Press Releases

2015 Press Releases

DECEMBER 30, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - NORTH BRUNSWICK MAN ARRESTED IN FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP ROBBERY/SHOOTING

DECEMBER 30, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - POLICE INVESTIGATE FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP SHOOTING

DECEMBER 28, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - NORTH PLAINFIELD FIRE

DECEMBER 28, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - KILOS OF COCAINE & HEROIN SEIZED IN WARREN TOWNSHIP HOME

DECEMBER 21, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - SCOTCH PLAINS MAN CHARGED WITH TWO BANK ROBBERIES IN SOMERSET COUNTY

DECEMBER 21, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - HILLSBOROUGH TOWNSHIP RESIDENT ARRESTED FOR MANUFACTURING CHILD PORNOGRAPHY

DECEMBER 16, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - 3 ARRESTED ON PROSTITUTION CHARGES

DECEMBER 14, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - JURY CONVICTS DRUG DEALER OF SELLING VICTIM THE HEROIN THAT KILLED HIM

DECEMBER 12, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - RARITAN MAN ARRESTED AND CHARGED WITH TWO COUNTS OF MURDER

DECEMBER 11, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - NEW BRUNSWICK MAN CHARGED WITH 2ND DEGREE SEXUAL ASSAULT

DECEMBER 7, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - POLICE INVESTIGATE FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP SHOOTING

DECEMBER 6, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - SWAT TEAM ACTIVATED IN WARREN TOWNSHIP

DECEMBER 4, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - ACCREDITATION ASSESSMENT TEAM INVITES PUBLIC COMMENT

DECEMBER 4, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - NORTH PLAINFIELD MAN CHARGED WITH POSSESSION OF COCAINE WITH THE INTENT TO DISTRIBUTE

NOVEMBER 30, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - BRIDGEWATER TOWNSHIP MAN PLEADS GULTY TO 2ND DEGREE CONSPIRACY TO COMMIT AGGRAVATED SEXUAL ASSAULT

NOVEMBER 18, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - HILLSBOROUGH TOWNSHIP RESIDENT CHARGED WITH MANUFACTURING CHILD PORNOGRAPHY

NOVEMBER 2, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - SOMERVILLE PASTOR CHARGED WITH STAGING FICTITIOUS ASSAULT

OCTOBER 29, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - HILLSBOROUGH TOWNSHIP RESIDENT SENTENCED TO 35 YEARS IN HILLSBOROUGH ARSON AND MURDER

OCTOBER 29, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - ARREST IN WATCHUNG YEILDS SEIZURE OF HEROIN

OCTOBER 26, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - “BORDEAUX BANDIT” WANTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT

OCTOBER 26, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - BRIDGEWATER FATAL FIRE

OCTOBER 22, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - ON HALLOWEEN, AND EVERY DAY, BUZZED DRIVING IS DRUNK DRIVING

OCTOBER 13, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - 5 KILOS OF COCAINE SEIZED IN FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP

SEPTEMBER 29, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - BOUND BROOK MAN CONVICTED OF AGGRAVATED ASSAULT IN BRUTAL ATTACK

September 28, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - NARCOTIC INVESTIGATION YIELDS SEIZURE OF SHOTGUN, HEROIN AND COCAINE

SEPTEMBER 22, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - POLICE INVESTIGATE BOUND BROOK SHOOTING

SEPTEMBER 18, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - 4 CHARGED IN NARCOTICS INVESTIGATION

SEPTEMBER 14, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - 2 CHARGED IN BRIDGEWATER WITH POSSESSION OF COCAINE AND SUBOXONE

SEPTEMBER 11, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - SUSSEX BOROUGH MAN CHARGED WITH POSSESSION OF HEROIN WITH THE INTENT TO DISTRIBUTE IN SOMERVILLE

SEPTEMBER 11, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - SOUTH PLAINFIELD RESIDENT CHARGED WITH WEAPONS OFFENSE

SEPTEMBER 11, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - AUTHORITIES IDENTIFY MANVILLE RESIDENT FATALLY STRUCK BY TRAIN

SEPTEMBER 8, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - 3 FLORIDA MEN APPREHENDED IN HILLSBOROUGH CAR BURGLARIES

SEPTEMBER 2, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - ELIZABETH MAN CHARGED IN FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP ARMED ROBBERY

AUGUST 31, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - SOMERSET MAN CHARGED WITH CRIMINAL TRESPASS

AUGUST 28, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - GRAND JURY ISSUES RACKETEERING INDICTMENT AGAINST TWELVE DEFENDANTS

AUGUST 27, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - POLICE RELEASE DETAILS REGARDING WARREN TOWNSHIP DOUBLE HOMICIDE/SUICIDE INVESTIGATION

AUGUST 21, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - SOMERVILLE MAN WANTED IN STABBING

AUGUST 18, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - IMPAIRED DRIVING ENFORCEMENT TO BE CONDUCTED LOCALLY AS PART OF NATIONAL CAMPAIGN

AUGUST 17, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - WARREN TOWNSHIP SHOOTING SUPSPECT AND VICTIMS IDENTIFIED

AUGUST 6, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - COUNTY BURGLARY TASK FORCE ARRESTS ELIZABETH MAN

AUGUST 6, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - HILLSBOROUGH TOWNSHIP RESIDENT PLEADS GUILTY IN HILLSBOROUGH ARSON AND MURDER

AUGUST 5, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - NORTH PLAINFIELD MAN CHARGED WITH POSSESSION OF HANDGUN, HEROIN WITH THE INTENT TO DISTRIBUTE AND ENDANGERING THE WELFARE OF A CHILD

AUGUST 5, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - NORTH PLAINFIELD MAN CHARGED WITH ROBBERY

AUGUST 3, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - PRINCETON MAN CHARGED WITH ATTEMPTED MURDER

JULY 21, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - CRIME STOPPERS OFFERS REWARD IN MISSING CHILD INVESTIGATION

JULY 18, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - MISSING CHILD

JULY 17, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - SOMERVILLE MAN CHARGED WITH SEXUAL ASSAULT

ULY 16, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - UNDERCOVER NARCOTIC INVESTIGATIONS YIELD LARGE SEIZURE OF COCAINE

JULY 15, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - POLICE INVESTIGATE FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP ARMED ROBBERIES

JULY 13, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - DEFENDANT SURRENDERS TO AUTHORITIES

JULY 9, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - TASK FORCE SEIZES HEROIN AND MORPHINE PILLS IN WARREN TOWNSHIP

JULY 8, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - 2 CHARGED IN FRANKLIN ROBBERY

JULY 7, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - FRANKLIN WOMAN CHARGED IN 3 ROBBERIES

JULY 1, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - NARCOTICS INVESTIGATION IN FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP YIELDS THREE ARRESTS

JULY 1, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - POLICE INVESTIGATE FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP HOMICIDE

JUNE 29, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP MAN PLEADS GULTY TO THE ATTEMPTED MURDER OF FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP POLICE OFFICERS

JUNE 24, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - PENNSYLVANIA WOMAN CHARGED WITH THEFT OF $325,000

JUNE 18, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - PISCATAWAY MAN CHARGED WITH DISTRIBUTION OF HEROIN

JUNE 15, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - 2 CHARGED IN FRANKLIN ROBBERY

JUNE 12, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - SOMERVILLE BANK ROBBERY SUSPECTS CAPTURED

JUNE 11, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - PARLIN MAN APPREHENDED IN BRIDGEWATER SHOOTING

JUNE 10, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - POLICE INVESTIGATE SHOOTING IN FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP

JUNE 5, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - WATCHUNG RESIDENT CHARGED WITH AGGRAVATED ARSON

JUNE 4, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - FORMER WATCHUNG TAX COLLECTOR CHARGED WITH OFFICIAL MISCONDUCT AND THEFT

JUNE 2, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - POLICE INVESTIGATE FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP HOME INVASION

MAY 15, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - BRIDGEWATER WOMAN CHARGED WITH DWI IN SOMERVILLE CRASH

MAY 14, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - 2015 “CLICK IT OR TICKET” CAMPAIGN

MAY 13, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - INDICTMENT RETURNED AGAINST SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE CARLIA M. BRADY

MAY 11, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - NARCOTIC INVESTIGATION IN BOUND BROOK YIELDS LARGE SEIZURE OF HEROIN

MAY 4, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - 2 CHARGED IN FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP ARMED ROBBERY

MAY 4, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - DRUG CHARGES AGAINST MATTHEW SHERIDAN TRANSFERRED

MAY 1, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - MIDDLESEX MAN CHARGED IN NARCOTIC INVESTIGATION

MAY 1, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - GRAND JURY ISSUES INDICTMENT IN VEHICULAR HOMICIDE CASE

APRIL 20, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - PLAINFIELD POLICE OFFICER CHARGED WITH OFFICIAL MISCONDUCT AND RECEIVING STOLEN PROPERTY

APRIL 15, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - REWARD INCREASED IN SOMERVILLE INVESTIGATION

APRIL 14, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - RISKS AND DANGERS OF DISTRACTED DRIVING

APRIL 9, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - TRI-COUNTY NARCOTICS INVESTIGATION “OPERATION THREE CARD MONTE”

APRIL 8, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - RHODE ISLAND MAN CHARGED WITH HUMAN TRAFFICKING, KIDNAPPING AND SEXUAL ASSAULT

APRIL 2, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - DEFENDANT CHARGED WITH ADDITIONAL COUNT OF MANUFACTURING CHILD PORNOGRAPHY

APRIL 2, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - BOUND BROOK ROBBERY

MARCH 30, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - SHERIFF’S OFFICE OFFERS ADDITIONAL REWARD

March 27, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - RESULTS OF SHERIDAN INVESTIGATION RELEASED

March 18, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - POLICE YOUTH WEEK

MARCH 17, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - POLICE INVESTIGATE FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP SHOOTING

MARCH 17, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - CRIME STOPPERS INCREASES REWARD

