is accurate,” Prosecutor Billhimer stated.

Prosecutor Billhimer commends the efforts of the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit, Toms River Township Police Department, New Jersey State Police Marine Division, New Jersey State Police Missing Persons Unit, New Jersey State Police Major Crime Unit and the Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit for their collective assistance in this investigation.

Prosecutor Billhimer urges anyone who has any information on this matter to contact Detective Denis Mitchell of the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit at 732-929-2027 or Detective Ryan Quinn of the Toms River Township Police Department at 732-349-0150 ext. 1361.

Man Sentenced To 22 Years In NJ State Prison For Aggravated Manslaughter

November 30, 2020

TOMS RIVER, NJ (OCEAN)–Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that on November 30, 2020, John T. Mullen, Jr., 51, of Seaside Heights, was sentenced to twenty-two years in New Jersey State Prison by the Honorable Guy P. Ryan, J.S.C., as a result of his previously entered guilty plea to Aggravated Manslaughter in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:11-4. This sentence is subject to the terms of the No Early Release Act, N.J.S.A. 2C:43-7.2., meaning that Mullen will be required to serve at least 85 percent of his prison sentence before he may be considered for parole eligibility. Mullen pled guilty to Aggravated Manslaughter before Judge Ryan on September 23, 2020.

On October 20, 2019, Manchester Township Police responded to the Surf and Stream Campground after receiving multiple 911 calls about a body lying in the entrance driveway to the campground. Upon arrival, Manchester patrol units found the body of Thomas J. Applegate, 34, of Manchester, lying in the driveway of the Surf and Stream Campground with a wound in his chest. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene. A joint investigation by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Crime Unit, Manchester Police Department, and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit determined that Mullen stabbed Mr. Applegate during the course of a drug deal, which ultimately resulted in his death.

“The law enforcement agencies involved in this investigation – through sheer hard work and resolve – swiftly identified Mullen as the individual responsible for Mr. Applegate’s death and quickly brought him into custody,” Prosecutor Billhimer stated. “The exceptional teamwork displayed by these law enforcement professionals has brought about a lengthy state prison sentence for Mullen, which may, as Judge Ryan pointed out, effectively result in a life sentence given this defendant’s age and longstanding history of substance abuse,” Prosecutor Billhimer continued. “We hope this sentence affords the family of Mr. Applegate some level of peace and closure,” Prosecutor Billhimer concluded.

Prosecutor Billhimer commends the diligence of Supervising Assistant Prosecutor Michael Abatemarco and Assistant Prosecutor Alyssa Mandara who handled the case on behalf of the State, as well as the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Crime Unit, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Victim Witness Advocacy Unit, Manchester Township Police Department, and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit, who collectively did an outstanding job investigating and resolving this matter, ensuring that Mullen would be brought to justice.


Related MidJersey.News story here: Seaside Heights Man Pleads Guilty To Aggravated Manslaughter


Berkeley Township Man Charged With Murder


Related MidJersey.News stories here:

Berkeley Township Man Charged With Murder Now Has Additional Charges Of Child Porn Found On Phone

Berkeley Township Man Charged With Murder

Man Charged With Attempted Murder In Berkeley Township


November 24, 2020

TOMS RIVER, NJ (OCEAN)–Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that Angelo Grenci, 44, of Berkeley Township, has been charged with Murder in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:11-3a(1), in connection with the death of Carlton Williams, 50, of Seaside Heights.

During the evening hours of November 14, 2020, Officers from the Toms River Township Police Department and Berkeley Township Police Department responded to Community Medical Center in Toms River relative to a report of a male victim having been stabbed. Responding Officers found Carlton Williams with an apparent stab wound to his neck. Mr. Williams was subsequently flown to Robert Wood Johnson Medical Center in New Brunswick, where he ultimately succumbed to his injuries on November 21, 2020. A post mortem examination was performed by the Ocean County Medical Examiner on November 22, 2020. The Medical Examiner determined the cause of Mr. Williams’s death to be anoxic brain injury, secondary to massive bleed from a stab to the neck, and the manner of death to be homicide.

An investigation by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Crime Unit, Berkeley Township Police Department Detective Bureau, and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit, determined that Grenci stabbed Mr. Williams in the neck during an altercation that occurred in the area of Magnolia Avenue in the Manitou Park section of Berkeley Township at approximately 7:00 p.m. on November 14, 2020. On November 16, 2020, Detectives from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Crime Unit, Ocean County Regional SWAT Team, and Berkeley Township Police Department Detective Bureau, executed a court-authorized search warrant at Grenci’s residence in Berkeley Township. Grenci was taken into custody and was originally charged with Attempted Murder. That charge was amended to Murder after Mr. Williams succumbed to the injuries inflicted upon him by Grenci. Grenci has been lodged in the Ocean County Jail since his apprehension, where he remains pending a detention hearing.

