Category: Toms River

Toms River 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.

Sayreville Man Admits Role In Area Heroin Conspiracy Distribution In Monmouth and Middlesex Counties

September 22, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–A Middlesex County, New Jersey, man today admitted that he conspired to distribute more than 100 grams of heroin as part of a conspiracy responsible for distributing significant quantities of heroin and cocaine in the Bayshore area of Monmouth and Middlesex counties, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

Daniel McHugh, 50, of Sayreville, New Jersey, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Brian R. Martinotti via videoconference to an information charging him with one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin. McHugh also admitted to conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute a quantity of cocaine and possessing with intent to distribute a quantity of crack cocaine.

Today’s guilty plea follows a coordinated takedown in November 2018 of 15 defendants charged by complaint with conspiracy to distribute heroin and cocaine. To date, 13 defendants have pleaded guilty, including supplier Gregory Gillens and lead defendant Guy Jackson. Gillens was sentenced on Sept. 8, 2020, to 10 years in prison. Jackson is awaiting sentencing.

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

From May 2017 to November 2018, McHugh and others engaged in a narcotics conspiracy that operated in the Raritan Bayshore region of Middlesex and northern Monmouth counties. Through the interception of telephone calls and text messages pursuant to court-authorized wiretap orders, controlled purchases of heroin and cocaine, the use of confidential sources of information, and other investigative techniques, law enforcement learned that McHugh regularly obtained heroin and cocaine for further distribution from Jackson. Some of the heroin distributed by the conspiracy contained fentanyl, a dangerous synthetic opioid.

On the date of his arrest, McHugh gave consent to search his residence. During that search, law enforcement recovered quantities of heroin, cocaine, and crack cocaine intended for further distribution.

The heroin conspiracy count to which McHugh pleaded guilty carries a statutory mandatory minimum term of five years in prison, a maximum of 40 years in prison, and a fine of up to $5 million. Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 20, 2021.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited Special Agents of the FBI, Newark Division, Red Bank Resident Agency, Jersey Shore Gang and Criminal Organization Task Force (including representatives from the Bradley Beach Police Department, Brick Police Department, Howell Police Department, Marlboro Police Department, Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office, Toms River Police Department, and Union Beach Police Department) under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr.; Special Agents of the FBI, Philadelphia Division, Scranton Resident Agency, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael J. Driscoll; the New Jersey State Police, under the direction of Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent; the Matawan Police Department, under the direction of Chief Thomas J. Falco, Jr.; the Holmdel Police Department, under the direction of Chief John Mioduszewski; the Highlands Police Department, under the direction of Chief Robert Burton; the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni; the Old Bridge Police Department, under the direction of Chief William A. Volkert; the Keansburg Police Department, under the direction of Chief James K. Pigott; the Hazlet Police Department, under the direction of Chief Philip Meehan; and the Aberdeen Police Department, under the direction of Chief Richard A. Derechailo, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Elisa T. Wiygul of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Criminal Division in Trenton.

The charges and allegations against the two remaining defendants are merely accusations and they are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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Defense counsel: James R. Murphy Esq., Princeton, New Jersey

Vehicle Stops Lead to $33k+ In Cash and 202 Grams Of Cocaine, 2 Charged

September 9, 2020

TOMS RIVER, NJ (OCEAN)–On Tuesday, September 8th, 2020, members of the Toms River Police Department Special Enforcement Team were conducting surveillance on the east end of the Township. During this surveillance, officers observed suspicious activity that resulted in two separate motor vehicle stops.

The first motor vehicle stop and subsequent investigation led to the arrest of Jameer Jones, 26 of Toms River. Mr. Jones was found to be in possession of approximately 202 grams of cocaine and packaging material. The second motor vehicle stop, which was related to the first stop, led to the arrest of Gregory Deas, 47 of Asbury Park. Mr. Deas was found to be in possession of $33,703.00 in U.S. currency.

Jameer Jones was charged with possession of cocaine, possession of cocaine over 5 ounces with the intent to distribute (first degree) and possession of drug paraphernalia. Gregory Deas was charged with obstructing the administration of law, resisting arrest, possession of cocaine and distribution of over 5 ounces of cocaine.

Members from the department Patrol Division and K-9 Unit assisted the Special Enforcement Team with the investigation.

The media and the public are reminded that criminal charges are accusations only. Every criminal defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in court.

Toms River Man Charged With Vehicular Homicide

September 9, 2020

TOMS RIVER, NJ (OCEAN)–Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that Roberto Sandoval-Guerrero, 37, of Toms River, has been charged with Vehicular Homicide in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:11-5b(1) relative to the death of Daniel Cintron on September 5, 2020. Sandoval-Guerrero was also charged with Knowingly Leaving the Scene of a Fatal Motor Vehicle Accident in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:11-5.1; Causing Death or Injury While Driving with a Suspended Driver’s License in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:40-22a; Assault by Auto in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1c(1); and Resisting Arrest in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:29-2a(2).

