Category: Toms River

61-Year-Old Pedestrian in Critical Condition After Being Struck in Toms River

November 29, 2021

TOMS RIVER, NJ (OCEAN)–On Monday, November 29, 2021, at approximately 4:58 p.m., Toms River Police units were dispatched to the intersection of Vaughn Avenue and Windsor Avenue for a reported pedestrian struck. The initial investigation revealed Carl Cereghini, 61 of Toms River, entered the roadway in attempt to cross when he was struck by a vehicle travelling north on Vaughn Avenue. As a result of the accident, Mr. Cereghini sustained serious injuries and was flown to Jersey Shore Medical Center where he is listed in critical condition.

The driver of the vehicle stated that Mr. Cereghini entered the roadway in front of them leaving no time for the driver to stop or avoid hitting him. There were no signs of impairment of the driver who did not sustain any injuries as a result of the accident.

The accident remains under investigation by Toms River Traffic Safety Officer Ryan Fitzgerald.


Armed Robbery, Car-Jacking in Toms River

November 27, 2021

TOMS RIVER, NJ (OCEAN)–On Friday, November 26, 2021 at approximately 4:10 PM multiple police units were dispatched to the area of Route 37 and Route 166 for a robbery in progress involving a handgun. Upon arrival, officers spoke with the victim who stated that his vehicle was stolen at gunpoint from the parking lot of 10 Route 37 East. He further stated that he knew the suspects involved and had agreed to give one of them a ride to Auto Zone after their vehicle had broke down.

Once at Auto Zone, the victim’s acquaintance exited the vehicle and walked toward the store. The passenger door opened moments later and another male entered the vehicle and brandished a handgun demanding the victim’s belongings. The victim fled the vehicle and ran to a neighboring lot where notified police.

The suspect exited the parking lot in the victim’s vehicle, and continued westbound on Route 37 toward Manchester. Manchester Township Police were immediately notified and quickly located the vehicle traveling west on Route 37 near Lakehurst. Manchester officers stopped the vehicle in the parking lot of 401 Route 70, Lakehurst. The driver, Devin Copley-Clevenger, 20 of Lumberton, was taken into custody without incident.

A search of the vehicle was then conducted which yielded a loaded 9mm handgun with a high capacity magazine. The Ocean County Sheriff’s Department Crime Scene Unit responded to process the vehicle.

Mr. Copley-Clevenger was charged with first degree robbery, first degree car jacking, second degree unlawful possession of a weapon, second degree unlawful possession of a weapon, and fourth degree unlawful possession of a high capacity magazine. All charges were approved by The Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office.

The incident remains under investigation by Detective Seaman. If you have information regarding this incident, please contact tseaman@trpolice.org.

Criminal charges are accusations only. Every criminal defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in court.


Pedestrian Struck in Toms River

November 27, 2021

TOMS RIVER, NJ (OCEAN)–On Friday, November 26, 2021 at approximately 6:00 PM police units were dispatched to Hooper Ave, near the intersection of James Street for a reported pedestrian struck. While attempting to cross Hooper Avenue, Ebony Shepherd, 34 of Johnstown PA, climbed over the Jersey Barrier from east to west and was struck by an oncoming vehicle. Ms. Sheperd was transported to Community Medical Center and subsequently airlifted to Robert Wood Johnson Hospital in New Brunswick due to the severity of her injuries.

The driver of the vehicle exhibited no signs of impairment and was not injured as a result of the crash. Ocean County Sheriff Department’s CSI Unit also assisted at the scene. The accident remains under investigation by Traffic Safety Officer Mark Nater and Patrolman Will Resetar.


Toms River Man Charged with Illegally Possessing Loaded Semi-Automatic Rifle as a Previously Convicted Felon

November 16, 2021

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–An Ocean County, New Jersey, man was charged with illegally possessing a loaded semi-automatic rifle as a previously convicted felon, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced today.

Jeremy W. Barringer, 46, of Toms River, New Jersey, is charged by criminal complaint with one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Barringer was taken into federal custody this morning, appeared today by videoconference before U.S. Magistrate Judge Tonianne J. Bongiovanni in Trenton federal court, and was detained.

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

On Oct. 24, 2021, at 3:05 a.m., Mantoloking and Bay Head police officers responded to the area of Herbert Street and Highway 35 in Mantoloking in response to a report of a motor vehicle crash involving a single vehicle. Officers found Barringer, a previously convicted felon, behind the wheel of his vehicle and observed a 5.56-millimeter semi-automatic rifle on the floorboard of the back seat of Barringer’s vehicle. The rifle was later found to be loaded with approximately 21 rounds of 5.56-millimeter full metal jacket ammunition. When officers ordered Barringer to step out of the vehicle, they observed that Barringer was wearing a tactical, bullet-proof vest and an empty handgun holster on his hip. After taking Barringer into custody, officers conducted a further search of Barringer’s vehicle and discovered a black 9-millimeter semi-automatic pistol with no serial number (commonly referred to as a “ghost gun”), loaded with 14 rounds of hollow-point ammunition, three 9-millimeter pistol magazines loaded with hollow-point ammunition, and three 30-round rifle magazines loaded with 5.56-millimeter ammunition.

