Press Releases

2018 Press Releases

MAY 29, 2018
NEWS RELEASE - FORMER NYPD  POLICE SERGEANT SENTENCED

MAY 25, 2018
NEWS RELEASE - MAN APPREHENDED AND CHARGED IN SOMERVILLE ARMED ROBBERY

MAY 15, 2018
NEWS RELEASE - NORTH PLAINFIELD FATAL HIT AND RUN

MAY 14, 2018
NEWS RELEASE - BRIDGEWATER MAN CHARGED WITH AGGRAVATED ARSON

MAY 11, 2018
NEWS RELEASE - WANTED FUGITIVE FROM ARIZONA ARRESTED IN BOUND BROOK WITH THE ASSISTANCE OF THE STOPit APP

MAY 11, 2018
NEWS RELEASE - NARCOTIC INVESTIGATION IN MANVILLE LEADS TO SEIZURE OF 750 DECKS OF HEROIN

MAY 11, 2018
NEWS RELEASE - POLICE INVESTIGATE FRANKLIN STABBING

APRIL 20, 2018
NEWS RELEASE - MONTGOMERY INVESTIGATION

APRIL 18, 2018
NEWS RELEASE - TWO OHIO RESIDENTS CHARGED IN WARREN TOWNSHIP MOTOR VEHICLE STOP

MARCH 29, 2018
NEWS RELEASE - SOMERSET COUNTY NARCOTIC INVESTIGATION YIELDS LARGE QUANITY OF HEROIN

MARCH 27, 2018
NEWS RELEASE - DISTRACTED DRIVING ENFORCEMENT AND EDUCATION CAMPAIGN

MARCH 26, 2018
NEWS RELEASE - “PERSONAL SAFETY FOR HIGH SCHOOL SENIORS”

Amended - NEWS RELEASE
MARCH 20, 2018 - THREE NEW BRUNSWICK RESIDENTS ARRESTED IN FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP NARCOTICS INVESTIGATION

NEWS RELEASE
MARCH 20, 2018 - SCHOOL BUS DRIVER ARRESTED FOR AGGRAVATED SEXUAL ASSAULT

NEWS RELEASE
MARCH 20, 2018 - THREE NEW BRUNSWICK RESIDENTS ARRESTED IN FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP NARCOTICS INVESTIGATION

NEWS RELEASE
MARCH 19, 2018 - HILLSBOROUGH TOWNSHIP MAN CHARGED WITH THEFT

MARCH 16, 2018
NEWS RELEASE - FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP JUVENILE CHARGED

MARCH 1, 2018
NEWS RELEASE - TWO CHARGED IN WARREN TOWNSHIP BURGLARY

FEBRUARY 7, 2018
NEWS RELEASE - CRIME STOPPERS OFFERS REWARD IN WATCHUNG BURGLARY

FEBRUARY 6, 2018
NEWS RELEASE - HILLSBOROUGH MAN CHARGED IN FOUR MONTGOMERY BURLARIES

FEBRUARY 6, 2018
NEWS RELEASE - PROSECUTOR REMINDS RESIDENTS NOT TO SHARE SOCIAL MEDIA VIDEOS DEPICTING CHILD ABUSE

JANUARY 29, 2018
NEWS RELEASE - TWO MEN CHARGED IN ARMED ROBBERY

JANUARY 29, 2018
NEWS RELEASE - SOMERSET COUNTY PROSECUTOR’S OFFICE CONCLUDES THAT USE OF DEADLY FORCE WAS JUSTIFIED IN MARCH 20, 2017 FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP OFF-DUTY POLICE OFFICER’S FIREARM DISCHARGE

JANUARY 25, 2018
NEWS RELEASE - INDICTMENT IN BOUND BROOK HOMICIDE

JANUARY 25, 2018
NEWS RELEASE - MANVILLE MAN CHARGED WITH POSSESSION OF 242 BAGS OF HEROIN WITH THE INTENT TO DISTRIBUTE

JANUARY 24, 2018
NEWS RELEASE - KEARNY MAN CHARGED WITH ENDANGERING THE WELFARE OF A CHILD

JANUARY 23, 2018
NEWS RELEASE - MOTOR VEHICLE STOP IN WARREN TOWNSHIP RESULTS IN SEIZURE OF 28 POUNDS OF MARIJUANA FROM CALIFORNIA RESIDENT

JANUARY 5, 2018
NEWS RELEASE - SOMERSET COUNTY FUGITIVE ARRESTED AFTER STOPIT ANONYMOUS REPORT


 

 

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MAY 29, 2018
NEWS RELEASE - FORMER NYPD  POLICE SERGEANT SENTENCED

SOMERVILLE, N.J. - Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson announced that on Friday, May 25, 2018, the Honorable Kevin M. Shanahan, J.S.C., sentenced defendant Wanda Anthony, age 48, of Staten Island, NY, to five years in New Jersey State Prison, with 42 months to be served without parole, for her conviction for 2nd degree possession of a firearm for an unlawful purpose and disorderly persons criminal mischief.

Defendant Anthony was convicted on October 12, 2017, following a three-week jury trial before the Honorable Bradford M. Bury, J.S.C., in Somerville, New Jersey.  Defendant Anthony’s conviction stemmed from an incident that occurred at 3:30 a.m. on April 30, 2014, in Watchung, New Jersey.  At that time, defendant Anthony was employed as a Sergeant with the New York City Police Department, but was off-duty and in Watchung on a date with a High Tor Drive resident.  Shortly after she arrived at a High Tor Drive residence, defendant Anthony was involved in a physical altercation with the girlfriend of the resident.  Following the altercation, defendant Anthony brandished her NYPD-issued 9mm handgun and fired one round into the High Tor Drive resident's vehicle located in the driveway of the residence.  The projectile shattered the rear driver’s side door window and lodged in the vehicle’s right front A-pillar.  Defendant Anthony fled the scene after firing the shot, and was located nearby and arrested by Watchung Police.  Detectives from the Watchung Police Department investigated the incident.  A Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office forensic technician later recovered two projectile fragments from the resident’s vehicle, and a ballistics expert matched the projectile fragments to defendant Anthony’s handgun.  After the incident, defendant Anthony was terminated by the NYPD. 

The State was represented by Deputy First Assistant Prosecutor W. Brian Stack. 

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MAY 25, 2018
NEWS RELEASE - MAN APPREHENDED AND CHARGED IN SOMERVILLE ARMED ROBBERY

SOMERVILLE, N.J. – Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson, Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of County Detectives John W. Fodor, and Somerville Borough Chief of Police, Dennis Manning announced the arrest of Jake Sommers, age 22, of Eastern Avenue, Somerville, New Jersey.

Prosecutor Robertson stated that on May 23, 2018, at approximately 2:44 p.m. the Somerset County 911 Communications Center received a 9-1-1 call reporting that an armed robbery had just occurred at a Gaston Avenue convenience store in Somerville.  Responding officers met with the store clerk who reported that a white male wearing a red mask had entered the store brandishing a knife and demanded money.  The victim refused and a struggle ensued resulting in the victim sustaining lacerations to his face and the defendant sustaining a laceration to his head. The suspect was able to grab a plastic case containing lottery tickets before he fled the store. 

At 2:45 p.m. a second 9-1-1 call was received reporting that an injured man was observed running east towards Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset. Additional Somerville officers observed the individual, identified as Jake Summers, in the back yard of an Eastern Avenue residential property. After a brief foot chase he was apprehended by the officers and subsequently arrested.  The lottery tickets and the plastic case were located nearby. 

Detectives from the Somerville Borough Police Department along with the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Unit responded to conduct the investigation.

Defendant Sommers was charged with first degree, robbery and third degree, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose.  Defendant Sommers was treated at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset and subsequently lodged in the Somerset County Jail pending a detention hearing.

NOTE: We are required by the Rules of Court to include herein a statement explaining that the charges are merely an accusation and that the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

 

 

 

MAY 15, 2018
NEWS RELEASE - NORTH PLAINFIELD FATAL HIT AND RUN

SOMERVILLE, N.J. – Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson, Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of County Detectives John W. Fodor and North Plainfield Chief of Police William Parenti stated that detectives are investigating a fatal hit and run that occurred earlier this morning in North Plainfield Borough.