MARCH 13, 2015

PRESS RELEASE - 3 CHARGED WITH RACKETEERING

MARCH 11, 2015

NEWS RELEASE - CRIME STOPPERS OFFERS REWARD IN SOMERVILLE INVESTIGATION

MARCH 6, 2015

NEWS RELEASE - SOMERVILLE MAN CONVICTED OF ARMED ROBBERY

MARCH 2, 2015

NEWS RELEASE - NARCOTIC INVESTIGATION IN BRIDGEWATER RESULTS IN SIX (6) ARRESTS AND SEIZURE OF HEROIN AND SUBOXONE

FEBRUARY 26, 2015

NEWS RELEASE - CONTRACTOR AND HIS WIFE INDICTED FOR SWINDLING SENIOR CITIZEN IN HILLSBORORUGH

FEBRUARY 25, 2015

NEWS RELEASE - FRANLIN MAN INDICTMENT IN COLUMBUS DAY HOMICIDE

FEBRUARY 19, 2015

NEWS RELEASE - CRANFORD MAN CHARGED WITH AGGRAVATED SEXUAL ASSAULT AND ENDANGERING THE WELFARE OF A CHILD

FEBRUARY 13, 2015

NEWS RELEASE - NORTH PLAINFIELD RESIDENT CHARGED WITH DISTRIBUTION OF CHILD PONOGRAPHY

FEBRUARY 6, 2015

NEWS RELEASE - HUSBAND AND WIFE ARRESTED IN UNDERCOVER NARCOTIC INVESTIGATION

JANUARY 29, 2015

NEWS RELEASE - 2 LOADED HANDGUNS SEIZED IN NARCOTICS ARREST

JANUARY 29, 2015

NEWS RELEASE - FANS DON’T LET FANS DRIVE DRUNK

JANUARY 22, 2015

NEWS RELEASE - PLAINFIELD MAN CHARGED WITH POSSESSION OF HEROIN WITH THE INTENT TO DISTRIBUTE

JANUARY 21, 2015

NEWS RELEASE - PREPARING FOR A LAW ENFORCEMENT CAREER

JANUARY 12, 2015

NEWS RELEASE - 3 OUT OF STATE RESIDENTS CHARGED WITH ROBBERY

JANUARY 8, 2015

NEWS RELEASE - BROOKLYN MAN CHARGED IN BERNARDS FATAL CRASH

JANUARY 4, 2015

NEWS RELEASE - CRIME STOPPERS OFFERS REWARD IN SOMERVILLE SHOOTING

JANUARY 2, 2015

NEWS RELEASE - POLICE INVESTIGATE BRIDGEWATER MOTEL ROBBERY

 

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DECEMBER 30, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - NORTH BRUNSWICK MAN ARRESTED IN FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP ROBBERY/SHOOTING

SOMERVILLE, N.J. – Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano, Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of County Detectives Timothy M. Fitzgerald and Franklin Township Chief of Police Lawrence Roberts announce the arrest of Rajon L. McMillian, age 24, of Northam Drive, North Brunswick, New Jersey.

Prosecutor Soriano states that at approximately 4:00 p.m. on December 6, 2015 Franklin Township Police responded to the area of Franklin Boulevard on a report of “shots fired”. Responding Officers canvassed the area and did not observe any evidence of a shooting or any victims.

Prosecutor Soriano states that as the officers were conducting a neighborhood canvass, Franklin Township dispatchers were notified by an area hospital of a 44 year old walk-in patient who was suffering from a gunshot wound to his upper chest. Detectives from the Franklin Township Police Department along with detectives from the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Unit responded to conduct the investigation.

Prosecutor Soriano states that the investigation revealed that a male suspect entered a building located at 660 Franklin Boulevard armed with a handgun to commit a robbery. In an attempt to thwart the robbery the victim was shot while struggling with the suspect. During the course of the struggle the suspect’s cellular telephone fell to the floor and was recovered by detectives.

Prosecutor Soriano states that during the investigation detectives identified a second victim, a 30 year old female from New Brunswick. The suspect had pointed his gun at her and robbed her of approximately $1,000.00.

As a result of the on-going investigation, detectives were able to identify the suspect as Rajon L. McMillian.

Prosecutor Soriano states this afternoon at approximately 2:00 p.m. defendant McMillian responded to the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office in Somerville where he was arrested without incident.

Defendant McMillian was charged with Armed Robbery, 1st Degree, Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose, 2nd Degree and Aggravated Assault, 3rd Degree.

Bail was set by the Honorable Bruce A. Jones, J.S.C.at $150,000.00 cash only.

Defendant McMillian was lodged in the Somerset County Jail.

Prosecutor Soriano states that the shooting victim, a Bordentown resident, was treated at an area hospital for non-life threatening injuries and released.

Prosecutor Soriano would like to commend the numerous investigators involved that have worked on the case on a daily basis since the incident occurred.

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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DECEMBER 30, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - POLICE INVESTIGATE FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP SHOOTING

SOMERVILLE, N.J. – Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano, Somerset County Chief of County Detectives Timothy M. Fitzgerald and Franklin Township Chief of Police Lawrence Roberts announce that detectives are investigating last evening’s Franklin Township shooting.

Prosecutor Soriano states that on December 29, 2015 at approximately 6:20 p.m. Franklin Township Police responded to a 9-1-1 call reporting “shots fired” along with a motor vehicle accident near Eugene Avenue, in the Somerset section of Franklin Township. Responding officers observed a motor vehicle that crashed through a detached garage on Eugene Avenue. Outside the vehicle, the officers located a 39 year old male from Somerville laying on the ground and suffering from a gunshot wound to his shoulder. The officers also observed a 38 year old male from Bridgewater seated on the driver side of the vehicle suffering from a gunshot wound to his back. Both individuals were immediately removed from the unstable structure and they were provided with life saving measures by first responders. The victims were then transported to an area trauma center for emergency treatment.

Prosecutor Soriano states that detectives from the Franklin Township Police Department along with detectives from the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Unit and the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Crime Scene Investigations and Forensics Unit responded to conduct the investigation.

Prosecutor Soriano states that the investigation thus far has revealed that the shooting incident occurred on Eugene Avenue where multiple shots were fired at the victims. After being fired upon, the victims attempted to flee from their assailant(s) and subsequently crashed into the unattached garage. Detectives believe that the shooting was not random and the two victims were the intended targets. Detectives are also attempting to identify and locate any potential witnesses. The victims have provided detectives with limited information as to the sequence of the events. A motive for the shooting has not been established.

Prosecutor Soriano states that the victim from Somerville was listed in stable condition and is expected to survive. The victim from Bridgewater suffered significant life-threatening injuries and was listed in critical condition. Detectives are asking for assistance from the public. If anyone was in the area of Eugene Avenue at the time of this incident he/she are asked to contact authorities.
Prosecutor Soriano, Chief Fitzgerald, and Chief Roberts request anyone with information regarding this incident to contact the Somerset County Prosecutors Office Major Crimes Unit at (908) 231-7100, the Franklin Township Police Department at (732) 873-5533, 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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DECEMBER 28, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - NORTH PLAINFIELD FIRE

SOMERVILLE, N.J. – Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano, Somerset County Chief of County Detectives Timothy M. Fitzgerald and North Plainfield Chief of Police William Parenti announce the arrest of Rudy G. Marroquin-Marroquin, age 27, of Michael Street, in Bossier City, Louisiana.

Prosecutor Soriano states that on Sunday, December 27, 2015 at approximately 1:18 a.m. the North Plainfield Police Department and the North Plainfield Fire Department responded to a structure fire on Somerset Street. The fire, which was contained to a second floor apartment, was extinguished by the fire department. The residents of the apartment consisted of a mother and son. The mother had a prior dating relationship with defendant Marroquin-Marroquin.

Detectives assigned to the North Plainfield Police Department, the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Major Crimes Unit and the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Crime Scene and Forensic Unit responded to the scene to conduct the investigation.

The investigation revealed that, shortly before the fire started, the tenant’s son, age 20, had been sleeping on the living room couch when he had observed defendant enter the apartment and then quickly leave. Almost immediately after the defendant left the apartment, the son smelled an odor of burning plastic emanating from the kitchen. The son discovered a box of perfume on top of a lit stove burner along with burning drapes in the kitchen. The son also observed that, in his mother’s bedroom, the bed and drapes were also on fire. The son was able to exit the apartment without being injured.

All other residents in the four-family residential structure were able to safely leave the building without injury.

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DECEMBER 28, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - KILOS OF COCAINE & HEROIN SEIZED IN WARREN TOWNSHIP HOME

SOMERVILLE, N.J. - Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano, Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of County Detectives Timothy M. Fitzgerald and Warren Township Chief of Police William Keane announce the arrest of Charles Lewis, age 42, of Sneider Road, Warren, New Jersey.

Prosecutor Soriano states that on December 18, 2015, as part of an ongoing narcotics investigation regarding the distribution of cocaine by Charles Lewis, members of the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Organized Crime and Narcotics Task Force along with the Warren Township and Bound Brook Police Departments executed a search warrant on defendant Lewis’ residence.

As a result of the search, detectives seized ten (10) kilos of cocaine, two (2) kilos of heroin, and $291,147 in U.S. Currency from the defendant’s residence.

Defendant Lewis was charged with Possession of CDS (Cocaine) with the Intent to Distribute, 1st Degree, Possession of CDS (Heroin) with the Intent to Distribute, 1st Degree, Endangering the Welfare of a Child, 2nd Degree and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, a Disordely Persons Offense.

Defendant Charles Lewis was lodged in the Somerset County Jail with bail set by the Honorable Robert Reed, J.S.C. at $250,000 cash or bond.

The ten kilos of cocaine seized has an approximate street value of $1,000,000 in U.S. currency and the two kilos of heroin have a street value of $200,000.

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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DECEMBER 21, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - SCOTCH PLAINS MAN CHARGED WITH TWO BANK ROBBERIES IN SOMERSET COUNTY

SOMERVILLE, N.J. – Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano, Somerset County Chief of County Detectives Timothy M. Fitzgerald, Bridgewater Township Chief of Police Manuel Caravela and Green Brook Township Chief of Police Christopher Kurz announce the arrest of Andrew D. Miller, age 20, of Donato Circle, Scotch Plains, New Jersey.

Prosecutor Soriano states that on Sunday, December 20, 2015, at approximately 1:24 p.m., Bridgewater Township Police responded to a 911 call reporting a robbery at the TD Bank located on Union Avenue. Responding officers met with bank employees who reported that an unknown male suspect approached a bank teller and handed the teller a note announcing the robbery. The suspect fled from the bank on foot with an undisclosed amount of money. A description of the suspect was broadcast to surrounding law enforcement agencies by the Somerset County Communications Center.

Prosecutor Soriano states that detectives from the Bridgewater Police Department, the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Unit, the Crime Scene Investigations /Forensics Unit and Agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation assigned to the Franklin Township field office responded to conduct the investigation. While the investigation was on-going another bank robbery was reported to have occurred in Green Brook Township.

At approximately 2:19 p.m., Green Brook Police responded to an alarm at the TD Bank located on Washington Avenue. Responding officers met with bank employees who stated that a male suspect handed a bank teller a note demanding money and verbally instructed the teller on the denominations that he wanted. The suspect fled from the bank on foot with an undisclosed amount of money. A physical description of the suspect as well as a description of the clothing he was wearing were provided to officers who quickly ascertained that the actor matched the same description as the previous TD Bank robbery in Bridgewater.

Prosecutor Soriano states that detectives from the Green Brook Police Department, the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Unit, the Crime Scene Investigations /Forensics Unit and FBI Agents responded to conduct the Green Brook investigation. Surrounding law enforcement agencies with TD Bank branches within their jurisdictions were also alerted to the active string of bank robberies.

Prosecutor Soriano stated that at approximately 2:46 p.m., Somerset County authorities were made aware of a foot pursuit involving officers from the Scotch Plains Police Department and the bank robbery suspect who was identified as defendant Andrew Miller. Defendant Miller was subsequently apprehended by Scotch Plains Police as he hid inside a restaurant bathroom within their jurisdiction.

Prosecutor Soriano states that detectives from the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office and Green Brook Police Department responded to Scotch Plains. A Green Brook Police detective located the suspect’s vehicle parked on Mountain Avenue in Scotch Plains. The vehicle was secured and impounded. Detectives have confirmed that the vehicle was stolen out of Springfield, New Jersey.