The count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited special agents of the FBI, Newark Division, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr.; officers of the Mantoloking Police Department, under the direction of Chief of Police Stacy S. Ferris; and officers of the Bay Head Police Department, under the direction of Chief of Police William A. Hoffman, with the investigation leading to the charges. She also thanked detectives from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer, officers from the Ocean County Sheriff’s Office, under the direction of Sheriff Michael G. Mastronardy, and officers from the Toms River Police Department, under the direction of Chief of Police Mitchell A. Little, for their assistance in the investigation.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ian D. Brater of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Criminal Division in Trenton.

The charge and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

21-521

Defense counsel: Andrea D. Bergman Esq., Assistant Federal Public Defender, Trenton


Missing Adult Male and Toddler Son Located Safe

November 15, 2021

TOMS RIVER, NJ (OCEAN)–On Sunday, November 14, 2021, at approximately 7:37 PM, police were dispatched to 5th Avenue regarding a missing adult male and his toddler son. The two had been missing for over eight hours with no means of communication or travel. A multi-agency search by Toms River Police Patrol and Detective Units, Toms River Fire Companies, and New Jersey State Police Aviation Unit, ended at 9:48 PM when the father and son were located safe in the area of Cattus Island.

Thank you to Toms River Office of Emergency Management and Toms River CSO’s for responding to the search area in the event that medical attention, and/or long-term services were necessary. The incident is under investigation, there is no further information at this time.


H. Hovnanian Family Foundation Donated $5 Million To Community Medical Center In Toms River

TOMS RIVER, NJ (OCEAN)–Community Medical Center (CMC), an RWJBarnabas Health (RWJBH) facility, has announced the donation of a $5 million gift, given by local philanthropist Edele Hovnanian on behalf of H. Hovnanian Family Foundation. The gift will support capital renovations to the Emergency Department at Community Medical Center.  

“We are so grateful to Edele and the H. Hovnanian Family Foundation for their generous contribution to our Emergency Department renovations,” said Patrick Ahearn, Chief Executive Officer, Community Medical Center. “This gift will help ensure that our community has increased access to care when they need it most and will play a vital role in bettering the health and well-being of Ocean County residents.”

“The Emergency Department benefits the entire community and is like the doorway to the hospital in many respects,” Ms. Hovnanian said. “We proudly support CMC’s Emergency Department putting its best foot forward. I’ve been very positively impressed with CMC’s vision and have absolute faith that the hospital is laying the foundation for what central New Jersey needs in terms of acute care.”

Ms. Hovnanian serves as President of Hovsons Inc., the company her father, Hirair, founded, and heads the H. Hovnanian Family Foundation. She and her four siblings learned at an early age from her father and her mother, Anna, how to think strategically about finances as well as leverage personal success to develop and support charitable causes and the local community.

“When my dad came to the United States from Armenia in 1951 to pursue higher education, he settled in the Toms River area after graduating from Villanova University,” said Ms. Hovnanian. “Central New Jersey is where our family has been since that day. CMC is the hospital many people use, and it’s an obvious place for us to give back to the community.”

Following her father’s example, Ms. Hovnanian doesn’t treat philanthropy differently from business. She evaluates the overall impact of a donation on the community using the business acumen she learned from working alongside her father to discern where philanthropy will have the biggest impact.

Supporting CMC’s state-of-the-art Emergency Department renovations met all the criteria. When completed, the $37 million upgrade—already partially finished—will transform the department. The renovated ED will include features such as air filtration and individual rooms with glass walls to prevent germs from spreading, efficient patient flow design, and at-hand access to tests such as CT scans, X-rays and ultrasounds.

To learn more about supporting Community Medical Center, call 732.557.8131 or visit www.cmcgiving.org

“Operation Checkmate” Dismantles Major Cocaine Networks

October 30, 2021

TOMS RIVER, NJ (OCEAN)–Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer has announced the culmination of a four-month-long cooperative, multi-jurisdictional investigation conducted by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Narcotics Strike Force, United States Drug Enforcement Administration – High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) Group 5, Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Narcotics Strike Force, and New Jersey State Police – Trafficking Central Unit, in concert with many other state, county, and local law enforcement agencies. “The Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Narcotics Strike Force managed and directed three simultaneous multi-agency investigations into high level cocaine distribution in Ocean, Monmouth, and Middlesex Counties, as well as New York City. During the course of these investigations, approximately 50 additional law enforcement personnel were assigned to the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Narcotics Strike Force on a full-time basis. Multiple agencies – both within and outside of Ocean County – assisted in every aspect of all three investigations. The investigations, identified as “Operation Checkmate,” began in July 2021 and concluded this week,” Prosecutor Billhimer stated.

The three cocaine networks were responsible for the import of more than three kilograms of cocaine per week into the Ocean, Monmouth, and Middlesex County areas. Through sophisticated surveillance methods and undercover operatives, “Operation Checkmate” was successful in disrupting and dismantling illicit controlled dangerous substance (CDS) distribution activities in these three counties, as well as New York City, by the following individuals: Luis Feliz, 41, of New York; James Hemenway (also known as “King James”), 43, of Morganville; Dale McCord, 44, of Manalapan; Mark Capichana, 54, of Hazlet; Mark Kelber, 44, of Manalapan; and Andrew Contaldi, 47, of Brick. On October 26, 2021, “Operation Checkmate” closed with the apprehension of 24 individuals for various offenses involving distribution of controlled dangerous substances. Additionally, 24 search warrants were executed resulting in the seizure of more than four kilograms of cocaine, over 15 pounds of marijuana, in excess of $650,000 in United States currency, seven firearms (three handguns, three “ghost guns,” and one pistol grip shotgun), ten vehicles, and additional illegal narcotics.