Prosecutor Robertson stated that at approximately 1:00 a.m., North Plainfield Police responded to the area of 50-54 Watchung Avenue, in North Plainfield on a report of a pedestrian beginning struck by a motor vehicle that fled the area. Responding officers located the victim, Jose Humberto Burgos, age 58, of Plainfield who was hit by a motor vehicle while he was attempting to cross Watchung Avenue. The victim was transported to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital/New Brunswick where he was pronounced deceased.

Prosecutor Robertson, Chief Fodor, and Chief Parenti state that law enforcement authorities are asking for the public’s help and that if anyone who was in the area at 1:00 a.m. and witnessed this incident, or observed a vehicle fleeing towards Plainfield at a high rate of speed is asked to contact the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office at (908) 231-7100 or the North Plainfield Borough Police Department at (908) 769-2937. Information may also be sent by text message via the STOPit app by downloading STOPit to your smartphone at Google Play or the Apple Store and enter the access code SOMERSETNJ. Tipsters may also contact the Somerset County Crime Stoppers’ Tip Line at 1-888-577-TIPS (8477) or online at www.888577tips.org or www.scpo.net and click on either “Crime Stoppers” or “TIPS HOTLINE.” All anonymous Crime Stopper tips will be kept confidential.

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MAY 14, 2018
NEWS RELEASE - BRIDGEWATER MAN CHARGED WITH AGGRAVATED ARSON

SOMERVILLE, N.J. – Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson, Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of County Detectives John W. Fodor and Bridgewater Township Chief of Police Al Nicaretta announced the arrest of Mason A. Pagnotta, age 21, of Brown Road, Bridgewater Township, New Jersey.

Prosecutor Robertson stated that on January 18, 2016, at approximately 3:45 a.m., three vehicles parked in the driveway of a Garrettson Road residence were involved in a fire. Surveillance video revealed a suspect vehicle, having a distinctive rear spoiler, was parked outside the residence moments before a large fire erupts in the driveway and in very close proximity to the occupied residence. An individual is then observed running to the parked vehicle and fled from the area.

Subsequent investigation revealed that an individual named Mason Pagnotta had given an occupant of the residence an expensive gift that he wished to be returned following the dissolution of their friendship. The gift was never returned to the defendant. At the time of the arson Pagnotta owned a 2004 Mitsubishi automobile with a large rear spoiler fitting the description of the suspect vehicle captured in the video footage.

On May 10, 2018, Mason Pagnotta was arrested and charged with two counts of second degree, aggravated arson.
Defendant Pagnotta is currently being held in the Somerset County Jail awaiting a detention hearing.

Prosecutor Robertson, Chief Fodor, and Chief Nicaretta request that if anyone has additional information regarding this incident to contact the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Unit at 908-231-7100, the Bridgewater Township Police Department at 908-72-4111. Information may also be sent by text message via the STOPit app by downloading STOPit to your smart phone at Google Play or the Apple Store and enter the access code SOMERSETNJ. Tipsters may also contact the Somerset County Crime Stoppers’ Tip Line at 1-888-577-TIPS (8477) or online at www.888577tips.org or www.scpo.net and click on either “Crime Stoppers” or “TIPS HOTLINE”. All anonymous Crime Stopper tips will be kept confidential.

NOTE: We are required by the Rules of Court to include herein a statement explaining that the charges are merely an accusation and that the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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MAY 11, 2018
NEWS RELEASE - WANTED FUGITIVE FROM ARIZONA ARRESTED IN BOUND BROOK WITH THE ASSISTANCE OF THE STOPit APP

SOMERVILLE, N.J. – Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson, Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of County Detectives John W. Fodor, and Bound Brook Chief of Police Vito Bet announced the arrest of Douglas Black, age 54, of Hardy Street, Bound Brook, New Jersey.

Prosecutor Robertson stated that on Friday, May 4, 2018, detectives from the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office were contacted by the Office of the Arizona Attorney General in reference to a subject wanted out of their jurisdiction and Washington State. Defendant Black was wanted for felony theft with full extradition. Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office detectives searched areas within Somerset County for possible locations of the fugitive.
On May 9, 2018, detectives followed-up on leads provided by the Arizona Attorney General’s Office, in conjunction with an anonymous report received via the STOPit app. Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office detectives established covert surveillance in the area of Hardy Street, Bound Brook, NJ. At approximately 6:25 p.m. Black was observed exiting a Hardy Street residence at which point he was approached by law enforcement and taken into custody without incident. Defendant Black was charged as a fugitive from justice and subsequently lodged in the Somerset County Jail, as he awaits extradition proceedings to Arizona.

STOPit is an anonymous crime reporting app being utilized by the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office. Citizens can pass on information anonymously by providing photos or videos or “chat” with law enforcement about crime in Somerset County. The STOPit app also allows law enforcement to send notifications out to STOPit users and has a Get Help section with useful links and phone numbers to available resources within the County. The STOPit app is free to download on the Google Play Store or Apple App Store, Access Code: SOMERSETNJ.

NOTE: We are required by the Rules of Court to include herein a statement explaining that the charges are merely an accusation and that the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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MAY 11, 2018
NEWS RELEASE - NARCOTIC INVESTIGATION IN MANVILLE LEADS TO SEIZURE OF 750 DECKS OF HEROIN

SOMERVILLE, N.J. - Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson, Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of County Detectives John W. Fodor, and Manville Borough Chief of Police Mark A. Peltack announced the arrests of Omar Narvaez-Mata, age 27, of Bloomfield Avenue, Newark, N.J. and Edgar A. Caraballo Jr., age 29, of North 5th Street, Newark, N.J. .

Prosecutor Robertson stated that the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Organized Crime and Narcotics Task Force received information that on May 7, 2018 defendant Omar Narvaez-Mata would be arriving at a fast food restaurant parking lot located on North Main Street in Manville and he would be in possession of a quantity of heroin.

On May 7, 2018, at approximately 3:12 p.m., a surveillance team consisting of detectives from the Task Force along with Manville Police detectives observed defendant Narvaez-Mata arrive in the parking lot in a Jeep Liberty SUV. Also in the vehicle was a passenger later identified as defendant Edgar A. Caraballo Jr. After parking his vehicle Task Force Members observed defendant Narvaez-Mata exit the SUV and enter the restaurant while defendant Caraballo remained in the parked vehicle.

Detectives approached both defendants, and defendant Narvaez-Mata became combative and purposely disobeyed law enforcement’s commands. Narvaez-Mata was found to be in possession of approximately 750 decks of heroin and $278.00 which was seized as suspected drug proceeds.

Defendant Narvaez-Mata was charged with 2nd degree, possession of CDS (Heroin) with the intent to distribute, 2nd degree, possession of CDS (Heroin) with the intent to distribute within 500 feet of a public park, possession of drug paraphernalia and resisting arrest, both disorderly person offenses. Defendant Caraballo Jr. was arrested on an outstanding Paramus Municipal court warrant for failure to appear.

The heroin seized has an estimated street value of $3,750.00.

Defendant Narvaez-Mata was lodged in the Somerset County Jail pending a detention hearing. Defendant Caraballo Jr. was released on his own recognizance pending a new Paramus Municipal Court date.


NOTE: We are required by the Rules of Court to include herein a statement explaining that the charges are merely an accusation and that the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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MAY 11, 2018
NEWS RELEASE - POLICE INVESTIGATE FRANKLIN STABBING

SOMERVILLE, N.J. - Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson, Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of County Detectives John W. Fodor, and Franklin Township Chief of Police Richard Grammar announced that the investigation regarding Tuesday evening’s stabbing is ongoing.