On Saturday, 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 about 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 dead 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 is currently lodged in the Ocean County Jail pending a detention hearing.

Prosecutor Billhimer would like to commend the collective efforts of 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 assistance in this investigation leading to Sandoval-Guerrero’s 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.

Trump Boat Parade Draws Thousands

September 6, 2020

SHIP BOTTOM, NJ (OCEAN)–Estimates of 2,500 boats participated in a Trump Boat Parade that was also supporting Law Enforcement Officers and Veterans yesterday.

Boaters are congregated at the mouth of Tom’s River in Barnegat Bay and split into two major groups north bound and south bound.

The northbound parade started at the mouth of Toms River and past the Mantoloking Bridge, F-Cove and Bay Head.

The southbound parade started from the mouth of the Toms River and went past the Manahawkin Bridge all the way down to Beach Haven. A large group of boaters anchored in Ship Bottom after the parade.



20 Year Old Lakehurst Man Arrested On Numerous Charges In Toms River

Jaylin Evans, 20, was arrested and charged with Aggravated Assault, Terroristic Threats, Criminal Mischief, Unlawful Possession of a Weapon, False Imprisonment, Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose, Simple Assault, Possession of a Large Capacity Magazine.

August 27, 2020

TOMS RIVER, NJ (OCEAN)–On Wednesday August 26, 2020 at approximately 12:00 PM multiple police units responded to the Main Street Apartments in reference to a civil matter involving a handgun. The victim stated suspect Jaylin Evans, 20 of Lakehurst, pointed a handgun at her during an argument. He then struck her in the head and pushed her into the walls of the residence, blocking her path and not allowing her to leave, stating numerous times that he would kill her. Before fleeing the residence, he damaged the victim’s cellular phone and television.

Police officers located the suspect in a neighboring apartment and he was placed under arrest. A consent to search the apartment was signed by the tenant and revealed a backpack owned by the suspect. Inside the backpack was a loaded 9MM handgun which had an extended magazine. An additional magazine containing 4 rounds was located in the backpack as well. Jaylin Evans was arrested and charged with Aggravated Assault, Terroristic Threats, Criminal Mischief, Unlawful Possession of a Weapon, False Imprisonment, Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose, Simple Assault, Possession of a Large Capacity Magazine. He is lodged on Ocean County Jail.

The media and the public are reminded that criminal charges are accusations only. Every criminal defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in court.

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

August 26, 2020

TOMS RIVER, NJ (OCEAN)–

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

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

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

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

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


Operation “Screen Capture” 21 Alleged Sex Offenders Busted

Collaborative operation targeting offenders sexually exploiting children online was launched in response to spike in cyber threats to children during COVID 19 pandemic. Attorney General warns parents and offers tips to keep children safe as they return to virtual learning, with more screen time and, in many cases, no in-person teacher supervision

August 26, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal today announced arrests of 21 individuals who are charged with sexually exploiting children online. The 19 men, one woman, and one juvenile male were arrested in “Operation Screen Capture,” a collaborative operation launched in response to a dramatic increase in reports of potential threats to children from online predators during the COVID pandemic.

Three defendants – two men and one woman – are charged with sexually assaulting or attempting to sexually assault children. Eighteen are charged with endangering the welfare of children for possession and/or distribution of child sexual abuse materials, including, in many cases, child rape videos.

Cyber tips to the New Jersey Regional Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force about potential threats to children online – including tips from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) – have increased up to 50 percent in New Jersey since the COVID emergency began in March, compared to the same time frame last year. Many cases in this operation stemmed from cyber tips from NCMEC, but others involved undercover chat investigations where perpetrators were attempting to meet children or other individuals online in order to sexually assault children.

Operation Screen Capture was led by the Division of Criminal Justice, New Jersey State Police, ICAC Task Force, U.S. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office, Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office, Camden County Prosecutor’s Office, Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office, Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office, Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, and Sussex County Prosecutor’s Office.The New Jersey State Parole Board assisted with arrests and search warrants.

The arrests, made between March 18 and July 31, 2020 include the following cases:

Aaron Craiger. Craiger, 34, of Oklahoma, a registered sex offender, was arrested on March 18 at a motel in Atlantic City after he allegedly traveled from Oklahoma to meet two men who offered him access to underage girls for sex. In reality, the defendant had communicated with undercover investigators from the New Jersey State Police and U.S. Homeland Security Investigations. One investigator pretended to offer his 12-year-old daughter for sex, and the other, his girlfriend’s 11-year-old daughter.Craiger, who had condoms with him when arrested, also allegedly possessed and distributed child sexual abuse materials.