The following individuals were arrested as a result of Operation “Checkmate”:

Luis Feliz, 41, of New York, charged with Possession of Cocaine in an Amount Greater than Five Ounces with Intent to Distribute; Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine in an Amount Greater than One-Half Ounce; and Financial Facilitation. Feliz is presently in custody in New York City, pending extradition to New Jersey.

James Hemenway, 43, of Morganville, charged with Possession of Cocaine in an Amount Greater than Five Ounces with Intent to Distribute; Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine in an Amount Greater than One-Half Ounce; Possession of MDMA in an Amount Greater than One-Half Ounce with Intent to Distribute; Possession of Psilocybin Mushrooms with Intent to Distribute; Possession of Cocaine; Possession of Psilocybin Mushrooms; two counts of Financial Facilitation; and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Hemenway is currently lodged in the Ocean County Jail pending a detention hearing.

Dale McCord, 44, of Manalapan, charged with Possession of Cocaine in an Amount Greater than Five Ounces with Intent to Distribute; Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine in an Amount Greater than One-Half Ounce; Possession of Cocaine; Possession of Psilocybin Mushrooms with Intent to Distribute; Possession of Psilocybin Mushrooms; Possession of Marijuana; Possession of Drug Paraphernalia; Possession of a Weapon During Controlled Dangerous Substance Activity; Certain Person not to Possess a Firearm; three counts of Possession of a Large Capacity Ammunition Magazine; and two counts of Financial Facilitation. McCord is currently lodged in the Ocean County Jail pending a detention hearing.

Mark Capichana, 54, of Hazlet, charged with Possession of Cocaine in an Amount Greater than Five Ounces with Intent to Distribute; Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine in an Amount Greater than One-Half Ounce; Maintaining or Operating a Controlled Dangerous Substance Production Facility; Possession of Cocaine; and Financial Facilitation. Capichana is currently lodged in the Ocean County Jail pending a detention hearing.

Mark Kelber, 44, of Manalapan, charged with Possession of Cocaine in an Amount Greater than Five Ounces with Intent to Distribute; Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine in an Amount Greater than One-Half Ounce; Possession of Cocaine; Possession of Marijuana with Intent to Distribute; two counts of Possession of Marijuana; Possession of Oxandrolone; Possession of Trenbolone; Possession of Drostanalone; Possession of Mesternolone; Possession of Drug Paraphernalia; and Certain Person not to Possess a Firearm. Kelber is currently lodged in the Ocean County Jail pending a detention hearing.

Andrew Contaldi, 47, of Brick Township, charged with Possession of Cocaine in an Amount Greater than Five Ounces with Intent to Distribute; six counts of Distribution of Cocaine; Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine in an Amount Greater than One-Half Ounce; Possession of Cocaine; Possession of Drug Paraphernalia; and Financial Facilitation. Contaldi is currently lodged in the Ocean County Jail pending a detention hearing.

Andre Johnson, 45, of Freehold, charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine in an Amount Greater than One-Half Ounce; Possession of Cocaine in an Amount Greater than One-Half Ounce with Intent to Distribute; Possession of Cocaine; Maintaining or Operating a Controlled Dangerous Substance Production Facility; Financial Facilitation; and Witness Tampering. Johnson is currently lodged in the Ocean County Jail pending a detention hearing.

Brian Contey, 41, of Brick Township, charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine in an Amount Greater than One-Half Ounce, and Possession of Cocaine with Intent to Distribute. Contey is currently lodged in the Ocean County Jail pending a detention hearing.

Tyrone Finch, 36, of Parlin, charged with Possession of Cocaine in an Amount Greater than Five Ounces with Intent to Distribute; Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine in an Amount Greater than One-Half Ounce; Possession of Cocaine; Possession of Drug Paraphernalia; Financial Facilitation; Possession of a Weapon During Controlled Dangerous Substance Activity; Certain Person not to Possess a Firearm; and Possession of a Large Capacity Ammunition Magazine. Finch is currently lodged in the Ocean County Jail pending a detention hearing.

Alex Johnson, 47, of Brick Township, charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine in an Amount Greater than One-Half Ounce. Johnson was charged on a warrant and released pursuant to New Jersey Bail Reform.

George Sirleaf, 47, of Keyport, charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine in an Amount Greater than One-Half Ounce. Sirleaf was charged on a warrant and released pursuant to New Jersey Bail Reform.

Terrence Brown, 44, of Matawan, charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine in an Amount Greater than One-Half Ounce. Brown was charged on a warrant and released pursuant to New Jersey Bail Reform.

Irene Patelaros, 46, of Morganville, charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine in an Amount Greater than One-Half Ounce. Patelaros was charged on a warrant and released pursuant to New Jersey Bail Reform.

John Dolan, 46, of Matawan, charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine in an Amount Greater than One-Half Ounce. Dolan was charged on a warrant and released pursuant to New Jersey Bail Reform.