Prosecutor Robertson stated that on May 8, 2018, at approximately 9:57 p.m. a 9-1-1 call was received by the Franklin Township Police Department for a report of shots fired in the area of Hempstead Drive in the Somerset Section of Franklin Township. Responding officers located a 28 year old New Brunswick male resident lying on the ground outside of an apartment building. The victim was bleeding from two apparent stab wounds to the back of his head. The victim was transported to an area trauma center where he was treated for his injuries. The victim reported that he was assaulted and sustained lacerations to the back of his head during a physical altercation with the unknown suspect.

Crime Stoppers of Somerset County, Inc. is offering a cash reward of up to $500 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspect in this incident. Anonymous tipsters wanting to collect the reward monies are to call the Somerset County Crime Stoppers Tip line at 1-888-577-TIPS (8477). Crime Stoppers Tips can also give tips online at www.888577tips.org or www.scpo.net and click on either “Crime Stoppers” or “TIPS HOTLINE”. Crime Stopper Tipsters will receive a “special code number” in order to collect the reward monies. All anonymous Crime Stopper tips will be kept confidential.

Tips may also be given by contacting the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Unit at (908) 231-7100, the Franklin Police Department (908) 873-5533, or via the STOPit app by downloading STOPit to your smart phone at Google Play or the Apple Store and enter the access code “SOMERSETNJ”.

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APRIL 20, 2018
NEWS RELEASE - MONTGOMERY INVESTIGATION

SOMERVILLE, N.J. – Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson, Somerset County Prosecutor’s Chief of County Detectives John W. Fodor, and Montgomery Township Police Director / Captain Thomas Wain is requesting the assistance of the community for information regarding an incident being investigated as a biased crime.

Detectives assigned to the investigation release that the following information is based on the preliminary and ongoing investigation, which continues to evolve as investigators interview potential witnesses and victims.

Sometime prior to 1:42 p.m. on Saturday, April 14, 2018, unknown person(s) placed objects on the windshield of victim’s car. The vehicle was parked in the driveway of the family home in the Belle Mead section of town. The objects left are considered offensive to the victim’s religious and cultural beliefs.

Prosecutor Robertson, Chief Fodor, and Captain Wain request anyone with information regarding this investigation is asked to contact the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Sex Crimes/Child Abuse Unit at (908) 231-7100 or the Montgomery Township Police Department at (908) 359-3222, or via the STOPit app by downloading STOPit to your smart phone at Google Play or the Apple Store and enter the access code “SOMERSETNJ”, or the Somerset County Crime Stoppers’ Tip Line at 1-888-577-TIPS (8477) or online at www.888577tips.org or www.scpo.net and click on either “Crime Stoppers” or “TIPS HOTLINE”. All anonymous Crime Stopper tips will be kept confidential.

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APRIL 18, 2018
NEWS RELEASE - TWO OHIO RESIDENTS CHARGED IN WARREN TOWNSHIP MOTOR VEHICLE STOP

SOMERVILLE, N.J. – Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson, Somerset County Chief of County Detectives John W. Fodor and Warren Township Chief of Police William Keane announced the arrests of Martin Harris, age 33, of Larry Place, and David Carter, age 38, of Rand Avenue, both located in Columbus, Ohio.

Prosecutor Robertson states that on Saturday, April 7, 2018, at approximately 1:45 p.m., while on Interstate 78, a Warren Township patrol unit initiated a motor vehicle stop on a 2007 Nissan Murano for motor vehicle violations. As the officer approached the vehicle, occupied by three individuals, he detected an odor of burnt marijuana emanating from inside the SUV. In speaking with the occupants, David Carter who was driving the vehicle, Martin Harris the front seat passenger and a female passenger who was sitting in the rear seat they revealed inconsistencies as to where they were traveling.

Warren Township K9 “Onyx” and his handler responded to the scene. The K9 conducted an exterior sniff of the vehicle and gave an indication of narcotics inside the vehicle. A probable cause search of the vehicle was conducted by Warren Township officers which resulted in the seizure of a digital scale with white powder residue and a Smith & Wesson .380 caliber handgun that was loaded with hollow-point bullets.

Defendant Harris was charged with second degree, unlawful possession of a handgun, and fourth degree, possession of hollow point bullets.

Defendant Carter was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, a disorderly person offense. Carter was also issued motor vehicle summonses for following too closely, careless driving and driving without a license.

Defendant Carter was released on his own recognizance and defendant Harris was lodged in the Somerset County Jail pending a detention hearing.

NOTE: We are required by the Rules of Court to include herein a statement explaining that the charges are merely an accusation and that the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

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MARCH 29, 2018
NEWS RELEASE - SOMERSET COUNTY NARCOTIC INVESTIGATION YIELDS LARGE QUANITY OF HEROIN

SOMERVILLE, N.J. - Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson, Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of County Detectives John W. Fodor, and Watchung Borough Chief of Police Joseph Cina announced the arrests of Edwin Miranda, age 28, of East 36th Street, Patterson, New Jersey, and Jeramy Lozano, age 25, of East 38th Street, Patterson, New Jersey.

Prosecutor Robertson states that the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Organized Crime and Narcotics Task Force conducted an investigation regarding the distribution of heroin by Edwin Miranda.

On February 22, 2018 an undercover detective made arrangements to meet with defendant Miranda along with another unknown individual, later identified as Jeramy Lozano, in order to purchase 50 bricks (2,500 bags) of heroin. The meet was to take place in a restaurant parking lot located on U.S. Highway Route 22 in Watchung. At the agreed upon time, both defendants Miranda and Lozano were observed by a Task Force surveillance team arriving in a silver vehicle which was being operated by a private car service.

The undercover detective then met with both defendants in the parking lot where he purchased the 50 bricks of heroin in exchange for U.S. currency. Once the transaction was completed Task Force members approached and arrested both defendants Miranda and Lozano without incident.

During the course of this narcotic investigation the undercover detective made numerous purchases of heroin from defendant Miranda totaling approximately 70 bricks (3,500 bags) of heroin. The suspected heroin purchased by the undercover detective was analyzed by the New Jersey State Police which revealed positive results for heroin with up to a 97% purity level.

The estimated street value of the heroin seized during this investigation is approximately $27,000.00.

Defendants Miranda and Lozano were both charged with second degree, distribution of CDS (heroin) and they were both lodged in the Somerset County Jail pending a detention hearing.


NOTE: We are required by the Rules of Court to include herein a statement explaining that the charges are merely an accusation and that the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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MARCH 27, 2018
NEWS RELEASE - DISTRACTED DRIVING ENFORCEMENT AND EDUCATION CAMPAIGN

SOMERVILLE, N.J. -- Law enforcement officers representing agencies throughout Somerset and Hunterdon Counties will be cracking down on distracted drivers during the month of April as part of New Jersey’s UDrive. UText. UPay. enforcement campaign.

Beginning April 1st and running through April 21st, the high visibility law enforcement initiative will target motorists who engage in dangerous distracted driving behaviors such as talking on hand-held cell phones and sending text messages while driving.

“Distracted driving is possibly the most serious safety issue on our roadways today,” said Gary Poedubicky, Acting Director of the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety. "The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that in 2015 alone, 3,477 people were killed in distracted driving crashes and an estimated 391,000 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver.”

In New Jersey, driver inattention was listed as a contributing circumstance in 52 percent of the state’s crashes in 2015. Driver inattention was in fact listed as a contributing factor in crashes at a rate nine times higher than that of the next highest contributing factor (speed).

The campaign is being carried out during the month of April, which the National Safety Council has designated as Distracted Driving Awareness Month. The New Jersey campaign is modeled after similar successful high visibility enforcement programs such as Click It or Ticket and Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.

The participating law enforcement agencies receiving funding for the campaign in Somerset and Hunterdon Counties include:

Bedminster
Bernards
Bernardsville
Bound Brook
Branchburg
Bridgewater
Clinton (Town of)
Far Hills
Flemington
Franklin-H
Franklin-S
Frenchtown
Green Brook
High Bridge
Hillsborough
Manville
Montgomery
North Plainfield
Peapack Gladstone
Raritan Borough
Readington
Somerset County Sheriff’s Office
Somerville
South Bound Brook
Warren
Watchung
West Amwell

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MARCH 26, 2018
NEWS RELEASE - “PERSONAL SAFETY FOR HIGH SCHOOL SENIORS”

SOMERVILLE, N.J. - Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson and Somerset County Police Academy Director, Dr. Richard Celeste, announced that the Somerset County Police Academy would be conducting a community program titled “Personal Safety for High School Seniors.” This program will be open to all Somerset County high school seniors.