Defendant Miller has been charged with two counts of Robbery, 2nd Degree.

Bail was set by the Honorable Judge Julie M. Marino, P.J.Cr. at $75,000 cash or bond.

The investigation is on-going and additional charges are anticipated against defendant Miller by Union County law enforcement authorities.

Prosecutor Soriano would like to commend all law enforcement officers that participated in the investigation and apprehension of defendant Miller, particularly the Scotch Plains officers for observing and subsequently locating defendant Miller, as well as Green Brook detectives, who were able to locate the stolen vehicle utilized by defendant Miller during the commission of the bank robberies.

Prosecutor Soriano would like to also commend the members of the Somerset County Communications Center who engaged in dispatch services during the course of the investigation of both robberies. Their ability to effectively and efficiently coordinate communications throughout the investigation was integral to the apprehension of defendant Miller.

Prosecutor Soriano, Chief Fitzgerald, Chief Caravela, and Chief Kurz request anyone with information regarding this incident to contact the Somerset County Prosecutors Office Major Crimes Unit at (908) 231-7100, the Bridgewater Township Police Department at (908) 722-4111, the Green Brook Township Police Department at (732) 968-1188, 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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DECEMBER 21, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - HILLSBOROUGH TOWNSHIP RESIDENT ARRESTED FOR MANUFACTURING CHILD PORNOGRAPHY

SOMERVILLE, N.J. - Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano, Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of County Detectives Timothy M. Fitzgerald, Somerset County Sheriff Frank J. Provenzano and Hillsborough Township Acting Chief of Police Darren Powell announce the arrest of Tyler Diaz, age 22, of Bloomingdale Drive, Hillsborough Township, New Jersey.

Prosecutor Soriano states that in July of 2015, an investigation regarding defendant Diaz was initiated by the Police Department of Clawson City, Michigan. In late November, the case was referred to Somerset County law enforcement authorities.

Detectives assigned to the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (I.C.A.C.) and the Hillsborough Township Police Department completed the investigation which revealed that defendant Diaz had engaged in sexually explicit video chat conversations via “Skype” with a 15 year old victim living in Michigan.

Prosecutor Soriano states that today at approximately 6:00 a.m., detectives executed a search warrant on defendant Diaz’s residence and seized a computer, cellphone and other electronic devices. At approximately 11:00 a.m. defendant Diaz was arrested without incident at the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office.

Defendant Diaz was charged with Manufacturing Child Pornography, 1st Degree, Sexual Assault, 2nd Degree, Endangering the Welfare of a Child, 3rd Degree and Possession of Child Pornography, 3rd Degree.


Defendant Diaz was arrested and lodged in the Somerset County Jail. Bail was set by the Honorable Bruce A. Jones, J.S.C. at $150,000 cash only with the condition that, should he make bail, he is not to have contact with the victim or minors under the age of 16.

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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DECEMBER 16, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - 3 ARRESTED ON PROSTITUTION CHARGES

SOMERVILLE, N.J. - Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano and Franklin Township Chief of Police Lawrence W. Roberts announce the arrests of Christopher Soubasis, age 51, of Bay Avenue in Point Pleasant, N.J., Rebecca Ehrhardt, age 34, of Aldo Drive in Toms River, N.J. and Deidre Pietrowski, age 44 of Bay Avenue in Point Pleasant, N.J.

Prosecutor Soriano states that on December 15, 2015 Franklin Township Police received a call reporting possible prostitution at a local hotel. Franklin Township Detectives setup surveillance in the area of the hotel and ultimately made contact with the defendants.

The investigation revealed that defendant Soubasis would drive defendants Ehrhardt and Pietrowski to hotels to engage in prostitution. In return, defendant Soubasis would receive 40% of what the clients paid the females. At the time of her arrest defendant Ehrhardt was found to be in possession of 30 wax folds of heroin and multiple hypodermic needles.

Defendant Soubasis was charged with Promoting Prostitution, 3rd Degree and he was lodged in the Somerset County Jail. Bail was set by the Honorable Robert Reed, J.S.C. at $30,000 cash or bond.

Defendant Ehrhardt was charged with Possession of CDS (Heroin), 3rd Degree, Engaging in Prostitution and Possession of a Hypodermic Needle, both Disorderly Persons Offenses. Defendant Ehrhardt was released on her own recognizance.

Defendant Pietrowski was charged with Engaging in Prostitution, a Disorderly Persons offense and she was released on her own recognizance.

Chief Lawrence W. Roberts states, “These types of crimes could go undetected if it weren’t for the willing cooperation of our local citizens and businesses. Without these relationships, investigations and arrests such as these would be very difficult.”

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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DECEMBER 14, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - JURY CONVICTS DRUG DEALER OF SELLING VICTIM THE HEROIN THAT KILLED HIM

SOMERVILLE, N.J. - Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano announces that on December 10, 2015, a Somerset County jury returned a guilty verdict against Christopher Krafsky, age 33, of Bridgewater Township, for committing the first degree crime of Strict Liability for a Drug Induced Death.



Prosecutor Soriano states that on December 24, 2013, at approximately 6:00 a.m. Lisa Johnson found her twenty-two year old son, Richard Johnson, dead in the basement of their Hillsborough Township residence. Various items of narcotics paraphernalia found near Mr. Johnson at the time of his death suggested that he had died of a heroin overdose. The cause of death was later confirmed to be heroin toxicity. An autopsy was conducted at the New Jersey Office of the State Medical Examiner and by a toxicology analysis performed at the State Toxicology Laboratory. Expert testimony presented at trial confirmed that Mr. Johnson’s fatal heroin ingestion was recent, within no more than hours before his death.

The criminal investigation was conducted by the Hillsborough Township Police Department. Detectives found text messages on Mr. Johnson’s cell phone which was in his pocket at the time of his death. The messages revealed that on the evening of December 23, 2013, he had been reaching out via texts to a contact listed as “Mat”. During the texts, it was apparent to detectives that he was attempting to meet “Mat” on the night of December 23rd and that he was asking “Mat” to sell him narcotics. It was also apparent to law enforcement that “Mat”, in response, was agreeing to sell Mr. Johnson drugs where “Mat” communicated the price of the drugs and a quantity.

Police obtained subscriber information associated with the cellular telephone number belonging to “Mat”. Subscriber information revealed that this telephone number was registered to a P.O. Box in California, under the name Christopher Krafsky. Further police investigation revealed that an individual named Christopher Krafsky lived locally in Bridgewater Township, New Jersey.

In January 2014, a detective from the Hillsborough Township Police Department met Krafsky at the Bridgewater Mall. The detective told Krafsky that he was investigating the death of Richard Johnson. Krafsky, who did not know Mr. Johnson by name, recognized a picture of him and admitted to the detective that he sold Mr. Johnson three bags of heroin for $15.00 per bag on the night of December 23, 2013 in Somerville, N.J.

Recent statewide initiatives including a Law Enforcement Directive issued by Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman in October of 2014 have focused attention on the heroin and opiate abuse crisis. The Directive addresses New Jersey’s avowed commitment to seek to hold those who engage in the illegal distribution of drugs criminally responsible for overdose deaths resulting from their trade and, thereby, deter drug dealers from dispensing illicit drugs. The investigation, prosecution and conviction of defendant Krafsky is an example of this statewide effort.

Defendant Krafsky faces between 10 and 20 years in New Jersey State prison, with 85% of the prison term to be served without parole. Sentencing is scheduled to take place in February 2016.

At The State was represented by Assistant Prosecutor Merrill Mezzacappa. The Honorable Bruce Jones, J.S.C. presided over the trial.

Quote from Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano: “The Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office has long been intent on using tools like the criminal statute for strict liability for drug-induced deaths to deter those who choose to illegally partake in the sale of controlled dangerous substances. From this prosecution, the resounding message to dealers throughout New Jersey is that the sale of just three bags of heroin—or even one bag, for that matter--can result in an extremely significant prison sentence.”

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DECEMBER 12, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - RARITAN MAN ARRESTED AND CHARGED WITH TWO COUNTS OF MURDER

SOMERVILLE, N.J. – Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano, Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of County Detectives Timothy M. Fitzgerald and Raritan Borough Chief of Police Kenneth McCormick announce the arrest of Ramon Cadiz, also known as “Ray”, age 51, of First Avenue, Raritan Borough, New Jersey.

Prosecutor Soriano states that on Friday, December 11, 2015 at approximately 3:15 p.m. the Raritan Borough Police Department responded to 46 First Avenue on a report of concerns regarding the welfare of the occupants of the residence. The officers entered the residence and upon making entry proceeded to a second floor master bedroom and located the body of a deceased homicide victim. Officers cleared the residence and preserved the house as a crime scene awaiting the arrival of crime scene detectives.

Prosecutor Soriano states that detectives from the Raritan Borough Police Department in conjunction with detectives from the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Unit and the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Crime Scene Investigations and Forensics Unit responded to conduct the investigation. Crime scene detectives located the body of an additional homicide victim on the first floor of the residence. Investigators assigned to the New Jersey Regional Medical Examiner’s Office also responded to assist in the investigation.

Prosecutor Soriano states that as a result of the investigation detectives identified defendant Ramon Cadiz as a suspect. A statewide police broadcast was issued for defendant Cadiz and the vehicle which he was believed to be operating. Detectives conducting the investigation were assisted in attempting to locate defendant Cadiz by agents assigned with the Federal Bureau of Investigation along with detectives from the New Brunswick Police Department and officers from the North Brunswick Police Department.

Prosecutor Soriano states that just before midnight North Brunswick Police Sergeant Michael Sauvigne while on patrol located the suspect’s vehicle parked in a dimly lit secluded area on Petunia Drive in the Colony Oaks Apartment Complex. Sergeant Sauvigne maintained a visual surveillance of the suspect vehicle. Detectives responded and relieved the Sergeant and established surveillance of the vehicle and the surrounding area while awaiting a visual confirmation of the wanted subject. At approximately 4:00 a.m. detectives approached the subject vehicle and encountered defendant Cadiz sleeping in a reclined position in the front driver’s seat. Detectives ordered defendant Cadiz from the vehicle and placed him under arrest without incident.

Prosecutor Soriano states that defendant Cadiz was transported to the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office where he was charged with two (2) counts of first degree Murder. Defendant Cadiz was lodged in the Somerset County Jail with bail set at $2,000,000.00 by the Honorable Julie M. Marino, P.J.Cr.

Prosecutor Soriano states that the investigation is on-going.

The cause and manner of the deaths, along with the positive identification of the victims will be determined following the post mortem examination to be conducted by the Regional Medical Examiner’s Office.

Prosecutor Soriano, on behalf of the law enforcement community, extends his condolences to the surviving family members of the victims. Prosecutor Soriano further wishes to extend gratitude to the numerous law enforcement agencies which participated in the investigation and swift apprehension of the defendant.