Jason Berry. Berry, 40, of Keansburg, N.J., allegedly sexually exploited a 14-year-old girl he met on social media, manipulating her into sending him naked pictures of herself engaging in sexual acts. He allegedly had the girl carve his initials into her legs. He then tricked the girl into revealing her mother’s phone number and sent those images to her mother.

Alize Tejada. Tejada, 21, of Newark, N.J., allegedly sexually assaulted a very young child.She allegedly videotaped herself performing a sexual act on the child and posted the video on social media.

“Reports to our Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force of potential predatory conduct against children are up as much as 50 percent during the COVID emergency as homebound children, starved for outside contact, spend more time on their devices, and opportunistic sexual predators target them online,” said Attorney General Grewal. “We urge parents to be vigilant about the online activities of their children and warn children that the strangers they meet on popular social media sites, apps and gaming platforms may be out to harm them. We will continue to work overtime to arrest child predators and those who participate in the cruel exploitation of children by sharing child sexual abuse materials.”

In past cases, the ICAC Task Force has arrested child predators who used the following chat apps: Kik, Skout, Grindr, Whisper, Omegle, Tinder, Chat Avenue, Chat Roulette, Wishbone, Live.ly, Musical.ly, Paltalk, Yubo, Hot or Not, Down, and Tumblr.Arrests also have been made involving the gaming apps Fortnite, Minecraft, and Discord.Attorney General Grewal urged parents to familiarize themselves with these and other apps and warn their children about sharing information with strangers.

“As children return to virtual learning this fall, they will be spending even more time online, in many cases without any in-person teacher supervision or peer contact,” Attorney General Grewal added. “This may make them even more vulnerable. We want parents to be aware of the dangers— and, as we highlighted in a recent virtual town hall with the State Police and Department of Children and Families, we want everyone to know that there are resources to help children who are struggling with social isolation or who may be victims of trauma or abuse.”

Virtual Town Hall: www.youtube.com/watch?v=GMNHjMhVbYA&t=6s

Resources: www.nj.gov/oag/newsreleases20/082620-DCF-Operation-Screen-Capture-Resources.jpg

“Operation Screen Capture is a great example of how law enforcement in New Jersey works together seamlessly through the ICAC Task Force to confront the threat of online predators, raise awareness among parents, and protect our children,” said Director Veronica Allende of the Division of Criminal Justice. “Whether we are running down tips from NCMEC or conducting undercover chats, we use our cyber expertise each day to apprehend those who use the internet to harm, abuse, and exploit children.”

“Our children are at an increased risk to fall victim to opportunistic online predators during this pandemic, as students have no choice but to turn to their devices to connect with friends and family and in many cases to prepare for remote learning,” said Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “The State Police will continue to work with our law enforcement partners, and we will be unrelenting in our efforts to keep our children safe, but we cannot do it alone. We urge all parents and guardians to have conversations with your children about the dangers that exist on the internet and to closely monitor their online activity.”

“The internet has been instrumental in allowing our children to continue their educations remotely during this pandemic.However, it has also been used by the very worst among us to exploit them as well,” said Jason Molina, Special Agent in Charge, Homeland Security Investigations, Newark. “These various cases, which involve both teenagers and very young children, show the level of depravity of these predators.Some pursue physical contact initiated via online introductions, in some cases even crossing state lines, while others exclusively pursue these innocents online. In either case, the psychological damage to children is long lasting.In the face of that, only a very united effort of local, state, and federal law enforcement officials, along with the hypervigilant efforts of parents to monitor their children’s online activity, can be effective to stop them and bring them to justice.”

Bergen County Prosecutor Mark Musella said, “More and more, all of us look to the internet for remote connections because of work, school, or simply to surf the web, but this operation is a reminder that there are individuals who use the internet to traffic sexually explicit images and videos of children. We are proud to be part of this effort to identify, arrest, and aggressively prosecute those who are exploiting our children and our increased reliance on virtual connections by accessing and sharing illegal images and videos.”

“It cannot be emphasized strongly enough how important it is for parents to become educated about cyber threats, and take measures to protect their children from becoming victimized,” Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina said. “Our way of life has been altered by this pandemic. It used to be that kids would play outside, and parents would check on them every so often to make sure they were safe. But the dangers they face have become much more direct now that they are spending a greater amount of time online than they ever have before. These threats are not readily visible, and effortlessly gain access to our homes, posing a very real risk to our children. We will continue to do everything legally allowable to find and punish those who are responsible.”