As high school seniors prepare to graduate, many will be leaving home for new and exciting educational opportunities and job opportunities in unfamiliar areas. Some may remain at home in Somerset County taking advantage of our county’s many available resources and opportunities. In preparation for this exciting, post-graduation time, the Academy will be offering “Personal Safety for High School Seniors” to prepare our graduates for their new adventures, whatever they may be.

This three (3) hour program will be offered on two different dates. First on Monday, April 23, 2018, and again on Thursday, May 31, 2018. Each class session will be limited to 50 participants. Participants signup for one class only.

Each session will commence at 6 p.m. and will be held at the Somerset County Public Safety Center (Police Academy section) located at 402 Roycefield Road, Hillsborough Township, N.J. 08844. Participants should dress in loose, comfortable clothing since the program will be both informative and interactive. It is also recommended that all attendees bring something to write on/with and a bottle of water or other favorite hydrating beverage.

Covered topics will include victimization, predators, situational awareness, personal safety tips, identifying potential safety issues, dealing with a physical confrontation, being a good witness and basic unarmed defense techniques. It is the intended goal of this program to prepare our graduating seniors with an additional life skill set, namely, the ability to identify potential real-world safety concerns and to provide suggestions and training on how to respond to those situations.

The Police Academy is operated by the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office in cooperation with the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office and the Somerset County Association of Chiefs of Police.

Each one-night session is free. Pre-registration for Monday, April 23, 2018, is required by Friday, April 17th and pre-registration for Thursday, May 31, 2018, is required by Friday, May 25th. Parents/guardians are welcome to attend.
Individuals may register for the training by visiting the link www.somersetcountypolice academy.com. Click on the “community events” tab and then click the tab “Personal Safety for High School Seniors.”

Additionally, the Somerset County Association of Chiefs of Police is sponsoring its annual free five (5) day Police Youth Week program from July 16-20, 2018. This program for Somerset County high school students is also coordinated by the Somerset County Police Academy.
For receive more information about the Police Youth Week program, please visit www.somersetcountypoliceacademy.com clicking on the “Community Events” tab and then clicking on the tab marked “Police Youth Week.”

For more information about either program, please contact Detective Brian Giannini, Somerset County Police Academy at (908) 541-5038 or Giannini@co.somerset.nj.us

Community members are encouraged to “like” the Somerset County Police Academy on Facebook to get updates on law enforcement opportunities, safety tips as well as other community educational opportunities.

Click here to download the flyer (suitable for posting).


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Amended - NEWS RELEASE
MARCH 20, 2018 - THREE NEW BRUNSWICK RESIDENTS ARRESTED IN FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP NARCOTICS INVESTIGATION

SOMERVILLE, N.J. - Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson, Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of County Detectives John W. Fodor, Franklin Township Police Department Chief of Police Richard Grammar, Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey, Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of County Detectives Gerard P. McAleer, and New Brunswick Police Director Anthony Caputo announced the arrests of Monique R. Walker, age 28; Ronda Walker, age 49; and Dymarkis T. Walker, age 27, all of whom reside on Handy St, in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

Prosecutor Robertson stated that on March 15, 2018, members of the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Organized Crime and Narcotics Task Force along with members of the New Brunswick Police Department and the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office concluded a month-long investigation into the distribution of narcotics within Franklin Township and New Brunswick by defendant Monique R. Walker. As a result of the investigation detectives obtained a Superior Court search warrant for defendant Walker’s residence.

On March 15, 2018, at approximately 7:30 p.m. Somerset County Task Force members, along with New Brunswick Police Department Officers, and Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office Task Force members executed the Superior Court Search Warrant. Defendants Monique Walker and Ronda Walker were located within the residence and subsequently arrested.

Prosecutor Robertson stated that detectives seized approximately 15 grams of synthetic marijuana, 30 grams of bulk heroin, 10 grams of packaged heroin, 6 grams of crack cocaine, drug paraphernalia, seven hundred and sixty nine dollars in U.S. currency, one (1) loaded black Hi Point 9 mm handgun (reported stolen) and one (1) loaded silver Smith & Wesson .45 caliber handgun.

The synthetic marijuana seized has an estimated street value of three hundred dollars. The bulk heroin has an estimated street value of three thousand dollars. The packaged heroin has an estimated street value of three hundred and fifty dollars. The crack cocaine has an estimated street value of six hundred dollars.

Defendant Ronda Walker was charged with second degree, endangering the welfare of a child, and fourth degree, possession of CDS synthetic marijuana.

Defendant Monique R. Walker was charged with second degree, distribution of CDS heroin, second degree, possession of a firearm while committing a CDS offense, second degree, endangering the welfare of a child, and third degree, theft.

Defendant Dymarkis T. Walker turned himself in voluntarily to law enforcement authorities on Monday, March 19, 2018 without incident.

Authorities are searching for defendant Dymarkis T. Walker who was charged with second degree, possession with intent to distribute CDS heroin, second degree, possession of a firearm while committing a CDS offense, second degree, endangering the welfare of a child, and third degree, receiving stolen property.

Defendants Monique R. Walker and Dymarkis T. Walker were lodged in the Somerset County Jail pending a bail detention hearing. Defendant Ronda Walker was released on her own recognizance pending a first appearance court date

NOTE: We are required by the Rules of Court to include herein a statement explaining that the charges are merely an accusation and that the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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NEWS RELEASE
MARCH 20, 2018 - SCHOOL BUS DRIVER ARRESTED FOR AGGRAVATED SEXUAL ASSAULT

SOMERVILLE, N.J. – Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson, Somerset County Prosecutor’s Chief of County Detectives John W. Fodor, and Montgomery Township Police Director Captain Thomas Wain announced the arrest of Edward Atoeff, age 84, of Cherry Valley Road, in Montgomery Township, New Jersey.

Prosecutor Robertson states that on February 12, 2018, two adult victims reported to Montgomery Police that they were sexually assaulted repeatedly by defendant Edward Atoeff at the ages of 8 years old and 12 years old respectively. As a result of receiving this information an investigation was initiated by detectives assigned to the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Sex Crimes/Child Abuse Unit and the Montgomery Township Police Department’s detective bureau. The investigation revealed that the victims were sexually assaulted by defendant Atoeff. On Monday, March 19, 2018, defendant Atoeff was arrested by detectives without incident at his residence.

Detectives assigned to the investigation release that the following information is based on preliminary and ongoing investigation, which continues to evolve as investigators interview potential witnesses and victims. Detectives have determined that defendant Atoeff sexually assaulted the two victims as well as engaged in sexual contact with at least seven (7) additional victims dating back to the 1960’s. Defendant Atoeff would encounter the majority of his victims while working in the capacity of a school bus driver for Jastyke Transportation, which defendant owned and operated.

Defendant Atoeff was charged with two counts of first degree, aggravated sexual assault and two counts of second degree, sexual assault. Defendant Atoeff was lodged in the Somerset County Jail, pending a detention hearing.

Prosecutor Robertson, Chief Fodor, and Captain Wain request anyone with information regarding this investigation is asked to contact the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Sex Crimes/Child Abuse Unit at (908) 231-7100 or the Montgomery Township Police Department at (908) 359-3222, or via the STOPit app by downloading STOPit to your smart phone at Google Play or the Apple Store and enter the access code “SOMERSETNJ”, or the Somerset County Crime Stoppers’ Tip Line at 1-888-577-TIPS (8477) or online at www.888577tips.org or www.scpo.net and click on either “Crime Stoppers” or “TIPS HOTLINE”. All anonymous Crime Stopper tips will be kept confidential.