Shawn McCord, 25, of Matawan, charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine in an Amount Greater than One-Half Ounce. McCord was charged on a warrant and released pursuant to New Jersey Bail Reform.

Daniel Jeandron, 41, of Keyport, charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine in an Amount Greater than One-Half Ounce. Jeandron was charged on a summons and released pending a future court appearance.

Alexander Nagy, 42, of Laurence Harbor, charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine in an Amount Greater than One-Half Ounce. Nagy was charged on a summons and released pending a future court appearance.

John Sozomenou, 46, of Matawan, charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine in an Amount Greater than One-Half Ounce. Sozomenou was charged on a summons and released pending a future court appearance.

Joseph Horvath, 33, of Toms River, charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine in an Amount Greater than One-Half Ounce. Horvath was charged on a summons and released pending a future court appearance.

Christopher Lyons, 42, of Matawan, charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine in an Amount Greater than One-Half Ounce. Lyons was charged on a summons and released pending a future court appearance.

Robert Dazinski, 59, of Hazlet, charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine in an Amount Greater than One-Half Ounce. Dazinski was charged on a summons and released pending a future court appearance.

Diana Roman-Porpora, 54, of Howell, charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine in an Amount Greater than One-Half Ounce. Roman-Porpora was charged on a summons and released pending a future court appearance.

Bobbie Parsells, 42, of Keyport, charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine in an Amount Greater than One-Half Ounce. Parsells was charged on a summons and released pending a future court appearance.

Daniel Votapek, 36, of Point Pleasant, charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine in an Amount Greater than One-Half Ounce. Votapek was charged on a summons and released pending a future court appearance.

“An investigation of this magnitude requires the cooperation of numerous law enforcement agencies and officers.” Prosecutor Billhimer stated. “Law enforcement officers at the local, county, state, and federal levels demonstrated outstanding teamwork in connection with this very wide-ranging, comprehensive investigation. This team of professionals literally worked around the clock for the last several months with a singular goal in mind: removing dangerous drug dealers from our streets. I am so grateful for the resolve and dedication exhibited by all the Officers and Detectives involved in “Operation Checkmate,’” Prosecutor Billhimer concluded.

Prosecutor Billhimer recognizes the following agencies for their collaborative assistance and cooperation with the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Narcotics Strike Force in connection with this investigation:

– Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Asset Forfeiture Unit

– Ocean County Regional SWAT Team

– United States Drug Enforcement Administration – HIDTA

Group 5

– Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Narcotics Strike Force

– New Jersey State Police – Trafficking Central Unit

– New Jersey State Police Teams Unit

– New Jersey Air National Guard Counter Drug Task Force

– Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office Narcotics Unit

– Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office Narcotics Task Force

– Matawan Borough Police Department and

– Matawan Borough Police Department K-9 Unit

– Keyport Borough Police Department

– Manalapan Township Police Department

– Ocean County Sheriff’s Office

– Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Field Services Unit

– Ocean County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Unit

– Barnegat Township Police Department

– Brick Township Police Department Street Crimes Unit

– Brick Township Police Department Special Response Team

– Brick Township Police Department K-9 Unit

– Beachwood Borough Police Department

– Berkeley Township Police Department

– Jackson Township Police Department

– Lakewood Township Police Department Drug Enforcement

Unit

– Lakewood Township Police Department Special Response

Team

– Lakewood Township Police Department K-9 Unit

– Manchester Township Police Department Special Enforcement

Team

– Ocean Township Police Department (Waretown)

– Point Pleasant Borough Police Department

– South Toms River Police Department

– Stafford Township Police Department

– Toms River Township Police Department Special Enforcement

Unit

– Toms River Township Police Department Emergency Services

Unit

– Toms River Township Police K-9 Unit

– Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office

– Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Unit

– Aberdeen Township Police Department

– Asbury Park Police Department

– Hazlet Township Police Department

– Hazlet Township Police Department K-9 Unit

– Keansburg Borough Police Department

– Marlboro Township Police Department

– Middletown Township Police Department

– Sea Bright Borough Police Department

– Old Bridge Township Police Department – Bureau of Narcotics

– Union Beach Borough Police Department

– Union Beach Borough Police Department K-9 Unit

– New York City Police Department – 50 Precinct Field

Intelligence Office

– City of New York Office of Special Narcotics Prosecutor

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

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

Toms River Police Respond To Barricaded Person

October 13, 2021

TOMS RIVER, NJ (OCEAN)–On Tuesday, October 12, 2021, at approximately 4:05 PM, police were dispatched to Patmas Drive for a reported emotionally disturbed male acting erratically in the residence with a bat and knives. Upon police arrival, family members were evacuated from the home and officers formed a perimeter around the property for the safety of the neighborhood, officers, and the male party.

The male opened the front door holding a bat and large knife, and after failing to obey officer’s commands, he closed the front door refusing to come out. Toms River Police Emergency Services Unit, and Detective negotiators responded to the scene and opened a dialog via phone. After telephone negotiations ended, a tactical team entered the home, quickly locating the male party, and he was taken into protective custody. He was transported to Community Medical Center for further treatment. There are no reported injuries during the incident.

Also assisting on scene were members of the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office. These types of calls are unpredictable and extremely dangerous. We’d like to commend all of the first responders on scene for their professionalism and commitment to the safety of everyone involved.