“It is a disturbing reality that predators are using the pandemic as an opportunity to target children as their online activity increases,” said Acting Camden County Prosecutor Jill Mayer. “This operation, and the resulting arrests, show that law enforcement agencies in New Jersey and the ICAC Task Force are working diligently together to identify, catch, and arrest these individuals.My message to anyone out there who is using the internet to target children— we are watching and you will be caught. Parents need to be mindful that as we enter a school year with remote learning, there will be predators online looking for potential victims. We encourage all parents to take this time to talk to their children about internet safety, even if you’ve had this discussion before. Keeping our children safe is something that can never be discussed too much.”

“Crimes against children are among the most disturbing, yet often the toughest to prosecute,” said Acting Essex County Prosecutor Theodore N. Stephens, II. “This joint effort underscores the willingness of law enforcement at all levels to work together to protect our most vulnerable from those who would use the internet and other means to prey upon children. In this age, when so many children are relying on computers for their education, entertainment and social life, we are committed to make the internet community as safe as possible.”

“The Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office eagerly participated in this joint law enforcement effort focusing on individuals who felt our attention to their bad acts targeting vulnerable children was diverted,” said Acting Gloucester County Prosecutor Christine Hoffman. “To the contrary, we remain committed and vigilant, and never allow geography or jurisdictional boundaries to slow our collective efforts. We’ll continue to use every investigative tool available to identify, apprehend and convict those who prey on our children.”

“The Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office was proud to take part in Operation Screen Capture with our Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force partners,” said Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri. “The success of the operation highlights how important it is that parents and guardians know that these online predators are out there, especially as remote learning begins again and children spend more and more time on their screens. And it’s just as important that anyone who would use the internet as a tool to harm our kids knows that my office will continue to use every resource at its disposal to identify, investigate, and arrest you before you have the chance to do it.”

“The Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office welcomed the opportunity to participate in Operation Screen Capture as a member of the ICAC Task Force,” said Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone. “This statewide investigation illustrates the fine work and collaboration of many law enforcement agencies in New Jersey. These agencies are dedicated to protecting our communities, especially our children. We thank all of the participating agencies.”

“Our relationship with ICAC has proved to be vital in protecting and safeguarding children from sexual predators,” said Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer. “We will continue to collaborate with all of our law enforcement partners to do everything we can to root out those individuals that prey on our children. To that end, it is imperative for all parents to keep an eye on the online activities of their children.”

“The Sussex County Prosecutor’s Office was a proud participant in Operation Screen Capture,” said Sussex County Prosecutor Francis A. Koch. “This statewide operation demonstrates the dedicated collaboration of all law enforcement agencies in New Jersey to proactively protect all children. As important as today’s announcement of the arrests of these defendants is, the message to parents and children to be even more vigilant and guarded while online is equally important. Today, children are required to have an increased online presence that subjects them to predators looking to take advantage of them. We therefore ask all parents and guardians to take an even greater role in their children’s online activities. We in law enforcement pledge to continue to commit ourselves to do all we can to help protect all children and to root out the despicable predators preying on them.”

Craiger, Berry, and Tejada are being prosecuted by the Division of Criminal Justice.They were ordered detained in jail pending trial.The Division of Criminal Justice is also prosecuting six defendants charged with possessing and/or distributing child sexual abuse materials.The 12 other defendants are being prosecuted by the nine county prosecutors’ offices.

The 21 defendants arrested in “Operation Screen Capture” were charged as follows:

1. Aaron Craiger, 34, of Oklahoma. Gas station attendant.Arrested March 18.Two Counts of Attempted Aggravated Sexual Assault (2nd degree), Distribution of Child Pornography (2nd degree), Possession of Child Pornography (3rd degree), Two Counts of Endangering the Welfare of a Child (3rd degree), Two Counts of Attempted Distribution of Marijuana (4th degree), Possession of Marijuana (Disorderly Persons Offense).

2. Jason Berry, 40, of Keansburg, N.J. Unemployed.Arrested June 18.Manufacturing Child Pornography (1st degree), Sexual Assault (2nd degree), Child Abuse (2nd degree), Distribution of Child Pornography (2nd degree), Theft by Extortion (2nd degree), Possession of Child Pornography (3rd degree).

3. Alize Tejada, 21, of Newark, N.J. Babysitter.Arrested July 15.Aggravated Sexual Assault (1st degree), Manufacturing Child Pornography (1st degree).

4. Michael Gilpin, 42, of Union Beach, N.J. Pipe fitter.Arrested July 26.Possession of Child Pornography (3rd degree).

5. Raymond Radziewicz, 53, of Bloomfield, N.J. Former teaching assistant at child care center who was terminated as a result of this arrest.Arrested July 7.Distribution of Child Pornography (2nd degree), Possession of Child Pornography (3rd degree).