NOTE: We are required by the Rules of Court to include herein a statement explaining that the charges are merely an accusation and that the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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NEWS RELEASE
MARCH 20, 2018 - THREE NEW BRUNSWICK RESIDENTS ARRESTED IN FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP NARCOTICS INVESTIGATION

SOMERVILLE, N.J. - Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson, Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of County Detectives John W. Fodor, Franklin Township Police Department Chief of Police Richard Grammar, Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey, Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of County Detectives Gerard P. McAleer, and New Brunswick Police Director Anthony Caputo announced the arrests of Monique R. Walker, age 28; Ronda Walker, age 49; and Dymarkis T. Walker, age 27, all of whom reside on Handy St, in New Brunswick, New Jersey.



Prosecutor Robertson stated that on March 15, 2018, members of the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Organized Crime and Narcotics Task Force along with members of the New Brunswick Police Department and the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office concluded a month-long investigation into the distribution of narcotics within Franklin Township and New Brunswick by defendant Monique R. Walker. As a result of the investigation detectives obtained a Superior Court search warrant for defendant Walker’s residence.

On March 15, 2018, at approximately 7:30 p.m. Somerset County Task Force members, along with New Brunswick Police Department Officers, and Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office Task Force members executed the Superior Court Search Warrant. Defendants Monique Walker and Ronda Walker were located within the residence and subsequently arrested.

Prosecutor Robertson stated that detectives seized approximately 15 grams of synthetic marijuana, 30 grams of bulk heroin, 10 grams of packaged heroin, 6 grams of crack cocaine, drug paraphernalia, seven hundred and sixty nine dollars in U.S. currency, one (1) loaded black Hi Point 9 mm handgun (reported stolen) and one (1) loaded silver Smith & Wesson .45 caliber handgun.

The synthetic marijuana seized has an estimated street value of three hundred dollars. The bulk heroin has an estimated street value of three thousand dollars. The packaged heroin has an estimated street value of three hundred and fifty dollars. The crack cocaine has an estimated street value of six hundred dollars.

Defendant Ronda Walker was charged with second degree, endangering the welfare of a child, and fourth degree, possession of CDS synthetic marijuana.

Defendant Monique R. Walker was charged with second degree, distribution of CDS heroin, second degree, possession of a firearm while committing a CDS offense, second degree, endangering the welfare of a child, and third degree, theft.

Defendant Dymarkis T. Walker turned himself in voluntarily to law enforcement authorities on Monday, March 19, 2018 without incident.

Authorities are searching for defendant Dymarkis T. Walker who was charged with second degree, possession with intent to distribute CDS heroin, second degree, possession of a firearm while committing a CDS offense, second degree, endangering the welfare of a child, and third degree, receiving stolen property.

Defendants Monique R. Walker and Dymarkis T. Walker were lodged in the Somerset County Jail pending a bail detention hearing. Defendant Ronda Walker was released on her own recognizance pending a first appearance court date

NOTE: We are required by the Rules of Court to include herein a statement explaining that the charges are merely an accusation and that the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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NEWS RELEASE
MARCH 19, 2018 - HILLSBOROUGH TOWNSHIP MAN CHARGED WITH THEFT

SOMERVILLE, N.J. –Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson, Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of County Detectives John W. Fodor and Hillsborough Township Chief of Police Darren Powell announced the arrest of Michael Fanizzi, age 53, Conover Way, Hillsborough Township, New Jersey.

Prosecutor Robertson stated that in December 2017 the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Special Investigations Unit was notified by the Hillsborough Township Police Department of a potential theft of funds from the Athletic Department at Hillsborough Township High School. Additional information was also provided through the STOP!T Messenger, an anonymous online computer application which allows users to provide information to law enforcement. Consequently the Hillsborough Township Board of Education provided investigators with a forensic audit of the Athletic Department’s records.

Prosecutor Robertson stated that the three month investigation revealed that Michael Fanizzi, while employed as the Hillsborough Township High School Athletic Director, received reimbursement checks from the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) between 2013 and 2017. The checks were intended to be deposited into the Board of Education account as reimbursement for high school athletic event services. The investigation revealed that defendant Fanizzi deposited the NJSIAA checks into the athletic department’s bank account in place of the cash ticket sales. Defendant Fanizzi kept portions of the cash proceeds which were generated from the events. Investigation revealed that there was $10,704.00 of unaccounted cash missing from the athletic department.

On Friday, March 16, 2018 members of the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Special Investigations Unit arrested defendant Fanizzi without incident at his residence. Defendant was charged with third degree theft by unlawful taking, and he was released on his own recognizance pending a court appearance.

NOTE: We are required by the Rules of Court to include herein a statement explaining that the charges are merely an accusation and that the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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MARCH 16, 2018
NEWS RELEASE - FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP JUVENILE CHARGED

SOMERVILLE, N.J. – Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson, Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of County Detectives John W. Fodor and Franklin Township Chief of Police Richard Grammar announced that a 17-year-old Franklin Township juvenile was taken into custody and charged with possession of a firearm.

Prosecutor Robertson stated that on Thursday, March 15, 2018, at approximately 3:15 p.m., Franklin Township Alternative School officials received information that a 17 year old male student attending the Alternative School program at the Middle School was alleged to be in possession of a firearm and narcotics while attending classes on school grounds. As a result of receiving this information, the Alternative School Administrator immediately contacted and relayed same to Franklin Township Police who immediately responded to the Middle School along with detectives from the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Unit.

Prosecutor Robertson further stated that upon the arrival of responding officers they met with the school officials and immediately made contact with the juvenile who was escorted, along with his belongings, to an office and subsequently transported to Franklin Township Police Department.

Prosecutor Robertson stated that detectives obtained a Superior Court Search Warrant for permission to search a back pack belonging to the student. Upon conducting the search, a loaded 9mm semi-automatic handgun was recovered from inside the back pack, along with drug paraphernalia on the juvenile.

The juvenile was arrested and processed at the Franklin Township Police Department.
The juvenile was charged with second degree, unlawful possession of a weapon, fourth degree, possession of a weapon by a person under the age of 21, and possession of drug paraphernalia, a disorderly person offense. The juvenile was lodged at the Middlesex County Juvenile Detention Center pending a detention hearing.

Prosecutor Robertson stated that the initial investigation by law enforcement revealed that there were no known threats to the students or faculty. Prosecutor Robertson commended the quick response and dissemination of information between Franklin Township School officials and Somerset County law enforcement agencies resulting in the quick recovery of the firearm without incident.

NOTE: We are required by the Rules of Court to include herein a statement explaining that the charges are merely an accusation and that the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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MARCH 1, 2018
NEWS RELEASE - TWO CHARGED IN WARREN TOWNSHIP BURGLARY

SOMERVILLE, N.J. – Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson, Somerset County Chief of County Detectives John W. Fodor and Warren Township Chief of Police William Keane announced the arrests of Ras Loyd, age 25, of Broad Street and Thomas Waller, age 28, of Grummant Avenue, both located in Newark, N.J.

Prosecutor Robertson stated that on February 21, 2018, at approximately 10:10 a.m., Warren Township Police received a 9-1-1 call from a Blackthorn Road resident reporting that a suspicious individual was at the front door of his home. Through his home security cameras, the caller was able to monitor this individual on his smartphone while he was at work. Responding officers from Warren Township, Watchung Borough, and Bernards Township discovered that forced entry was made to the front door of the residence.

While the officers established a secured perimeter around the residence, an on-scene investigation revealed that two suspects were inside the residence and that they could possibly be armed with the home owner’s firearm. The officers with the assistance of the Warren Township Police K9 “Onyx” apprehended the two suspects, one trying to exit the residence through a garage window and the other was hiding inside underneath the basement steps.

The Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Crime Scene and Forensics Unit along with Warren Township detectives responded and processed the crime scene. Detectives located a pillowcase containing a firearm belonging to the owner along with other items that the defendants had removed from their original locations inside the home. A Superior Court search warrant was obtained for the defendant's vehicle, a 2003 Infiniti G35 that was parked in the driveway of the residence. During the search, detectives found items inside the car that were taken from a Watchung residential burglary on Parlin Lane that occurred earlier at 9:30 a.m.