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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DECEMBER 11, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - NEW BRUNSWICK MAN CHARGED WITH 2ND DEGREE SEXUAL ASSAULT

SOMERVILLE, N.J. – Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano, Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of County Detectives Timothy M. Fitzgerald and Franklin Township Chief of Police Lawrence Roberts announce the arrest of Fernando Nunez-Genao, age 45, of S. Ward Street, New Brunswick, New Jersey.

Prosecutor Soriano states that on December 4, 2015 it was reported to the Franklin Township Police Department that a 19 year old female victim had been sexually assaulted by Fernando Nunez-Genao within the jurisdiction of Franklin Township, New Jersey. The victim was known to defendant Nunez-Genao.

Franklin Township Detectives along with detectives assigned to the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Sex Crimes/Child Abuse Unit conducted the investigation. On December 7, 2015 defendant Nunez-Genao was arrested near his residence and he was subsequently charged with Sexual Assault, 2nd Degree.

Defendant Nunez-Genao was lodged at the Somerset County Jail. Bail was set by the Honorable Julie M. Marino, P.J.Cr. at $100,000 cash only.

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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DECEMBER 7, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - POLICE INVESTIGATE FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP SHOOTING

SOMERVILLE, N.J. – Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano, Somerset County Chief of County Detectives Timothy M. Fitzgerald and Franklin Township Chief of Police Lawrence Roberts announce that detectives are investigating the shooting of a 44 year old Bordentown resident that occurred on Sunday, December 6, 2015.

Prosecutor Soriano states that at approximately 4:00 p.m. Franklin Township Police responded to a report of “shots fired” in the area of 660 Franklin Boulevard. Responding Officers canvassed the area and found no evidence of a shooting.

Prosecutor Soriano states that as Officers were canvassing the neighborhood, Franklin Township Police were notified by an area hospital of a walk-in male patient who was suffering from a gunshot wound to his upper chest. Detectives from the Franklin Township Police Department and the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Unit responded to conduct the investigation.

Prosecutor Soriano states that victim was shot after he was involved in a physical altercation following an attempted robbery at a facility on Franklin Boulevard. Detectives obtained a description of the suspect as being a light skinned black male, late teens to early 20’s, thin build, wearing a red sweatshirt and a red bandana covering his face at the time of the attempted robbery/shooting.

Prosecutor Soriano states that the victim was treated at an area hospital for non-life threatening injuries and released.

Prosecutor Soriano, Chief Fitzgerald, and Chief Roberts state that detectives are requesting assistance from the public, if anyone was in the area of Franklin Boulevard at approximately 4:00 p.m. and witnessed the described individual fleeing from the area, to contact the Somerset County Prosecutors Office Major Crimes Unit at (908) 231-7100, the Franklin Township Police Department at (732) 873-5533, 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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DECEMBER 6, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - SWAT TEAM ACTIVATED IN WARREN TOWNSHIP

SOMERVILLE, N.J. – Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano, Somerset County Chief of County Detectives Timothy M. Fitzgerald and Warren Township Chief of Police William Keane announce that a Warren Township resident was transported to a medical facility for evaluation this morning.

Prosecutor Soriano states that at approximately 6:00 a.m. Warren Township Police received a call for service from a Suicide Hotline notifying authorities of a potential threat involving a 22 year old township male. The threats involved causing harm to himself and family members.

Prosecutor Soriano stated that police officers from Warren Township, Watchung Borough, Green Brook Township and Bernards Township responded to a Maxwell Court residence. At approximately 6:15 a.m., due to the presence of weapons inside the house along with the threats made, the Somerset County SWAT Team/Hostage Negotiations Team were activated. At approximately 7:45 a.m. SWAT team members made contact with the occupants of the residence and secured the 22 year old male without incident. He was transported to a medical facility for evaluation.

Prosecutor Soriano commends the rapid response by law enforcement which yielded in the successful outcome without any injuries.

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DECEMBER 4, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - ACCREDITATION ASSESSMENT TEAM INVITES PUBLIC COMMENT

SOMERVILLE, N.J. – Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano announces that a team of assessors from the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police (NJSACOP) will arrive on December 18, 2015 to examine all aspects of the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office policies and procedures, management, operations, and support services Prosecutor Soriano announced today.

Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano states “the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office has always been committed to improving its delivery of law enforcement service. As such, the accreditation process was extremely attractive as, among other things, a very effective means of providing direction to our personnel and fostering a relationship with our community. Through our voluntary effort of attaining accreditation, we demonstrate our express desire to achieve professional excellence”

As a part of this final on-site assessment, employees and members of the general public are invited to provide comments to the assessment team. They may do so by telephone or email. The public may call 908-575-3407 on December 18, 2015 between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. Email comments can be sent to fodor@co.somerset.nj.us.

Telephone comments are limited to five minutes and must address the agency’s ability to comply with the NJSACOP standards. A copy of the standards is available for inspection at Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office, 40 North Bridge Street, Somerville, N.J. 08876. Please contact Lieutenant Fodor, Accreditation Manager at 908-575-3300.

Anyone wishing to offer written comments about the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office ability to comply with the standards for accreditation may send them by email to Harry J. Delgado, Accreditation Program Manager, hdelgado@njsacop.org or write to the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police, Law Enforcement Accreditation Commission at 751 Route 73 North, Suite 12 Marlton, N.J. 08053.

The Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office must comply with 105 standards in order to achieve accredited status. “The process has been arduous and introspective to say the very least. However, the benefits of accreditation including, most notably, accountability and risk reduction will be well worth the effort” offers Prosecutor Soriano.

The Accreditation Program Manager for the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police is Mr. Harry J. Delgado. “The assessment team is composed of law enforcement practitioners from similar New Jersey law enforcement agencies. The assessors will review written materials, interview agency members, and visit offices and other places where compliance with the standards can be observed. Once the Commission’s assessors complete their review of the agency, they will report to the full Commission, which will then decide if the agency is to be granted accredited status”, Harry J. Delgado stated.

Accreditation is valid for a three-year period during which time the agency must submit annual reports attesting to their continued compliance with those standards under which it was initially accredited.

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DECEMBER 4, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - NORTH PLAINFIELD MAN CHARGED WITH POSSESSION OF COCAINE WITH THE INTENT TO DISTRIBUTE

SOMERVILLE, N.J. - Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano, Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of County Detectives Timothy Fitzgerald and North Plainfield Chief of Police William Parenti announce the arrest of Joy Michael Camino, age 22, of Little Place, North Plainfield, New Jersey.

Prosecutor Soriano states that on December 2, 2015, members of the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Organized Crime and Narcotics Task Force were conducting a narcotic investigation regarding the distribution of cocaine from a Joy Michael Camino’s residence. At approximately 6:30 p.m., detectives executed the Search Warrant.

Searches of defendant Camino and his residence yielded the following: sixteen (16) grams of crack cocaine and a digital scale. Defendant Camino was arrested at his residence without incident.

Defendant Camino was charged with Possession of C.D.S. with Intent to Distribute (Cocaine), 2nd Degree, Child Endangerment, 2nd Degree and Possession of Paraphernalia, a Disorderly Persons Offense.

Defendant Camino was lodged in the Somerset County Jail with bail to be set..

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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NOVEMBER 30, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - BRIDGEWATER TOWNSHIP MAN PLEADS GULTY TO 2ND DEGREE CONSPIRACY TO COMMIT AGGRAVATED SEXUAL ASSAULT

SOMERVILLE, N.J. - Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano announces that on November 30, 2015, David Granskie, Jr., age 28, of Oak Street, in the Bradley Gardens section of Bridgewater Township (Somerset County) New Jersey, pleaded guilty before the Honorable Robert B. Reed, J.S.C., to a single count of Conspiracy to Commit Aggravated Sexual Assault, 2nd Degree, in connection with the Memorial Day weekend sexual assault and murder of Carolyn Stone in May, 2009. In exchange for the plea of guilty, the State is recommending a sentence of time served by Granskie at the time of his sentencing which has been scheduled for December 18, 2015. Granskie has been incarcerated for over 6 years.

Prosecutor Soriano states that on Sunday, May 24, 2009, at approximately 6:47 a.m., on a report of a suspected homicide, Bridgewater Police Officers responded to a residence on Oak Street in the Bradley Gardens Section of Bridgewater Township where they observed a female victim in the backyard of the residence. Officers determined that the female, identified as Carolyn Stone, was a victim of a homicide.

As a result of an investigation conducted by the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office and the Bridgewater Township Police Department, Granskie, along with co-defendants Gary Wilson and Rocky DiTaranto, was arrested and charged with the sexual assault and murder. In 2011, Wilson entered a guilty plea to murder and was sentenced in 2013 in accordance with a plea agreement to serve 45 years in New Jersey State prison, 85% of that time without eligibility for parole. Also in 2013, DiTaranto entered a plea of guilty to Conspiracy to Commit Aggravated Sexual Assault, 2nd Degree. DiTaranto is scheduled to be sentenced this Friday, December 4, 2015 to 5 years in New Jersey State prison with 85% parole ineligibility.

During his plea allocution, Granskie acknowledged that Wilson, DiTaranto, and he spoke of a planned sexual encounter to be perpetrated upon Carolyn Stone. He further acknowledged that the victim was intoxicated to the extent that she could not provide consent to a sexual encounter. Granskie further stated that the sexual encounter was to occur whether Carolyn Stone consented or not. Granskie also acknowledged that he assisted in transporting Carolyn Stone out of the house and into a secluded portion of the rear yard area of the subject property with Wilson and DiTaranto.

After his plea of guilty Judge Reed revoked Granskie’s bail and remanded him to the Somerset County Jail pending his sentencing.

The State was represented by Assistant Prosecutors Nathan C. Howe and Robert J. Hawkes.

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NOVEMBER 18, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - HILLSBOROUGH TOWNSHIP RESIDENT CHARGED WITH MANUFACTURING CHILD PORNOGRAPHY

SOMERVILLE, N.J. - Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano, Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of County Detectives Timothy M. Fitzgerald, Somerset County Sheriff Frank J. Provenzano, Bridgewater Township Chief of Police Manuel Caravela and Hillsborough Township Chief of Police Paul A. Kaminsky announce the arrest of Christopher Biondi, age 23, of Nottingham Way, Hillsborough Township, New Jersey.

Prosecutor Soriano states that subsequent to an investigation by the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Computer Crimes Unit and the Bridgewater Police Department, detectives executed a search warrant on Christopher Biondi’s residence early this morning. Detectives seized electronic devices from the residence belonging to defendant Biondi.

The investigation thus far has revealed that defendant Biondi engaged in sexually explicit chats with a juvenile via social media apps on his cellular phone. During these chats he directed the juvenile to take and transmit sexually explicit photographs of her to him.

Defendant Biondi was arrested at his residence at 7:25 a.m. this morning and he was lodged in the Somerset County Jail.

Defendant Biondi was charged with Manufacturing Child Pornography, 1st Degree, Sexual Assault, 2nd Degree, Endangering the Welfare of a Child, 3rd Degree and Possession of Child Pornography, 3rd Degree.

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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NOVEMBER 2, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - SOMERVILLE PASTOR CHARGED WITH STAGING FICTITIOUS ASSAULT

SOMERVILLE, N.J. – Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano, Somerset County Chief of County Detectives Timothy M. Fitzgerald and Somerville Borough Chief of Police Dennis Manning announce the arrest of Jairon Pena, age 36, of West Spring Street, Somerville, New Jersey.