6. Brett Warfield, 21, of Carney’s Point, N.J. Private security guard.Arrested July 15.Possession of Child Pornography (3rd degree).

7. Loic Atse, 18, of Aberdeen, N.J. College student.Arrested July 23.Possession of Child Pornography (3rd degree).

8. Donovan Falconer, 25, of Plainsboro, N.J. Employee of marketing firm.Arrested June 25.Distribution of Child Pornography (2nd degree), Possession of Child Pornography (3rd degree).

9. Michael Ascough, 39, Pompton, N.J. Retail employee.Arrested July 5.Distribution of Child Pornography (2nd degree), Possession of Child Pornography (3rd degree).

10. Joseph Benestante, 65, of Bergenfield, N.J. Retired.Arrested July 21.Distribution of Child Pornography (2nd degree).

11. Shawn Daily, 45, of Browns Mills, N.J. Laborer.Arrested June 12.Possession of Child Pornography (3rd degree).

12. Roy Dantz, 71, of Mount Laurel, N.J. Retired.Arrested June 18.Possession of Child Pornography (3rd degree).

13. Christopher Crispino, 45, of Bellmawr, N.J. Unemployed.Arrested July 31.Possession of Child Pornography (3rd degree).

14. Dwayne McCormick, 25, of Orange, N.J. Unemployed.Arrested July 8.Distribution of Child Pornography (2nd degree), Possession of Child Pornography (3rd degree).

15. Juvenile Male, 15, of Gloucester County, N.J. Unemployed.Arrested July 22.Distribution of Child Pornography (2nd degree), Possession of Child Pornography (3rd degree).

16. Julian Ceballos, 31, of Hamilton (Mercer County), N.J. Restaurant worker.Arrested June 26.Possession of Child Pornography (3rd degree).

17. Timothy McMahon, 46, of Piscataway, N.J. Electrician.Arrested May 21.Possession of Child Pornography (3rd degree).

18. Edward Kross, 66, of Carteret, N.J. Part-time firefighting instructor.Arrested May 28.Possession of Child Pornography (3rd degree).

19. Henry Ziolkowski, 66, of Toms River, N.J. Surgery technician.Arrested July 10.Possession of Child Pornography (3rd degree).

20. Kevin Carrierri, 34, of Toms River, N.J. Chef.Arrested July 10.Possession of Child Pornography (3rd degree).

21. Matthew Marzullo, 20, of Hopatcong, N.J. Restaurant food server.Arrested July 1.Possession of Child Pornography (3rd degree).

First-degree charges carry a sentence of 10 to 20 years in state prison and a fine of up to $200,000. Second-degree charges carry a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000, while third-degree charges carry a sentence of three of five years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000. Fourth-degree charges carry a sentence of up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

The charges against the defendants are merely accusations and they are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Attorney General Grewal thanked the attorneys, detectives, and staff in the Division of Criminal Justice Financial & Cyber Crimes Bureau who worked on this operation under the supervision of Bureau Chief Jillian Carpenter, Deputy Bureau Chief Lilianne Daniel, and DCJ Deputy Director Robert Czepiel.

He thanked ICAC Task Force Commander Lt. John Pizzuro of the New Jersey State Police ICAC Unit and the detectives of the ICAC Unit, as well as the New Jersey State Police TEAMS and K-9 Units.

Attorney General Grewal thanked U.S. Homeland Security Investigations, Newark and Cherry Hill, under the leadership of Special Agent in Charge Jason Molina and Assistant SAC Richard Reinhold.

He thanked the New Jersey State Parole Board, under the leadership of Chairman Samuel J. Plumeri Jr., for its valuable assistance with arrests and search warrants.

Finally, Attorney General Grewal thanked all of the prosecutors, detectives, investigators, and staff of the following county prosecutors’ offices, which participated as members of the ICAC Task Force:

  • Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Camden County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Essex County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Sussex County Prosecutor’s Office

Monmouth County, Matawan Man Charged With Child Porn And Invasion Of Privacy After Recording Six Females Including 16 Year Old In Brick

Michael Mattina, 54, of Matawan, secretly recorded six female victims, including one sixteen-year-old victim, utilizing a hidden camera located in the bathroom of a residence in Brick Township. Further investigation revealed that Mattina posted the videos of the victims on two adult websites.