Police Report Bomb Threat Cleared At Toms River High School South

October 12, 2021

TOMS RIVER, NJ (OCEAN)–On Tuesday, October 12, 2021, at approximately 6:45 AM Toms River Police were notified of an anonymous tip regarding a possible bomb at Toms River High School South. School administration was immediately notified and evacuated the building as a precautionary measure. Toms River Police and Ocean County Sheriff K9 bomb officers conducted a thorough search of the area and the school with negative results. Once cleared, students and staff returned to the building.

The tip came through an anonymous tipline with the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness. It was stated in the tip that the person was unsure if what they overheard was a joke or an actual threat and wanted to alert authorities just in case. We commend them for alerting authorities. See something, say something, it’s always better to be safe!




Dangerous Rip Currents At Jersey Shore Multiple Rescues In Toms River Area; One In Critical Condition Others Hospitalized

September 18, 2021

TOMS RIVER, NJ (OCEAN)–On Saturday, September 18, 2021, at approximately 11:20 a.m., police and EMS were dispatched to 2nd Ave and Ocean Terrace in Normandy Beach for a swimmer in distress. Witnesses reported that a male was caught in a rip current and struggling to keep his head above water. Joseph Gates of Hopatcong, entered the water with his surfboard and was able to keep the victim above water. Two additional surfers, Thomas Galbraith of Warren, and Colin Cronin of Lavalette, also entered the water with their surfboards and were able to assist Mr. Gates and the victim back to shore. There were no injuries and none of the involved parties required medical assistance.

At approximately 12:30 PM police and EMS were dispatched to 8th Avenue and Ocean Ave in Ortley Beach for multiple swimmers in distress. A 22 year old female from New Fairfield, CT was the first swimmer to be pulled out of the ocean by friends and was treated by EMS and transported to Community Medical Center by a Toms River Ambulance. At this time she is stable and expected to make a full recovery.

A 29 year old male from Freehold was the next victim to be pulled out of the ocean, also by friends. He was conscious and treated by EMS as he was transported to Community Medical Center with medics on board. He is listed in stable condition.

The third victim, a 27 year old female from Brookfield, CT, had been going under water multiple times and appeared to not be moving. A rescue wave runner from Seaside Heights Fire Department was able to rescue her and bring her to shore. The firefighters onboard the wave runner performed CPR as they brought her to the beach. Once on the beach, EMS and medics continued CPR and were able to regain a pulse prior to her being transported to Community Medical Center. At this time she is listed in critical condition.

Police officers cleared the township’s ocean waters of all swimmers due to the dangerous water conditions.

See United States Lifesaving Association about Rip Currents and NOAA and USLA Rip Current Safety Toolkit



Rip Current Statement

Coastal Hazard Message
National Weather Service Mount Holly NJ
316 AM EDT Sat Sep 18 2021

DEZ004-NJZ014-024>026-190000-
/O.CON.KPHI.RP.S.0008.000000T0000Z-210919T0000Z/
Delaware Beaches-Eastern Monmouth-Atlantic Coastal Cape May-
Coastal Atlantic-Coastal Ocean-
316 AM EDT Sat Sep 18 2021

...HIGH RIP CURRENT RISK REMAINS IN EFFECT THROUGH THIS EVENING...

* WHAT...Dangerous rip currents.

* WHERE...In New Jersey, Coastal Ocean, Atlantic Coastal Cape
  May, Eastern Monmouth and Coastal Atlantic. In Delaware,
  Delaware Beaches.

* WHEN...Through this evening.

* IMPACTS...Rip currents can sweep even the best swimmers away
  from shore into deeper water.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

Entering the surf is discouraged. If caught in a rip current,
relax and float. Don`t swim against the current. If able, swim in
a direction following the shoreline. If unable to escape, face
the shore and call or wave for help.


Toms River Man Pleads Guilty To Vehicular Homicide

September 15, 2021

TOMS RIVER, NJ (OCEAN)–Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that on September 15, 2021, Roberto Sandoval-Guerrero, 38, of Toms River, pled guilty to Vehicular Homicide in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:11-5b(1), before the Honorable Rochelle Gizinski, J.S.C., relative to the death of Daniel Cintron on September 5, 2020.  At the time of his sentencing on November 19, 2021, the State will recommend a term of seven years New Jersey State Prison, subject to the terms of the No Early Release Act, N.J.S.A. 2C:43-7.2.  Sandoval-Guerrero also pled guilty to Driving While Intoxicated in violation of N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.

On September 5, 2020, the New Jersey State Police received a report of a pedestrian having been struck by a motor vehicle in the area of Garden State Parkway South at or near mile-marker post 86 in Toms River, with said vehicle then fleeing the scene.  The investigation determined that Daniel Cintron had previously been involved in a minor motor vehicle accident with another driver, Frank Puglisi.  The men exited their vehicles and were in the process of exchanging insurance information on the shoulder of the Parkway when they were struck by a 2002 Mercury Mountaineer operated by Sandoval-Guerrero.  Mr. Puglisi was struck on his left arm, while Mr. Cintron was thrown into the lanes of travel where he was run over by passing traffic.  Mr. Cintron was pronounced deceased at the scene.  Further investigation revealed that Sandoval-Guerrero continued to operate the vehicle southbound on the Garden State Parkway; he ultimately abandoned the vehicle on the shoulder and fled on foot.  Sandoval-Guerrero was eventually located in the area of Route 9 and Church Road and taken into custody.  Sandoval-Guerrero has been lodged in the Ocean County Jail since his apprehension.