Prosecutor Soriano states that on Friday, October 30, 2015 at approximately 11:20 a.m. Somerville Police responded to a 9-1-1 call at the New Covenant Missionary Baptist Church, located at 147 E. Main Street, Somerville, New Jersey for a report of an individual that had been assaulted and tied up. Responding Officers encountered an individual who had his hands loosely tied with a rope behind his back, legs tied, and a piece of cloth stuffed into his mouth. This individual also had a plastic bag over his head, along with a piece of paper taped to his chest and back with a misspelled Islamic phrase. Responding Officers removed the plastic bag and rope from the individual, who was identified as Jairon Pena, a Pastor of the Church. Pena was alert and conscious when Officers arrived at the scene and informed officers that he had been physically assaulted by two males and a female who were masked and wearing gloves.

Prosecutor Soriano stated that detectives from the Somerville Police Department, along with detectives from the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Unit, the Crime Scene Investigations and Forensics Unit, and agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation Newark and Franklin Township Field Offices responded to conduct the investigation.

Prosecutor Soriano stated that defendant Pena’s account which he provided to the initial responding Officers contained inconsistencies when questioned by Investigators. Defendant Pena alleged that at approximately 10:30 a.m. he proceeded to the front door of the church to investigate a loud banging at which time he was accosted by the three suspects who physically attacked him and removed bibles from the pews scattering them throughout the church. Defendant Pena alleged that the suspects also stomped on the bibles while ridiculing his God and then tied his hands and legs, and placed a rag in his mouth and a bag over his head, along with the two pieces of paper which were taped to him. Defendant Pena was transported to an area hospital for treatment. Investigators along with medical personnel observed that defendant Pena did not have any visible injuries, which would normally be present as a result of being assaulted and bound.

Prosecutor Soriano states that the investigation revealed that defendant Pena had lied to the police and that he had fabricated the entire event by staging a crime scene due to some personal events in his life.

Defendant Pena was arrested and charged with 3rd Degree False Public Alarm, 4th Degree False Swearing and Fictitious Report to Law Enforcement, a Disorderly Persons offense. Defendant Pena was processed and 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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OCTOBER 29, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - HILLSBOROUGH TOWNSHIP RESIDENT SENTENCED TO 35 YEARS IN HILLSBOROUGH ARSON AND MURDER

SOMERVILLE, N.J. – Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano announces that defendant Juan Jimenez - Olivera, age 30, of Hamilton Road, Hillsborough Township, New Jersey was sentenced on the charges of Murder, 1st Degree, Aggravated Arson, 2nd Degree, Disturbing, Desecrating Human Remains, 2nd Degree, Hindering Apprehension of Prosecution, 3rd Degree and Tampering with Physical Evidence, 4th Degree.

After defendant Juan Jimenez – Olivera’s pleas of guilty entered on August 5, 2015 defendant Jimenez- Olivera was sentenced yesterday to a mandatory term of 30 years incarceration without parole with a consecutive term of 5 years incarceration on his guilty plea to Disturbing, Desecrating Human Remains, 2nd Degree. As part of the plea agreement, the Honorable Julie M. Marino, P.J.,Cr., dismissed the charge of Aggravated Sexual Assault, 1st Degree after the imposition of sentence.

Prosecutor Soriano states that on April 29, 2014 at approximately 8:23 a.m., Hillsborough Township Police along with the Hillsborough Township Fire Department responded to a residential fire on Bloomingdale Drive. Upon making entry into the residence, fire personnel located a deceased female, Sviatlana Dranko, age 30, on the second floor of the dwelling. The fire was deemed suspicious as two points of origin were noted.

Detectives from the Hillsborough Township Police Department, the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Unit, the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Crime Scene and Forensics Unit, the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Arson Task Force, and the New Jersey Regional Medical Examiner’s Office responded to the scene to conduct the investigation.

The investigation revealed that Ms. Dranko was deceased prior to the setting of the fires and that said fires were intentionally set. Detectives followed-up on numerous leads which ultimately led them to co-worker Juan Jimenez – Olivera.

Defendant Jimenez – Olivera was identified as the person responsible for sexually assaulting and murdering Ms. Dranko prior to the starting of fires. The victim and defendant were not involved in a relationship.

The State was represented by Assistant Prosecutor Frank P. Kolodzieski, II.

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OCTOBER 29, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - ARREST IN WATCHUNG YEILDS SEIZURE OF HEROIN

SOMERVILLE, N.J. - Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano, Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of County Detectives Timothy M. Fitzgerald and Watchung Borough Chief of Police Joseph Cina announce the arrest of Johnny Jones, age 41, of Berckman Street, Plainfield, New Jersey.

Prosecutor Soriano states that the Somerset County Organized Crime and Narcotics Task Force received information that on October 27, 2015 Johnny Jones would be in possession of Heroin while operating a maroon BMW 528i near a restaurant parking lot located on U.S. Highway Route 22 West in Watchung.

At approximately 11:30 p.m. a Task Force surveillance team observed a vehicle matching defendant Jones vehicle. After defendant Jones parked the vehicle near the front entrance of the restaurant detectives approached him and advised him of the ongoing narcotics investigation.

Defendant Jones subsequently consented to a voluntary search of his vehicle. The search resulted in the seizure of 1,050 bags (twenty-one bricks) of heroin from the trunk area of the vehicle. Defendant Jones was arrested without incident.

Defendant Jones was charged with Possession with the Intent to Distribute CDS (Heroin), 2nd Degree.

The seized heroin has an approximate street value of $10,500.00.

Defendant Jones was 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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OCTOBER 26, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - “BORDEAUX BANDIT” WANTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT

SOMERVILLE, NEW JERSEY - Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano and Bernardsville Borough Chief of Police Kevin J. Valentine announce that Scott M. Deluca, age 25, of William Street, Wynantskill, New York has been charged with third degree Shoplifting.

Prosecutor Soriano states that on September 9, 2015 defendant Deluca entered a Bernardsville Liquor Store and shoplifted 2 bottles of wine valued at $1,858.00. After exiting the store he left the area in a dark colored 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee. The vehicle has a spare tire (black rim) on the front passenger side of the vehicle. The vehicle also has New York “Adirondack” personalized vanity license plates bearing the letters “SPA ND”

Law enforcement authorities in the Northeast are seeking the public’s help in locating Deluca. Defendant Deluca is wanted in a string of high end wine thefts throughout New Jersey, New York and Connecticut. With surveillance footage from the Bernardsville store and with the help of detectives assigned to the New Paltz Police Department in New York, Bernardsville Detectives were able to identify Deluca as the actor in September 9th shoplifting.

Somerset County Prosecutor Soriano and Chief Valentine state that if anyone has information regarding the whereabouts of Scott Deluca to contact the Bernardsville Police Department Detective Bureau at (908) 766-0037 extension 139.

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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OCTOBER 26, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - BRIDGEWATER FATAL FIRE

SOMERVILLE, NEW JERSEY – Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano, Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of County Detectives Timothy M. Fitzgerald and Bridgewater Township Chief of Police Manny Caravella state that the investigation into this morning’s fatal fire is continuing.

Prosecutor Soriano states that at approximately 4:25 a.m. the Somerset County 9-1-1 Communications Center received multiple calls regarding a fire at 3514 Robinson Court in Bridgewater Township. Responding police and fire personnel forced entry into the heavy smoke filled dwelling and located Lisa X. Hook, age 44, unresponsive and lying on her living room floor. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation was performed on Ms. Hooks and she was transported to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital – Somerset where she was pronounced dead.

An autopsy by the New Jersey Regional Medical Examiner’s Office in Newark is pending.

Detectives assigned to the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Crime Scene Investigation Forensics Unit and the Bridgewater Township Police Department responded to the residence to assist in the investigation.

Prosecutor Soriano, Chief Fitzgerald and Chief Caravela request that anyone with information regarding this fire to contact the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office at (908) 231-7100, the Bridgewater Township Police Department at (908) 722-4111, 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 calls will be kept confidential.

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OCTOBER 22, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - ON HALLOWEEN, AND EVERY DAY, BUZZED DRIVING IS DRUNK DRIVING

SOMERVILLE, N.J. — This Halloween, Law Enforcement and Traffic Safety Advocates in Somerset County are reminding Halloween revelers that Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving. If alcohol is part of a Halloween party, then plans should be made in advance to get home without getting behind the wheel.

“If you consume alcohol this Halloween and want to arrive home safely, plan ahead and avoid the driving,” said Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano. “Recognizing that a single drink impairs judgment, a smart strategy includes transportation by taxi, ride share, mass transit, or with the assistance of a designated driver. Remember buzzed driving is drunk driving, so plan ahead to stay safe.”

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 43 percent of all people killed in motor vehicle crashes on Halloween night (6 p.m. October 31st – 5:59 a.m. November 1st) from 2009 to 2013 were in crashes involving a drunk driver. On Halloween Night alone, 119 people lost their lives over that same period. Children out trick-or-treating and parents accompanying them are also at risk as 19 percent of fatal pedestrian crashes on Halloween night (2009-2013) involved drunk drivers.

It is illegal everywhere in America to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher. In 2013, 10,076 people were killed in drunk driving crashes. If you drive drunk and escape death or serious injury, you could end up paying as much $10,000 for a DUI conviction.

“As part of a state funded grant, Law Enforcement throughout Somerset County will be conducting supplemental patrols targeting impaired driving,” reported Chief William Parenti, President of the Somerset County Association of Chiefs of Police.

Prosecutor Soriano and Chief Parenti suggest following these tips in order to stay safe this Halloween:

• Plan a safe way to get home before you attend the party. Alcohol impairs judgement, as well as reaction time. If you are drunk you are more likely to choose to drive drunk.
• Designate a sober driver, take public transportation or a car service, or a call a sober friend of family member for a ride home.
• Walking while impaired can be just as dangerous as drunk driving. Designate a sober friend to walk you home.
• If you see a drunk driver on the road, contact local law enforcement when it is safe to do so.
• If you see someone you think is about to drive while impaired, take their keys and help them get home safely.

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OCTOBER 13, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - 5 KILOS OF COCAINE SEIZED IN FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP

SOMERVILLE, N.J. - Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano, Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of County Detectives Timothy M. Fitzgerald, Somerset County Sheriff Frank J. Provenzano, Jr., Franklin Township Chief of Police Lawrence Roberts, New Brunswick Police Director Anthony Caputo and Inspector In-Charge Maria L. Kelokates of the United States Postal Inspection Service announce the arrests of Joel Osman Matos-Santiago, age 33, of Sanford Street, New Brunswick, N.J., Victor M. Santana-Ricardo, age 27, of Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, N.J. and Jessica Rodriguez, age 25, of North Dover Avenue, Franklin Township, N.J.

Prosecutor Soriano states that the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Organized Crime and Narcotics Task Force received information from the U.S. Postal Service and the New Brunswick Police Department that on October 8, 2015 a parcel containing CDS would be delivered to a North Dover Avenue residence in Franklin Township.