August 20, 2020

TOMS RIVER, NJ (OCEAN)–Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer and Brick Township Police Chief James Riccio announced that an investigation conducted by the Brick Township Police Department Detective Bureau and the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Crime Unit has revealed that Michael Mattina, 54, of Matawan, secretly recorded six female victims, including one sixteen-year-old victim, utilizing a hidden camera located in the bathroom of a residence in Brick Township. Further investigation revealed that Mattina posted the videos of the victims on two adult websites. Accordingly, Mattina was charged with five counts of Invasion of Privacy for recording the videos in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:14-9b(1); six counts of Invasion of Privacy for posting the videos in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:14-9c; and Distribution of Obscene Materials in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:34-2b. Additionally, with regard to the crimes committed against his sixteen-year-old victim, Mattina was charged with Endangering the Welfare of a Child in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4a(1); Manufacturing Child Pornography in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(4); and Distribution of Child Pornography in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(a)(i). Mattina was processed at Brick Township Police Headquarters and released on a summons pending a future court appearance.

Prosecutor Billhimer and Chief Riccio commend the Brick Township Police Department Detective Bureau and the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Crime Unit for their cooperative assistance in this investigation leading to these charges against Mattina.

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 Sentenced To Life In Prison For Toms River Murder

August 19, 2020

TOMS RIVER, NJ (OCEAN)–Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that on August 19, 2020, Anthony Barksdale, 26, of New York, was sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole by the Honorable Guy P. Ryan, J.S.C., in connection with the murder of Steven Stallworth in Toms River on March 5, 2018.

Barksdale was found guilty of Murder on June 29, 2020 following a jury trial that commenced in early March of this year – prior to the onset of the novel coronavirus – which needed to be suspended due to health and safety concerns related to the pandemic. The jury also found Barksdale guilty of Conspiracy to Commit Murder, Unlawful Possession of a Weapon, Possession of a Firearm for an Unlawful Purpose, and Possession of a Weapon by a Convicted Person.

Prosecutor Billhimer extends his gratitude to Supervising Assistant Prosecutor Michael Abatemarco and Senior Assistant Prosecutor Robert Cassidy, who together tried the case on behalf of the State, for their skill and dedication in prosecuting this horrendous murder – particularly in light of the adverse conditions emanating from Covid-19. The Prosecutor likewise extends his gratitude to 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, Toms River Township Police Department Detective Bureau, Toms River Township Police Department, and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit, for their collective assistance which led to Barksdale’s arrest, conviction, and sentence to life in prison. Prosecutor Billhimer stated: “This was a brutal and senseless murder. I am beyond proud of the teamwork exhibited by members of my office, along with the other law enforcement agencies involved in solving this heinous crime, for their exceptional and combined efforts which ultimately resulted in this defendant being brought to justice.” Prosecutor Billhimer concluded: “It is my sincere hope that Barksdale being sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole provides some measure of peace and closure to Mr. Stallworth’s family, who have been forced to endure needless and unspeakable suffering since that horrible day in March 2018. Justice has finally been accomplished in Steven’s name, and for his family.”

Silver Alert – Missing Person UPDATE: Found

August 17, 2020

*** UPDATE *** Marilyn has been found safe and is being transported to Monmouth Medical South for evaluation and treatment. Thank you to all agencies involved in the search, as well as, everyone who shared this post. Press release will follow.


August 15, 2020

TOMS RIVER, NJ (0CEAN)–Police are currently looking in the Lake Ridge section of town for an 80 year old female with Alzheimer’s who left her home earlier this morning. She is 5’ 7”, approximately 120lbs, with blue eyes and grey hair. She was last seen wearing blue pants sneakers and white jacket. Anyone with any information please call 732-349-0150. Thank you


The New Jersey State Police and Toms River Police Department are seeking the public’s assistance with locating Marilyn Balzer, 80, from Toms River Township, Ocean County.

Marilyn was last seen earler today, at approximately 7:30 a.m., leaving her residence in the Lake Ridge section of Toms River Twp. She is described as a white female, 5’7″, 120 pounds, with blue eyes and grey hair. She was last seen wearing a white top and blue jeans.

Marilyn suffers from Alzheimer’s and may attempt to return to a previous residence in Union City or Old Bridge Township.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the New Jersey State Police Missing Persons Unit at 609-882-2000 ext. 2554 or the Toms River Police Department at 732-349-0150.

Toms River Man Charged With Making Terroristic Threats

July 23, 2020

TOMS RIVER, NJ (OCEAN)–Ocean County First Assistant Prosecutor Michael T. Nolan, Jr., announced that Christopher Angulo, 46, of Toms River, was charged with making Terroristic Threats During a Declared State of Emergency in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:12-3a.

On July 22, 2020, Angulo contacted the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office and directly made threats that he was going to kill police officers. Angulo had previously made specific threats against members of the Bay Head Borough Police Department in May 2020, and was charged accordingly at that time.