“Fortunately, this appalling and senseless crime was solved expeditiously as a result of the hard work and dogged determination of all the Officers and Detectives involved in this investigation,” Prosecutor Billhimer stated. “Through their combined efforts, an extremely dangerous person has been removed from the streets of Ocean County. We will now turn our focus to ensuring that justice is accomplished for Mr. Williams and his family,” Prosecutor Billhimer concluded.

Prosecutor Billhimer would like to acknowledge the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Crime Unit, Ocean County Regional SWAT Team, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Victim Witness Advocacy Unit, Berkeley Township Police Department Detective Bureau, Toms River Township Police Department, Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit, Ocean County Medical Examiner’s Office, Ocean County Department of Corrections, State of New Jersey Department of Corrections, and New Jersey State Parole Board, for their collaborative efforts in connection with this matter leading to Grenci’s swift apprehension and appropriate charges.

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

Man Charged With Attempted Murder In Berkeley Township


Related MidJersey.News stories here:

Berkeley Township Man Charged With Murder Now Has Additional Charges Of Child Porn Found On Phone

Berkeley Township Man Charged With Murder

Man Charged With Attempted Murder In Berkeley Township


November 17, 2020

TOMS RIVER, NJ (OCEAN)–Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer and Berkeley Township Chief of Police Karin DiMichele have announced that Angelo Grenci, 44, of Toms River, was arrested and charged with Attempted Murder in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:5-1a(1) and N.J.S.A. 2C:11-3a(1), relative to a stabbing incident which occurred in Berkeley Township on Saturday, November 14, 2020.

During the evening hours of November 14, 2020, Officers from the Toms River Township Police Department and Berkeley Township Police Department responded to Community Medical Center in Toms River relative to a report of a male victim having been stabbed. Responding Officers found Carlton Williams, 50, of Seaside Heights, with an apparent stab wound to his neck. Mr. Williams was subsequently flown to Robert Wood Johnson Medical Center in New Brunswick where he remains listed in critical condition.

An investigation by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Crime Unit, Berkeley Township Police Department Detective Bureau, and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit, determined that Grenci had stabbed Mr. Williams in the neck during an altercation that occurred in the area of Magnolia Avenue in the Manitou Park section of Berkeley Township at approximately 7:00 p.m. on November 14, 2020. On November 16, 2020, Detectives from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Crime Unit, Ocean County Regional SWAT Team, and Berkeley Township Police Department Detective Bureau, executed a court-authorized search warrant at Grenci’s residence in Berkeley Township. Grenci was taken into custody and brought to Berkeley Township Police Headquarters for processing, and subsequently transported to the Ocean County Jail where he is currently lodged pending a detention hearing.

“Each and every officer and detective involved in this investigation acted quickly and professionally in solving this horrendous crime. Through their tenacity and dedication, a very dangerous individual is now off the streets. As I have stated many times before, senseless acts of violence are not acceptable in any civilized society, and will certainly not be tolerated here in Ocean County,” Prosecutor Billhimer stated.

Prosecutor Billhimer and Chief DiMichele acknowledge the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Crime Unit, Ocean County Regional SWAT Team, Berkeley Township Police Department Detective Bureau, Toms River Township Police Department, Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit, Ocean County Department of Corrections, State of New Jersey Department of Corrections, and New Jersey State Parole Board, for their collaborative efforts in connection with this investigation leading to Grenci’s swift apprehension.

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

Three Men Arrested In Toms River Murder

October 29, 2020

TOMS RIVER, NJ (OCEAN)–Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer and Toms River Township Police Chief Mitchell A. Little announced that Shadrach Correa, 18, Daivon Sullivan, 18, and Leyron Jones, 23, all of Toms River, have been charged with Murder in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:11-3a(1) in connection with the death of Javon Cutler which occurred in Toms River on October 11, 2020. The three defendants were also charged with two counts of Attempted Murder in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:5-1a(1) and N.J.S.A. 2C:11-3a(1), and Conspiracy to Commit Murder in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:5-2a(1) and N.J.S.A. 2C:11-3a(1).