Task Force Detectives, along with U.S. Postal Inspection Officers intercepted two packages at the Franklin Township Post Office addressed to Jessica Rodriquez residing on Dover Avenue. Somerset County Sheriff’s Office K-9 “Apex” and his handler responded to assist in the investigation. The K-9 conducted an external sniff of both packages and gave a positive indication for CDS being in both packages.

Task Force members established a surveillance team in the vicinity of the Dover Avenue residence. At approximately 3:30 p.m. defendants Victor M. Santana-Ricardo and Joel Osman Matos-Santiago were outside the residence when the Postal Officer arrived with the packages. Defendant Matos-Santiago immediately left the area in a black Acura TSX. Defendant Santana-Ricardo told the officer that he was Jessica Rodriquez’ husband and asked him to put the packages on the front steps of the residence. At this time the surveillance team observed defendant Santiago - Ricardo on his cellphone and defendant Matos- Rodriquez returned in the Acura after circling the block in the vehicle. After retrieving the packages and placing them in the rear seat area of the vehicle defendant Matos-Santiago left the area via Dover Avenue towards Hamilton Street at a high rate of speed. Task Force Detectives attempted to conduct a motor vehicle stop at which time Matos-Santiago attempted to elude them while making evasive maneuvers with his vehicle. After he struck a police vehicle on Park Street detectives placed him under arrest.

Detectives obtained a Superior Court Search Warrant for the Acura TSX. A search of the vehicle by detectives resulted in the seizure of two packages in the rear seat containing 5 kilograms of cocaine.

Defendant Santana-Ricardo was arrested at the Dover Avenue residence without incident.

Defendant Rodriguez was arrested without incident at 5:30 p.m. when she arrived home.

The Cocaine has an approximate street value of $500,000.00.

Defendant Matos-Santiago was charged with Possession of CDS (Cocaine) with the Intent to Distribute, 1st Degree, Conspiracy to Commit a CDS Offense, 2nd Degree and Eluding, 2nd Degree.

Defendants Santana-Ricardo and Rodriguez were charged with Possession of CDS (Cocaine) with Intent to Distribute, 1st Degree and Conspiracy to Commit a CDS Offense, 2nd Degree.

All three defendants were lodged in the Somerset County Jail.

Bail was set by the Honorable Angela Borkowski, J.S.C. as follows:

$250,000 (cash only) for defendants Matos-Santiago and Santana-Ricardo
$100,000 (cash only) for defendant Rodriguez


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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SEPTEMBER 29, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - BOUND BROOK MAN CONVICTED OF AGGRAVATED ASSAULT IN BRUTAL ATTACK

BOUND BROOK – Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano announces that a Somerset County Jury has found Ernesto Azana-Pure, age 22, of East High Street, Bound Brook, New Jersey, guilty of second degree aggravated assault and third degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose after a nine day trial held before the Hon. Julie M. Marino, P.J.Cr. Defendant was found not guilty of first degree attempted murder.

Prosecutor Soriano states that on January 14, 2013 at approximately 4:50 a.m., Bound Brook Police received a report of a stabbing at 57 Talmadge Avenue in Bound Brook. Responding officers found the victim inside his residence covered in blood. He had a stab wound in his abdomen that was so severe that his intestines had come out of his body. The victim was going in and out of consciousness. The interior of the apartment had large amounts of blood in every room.
The victim was rushed to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick where he was in such critical condition that he was near death. Emergency surgery was performed on the victim in order to save his life. His condition was so grave that the surgery had to be stopped until his condition stabilized. Two days later another operation was performed. The knife had gone so far into the victim that it almost reached his back.

The subsequent investigation conducted by police officers and detectives with the Bound Brook Police Department and detectives with the Somerset County Prosecutor's Office Major Crimes Unit and Forensics Unit revealed that defendant Azana-Pure was the perpetrator of the stabbing.

Following the verdict, Judge Marino revoked defendant Azana-Pure’s bail. Since his arrest, Azana-Pure was being held in the Somerset County Jail in lieu of $100,000.00 bail. Azana-Pure faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in New Jersey state prison, with 85% of that, or 8.5 years, to be served without parole.

The State was represented by Assistant Prosecutor Robert J. Hawkes.

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September 28, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - NARCOTIC INVESTIGATION YIELDS SEIZURE OF SHOTGUN, HEROIN AND COCAINE

SOMERVILLE, N.J. - Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano, Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of County Detectives Timothy M. Fitzgerald, Franklin Township Chief of Police Lawrence Roberts and Somerset County Sheriff Frank J. Provenzano announce the arrests of Dynesha Jackson, age 22, of Hillsborough Township, New Jersey, Adrienne Woodard, age 22, and Lashawn Boyd, age 19, both of New Brunswick, New Jersey.

Prosecutor Soriano states that the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Organized Crime and Narcotics Task Force received information that defendant Woodard was operating a white Nissan Altima bearing Virginia license plates in the Franklin Township vicinity and that she was in possession of narcotics and a shotgun.

On September 25, 2015, detectives observed a white Nissan Altima with Virginia plates being driven by a female later identified as defendant Woodard. The vehicle was traveling in an easterly direction on Amwell Road in Franklin Township. Task Force members conducted a motor vehicle stop of the vehicle in the area of Van Cleef Road. The vehicle was also occupied by a female front passenger identified as Dynesha Jackson and a male rear passenger identified as Lashawn Boyd.

Somerset County Sheriff’s Office K-9 “Apex” and his handler responded to the scene to assist in the investigation. The K-9 conducted an exterior sniff of the vehicle and gave a positive indication for the presence of narcotics inside the vehicle.

A Superior Court Search Warrant was obtained for the vehicle and a search of the trunk resulted in the seizure of a Pardner Pump 20 Gauge Shotgun. In the center console of the passenger compartment detectives also seized 14 folds of heroin and four (4) 20 gauge shotgun shells. Defendant Jackson’s purse was also located in the vehicle and found to contain two bags of cocaine. All three defendants were placed under arrest without incident.

Defendant Woodard was charged with Possession of a Rifle, 3rd Degree and Possession of CDS (Heroin) 3rd Degree.

Defendant Jackson was charged with Possession of CDS (Heroin) 3rd Degree and Possession of CDS (Cocaine) 3rd Degree.

Defendant Boyd was charged with Possession of CDS (heroin) 3rd Degree.

All defendants were 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 defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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SEPTEMBER 22, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - POLICE INVESTIGATE BOUND BROOK SHOOTING

SOMERVILLE, N.J. - Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano, Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of County Detectives Timothy M. Fitzgerald and Bound Brook Borough Chief of Police Michael Jannone announce that detectives are investigating a shooting which occurred on September 19, 2015.

Prosecutor Soriano states that at approximately 11:11 p.m. Bound Brook Police responded to a 9-1-1 call reporting a shooting victim in the area of Fisher Ave. Responding Bound Brook Officers found a male Somerville resident, age 24, lying in the roadway. He was suffering from a gunshot wound to his lower torso area. The officers along with Emergency Medical Technicians treated the victim at the scene and subsequently transported him to an area hospital for emergency treatment. The injuries were not considered life threatening and the victim is expected to survive.

Prosecutor Soriano states that detectives from the Bound Brook Police Department, Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Unit and Crime Scene Investigations and Forensics Unit responded to conduct the investigation. Detectives are attempting to establish a motive for the shooting. The victim was uncooperative with investigators and refused to provide details surrounding the shooting.

Prosecutor Soriano, Chief Fitzgerald, and Chief Jannone request anyone with information regarding this incident to contact the Somerset County Prosecutors Office Major Crimes Unit at (908) 231-7100, the Bound Brook Borough Police Department (732) 356-0800, 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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SEPTEMBER 18, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - 4 CHARGED IN NARCOTICS INVESTIGATION

SOMERVILLE, NEW JERSEY - Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano, Somerset County Prosecutor's Office Chief of County Detectives Timothy M. Fitzgerald and Bound Brook Borough Chief of Police Michael Jannone announce the arrests of Jason L. Smith, age 18, and Nicholas Whipert, age 23, both of West Main Street, Bound Brook, N.J., Sakuan Peace, age 21, of Madison Street, South Bound Brook, N.J. and Christian Zuniga, age 22, of Remsen Street, New Brunswick, N.J..

Prosecutor Soriano states that on September 16, 2015 at approximately 4:45 PM, detectives assigned to the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Organized Crime and Narcotics Task Force and the Bound Brook Police Department executed a search warrant on Jason Smith’s residence as part of an ongoing narcotics investigation. The search resulted in the seizure of 191 folds of heroin, 16 grams of crack cocaine 37 grams of marijuana, 16 Oxycodone pills, a digital scale, packaging materials and $533.00 in US currency.

Prosecutor Soriano further states that detectives observed a white Nissan Sentra, that defendant Smith was previously observed driving during the investigation, parked near the residence. Defendant Smith’s mother, the registered owner of the vehicle, gave detectives consent to search her vehicle. The search yielded an unregistered Steyr .25 Caliber pistol, located in the trunk compartment of the vehicle. Further investigation revealed that defendant Smith is the primary operator of the Nissan Sentra.

The four defendants were lodged in the Somerset County Jail and each was charged with Possession of CDS (Heroin) with the Intent to Distribute, 3rd degree, Possession of CDS (Crack Cocaine), 3rd degree, Possession of CDS (Oxycodone), 3rd degree, and Possession of Marijuana (under 50 grams) a Disorderly Persons Offense. Defendant Jason Smith was additionally charged with Unlawful Possession of a Firearm, 2nd Degree.

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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SEPTEMBER 14, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - 2 CHARGED IN BRIDGEWATER WITH POSSESSION OF COCAINE AND SUBOXONE

SOMERVILLE, N.J. – Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano, Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of County Detectives Timothy M. Fitzgerald, Somerset County Sheriff Frank J. Provenzano and the Bridgewater Township Chief of Police Manny Caravela announce the arrests of Andres Nazario, age 47, of Oak Place, Piscataway and Amirah Thompson, age 33, of Rt. 22 West, North Plainfield, NJ

Prosecutor Soriano states that the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Organized Crime and Narcotics Task Force received information that on Friday, September 11, 2015, a man and woman in a red colored SUV would be arriving at a Route 22 West restaurant and that they would be in possession of a quantity of cocaine. A surveillance team was set up near the restaurant and at 9:00 p.m. detectives observed a red Ford Edge SUV with 2 occupants arrive and park in the restaurant’s parking lot. Task Force members approached the vehicle and advised the driver, defendant Nazario and his passenger, defendant Thompson, of the ongoing narcotics investigation.

Prosecutor Soriano states that Somerset County Sheriff’s Office K-9 “Apex” and his handler responded to the scene to assist in the investigation. After sniffing the exterior of the vehicle the K-9 gave a positive indication for the presence of narcotics inside the vehicle. A Superior Court Search Warrant was obtained for the vehicle. A search of the vehicle resulted in the seizure over ½ ounce of Cocaine near the passenger side door. A search of defendant Thompson’s purse revealed that she was in possession of Suboxone strips (under ½ ounce). The defendants were placed under arrest without incident.