The two suspects were identified as Ras Loyd and Thomas Waller. Warren Township Police charged both defendants with 2nd degree, burglary, 2nd degree, possession of a weapon by certain persons not to have a weapon, 3rd degree, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, and criminal mischief a disorderly person offense.

After processing at the Warren Township Police Headquarters, both defendants were lodged in the Somerset County Jail awaiting a detention hearing.

NOTE:
We are required by the Rules of Court to include herein a statement explaining that the charges are merely an accusation and that the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

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FEBRUARY 7, 2018
NEWS RELEASE - CRIME STOPPERS OFFERS REWARD IN WATCHUNG BURGLARY

SOMERVILLE, N.J. - Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson, Somerset County Chief of County Detectives John W. Fodor and Watchung Borough Chief of Police Joseph Cina announced that Somerset County Crime Stoppers, Inc. is offering a reward of up to $500 for information leading to the arrest of the individual(s) that committed a residential burglary and theft that occurred last month in Watchung Borough.

Prosecutor Robertson stated that on January 24, 2018, a Johnston Drive residence was burglarized. The suspect(s) removed two safes containing jewelry, electronics, firearms, and law enforcement badges from the residence. The suspect also took law enforcement uniforms before leaving the property in a 2005 Mercedes sedan that was parked in the garage.

The Mercedes was located at 12:10 p.m. behind an apartment building at 47 Linden Avenue, in Irvington, New Jersey.

Detectives from the Watchung Police department and the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Burglary Task Force are conducting the ongoing investigation.

The investigation has revealed that the suspect(s), who is purporting to be a delivery person or door-to-door salesman approached the residence at approximately 10:08 a.m. After an unsuccessful entry attempt via the front door, they went to the rear of the residence where they entered through a rear window.

Video images of the suspect(s) were captured from a home surveillance camera. The images depict the suspect(s) as black males, wearing dark colored jackets with hoods. The individuals were also wearing dark colored ski hats and royal blue lanyards attached to a white colored identification card.

Tipsters who wish to remain anonymous and collect the reward monies offered by Crime Stoppers must call the Somerset County Crime Stoppers’ Tip Line at 1-888-577-TIPS (8477) Tipsters can also go online by visiting www.888577tips.org or www.scpo.net and click on either “Crime Stoppers” or “Tips Hotline.” After calling or going online, tipsters will recieve a “Tip Identification Number” needed to collect the reward monies anonymously.

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FEBRUARY 6, 2018
NEWS RELEASE - HILLSBOROUGH MAN CHARGED IN FOUR MONTGOMERY BURLARIES

SOMERVILLE, N.J. –Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson, Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of County Detectives John W. Fodor, and Montgomery Township Police Director/Captain Thomas L. Wain announced the arrest of Thomas P. Gall Jr., age 25, of River Road, in the Belle Mead section of Hillsborough Township, New Jersey.

Prosecutor Robertson stated that between January 22nd and January 24th, 2018 four Montgomery residents reported to the Montgomery Township Police that their homes were burglarized and items were stolen.

An investigation into the burglaries was initiated by detectives from the Montgomery Township Police Department with the assistance of the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Burglary Task Force. The investigation revealed that Gall was the individual responsible for the burglaries and thefts from the residences.

On January 25, 2018, detectives executed search warrants on Gall’s residence and his motor vehicles. The searches resulted in the recovery of approximately 85% of the property stolen during the burglary spree committed by Gall.

Defendant Gall was arrested at his residence, and he was charged with two counts of third degree burglary. Additional charges are to be filed against Gall. After processing at Montgomery Police headquarters, he was lodged in the Somerset County Jail pending a detention hearing.

 

NOTE:
We are required by the Rules of Court to include herein a statement explaining that the charges are merely an accusation and that the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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FEBRUARY 6, 2018
NEWS RELEASE - PROSECUTOR REMINDS RESIDENTS NOT TO SHARE SOCIAL MEDIA VIDEOS DEPICTING CHILD ABUSE

SOMERVILLE, N.J. - Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson and Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of County Detectives John W. Fodor want to remind Somerset County residents that should you come across images or videos depicting a child being physically or sexually abused do not share those images or videos. Images and/or videos depicting the sexual abuse of minors are considered child pornography. By sharing them, even if your intent is to help, is a crime, and your actions continue to victimize the child.

If you would like to submit a tip about images or videos containing child sexual abuse or child pornography, please do so through the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) via their secured cybertip lines:

www.missingkids.org/gethelpnow/cybertipline or www.cybertipline.com

The Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office has handled hundreds of NCMEC tips that have resulted in the arrest and prosecution of numerous suspects who preyed upon children.
Over the past week, law enforcement officials across the country have been requesting that people stop sharing a video on Facebook that depicts child pornography. If you should come across the video you should report it to Facebook, and then delete it. The video shows a man abusing a child. The child in the video has been identified by law enforcement and is no longer in any harm.
REMINDERS:

- Never click on or open unsolicited emails or messages from unknown contacts.
- Report inappropriate activity or content to the website, such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter immediately upon receipt. Include the sender's screen name, but do not forward the content to others as it could be considered distribution.

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JANUARY 29, 2018
NEWS RELEASE - TWO MEN CHARGED IN ARMED ROBBERY

SOMERVILLE, N.J. – Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson, Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of County Detectives John W. Fodor, and Greenbrook Township Chief of Police Christopher Kurz announced the arrest of Antwon Barksdale, age 19, of Orange Avenue, Irvington, New Jersey and Mario Cumberbatch, age 22, of Vermont Street, Brooklyn, New York.

Prosecutor Robertson stated that on Saturday, January 27, 2018, at approximately 4:20 p.m. a 9-1-1 call was received reporting an armed robbery at a Verizon store located on Route 22 West in Green Brook. Responding officers were advised that two males entered the store wearing ski masks and that one of them was armed with a weapon. After the robbery, both males left the area in a vehicle driven by a third male.

The getaway vehicle was subsequently located by Piscataway Police in an area off of Old New Brunswick Road in Piscataway. One of the individuals, later identified as defendant Barksdale, jumped out of the vehicle but was apprehended by Piscataway officers. The proceeds from the robbery were also located in the area by the Piscataway officers.

A short time later, a South Bound Brook Police patrol unit observed the suspect vehicle driving in South Bound Brook area. Upon being observed by the officer, the other two male suspects stopped the vehicle fled from the area on foot. One of the suspects, later identified as defendant Cumberbatch, attempted to forcibly remove a driver from a nearby vehicle. Defendant Cumberbatch was unsuccessful in his attempt to take the vehicle from the owner, and he was subsequently apprehended by a South Bound Brook Police officer. The third suspect was not apprehended, and the investigation into his identity and whereabouts is ongoing by detectives from the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Unit and Greenbrook Township Police.

Defendant Barksdale was charged with first degree armed robbery and second degree conspiracy to commit armed robbery. Defendant Cumberbatch was charged with first degree armed robbery, second degree conspiracy to commit armed robbery, first degree carjacking and second degree eluding. Both defendants were lodged in the Somerset County Jail pending a detention hearing.

Prosecutor Robertson, Chief Fodor, and Chief Kurz request anyone with information to contact the Somerset County Prosecutors Office Major Crimes Unit at (908) 231-7100 or the Greenbrook Township Police Department at (908) 968-1188. Annonymous text tips can be given via the STOPit app by downloading STOPit to your smart phone at the Google Play or the Apple iTunes Stores and enter the access code SOMERSETNJ, Tips can also be given via the Somerset County Crime Stoppers’ Tip Line at 1-888-577-TIPS (8477) or online at www.888577tips.org or www.scpo.net and click on either “Crime Stoppers” or “TIPS HOTLINE”. All anonymous Crime Stopper tips will be kept confidential.