Detectives from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit located Angulo at a residence in Toms River on July 22, 2020, and he was taken into custody without incident. Angulo is presently lodged in the Ocean County Jail pending a detention hearing.

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

BREAKING: Body Found Floating In Barnegat Bay Below The Rt. 37 Mathis Bridge

TOMS RIVER (OCEAN)–At approximately 11:28 AM police units were dispatched to the south side of the Mathis Bridge for reports of a body floating in the water. The female victim was found to be deceased upon police arrival. The Ocean County Sheriff Department CSI Unit, NJ State Police Marine Unit, and Ocean County Medical Examiner also responded to the scene. The investigation is ongoing at this time.


FBI Seeking Information on Individuals Inciting Violence During First Amendment-Protected Peaceful Demonstrations

June 2, 2020

The FBI respects the rights of individuals to peacefully exercise their First Amendment rights. Our mission of protecting the American people and upholding the Constitution is dual and simultaneous, not contradictory.
 
Accordingly, we are committed to apprehending and charging violent instigators who are exploiting legitimate, peaceful protests and engaging in violations of federal law. The continued violence, potential threat to life, and destruction of property across the United States interferes with the rights and safety of First Amendment-protected peaceful demonstrators, as well as all other citizens.
 
To help us identify actors who are actively instigating violence in the wake of Mr. George Floyd’s death, the FBI is accepting tips and digital media depicting violent encounters surrounding the civil unrest that is happening throughout the country.
 
If you witness or have witnessed unlawful violent actions, we urge you to submit any information, photos, or videos that could be relevant to the case at fbi.gov/violence.
 
You may also call 1-800-CALL-FBI (800-225-5324) to verbally report tips and/or information related to this investigation.

NJ’s COVID-19 Violations Update For April 17, 2020

April 17, 2020

TRENTON – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, announced the following recent enforcement actions related to COVID-19, including those involving individuals in violation of Governor Murphy’s Executive Order 107: Cases Involving Additional Offenses

  • Megan Murray, 28, of Monroe Township, was charged on Tuesday, April 14, by the South Brunswick Police Department with two counts of second-degree endangering the welfare of a child, DWI, numerous motor vehicle violations, and violating the emergency orders.  Shortly after midnight, a vehicle operated by Murray was found stopped in a lane of travel on Georges Road.  Murray was found intoxicated and sleeping in the vehicle with two young children inside.
  • Alexander C. Bross, 30, of Ocean View, was charged early this morning by the Upper Township Police Department with DWI and violating the emergency orders.

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

  • Newark Enforcement.  The Newark Police Department’s COVID-19 task force issued 90 summonses for violations of the emergency orders and ordered seven non-essential businesses closed in enforcement actions yesterday, April 16
  • Kim Pagan of Toms River was charged by the New Jersey State Police with violating the emergency orders by organizing a prohibited event today in Trenton in which protesters gathered outside the State House and at other locations in Trenton to demonstrate against the Governor’s Executive Orders.
  • Jeffrey Hernandez, 32, of Paterson, was charged on Wednesday, April 15, by the Paterson Police Department with violating the emergency orders at the carwash he owns on East 27th Street, BWT Shine 4 Less, where officers found employees washing cars by hand.
  • Antoni Moore, 31, Gary Smith, 19, and Onir Ritzie, 26, all of Morristown, were charged last night, April 16, by the Morristown Police with violating the emergency orders. Officers responded at 10 p.m. to a report of a fight outside an apartment on Clyde Potts Drive.  About 12 people were gathered outside, but most of them dispersed when police arrived.  The apartment door was open and the three defendants, who do not reside in the apartment, were inside.
  • Paterson Police charged seven individuals at various times yesterday with violating the emergency orders for continuing to loiter at the corner of Jackson Avenue and Bond Street after police warned each of them about violating the Executive Order.  Police charged Larhonda Burgess, 57, Kevin Lewis, 65,  Pearl Moore, 54, James Williams, 55, Syrenner Frazier, 51, Carolyn Dixon, 58,  and Herman Kuc, 53.  Burgess received three summonses, and Moore received two summonses.  The other individuals each received one summons.

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

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

April 5, 2020

TRENTON – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, announced the following recent enforcement actions against violators of Governor Murphy’s Emergency Orders related to COVID-19. “The Governor’s executive orders are commonsense measures to keep people safe during this historic health crisis,” said Attorney General Grewal.  “When people like the partiers in Rumson flout the orders and show disrespect and hostility to police officers, they not only put themselves and the others immediately involved in peril, they risk inciting others to engage in such irresponsible and dangerous behavior.  Our police officers are working courageously every day to protect us all, and we will continue to charge anyone who violates the emergency orders, which literally are a matter of life and death.” “Law enforcement and medical professionals are on the frontlines of this battle to protect the citizens of New Jersey from the COVID-19 virus, and we cannot stress enough how important it is that each person follow the guidelines set forth in the Executive Order,” said Colonel Patrick Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “I have said that law enforcement will act swiftly against those who blatantly place the lives of others at risk. Well, you don’t get much more blatant than the party crowd in Rumson that resisted and insulted police officers who asked them to disperse.” 