Prosecutor Billhimer acknowledges the diligent efforts of Supervising Assistant Prosecutor Michael Abatemarco and Assistant Prosecutor Andrew Leimbach who handled the case on behalf of the State, as well as the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Vehicular Homicide Unit, New Jersey State Police, Toms River Township Police Department, Ocean County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Unit, and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit, for their collaborative efforts in connection with this investigation, ultimately resulting in Sandoval-Guerrero’s guilty plea, and soon his state prison sentence.


State Police Charge Man with Vehicular Homicide in Fatal Boating Crash in Toms River

June 9, 2021

TOMS RIVER, NJ (OCEAN)–Colonel Patrick J. Callahan and Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced today that Juan A. Fernandez II, 18, of Towaco, N.J., has been charged with vehicular homicide as a result of a boating crash in Toms River that killed Corey T. Molinari, 19, of Whippany, N.J. and injured 4 others.

On Sunday, June 13, at approximately 1:13 a.m., troopers from the New Jersey State Police Marine Services Bureau responded to Antiqua Avenue for the report of a serious vessel crash in Barnegat Bay. Upon their arrival, officers from the Toms River Police Department and local first responders were on scene treating the injured. Four occupants were treated for non-life-threatening injuries, and Corey Molinari was airlifted to Jersey Shore Medical Center where he later succumbed to his injuries.

As result of the investigation led by the Troop “C” Criminal Investigation Office, along with the NJSP Crime Scene Investigations Unit and investigators from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, detectives determined that Juan Fernandez II was operating a 2014 Bennington Pontoon boat in the Barnegat Bay when he struck Intracoastal Waterway Marker #26 head on. After the crash, he was able to navigate the vessel to Antiqua Avenue where he met Toms River police and first responders. Initially, Fernandez claimed that there were a total of six occupants on the vessel, but through various investigative means, detectives later determined that there were a total of nine occupants on the vessel prior to the crash, three who were let off just prior to the collision. At the time of the crash, two occupants were ejected.

As a result of a toxicology report on blood obtained from Fernandez on the morning of the crash and information obtained as a result of the investigation, the New Jersey State Police working in cooperation with the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office charged Juan A. Fernandez II with Vehicular Homicide (2nd Degree), Strict Liability Vehicular Homicide (3rd Degree), and Hindering (Third Degree).

Juan A. Fernandez II was arrested in Boonton, N.J. on Wednesday, September 8. He was taken to NJSP Tuckerton Station where he was processed and then later lodged at the Ocean County Jail pending a bail detention hearing.

The case is being prosecuted by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office.

Charges are mere accusations, and the accused is considered innocent until proven guilty.


Related MidJersey.News story here:

19 Year Old From Whippany, NJ Killed In Boating Accident; 5 Others Injured When Pontoon Boat Strikes Marker



Toms River Man Indicted On Terroristic Threats And Causing False Public Alarm

August 12, 2021

Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that on August 12, 2021, an Indictment by a Grand Jury sitting in Monmouth County was returned against David Giordano, 36, of Toms River, on charges of Terroristic Threats in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:12-3a, and False Public Alarms in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:33-3c, relative to an incident that occurred on April 12, 2021. These charges were presented to a Monmouth County Grand Jury due to a conflict arising out of the fact that Giordano’s threats were made against the Ocean County Judiciary.

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 of 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.

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. Although initially detained in the Ocean County Jail and then transported to Monmouth County Correctional Institution shortly after his arrest, Giordano was released on July 21, 2021 pursuant to New Jersey Bail Reform.

Prosecutor Billhimer acknowledges the diligent efforts of Assistant Prosecutor Shanon Chant-Berry who is handling 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, and Berkeley Township Police Department, for their collaborative efforts in connection with this investigation leading to Giordano’s indictment.

The charges referenced above are merely accusations and the press and public are reminded that all defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. R.P.C. 3.6(b)(6).


52 Year Old Killed In Toms River Accident

August 9, 2021

TOMS RIVER, NJ (OCEAN)–On Monday, August 9, 2021, at approximately 7:00 AM, police and fire units were dispatched to Route 571 near Oak Ridge Parkway for a motor vehicle accident with entrapment and a vehicle fire. Claudine Silvestri, 52 of Toms River, was traveling westbound on route 571 in the left lane when she suddenly drifted into the right lane and struck a curb and a guard rail according to a witness. The vehicle then veered to the left and entered the oncoming traffic lanes where she collided head-on with a sign truck before her vehicle caught fire.

Upon arrival, Police officers and EMTs extinguish the fire. Ms. Silvestri was trapped inside and had to be extricated from the vehicle. She was pronounced at the scene.

Along with Toms River Police, Toms River EMT‘s, Pleasant Plains and Silverton Fire Companies, the Ocean County Prosecutor‘s Office, the Ocean County Sheriff’s Department CSI, and Berkeley Hazmat reported to the accident scene.

The accident remains under investigation by Toms River Traffic Safety Officers Mark Nater and Ryan Fitzgerald.