NOTE: We are required by the Rules of Court to include herein a statement explaining that the charges are merely an accusation and that the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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JANUARY 29, 2018
NEWS RELEASE - SOMERSET COUNTY PROSECUTOR’S OFFICE CONCLUDES THAT USE OF DEADLY FORCE WAS JUSTIFIED IN MARCH 20, 2017 FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP OFF-DUTY POLICE OFFICER’S FIREARM DISCHARGE

The Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office (“SCPO”) has completed its investigation into the use of deadly force on March 20, 2017, by an off-duty Franklin Township Police Officer, and has concluded that the use of deadly force was legally justified. SCPO determined that it not be necessary to present this matter to the Grand Jury because there were no material facts in dispute regarding the lawfulness of this use of force. The investigation was conducted in accordance with the July 28, 2015, Attorney General Supplemental Law Enforcement Directive Regarding Uniform Statewide Procedures and Best Practices for Conducting Police Use of Force Investigations (“Directive”). Pursuant to the Directive, the Attorney General’s Office conducted an independent review of the use of force and agreed with SCPO’s determination that there were no material facts in dispute and that the use of deadly force by the Officer, in this case, was justified. The Attorney General’s Office concurred with SCPO that it is not necessary to present this matter to the Grand Jury.

On Monday, March 20, 2017, at approximately 12:08 a.m. a female resident dialed 9-1-1 to report an intruder inside of her residence located on North 5th Avenue, Manville, New Jersey. The caller was inside her residence along with her husband, who is employed as a police officer with the Franklin Township (Somerset County) Police Department and was off-duty at the time of the incident. Their 2 ½ year old child was also in the residence. Manville Police responded to the 9-1-1 call and found Tyreek D. Cook and the off-duty officer in the foyer located inside the front door of the residence. The off-duty officer was holding a handgun, and Cook was bleeding from an apparent gunshot wound to his chest. Manville Officers handcuffed Cook and the Manville officers, along with the off-duty officer, administered first aid to Cook. Both Cook and the off-duty officer were transported to Robert Wood Johnson Hospital in New Brunswick for treatment.

The off-duty officer/homeowner stated that he was awakened by loud noises coming from the first floor of his residence. He then armed himself with his personally owned 9mm handgun and instructed his wife to call 9-1-1 and to inform the dispatcher of a burglary in progress. Additionally, he advised his wife to inform the operator that he was a police officer. He descended the stairs from his second-story bedroom to the first floor foyer area. He then proceeded to walk down a hallway into the kitchen area where he noticed an open window in the dining room, with the curtain on the floor.

While in the kitchen, the off-duty officer encountered Cook, who was standing in the dining room with the lights off. The homeowner announced, “police, stop, police, [get] on the …floor, get down.” The homeowner stated that Cook was “holding something in his left hand and arm,” as well as “something” in his right hand. Cook did not comply with the verbal commands, but instead “jerk[ed] his right hand up and towards” the off-duty officer while simultaneously “darting” to his right into the family room. The off-duty officer stated that the object in Cook’s hand, coupled with Cook’s sudden hand and arm movement, made the homeowner believe that Cook was aiming a gun at him. At this point, the off-duty officer fired because there was “no doubt in my mind, I was going to get shot at.”

Following the first shot that the off-duty officer fired, Cook continued from the dining room into the family room, towards the front foyer and staircase which leads to the second floor where the off-duty officer’s wife and child were located. The homeowner ran in the opposite direction of Cook with his intent to “protect the stairway and prevent [Cook] from going upstairs where his family was located.” By going in this direction, the off-duty officer once again observed Cook, who was now in the family room area adjacent to the foyer.

The off-duty officer once again announced, “police, drop to the floor.” Cook once again ignored these verbal commands and charged towards the off-duty officer who attempted to apprehend Cook. A struggle ensued in the foyer area, during which the off-duty officer felt his handgun “being pulled and twisted” by Cook. The off-duty officer believed that Cook “was trying to take [his handgun] from [him],” and he was “trying to protect that.” While the off-duty officer was attempting to retain control of his handgun, his finger was inside the trigger guard and being twisted with the gun, at this point a second shot was discharged. The off-duty officer stated “didn’t know if I got hit” and “didn’t know if he got hit.”

Following the second shot, the off-duty officer believed he “had to get his gun out of here as quick as I could.” The off-duty officer then struck Cook on the head with his hand/handgun, at which point a third round was discharged. The off-duty officer explained, “I didn’t intend for that, but a round went off.” During the struggle, the off-duty officer repeatedly stated “stop, stop, stop,” but Cook did not comply.

Following the third shot, Cook pushed the off-duty officer back across the hallway into a piece of furniture. The struggle continued with both individuals on the floor. While on the floor the homeowner continued to try to gain control of Cook until the arrival of Manville Police Officers.

The investigation included multiple canvases of the area, interviews of the female resident, and the off-duty officer, an attempted interview of Cook, the review of all police reports for all responding officers to the scene, the 9-1-1 recording, police radio transmissions, and Crime Scene Investigations and Forensic ballistics results. Detectives found an open window in the dining room located on the first floor in the rear (west side) of the residence. On a table inside the dining room, police located a spent 9mm shell casing. Inside the front foyer area, detectives located the off-duty officer’s 9mm handgun on the windowsill next to the staircase leading to the second floor (where it had been placed after being secured by a responding Manville Officer).

Detectives observed bloodstains throughout the foyer area. Detectives also located a pillowcase and numerous items of the homeowner’s personal property scattered about the foyer (e.g., a black Wii game console, a black Wii controller, an iPod, and a camera bag) that had been moved from their original locations. Two spent shell casings where located in the interior foyer area. Detectives located two apparent bullet holes in the area of the front door, one through the sidelight window located next to the front door, and one through the screen of the front door. Immediately outside of the front door/foyer area on the exterior of the residence, detectives recovered a partially expanded spent 9mm projectile on the front entrance mat. A review of all the evidence, including the statement of the off-duty officer’s spouse, corroborates the facts provided by the off-duty officer involved.

The investigation concerning the use of deadly force in this matter determined that the level of force utilized was justifiable under N.J.S.A. 2C:3-4, (Use of force in Self Protection), N.J.S.A. 2C:3-7 (Use of force justifiable to effect an arrest) and N.J.S.A. 2C:3-6 (Use of force in defense of premises or personal property). The off-duty officer was authorized to use deadly force as a police officer who was making an arrest for a burglary of a dwelling and reasonably believed that deadly force was immediately necessary to protect himself or his wife/child from imminent danger of death or serious bodily harm. Additionaly, the off-duty officer was authorized to use deadly force as a private citizen who encountered a burglar within his home.

In accordance with New Jersey Attorney General Law Enforcement Directive No. 2006-5, the investigation was conducted under the direction of Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson and his staff, specifically the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Shooting Response Team, which is comprised of detectives assigned to the Major Crimes Unit, the Crime Scene Investigations and Forensics Unit, the Ballistics Unit, and the Internal Affairs Unit. Upon completion of the investigation, the conclusions reached were reviewed and approved by the Director of Criminal Justice, Elie Honig.

On November 17, 2017, defendant Tyreek Cook pled guilty to Indictment No. 17-06-00330-I charging 17 counts of 2nd and 3rd degree burglary, 3rd degree theft, and 3rd degree receiving stolen property (stemming from this burglary as well as other burglaries committed in Manville between March 15th through March 19th, 2017), in exchange for a plea offer of five years in New Jersey State Prison with 85% to be served without parole.

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JANUARY 25, 2018
NEWS RELEASE - INDICTMENT IN BOUND BROOK HOMICIDE

SOMERVILLE, N.J. - Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson announced that a Somerset County Grand Jury has returned an indictment against Michael Washington, age 27, from Paterson, New Jersey in connection with the October 16, 2017, fatal shooting of William Roberts, age 27, of Somerville, New Jersey. Washington is charged with first degree murder, second degree possession of a firearm for an unlawful purpose, second degree unlawful possession of a handgun and third degree possession of a controlled dangerous substance.