Both defendants were lodged in the Somerset County Jail. Bail was set by the Honorable Hany A. Mawla, J.S.C. at $150,000 cash only for defendant Nazario and $100,000 cash only for defendant Thompson.

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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SEPTEMBER 11, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - SUSSEX BOROUGH MAN CHARGED WITH POSSESSION OF HEROIN WITH THE INTENT TO DISTRIBUTE IN SOMERVILLE

SOMERVILLE, N.J. – Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano, Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of County Detectives Timothy D. Fitzgerald announce the arrest of Joseph Volpone, age 28, Haggerty Road, in Sussex Borough, New Jersey.

Prosecutor Soriano states that the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Organized Crime and Narcotics Task Force received information that on September 8, 2015 a male, later identified as Joseph Volpone, would be driving a black, 4 door Chevrolet Silverado pick-up truck in the area of convenience store located on East Main Street in Somerville.

Task Force detectives setup a surveillance of the above location and at approximately 3:00 p.m. detectives observed defendant Volpone operating a black Chevy Silverado pick-up truck . Subsequent to the defendant parking his vehicle in the convenience store parking lot Task Force members approached defendant Volpone and advised him of an the ongoing narcotics investigation. Defendant Volpone voluntarily gave consent to detectives to search his vehicle. The search resulted in the seizure of 45 folds of Heroin (under ½ once) and $965 in U.S. currency.

Defendant Volpone was arrested and charged with Possession of Heroin with the Intent to Distribute, 3rd Degree.

He was released on his own recognizance.

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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SEPTEMBER 11, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - SOUTH PLAINFIELD RESIDENT CHARGED WITH WEAPONS OFFENSE

SOMERVILLE, N.J. - Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano, Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of County Detectives Timothy Fitzgerald, Green Brook Township Chief of Police Christopher Kurz announce the arrest of Patrick M. Monahan, age 55, of Merchants Avenue, South Plainfield, New Jersey.

Prosecutor Soriano states that yesterday at approximately 8:22 a.m. the Green Brook Township Police Department responded to a medical care facility located on Route 22 on a report of a male, later identified as Patrick M. Monahan, who was seeking medical treatment for a gunshot wound to his right foot. Responding Green Brook Patrol Officers made contact with defendant Monahan, who indicated to officers that he accidentally shot himself in the foot while camping in a wooded area in Piscataway, New Jersey. Monahan also informed Officers that the weapon he utilized was in his vehicle which was parked in the parking lot of the medical facility.

Prosecutor Soriano states that detectives from the Green Brook Township Police Department in conjunction with detectives from the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Unit responded to conduct the investigation. Monahan was transported to an area Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital – New Brunswick for medical treatment.

Detectives obtained a Superior Court Ordered Search Warrant for defendant Monahan’s vehicle. A search of the vehicle resulted in the seizure of a loaded Para 1911 .45 caliber pistol along with two (2) loaded magazines, two (2) ballistic vests and a pair of handcuffs. Detectives have ascertained that defendant Monahan does not possess a New Jersey Firearms Identification Card nor is he employed in any law enforcement capacity.

Prosecutor Soriano states that as a result of this investigation, detectives arrested and charged defendant Monahan with Unlawful Possession of a Weapon, 2nd Degree, Certain Persons not to have Weapons, a 2nd Degree, and Prohibited Weapons and Devices (handcuffs), a Disorderly Person’s Offense.

Bail for defendant Monahan was set at $75,000 cash or bond by the Honorable H. Matthew Curry, J.S.C..

Prosecutor Soriano, Chief Fitzgerald, and Chief Kurz request anyone with information regarding this incident to contact the Somerset County Prosecutors Office Major Crimes Unit at (908) 231-7100, the Green Brook Township Police Department (732) 968-1188, 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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SEPTEMBER 11, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - AUTHORITIES IDENTIFY MANVILLE RESIDENT FATALLY STRUCK BY TRAIN

SOMERVILLE, N.J. - Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano, Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of County Detectives Timothy M. Fitzgerald and Manville Borough Chief of Police Mark Peltack have identified the male who was located deceased on Thursday, September 10, 2015 as Manville resident, Devin J. Burke, age 22, of North 5th Avenue, Manville, New Jersey.

Prosecutor Soriano states that yesterday at approximately 6:15 a.m. a train conductor operating a westbound train reported to authorities that he observed what appeared to be a deceased human body on the train tracks. At 6:20 a.m. responding Manville Police Officers subsequently located the body of a deceased male on the train tracks in the vicinity of 600 Washington Avenue. The injuries on the decedent, who was subsequently identified as Devin J. Burke, were consistent with injuries sustained as a result of being struck by a train.

Prosecutor Soriano states that detectives from the Manville Borough Police Department, the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Unit, the Crime Scene Investigations and Forensics Unit, Officers from the Norfolk Southern Police Department, and the New Jersey Regional Medical Examiner’s Office responded and initiated a joint investigation into the circumstances leading death of Mr. Burke.

Prosecutor Soriano states that detectives, with the assistance of Norfolk Southern Police, will be reviewing potential video footage which is equipped on the trains to determine the circumstances surrounding the death Burke. Preliminary investigation has shown no foul play. Detectives are currently investigating the death of Burke to determine if it was accidental or suicide.

Prosecutor Soriano, Chief Fitzgerald, and Chief Peltack request anyone with information regarding this incident to contact the Somerset County Prosecutors Office Major Crimes Unit at (908) 231-7100, the Manville Borough Police Department at (908) 725-1900, 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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SEPTEMBER 8, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - 3 FLORIDA MEN APPREHENDED IN HILLSBOROUGH CAR BURGLARIES

SOMERVILLE, NEW JERSEY – Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano and Hillsborough Township Chief of Police Paul Kaminsky announce the arrests of Demetrius Robinson, age 25, of NW 36th Street, Lauderdale Lakes, Florida, Anthony Robinson, age 27, of NW 15th Terrace, Fort Lauderdale, Florida and James Maxwell, age 26, of NW 33rd Avenue, Lauderdale Lakes, Florida.

Prosecutor Soriano states that on Saturday, September 5, 2015 at approximately 11:44 a.m. the Hillsborough Township Police Department received a 911 call regarding the burglary a Honda CRV and the theft of a purse was taken while the vehicle was parked at the Sourland Mountain Preserve Park on East Mountain Road in Hillsborough Township. The caller told the dispatcher after the burglary was committed that they witnessed a 4 door brunt orange Jeep with tinted windows, bearing out of state license plates leave the parking lot, at a high rate of speed. The dispatcher related the description of the vehicle to all Hillsborough Patrol Units. Once at the park responding officers discovered that 4 additional vehicles were broken into and purses were also stolen from those vehicles as well.

A short time later, while on patrol on Amwell Road, Hillsborough Township Patrol Officer Nicholas Saleeba observed a vehicle matching the Jeep traveling above the posted speed limit. Subsequently to turning his vehicle around and activating his emergency lights and sirens the Jeep accelerated at a high rate of speed. After losing a visual on the vehicle while on Amwell Road, Officer Saleeba came upon the vehicle at the intersection of Amwell and Wertsville Roads. The suspect vehicle, a 2015 Jeep bearing Georgia state license plates had been involved in a motor vehicle collision with a pick-up truck. The driver of the truck informed Officer Saleeba that after the crash 3 black males immediately jumped out of the Jeep.

Additional Hillsborough Township Officers, along with Raritan Township Officers (Hunterdon County) began searching the area of Wertsville and Amwell Roads for the suspects. The New Jersey State Police Aviation Unit also assisted in the search. After an extensive search, the 3 suspects were located and apprehended.

The first suspect, James Maxwell, was located on Amwell Road while walking in the roadway. The second suspect, Anthony Robinson was found hiding in a shed located behind a house on Amwell Road in the vicinity of Wertsville Road and the third suspect was located hiding in a tree near Wertsville Road.

A search warrant was obtained for the suspect vehicle and the following items were seized, Florida issued drivers licenses belonging to the 3 defendants, a black colored spring activated window punch for shattering windows. The 5 stolen purses and their con tents were scattered near a residence on Amwell Road.

Defendants Demetrius Robinson, Anthony Robinson and James Maxwell were each charged with 5 counts of Burglary, 3rd Degree and Theft, 3rd Degree. Defendant Anthony Robinson was also charged with one count of and Eluding, 2nd Degree.

All 3 defendants were lodged in the Somerset County Jail with bail set by the Honorable Julie M. Marino, J.S.C., P. J. Cr.

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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SEPTEMBER 2, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - ELIZABETH MAN CHARGED IN FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP ARMED ROBBERY

SOMERVILLE, N.J. – Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano and Franklin Township Chief of Police Lawrence Roberts announce the arrest of Junior Perez, age 22, of Second Street in Elizabeth, New Jersey.

Prosecutor Soriano states that on August 25, 2015 an armed robbery was committed at a Franklin Township convenience store located on Hamilton Street. A video surveillance camera captured a light colored Nissan Altima driving in the area at the time of the robbery. The vehicle was distinct in that it had a black bumper and it was missing a rear driver’s side hubcap.

On August 31, 2015 at approximately 4:11 p.m. a Franklin Patrol stopped a vehicle matching the description of the above vehicle. The vehicle was being operated by Junior Perez. When defendant Perez exited the vehicle a small bag containing cocaine fell to the ground. He was placed under arrest without incident and transported to Franklin Township Police Headquarters for processing.

The investigation conducted by Franklin Township detectives revealed that on August 25th defendant Perez drove unknown individuals to the area of the convenience store for the purpose of committing an armed robbery. One of his passengers, a black male, entered the store brandishing a gun and demanded money from the store clerk. An altercation ensued between the suspect and store employees. The suspect fled the store without getting any money from the clerk. Defendant Perez acted as a lookout and was to whistle if he saw the police responding.

Detectives obtained a Superior Court search warrant for the defendant’s vehicle. A search of same resulted in the seizure of a black colored BB gun and under 25 grams of marijuana.

Defendant Perez was lodged in the Somerset County Jail with bail being set by the Honorable Julie M. Mariano, J.S.C. P.J. Cr. at $100,000 cash or bond.

Defendant Perez has been charged with Armed Robbery, 1st Degree, Conspiracy, 2nd Degree, Possession of Cocaine, 3rd Degree and Possession of Marijuana (under 25 grams) a Disorderly Persons Offense.

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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AUGUST 31, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - SOMERSET MAN CHARGED WITH CRIMINAL TRESPASS

SOMERVILLE, N.J. – Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano and Franklin Township Chief of Police Lawrence Roberts announce the arrest of Benjamin Young, age 20, of Boxgrove Place in the Somerset section of Franklin Township, New Jersey.

Prosecutor Soriano states that on August 29, 2015 at 3:45 p.m. Franklin Township Police responded to a burglary in progress on McNair Court. Prior to arriving the suspect fled the residence. A short time later a Franklin Patrol Officer located an individual matching the description of the suspect, later identified as Benjamin Young, sitting on a porch of a New Brunswick Road residence. As the patrol approached defendant Young, he attempted to flee, and, after a brief foot chase, he was apprehended. Defendant Young was found to be in possession of marijuana at the time of his arrest.