An investigation by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit, Toms River Township Police Department, and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit revealed that on October 11, 2020, at approximately 8:15 p.m., Javon Cutler, 19, of Bayville, and two friends were attempting to leave Toms River Apartments – located on Main Street in Toms River – when an unknown individual opened fire on their vehicle. Mr. Cutler, who was seated in the rear passenger seat, was struck in the head as a result. The driver of the vehicle drove directly to Community Medical Center to seek medical treatment for Mr. Cutler. Mr. Cutler was subsequently transported to Jersey Shore Medical Center, where he ultimately succumbed to his injuries on October 14, 2020. A post mortem examination was performed by the Ocean County Medical Examiner on October 15, 2020. The Medical Examiner determined the cause of Mr. Cutler’s death to be intermediate distance gunshot wound to the head, and the manner of his death to be homicide.

After a very thorough and comprehensive investigation that spanned the course of nearly three weeks, it was determined that Correa, Sullivan and Jones acted together and in support of one another in carrying out the shooting of Javon Cutler. Correa was arrested and charged on October 28, 2020, while Sullivan and Jones were taken into custody and charged today. All three men were transported to the Ocean County Jail, where they are currently lodged pending a detention hearing.

“The investigative efforts leading to the arrest of these defendants were nothing short of outstanding, and the teamwork exhibited by everyone involved – Assistant Prosecutors, Detectives, and Officers alike – truly exemplifies the best in law enforcement,” Prosecutor Billhimer stated. “This heinous crime was not easily solved, but our team of professionals demonstrated an unwavering commitment identifying and investigating the individuals responsible for this senseless killing and bringing them to justice. The men and women in blue literally worked around the clock for nearly three weeks, putting the pieces of the puzzle together with a singular objective in mind: removing these incredibly dangerous young men from our streets,” Prosecutor Billhimer continued. “The residents of Ocean County can rest easier tonight knowing that Correa, Sullivan, and Jones are behind bars due to the painstaking efforts of our law enforcement community. I am extremely proud to work alongside these selfless men and women, and I commend them, as always, on a job well done. Now, our attention turns to securing justice for Mr. Cutler and his family,” Prosecutor Billhimer concluded.

Chief Little added: “It is extremely unnerving to have something like this happen in our town. I am so proud of the tenacity and dedication of all of the Officers and Detectives from all agencies who worked around the clock on this case to restore order and safety to our community.”

Prosecutor Billhimer and Chief Little acknowledge the following agencies for their tremendous and collaborative efforts in connection with this wide-ranging investigation which ultimately resulted in the apprehension of these three defendants: Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit; Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Narcotics Strike Force; Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Crime Unit; Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Regional SWAT Team; Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Victim Witness Advocacy Unit; Toms River Township Police Department; Toms River Township Police Detective Bureau; Toms River Township Police Department Emergency Services Unit; Toms River Township Special Enforcement Team; Manchester Township Police Department; Barnegat Township Police Department; Berkeley Township Police Department; Seaside Heights Police Department; Brick Township Police Department; Lakewood Township Police Department; Jackson Township Police Department; South Toms River Police Department; Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit; New Jersey State Police; Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office; Ocean County Department of Corrections; New Jersey State Department of Corrections; New Jersey State Police; and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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

Crime Family Associate From Toms River, Admits Possessing Cocaine With Intent To Distribute

October 22, 2020

TOMS RIVER, NJ (OCEAN)–An alleged crime family associate today admitted possessing cocaine with the intent to distribute, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

Jason Vella, 39, of Toms River, New Jersey, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Anne E. Thompson in Trenton federal court to an information charging him with one count of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.

On Sept. 19, 2019, investigators from the Ocean County Prosecutors Office executed a search warrant on Vella’s residence and recovered in excess of 150 grams of cocaine, drug paraphernalia, $2,295 in cash and pieces of jewelry.

The charge of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute is punishable by a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 26, 2021.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited the members of the FBI’s Organized Crime Task Force under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr. in Newark; and investigators from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.

The government is represented by Senior Litigation Counsel V. Grady O=Malley of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Organized Crime/Gangs Unit in Newark.

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Defense counsel: Dennis Carletta Esq., Cedar Grove, New Jersey

19 Year Old Bayville Man Dies From Toms River Shooting

October 15, 2020

Read related MidJersey.News story here: 19 Year Old From Bayville Identified As Victim Of Toms River Shooting

TOMS RIVER, NJ (OCEAN)–Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that Javon Cutler, 19, of Bayville, the victim in the shooting that occurred in Toms River on October 11, 2020, succumbed to his injuries and passed away last night at approximately 7:00 p.m. at Jersey Shore Medical Center in Neptune. Cutler suffered a gunshot wound to the head on October 11, 2020. A post mortem examination will be performed this afternoon by the Ocean County Medical Examiner.