Prosecutor Robertson stated that on the evening of October 16, 2017, at approximately 6:23 p.m., Bound Brook Borough Police responded to multiple 9-1-1 calls of shots fired in the area of 34 Church Street. Responding officers located William Roberts, of Center Street, Somerville, New Jersey, a 27 year old male, suffering from a gunshot wound to his stomach. The police along with emergency medical personnel began life saving measures on Mr. Roberts who was then transported to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, New Brunswick where he was pronounced dead.

Prosecutor Robertson stated that detectives assigned to the Bound Brook Borough Police Department, and the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes responded to conduct the investigation. Three shell casings and two live rounds were found on Church Street. The investigation revealed that Michael Washington pulled out a handgun, and fired multiple times at William Roberts with one shot striking Mr. Roberts, causing his death.

Michael Washington was taken into custody on October 31, 2017, in a basement at a residence on Cherry Street in Bound Brook where he was taking refuge. A search warrant for the basement uncovered, among other things, several glassine envelopes of heroin.

He has remained in detention in the Somerset County Jail since his arrest.

The matter was presented to the Somerset County Grand Jury by Somerset County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Robert J. Hawkes.

NOTE: We are required by the Rules of Court to include herein a statement explaining that the charges are merely an accusation and that the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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JANUARY 25, 2018
NEWS RELEASE - MANVILLE MAN CHARGED WITH POSSESSION OF 242 BAGS OF HEROIN WITH THE INTENT TO DISTRIBUTE

SOMERVILLE, N.J. - Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson, Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of County Detectives John W. Fodor, Manville Borough Chief of Police Mark Peltack and Bound Brook Chief of Police Vito Bet announced the arrest of Baten Eure, age 43, of South Main Street, Manville, New Jersey.



Prosecutor Robertson states that members of the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Organized Crime and Narcotics Task Force along with members of the Manville Police Department conducted a narcotic investigation regarding the distribution of narcotics by Baten Eure. As a result of the investigation, detectives obtained a Superior Court search warrant for the defendant’s Manville residence.

On January 17, 2018, at approximately 7:30 p.m. members of the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Tactical Narcotics Team (TNT), the Manville Police Department, and the Bound Brook Police Department’s “K-9” unit executed the search warrant. Subsequent to searching the residence, defendant Eure was located inside in dwelling where he was arrested. As a result of search, detectives seized 242 bags of heroin, prescription pills, under 50 grams of marijuana and hypodermic syringes.

Defendant Eure was charged with 3rd degree, possession of CDS (heroin) with the intent to distribute, 3rd degree, possession of prescription legend drugs, 3rd degree, possession of CDS (marijuana) under 50 grams, and possession of hypodermic syringes, both disorderly person offenses.

The heroin has an estimated street value of $1,600.00.

Defendant Eure was lodged in the Somerset County Jail pending a detention hearing.

NOTE: We are required by the Rules of Court to include herein a statement explaining that the charges are merely an accusation and that the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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JANUARY 24, 2018
NEWS RELEASE - KEARNY MAN CHARGED WITH ENDANGERING THE WELFARE OF A CHILD

SOMERVILLE, N.J. – Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson, Somerset County Chief of County Detectives John W. Fodor, and Raritan Borough Chief of Police Raymond Nolte announced the arrest of Paulo Henrique Amorim, age 26, of Sanford Avenue, Kearny, New Jersey.

Prosecutor Robertson states that on January 10, 2018, it was reported to the Raritan Borough Police Department that Paulo Henrique Amorim had exchanged Instagram account names with a minor under the age of 14 while working as a photographer/videographer at a martial arts event. Shortly after the event, Amorim began communicating with the minor through Instagram.

As a result of an investigation conducted by detectives from the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Sex Crimes/Child Abuse Unit and the Raritan Borough Police Department, it was determined that defendant Amorim had been communicating with the minor through Instagram and was having conversations that were of a sexual nature. On Thursday, January 18, 2018, defendant Amorim was located in Kearny. He was transported to the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office in Somerville, and he was subsequently arrested without incident.

Defendant Amorim was charged with 3rd degree endangering the welfare of a child. He was lodged in the Somerset County Jail, pending a detention hearing.

Prosecutor Robertson, Chief Fodor, and Chief Nolte request anyone with information on this incident to contact the Somerset County Prosecutors Office Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Unit at (908) 231-7100 or the Raritan Borough Police Department (908) 725-6700, or via the STOPit app by downloading the STOPit app to your smart phone at Google Play or at the Apple iTunes Store and enter the access code SOMERSETNJ. Tipsters can also call the Somerset County Crime Stoppers’ Tip Line at 1-888-577-TIPS (8477) or go online at www.888577tips.org or www.scpo.net and click on either “Crime Stoppers” or “TIPS HOTLINE.” All anonymous Crime Stopper tips will be kept confidential.

NOTE: We are required by the Rules of Court to include herein a statement explaining that the charges are merely an accusation and that the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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JANUARY 23, 2018
NEWS RELEASE - MOTOR VEHICLE STOP IN WARREN TOWNSHIP RESULTS IN SEIZURE OF 28 POUNDS OF MARIJUANA FROM CALIFORNIA RESIDENT

SOMERVILLE, N.J. – Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Roberston, Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of County Detectives John W. Fodor and Warren Township Chief of Police William Keane announced the arrest of Juan Rodriguez, age 37, of Greenwich Circle, Sacramento, California.

Prosecutor Roberstson stated that on January 1, 2018, at approximately 2:05 a.m. a Warren Township patrol officer conducted a motor vehicle stop on a 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee while on Liberty Corner Road in Warren Township. As the officer approached the vehicle being operated by Juan Rodriquez, he detected a strong odor of raw marijuana emanating from inside the vehicle. As the officer was speaking with Rodriquez, he observed a quantity of raw marihuana on the front passenger seat.

A probable cause search was conducted inside the vehicle resulting in the seizure of approximately 28 pounds of marijuana and approximately $10,500 in U.S. currency.

Rodriguez was placed under arrest and charged with 1st degree, possession with the intent to distribute a controlled dangerous substance (marijuana), and 4th degree, possession of marijuana over 50 grams.

Rodriguez was processed and lodged in the Somerset County Jail.

NOTE:
We are required by the Rules of Court to include herein a statement explaining that the charges are merely an accusation and that the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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JANUARY 5, 2018
NEWS RELEASE - SOMERSET COUNTY FUGITIVE ARRESTED AFTER STOPIT ANONYMOUS REPORT

SOMERVILLE, N.J. – Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson, Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of County Detectives John W. Fodor and Manville Borough Police Chief Mark Peltack announced the arrest of Justin Tomlinson, age 29, of South 6th Avenue, Manville, New Jersey.

Prosecutor Robertson stated that on Friday, January 5, 2018 at approximately 1:00 a.m. an anonymous report, via the STOPit app, was received by the Somerset County Communications Center regarding defendant Tomlinson’s location. Defendant Tomlinson was listed as the Somerset County Fugitive of the Week in December of 2017. Based on the information received, Somerset County Communications notified Manville Police Department and directed them to Tomlinson’s location where he was subsequently placed under arrest without incident.

A warrant was issued for defendant Tomlinson on September 11, 2017 when he failed to appear in Somerset County Superior Court. Defendant Tomlinson was initially charged with 3rd degree Burglary. Defendant Tomlinson was lodged at the Somerset County Jail pending a bail detention hearing.

The STOPit app is a new and innovative way of anonymously reporting inappropriate and/or suspected criminal behavior. STOPit is a simple-to-use mobile app that immediately and discreetly connects people affected by inappropriate behavior or whom wish to report illegal behavior, to people who can help. The STOPit app allows for anonymous two-way communications with Dispatchers and/or Law Enforcement Officers who will obtain the information necessary to render assistance. Users of the STOPit app can “chat” with Dispatchers and/or send images and videos. The STOPit app also has a Get Help tab that provides Somerset County Residents with direct links to resources such as Domestic Violence, Opioid Addiction and Child Abuse Services. The STOPit app is available for download on the Google Play Store or Apple App Store, Access Code: SOMERSETNJ.

NOTE: We are required by the Rules of Court to include herein a statement explaining that the charges are merely an accusation and that the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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