  • Newark Enforcement.  The Newark Police Department’s COVID-19 task force issued 180 summonses for violation of the emergency orders and ordered 11 non-essential businesses closed in enforcement actions on Friday and Saturday, April 3 and 4.
  • Rumson Party—John Maldjian, age 54 of Rumson, was charged today by the Rumson Police with reckless endangerment, disorderly conduct, and two separate charges related to violating the emergency orders. All are disorderly persons offenses. He was also charged with violating two borough ordinances. The charges stem from an incident in Rumson on Saturday evening, April 3. At approximately 8:19 p.m., the police were dispatched to a report of a large party with a band.  When they arrived, they discovered the homeowner, John Maldjian, together with another man, playing acoustic guitars on the front porch of the home.  There were approximately 30 people, between the ages of 40 and 50,  gathered on Maldjian’s front lawn and the adjoining street watching the performance.  Some had lawn chairs and alcoholic beverages. Despite the fact that police were on scene with flashing lights attempting to disperse the crowd, the band continued playing. It was not until a Rumson officer directly approached Maldjian that he stopped singing and playing.  Maldjian then told his Facebook Live audience (he was streaming his performance) that he had to stop playing. The crowd became unruly when told to disperse and some shouted curses at the police and “Welcome to Nazi Germany.”  Charges related to those disorderly “audience” members are forthcoming.
  • Sughuy Cepeda, 43, of Teaneck, was charged with second-degree terroristic threats during an emergency, two counts of third-degree aggravated assault on an officer, obstruction, resisting arrest, and violation of a temporary restraining order (TRO). On Saturday, April 4, Cepeda was arrested by the Englewood Police Department for violation of a TRO. While in custody, Cepeda spit and coughed at officers on several occasions and stated she was COVID positive.  Cepeda was transported to Bergen New Bridge Medical Center in Paramus. There, she allegedly coughed at two police officers and spit a mouthful of water at them.
  • Wegmans Coughing Incident.  The West Windsor Police Department signed juvenile petitions for harassment and obstruction of justice against a 16-year-old female for allegedly purposely coughing on another customer at the Wegmans food store in West Windsor on Tuesday, March 31.  The victim, a 52-year-old woman, had asked the juvenile to step back because she was too close. The juvenile and her mother got into an argument with the victim, during which the juvenile allegedly pulled down a facial mask she was wearing, walked closer to the victim, and coughed toward the victim while claiming that she had the coronavirus.
  • Rita A Lacis, 61, of Parsippany, was charged with violating the emergency order on Saturday, April 4, by the Rockaway Borough Police Department.  Police had given Lacis a warning after they learned that she was continuing to operate her dog grooming service.  At that time, she claimed that she misunderstood the order requiring closure of all non-essential businesses.  She was charged when officer saw two customers drop off a dog a short time later.
  • Saul Rosen, 52, of Toms River, was charged on Saturday, April 4, with violating the emergency orders for hold a gathering in his back yard with more than 20 people.
  • Luke Shuscavage, 27, of Princeton, N.J., was charged on Friday, April 3, with violating the emergency orders for bringing five youths from a youth shelter to Lenape Park in Raritan Township to play basketball.

 Violations of the emergency orders constitute a disorderly persons offense carrying a potential sentence of up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.  However, violators can potentially face criminal charges including second, third, and fourth degree indictable offenses. Last week, Attorney General Grewal announced enhanced charges against six individuals who were charged with assaulting law enforcement officers and violating the emergency orders.  Specifically, those enhanced charges included making terroristic threats during a state of emergency, which is a second degree offense and carries a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000. Defendant Cepeda is similarly charged for her conduct against law enforcement officers.Third-degree charges carry a sentence of three to five years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000. If you are seeing a lack of compliance with the Governor’s emergency orders in your town, please contact your local police department or report here https://covid19.nj.gov/violation The Attorney General’s Office and New Jersey State Police will continue to work with law enforcement throughout New Jersey to deter non-complaint behavior. The charges are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty. No one should take advantage of this pandemic to further their own biased agendas.  COVID-19 is no excuse to promote anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and or other biased stereotypes.  Please report bias crimes at 1-800-277-BIAS.