Toms River Police Search For Female Armed With Handgun, Residents Asked To Shelter In Place

UPDATE: August 3, 2021 * UPDATE 1:00 AM 8/3/2021* The female has been safely located and transported to the hospital for treatment. The shelter in place is now lifted.

August 2, 2021

TOMS RIVER, NJ (OCEAN)–Police are actively searching for a suicidal female armed with a handgun in the wooded area behind Edgewood apartments, and the access road that runs along the power lines behind the Silver Ridge Apartment complex.

We are asking the residents in that area to please shelter in place for the time being. There is nothing further at this time.



South Toms River Man Sentenced To 10 Years In NJ State Prison For Aggravated Manslaughter

July 26, 2021

TOMS RIVER, NJ (OCEAN)–Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that on July 26, 2021, Marcus Samuels, 32, of South Toms River, was sentenced by the Honorable Guy P. Ryan, J.S.C., to ten years New Jersey State Prison (NJSP) as a result of his previously entered guilty plea to Aggravated Manslaughter in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:11-4a(1), relative to the shooting death of Willie Love, 27, of Beachwood, that occurred in South Toms River on June 8, 2015. This sentence will be subject to the terms of the No Early Release Act, N.J.S.A. 2C:43-7.2, meaning that Samuels will be required to serve at least 85 percent of his prison sentence before he may be considered for parole eligibility. Additionally, Samuels was sentenced to ten years NJSP as a result of a previously entered guilty plea to Conspiracy to Commit Witness Tampering in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:5-2 and N.J.S.A. 2C:28-5a(1), and five years NJSP in connection with an unrelated charge of Aggravated Assault in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1b, relative to an incident that occurred in Seaside Heights on May 3, 2015. Samuels pled guilty to all charges before Judge Ryan on June 4, 2021. The sentences will run concurrently.

On June 8, 2015, Detectives from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit and Officers of the South Toms River Police Department responded to Community Medical Center in Toms River for a report of a male having suffered a gunshot wound to the chest. The male was identified to be Willie Love, who later succumbed to his injuries at Community Medical Center.

An investigation by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit and South Toms River Police Department revealed that Samuels – who was driving a 2004 Dodge Nitro – pulled alongside a vehicle being operated by Mr. Love which contained three passengers. Samuels then recklessly fired a handgun into Mr. Love’s vehicle, striking Mr. Love, which led to his death. Samuels turned himself into law enforcement in the presence of his attorney on June 12, 2015, and has been lodged in the Ocean County Jail since that date.

While Samuels was detained in the Ocean County Jail pending trial on these charges, he conspired with other inmates to influence a witness into retracting or changing a statement previously provided to law enforcement in connection with the investigation.

Prosecutor Billhimer acknowledges the diligent efforts of Chief Narcotics Assistant Prosecutor William Porter and Assistant Prosecutor Stephen Burke 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, South Toms River Police Department, Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit, and New Jersey State Police Office of Forensic Science, for their collaborative efforts in connection with this investigation, ultimately resulting in Samuels’ state prison sentence.


27 Year Old Scotch Plains Man Charged With Aggravated Assault In July 4th Toms River Incident

July 7, 2021

TOMS RIVER, NJ (OCEAN)–Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that on July 5, 2021, Raziel Mancebo, age 27, of Scotch Plains, was charged with Aggravated Assault in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1b(7); and Simple Assault in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1a(1), in connection with an incident that occurred in Toms River on July 4, 2021.

On July 4, 2021, at approximately 9:15 p.m., the Toms River Township Police were summoned to the area of Cattus Island Boulevard and Hazelwood Road for a report of an unconscious male in the roadway. Responding Officers found Alan Stever, age 56, of Toms River, with an apparent head injury. Mr. Stever was airlifted to Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune where he is currently listed in serious but stable condition.

An investigation by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit and the Toms River Township Police Detective Bureau revealed that a black BMW was traveling northbound on Hazelwood Road at a high rate of speed. The vehicle approached the cross street of Hazelwood Road and Cattus Island Boulevard and stopped at the stop sign. At this point a resident of the neighborhood, Jason Durante, age 50, of Toms River, approached the BMW. The driver of the BMW and Mr. Durante exchanged words and eventually became involved in a physical altercation.  The driver of the BMW also became involved in a physical altercation with Alan Stever, striking him. Mr. Stever fell to the ground and struck his head on the pavement. The driver of the BMW then got back into his vehicle and traveled eastbound on Cattus Island Boulevard. Extensive further investigation revealed that Mancebo was the driver of the BMW and was responsible for striking both Mr. Durante and Mr. Stever.

On July 7, 2021, Mancebo surrendered himself to the Ocean County Sheriff’s Office.  Mancebo was processed and charged at the Toms River Police Department and transported to the Ocean County Jail.  Mancebo will remain in the Ocean County Jail pending a detention hearing.

Prosecutor Billhimer would like to acknowledge the collaborative efforts of the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit, Toms River Township Police Department Patrol Division, Toms River Township Police Department, Toms River Township Police Detective Bureau, Scotch Plains Police Department and the Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit in this investigation.

The charges referenced above are merely accusations and the press and public are reminded that all defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.  R.P.C.3.6(b)(6).