An investigation by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit, Toms River Township Police Department, and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit revealed that on October 11, 2020, at approximately 8:15 p.m., Mr. Cutler and two friends were leaving Toms River Apartments located on Main Street in Toms River, when an unknown individual opened fire on their vehicle. Mr. Cutler, who was seated in the rear passenger seat, was struck in the head as a result. The driver of the vehicle drove directly to Community Medical Center. Mr. Cutler was subsequently transported to Jersey Shore Medical Center.

Prosecutor Billhimer would like to emphasize that this is an active and ongoing investigation. Anyone who has any information concerning this investigation is urged to contact Detective Denis Mitchell of the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office at 732-929-2027, or Detective Jennifer Grob of the Toms River Township Police Department at 732-349-0150.

19 Year Old From Bayville Identified As Victim Of Toms River Shooting

October 12, 2020

Updated MidJersey.News story here: 19 Year Old Bayville Man Dies From Toms River Shooting

The victim has been identified as Javon Cutler, age 19, of Bayville.

TOMS RIVER, NJ (OCEAN)–Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer and Toms River Township Chief of Police Mitch Little announced that on October 11, 2020, at approximately 8:30 p.m., Toms River Township Police responded to Community Medical Center for a report of a male victim with a gunshot wound to the head. The victim has been identified as Javon Cutler, age 19, of Bayville.

An investigation by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit, Toms River Township Police Department, and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit revealed that on October 11, 2020, at approximately 8:15 p.m., Mr. Cutler and two friends were leaving Toms River Apartments located on Main Street in Toms River, when an unknown individual opened fire on the their vehicle. Mr. Cutler, who was seated in the rear passenger seat, was struck in the head as a result. The driver of the vehicle drove directly to Community Medical Center. Mr. Cutler was subsequently transported to Jersey Shore Medical Center, where he is currently listed in critical condition.

Prosecutor Billhimer and Chief Little would like to emphasize that this is an active and ongoing investigation, and that there is no known danger to the public at this time. Anyone who has any information concerning this investigation is urged to contact Detective Denis Mitchell of the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office at 732-929-2027, or Detective Jennifer Grob of the Toms River Township Police Department at 732349-0150.

Toms River Shooting Under Investigation

TOMS RIVER, NJ (OCEAN)–Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer and Toms River Township Chief of Police Mitch Little announced that the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit, Toms River Police Department and the Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit are currently investigating a shooting that occurred on Main Street in Toms River at approximately 8:30 p.m. on Sunday, October 11, 2020. Preliminary investigation has revealed that one male victim has been wounded and has been transported to Jersey Shore Medical Center in Neptune with life threatening injuries. This is an active and ongoing investigation. More details will be released when they become available. There is no danger to the public at this time.

Seaside Heights Man Pleads Guilty To Aggravated Manslaughter

September 23, 2020

TOMS RIVER, NJ (OCEAN)–Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that on September 23, 2020, John T. Mullen Jr., 51, of Seaside Heights, pled guilty to Aggravated Manslaughter in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:11-4, before the Honorable Guy P. Ryan, J.S.C. At the time of his sentencing on November 30, 2020, the State will be seeking a sentence of 30 years in New Jersey State Prison, subject to the terms of the No Early Release Act, N.J.S.A. 2C:43-7.2.On October 20, 2019, Manchester Township Police responded to the Surf and Stream Campground after receiving multiple 911 calls about a body lying in the entrance driveway to the campground. Upon arrival, Manchester patrol units found the body of Thomas J. Applegate, 34, of Manchester, lying in the driveway of the Surf and Stream Campground with a wound in his chest. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene. A joint investigation by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Crime Unit, Manchester Police Department, and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit determined that Mullen stabbed Mr. Applegate during the course of a drug deal, which ultimately resulted in his death. Prosecutor Billhimer commends the fine work of Supervising Assistant Prosecutor Michael Abatemarco and Assistant Prosecutor Alyssa Mandara who handled the case on behalf of the State, as well as the collaborative efforts of the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Crime Unit, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Victim Witness Advocacy Unit, Manchester Township Police Department, and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit, who collectively did an outstanding job investigating and resolving this matter. “Through good old-fashioned police work, these law enforcement agencies – acting together – expeditiously solved this heinous crime and identified Mullen as the individual responsible for Mr. Applegate’s death,” Prosecutor Billhimer stated. “As a result of their tremendous teamwork, for which I am extremely grateful, this dangerous man was swiftly apprehended, and will now be required to answer for his crime with a lengthy state prison sentence. Justice for Mr. Applegate and his family will be served,” Prosecutor Billhimer concluded.