Previous MidJersey.News story here: Developing: Victim Flown To Jersey Shore Medical Center After Altercation In Toms River


Toms River Police is Looking for the Best of the Best

July 6, 2021

TOMS RIVER, NJ (OCEAN)–The Toms River Police Department is excited to announce our 2021 recruitment test application process is underway, and will continue through July 31, 2021, for the testing process which will be in September. We are looking for qualified applicants who meet strict educational, physical and ethical standards, to take our police test. The recruiting process is ongoing, testing occurs once every 3 years. Join our Toms River Police Department Family, your career starts here! If you have any questions please visit us at http://www.trpolice.org and choose the “Recruitment” button or contact us at 732-349-0150 x 1327.



Developing: Victim Flown To Jersey Shore Medical Center After Altercation In Toms River

UPDATE: 27 Year Old Scotch Plains Man Charged With Aggravated Assault In July 4th Toms River Incident

July 4, 2021

TOMS RIVER, NJ (OCEAN)–Toms River Police say that, on Sunday July 4, 2021, at approximately 9:30 p.m., police units were called to Hazelwood Road in Toms River for a reported injured person. Initial investigation revealed there was an altercation in the street and one victim was flown to Jersey Shore Medical University for serious injuries. The investigation is on-going at this time.

Further details to follow


Toms River Police Investigate Low-Flying Helicopter

Citation issued for Zoning Ordinance Chapter 348, 10.5 Unauthorized Helipad Zone

July 2, 2021

TOMS RIVER, NJ (OCEAN)–On June 24, 2021, and on other previous occasions, the Toms River Police Department received several anonymous complaints about a helicopter flying low within the township, and possibly landing in unauthorized areas and on private property on Dino Blvd. Officers were able to view the helicopter in question and obtain the tail number and owner information. Homeowner and pilot, Meir Gurvitz provided necessary information to officers and received a citation for Zoning Ordinance Chapter 348, 10.5 Unauthorized Helipad Zone. The FAA and DOT will be conducting an investigation into the incident and any other violations of federal and state laws.



UPDATE: Person Rescued From Barnegat Bay After Jumping From Route 37 Bridge

July 1, 2021–updated

Photos by: Ryan Mack, Jersey Shore Fire Response

TOMS RIVER, NJ (OCEAN)–Police told MidJersey.news that on Thursday, July 1, 2021, at approximately 1:20 a.m., police and fire units were dispatched to the Mathis Bridge for a reported male that jumped into the bay.  Officer Bartoshek threw the victim a life ring, which he refused.  Toms River Fire company responded with their boat, along with officers Pinto and Elwood.  The officers pulled the victim from the water and he was transported via ambulance to Community Medical Center for evaluation.



4 Charged With Narcotics Distribution

June 30, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The charges referenced above are merely accusations and the press and public are reminded that all defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. R.P.C.3.6(b)(6).




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

June 25, 2021

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

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

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

The charges referenced above are merely accusations and the press and public are reminded that all defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. R.P.C.3.6(b)(6).



19 Year Old From Whippany, NJ Killed In Boating Accident; 5 Others Injured When Pontoon Boat Strikes Marker

June 14, 2021

TOMS RIVER, NJ (OCEAN)–The New Jersey State Police has identified the victim in a weekend boating crash as Corey Molinari, 19, of Whippany, NJ.

According to NJ State Police Sgt. Alejandro Goez of the Pubic Information Unit the boating accident was reported around 1:30 a.m. near the Thomas A. Mathis Bridge – Route 37 Bridge. The pontoon boat struck a marker and Corey Molinari, 19, of Whippany, NJ sustained serious injuries. He was airlifted to Jersey Shore Medical Center, where he later succumbed to his injuries.

There were five other people onboard, two of which were ejected. Four sustained non-life-threatening injuries, and one sustained moderate injuries.


2nd Alarm in Toms River Brought Under Control Quickly

May 20, 2021

TOMS RIVER, NJ (OCEAN)–On Thursday, May 20, 2021 at approximately 10:20 AM multiple police and fire units responded to Orchid Court in Toms River for a reported structure fire. Upon arrival the unit was fully involved. Two occupants, who were home at the time of the blaze, were able to safely exit the home and call 911. Police evacuated nearby residences as a precaution. There were no tenant injuries in the incident. Two family dogs, and a cat, did perish in the fire. Toms River Animal Control was able to rescue a cat from the scene in an adjoining home.

Toms River Fire Companies quickly brought the fire under control and were able to save the adjoining homes in the complex. The American Red Cross responded to the scene and provided support for the displaced family. The cause of the fire is under investigation, but not deemed suspicious at this time. It is under investigation by Toms River Fire Inspector Charles Bauer. Please direct further inquiries to the Toms River Bureau of Fire Prevention.


Toms River Bureau of Fire Prevention Inspectors along with the Toms River Police Detective bureau are currently investigating a fire that took place this morning at 121 Orchid Court in Toms River. The fire was reported at 10: 22 this morning. Based on the number of phone calls the fire was escalated to a 2nd Alarm response. Companies responding on the initial dispatch and 2nd alarm were Pleasant Plains Fire Company, Toms River Fire Companies No. 1 & No.2, Silverton Fire Company, East Dover Fire Company and Island Heights Fire Company. Firefighters had the fire under control in twenty-three (23)minutes. –John NovakActing Chief Inspector


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.



Photos and video by: Ryan Mack, Jersey Shore Fire Response follow their Youtube channel

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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.