Subsequent to being arrested, defendant Young told officers that he had ingested a CDS (Molly). He was transported to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital – Somerset for treatment.

The investigation conducted by Franklin Police revealed that the victim, Jane Doe, was upstairs in her apartment when she heard what she believed to be the opening of a first floor sliding glass door. When she went down stairs to investigate, she observed defendant Young standing in her kitchen. The defendant refused to leave after being instructed to do so by the victim. When the defendant was confronted by the victim’s boyfriend, the defendant left the residence.

Defendant Young was lodged in the Somerset County Jail with bail set by the Honorable Bradford M. Burry, J.S.C. at $5,000 cash only.

Defendant Young was charged with Criminal Trespass, 4th Degree and Possession of Marijuana (under 25 grams) a Disorderly Person Offense.

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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AUGUST 28, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - GRAND JURY ISSUES RACKETEERING INDICTMENT AGAINST TWELVE DEFENDANTS

SOMERVILLE, N.J. - Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano and Somerset County Chief of County Detectives Timothy M. Fitzgerald announce that a Somerset County Grand Jury has issued an Indictment charging twelve defendants with racketeering and related crimes committed throughout the Tri-State area.

Prosecutor Soriano said the Grand Jury charged Stanley Mitchell, age 41, whose last known address is 1600 Anderson Avenue in Fort Lee (Bergen County); Steve John, age 46, whose last known address is 5 Estok Road in Edison (Middlesex County); Sonny Mitchell, age 47, whose last known address is 1471 Barnhardt Lane in Rahway (Union County); Tim Mitchell, age 41, whose last known address is 180 Pearl Croft Road in Cherry Hill (Camden County); Sonny Stanley, age 43, whose last knowns address is 28-B Columbia Avenue in Cliffside Park (Bergen County); Sonny George, age 46, whose last known address is 2 Lewis Street in Medford (Middlesex County), Massachusetts; Frankie Mitchell, age 47, whose last known address is 1839 Memorial Drive in Chicopee (Hampden County), Massachusetts; Patrick Anthony Stanley, age 27, whose last known address is 126-B Palisade Avenue in Cliffside Park (Bergen County); Sable Sofia Edwards, age 26, whose last known address is 126-B Palisade Avenue in Cliffside Park (Bergen County); Nicky Anderson, age 38, whose last known address is 57 Orient Way, Rutherford (Bergen County); Ericka Mitchell, age 32, whose last known address is 449 Palisade Avenue in Cliffside Park (Bergen County); and Teresa Vanessa Butch, age 28, whose last known address is 2025 Edwin Avenue in Ft. Lee (Bergen County). The defendants no longer reside at those addresses.



Prosecutor Soriano said, in December 2014, the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Burglary Task Force investigated a “distraction burglary” committed in Somerville. A lone male, approached the victim who was raking leaves on his property on North Adamsville Road. The male claimed to be “with the water company” and asked to inspect the water pipes in the victim’s basement. The victim, age 90, escorted the victim into the basement of his home. Shortly thereafter, the male announced that the pipes were clear and exited the home. The victim subsequently realized that a safe containing a large amount of United States currency had been stolen from the home while he was distracted in the basement. The stolen money represented the victim’s life-savings.

Prosecutor Soriano said the Burglary Task Force developed several suspects from similar distraction-type burglaries reported around the State. Over the next eight months, a variety of law enforcement officers and agencies joined the Task Force, conducted surveillance, and ultimately arrested nine of the twelve defendants currently charged in the Indictment. Three of the twelve defendants, Tim Mitchell, Frankie Mitchell, and Teresa Butch, are fugitives and the subject of Arrest Warrants.

Prosecutor Soriano said the Indictment alleges that the twelve defendants are members of a criminal racketeering enterprise which specifically targeted the elderly and others for theft through deceptive conduct. As alleged in the Indictment,

[m]ale members of the enterprise specifically targeted the homes of elderly persons for distraction burglaries and thefts. Female members of the enterprise, (1) targeted elderly men for theft by deception (2) operated a psychic shop in Fort Lee for the purpose of committing theft by deception (3) conspired together to commit health care claims fraud and insurance fraud by filing fraudulent slip-and-fall claims with insurance companies and third party administrators.

Prosecutor Soriano said the Grand Jury charged the male defendants with residential burglaries and thefts, and attempted burglaries and thefts, committed in Somerset, Bergen, Camden, Hudson, Middlesex, Ocean, Somerset, and Union County, in New Jersey. Similar distraction burglaries and thefts were committed or attempted in Westchester and Queens County in New York. Prosecutor Soriano said one defendant, Stanley Mitchell, was charged separately with receiving stolen property arising from his possession of property stolen during various residential burglaries. Prosecutor Soriano said the burglaries and thefts occurred between December 2013 and March 2015.

Prosecutor Soriano said the Grand Jury Indictment further alleges that the three female defendants conspired together to target octogenarian men for theft while simultaneously committing insurance fraud. Specifically, the Indictment alleges that between December 2012 and July 22, 2015, defendant Sable Edwards, along with her cousins Ericka Mitchell and Teresa Butch, were responsible for submitting eighteen (18) fraudulent personal injury claims to insurance companies and third party administrators who represent commercial businesses.

Prosecutor Soriano said the Indictment alleges that phony slip-and-falls were staged at a number of businesses throughout the Tri-State area.

Prosecutor Soriano said each one of the fraudulent personal injury claims were filed using a fictitious name and supported by hospital records. In each instance, one or more defendants entered hospitals located in North Jersey claiming a head injury. In each instance, the “patient” was examined by medical personnel in the emergency room and, in many instances, received x-rays and cat-scans to rule-out the claimed injury. Thereafter, the defendants submitted the hospital bills directly to the stores’ insurance adjuster for payment. In several instances, defendants submitted a “surgery proposal” along with the hospital bill to boost the amount of the fraudulent claim. Prosecutor Soriano said the total amount of the fraudulent claims exceeded $150,000.00 of which the defendants netted approximately $36,000.00 from the scheme. While many of the claims were denied by weary insurance adjusters, other claims were negotiated and settled. Prosecutor Soriano said the investigation confirmed that insurance checks were then cashed by the defendants using fictitious names at check-cashing entities located in Green Brook (Somerset County) and Jersey City (Hudson County).

Prosecutor Soriano said that the Indictment also alleges that defendant Sable Edwards, along with her purported common law husband Patrick Stanley, committed second degree theft by deception associated with their operation of a psychic stop along Main Street in Fort Lee (Bergen County). The Indictment alleges that a terminally ill person was conned into surrendering more than $75,000.00 in United States currency to the defendants after being convinced that money was the source of her illness. This complex investigation was undertaken to among other things, identify any additional potential victims in Somerset County. Fortunately it was determined that the defendants limited their contact with Somerset County residents. The defendant’s activities however were wide spread. Information gathered during the investigation has also been provided to law enforcement authorities in the affected jurisdictions so that they may continue to investigate these defendant’s activities.

Prosecutor Soriano said the eight month investigation led by the County Prosecutor’s Burglary Task Force involved a coordinated effort by law enforcement led by County Detective Jeffrey VanderGoot. Prosecutor Soriano said he wishes to acknowledge and thank those agencies that provided substantial assistance and professional expertise during the operation,

  • Hillsborough Twp. Police Department
  • Montgomery Twp. Police Department
  • New Jersey State Police
  • Somerville Police Department

  • Bayonne Police Department
  • Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Cherry Hill Police Department
  • Clinton Twp. Police Department
  • Edgewood Police Department
  • Edison Police Department
  • Ft. Lee Police Department

  • Los Angeles (CA) Police Department
  • Medford (MA) Police Department
  • New York City Police Department
  • Montgomery County (MD) Police
  • Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Paramus Police Department
  • Pennsauken Police Department
  • Readington Twp. Police Department
  • Suffolk County (NY) District Attorney’s Office

Prosecutor Soriano wishes to publically acknowledge and thank Detective Michael McFadden of the New York City Police Department, Detective Keith Striffolino of the Bayonne Police, and Agent Brian Stillwell of the National Insurance Crime Bureau, for their efforts in this successful joint law enforcement operation.

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.

This matter was presented to a Somerset County Grand Jury by Assistant Prosecutor Matthew Murphy who is also the Legal Advisor to the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Burglary Task Force.

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AUGUST 27, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - POLICE RELEASE DETAILS REGARDING WARREN TOWNSHIP DOUBLE HOMICIDE/SUICIDE INVESTIGATION

SOMERVILLE, N.J. - Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano, Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of County Detectives Timothy Fitzgerald and Warren Township Chief of Police William Keane announce the results of the investigation relating to the events surrounding the double homicide and the suicide which occurred at 232 Mt. Horeb Road,Warren Township, New Jersey.

Prosecutor Soriano states that detectives from the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Unit, the Crime Scene Investigations and Forensics Unit, and the Warren Township Police Department have concluded their investigation of the deaths of Heidi Errickson, age 45, and her brother Frederick Errickson, Jr., age 55, both of whom were killed by John Reno, age 48, who, in turn, committed suicide.

Components of the investigation include, most notably, but are not limited to, statements from the family and friends of the decedents, police audio recordings, social media and text message posts by John Reno, as well as other material that was recovered by Crime Scene Investigators inside the residence, and the State Medical Examiner’s post mortem examinations.

Evidence indicates that John Reno and Heidi Errickson were involved in an argument during the evening hours of Saturday, August 15, 2015 inside of the residence which they shared. At some point during the course of the argument, Heidi indicated to John Reno that she was going to call the police. Neither the Warren Township Police Department nor Somerset County Communications Center received such a call. An exact timeline for events occurring on Saturday cannot be constructed. However, Reno posted the following on a social media site at 10:32 p.m. on Saturday: “I so sorry!!!!!!!!!!!”. Reno placed calls to family members indicating what he had done as well as his desire and willingness to engage responding law enforcement officers. Reno told one family member “I’m going to kill a bunch of pigs.” He then waited at the residence armed with a weapon, subsequently identified as a GPI SLR15, 5.56mm assault rifle equipped with a detachable box magazine, adjustable stock, pistol grip, bayonet lug, an attached bipod and optical scope.

Frederick Errickson Jr., the brother of Heidi Errickson, arrived at the Mt. Horeb Road residence on Sunday afternoon at approximately 12:45 p.m. As he exited his vehicle and walked up the driveway toward the dwelling, Frederick was met with gunfire. John Reno fired upon Frederick from an elevated position on the porch of his residence. Reno fired a total of eighteen (18) rounds from that position ultimately striking Frederick numerous times causing fatal wounds.

At 1:16 p.m. on Sunday, Warren Township Police Dispatch received a phone call from an individual who relayed the content of information received as a result of phone conversations with Reno which included the caller’s understanding that Reno was involved in a shootout with police at the Mt. Horeb Road residence. Although this information was incorrect at the time it was received, at 1:21 p.m., two Warren Township police units were dispatched to conduct a welfare check on John Reno at that residence. The two responding officers, consisting of a sergeant and a patrolman, arrived on location at 1:23 p.m. Upon exiting their marked patrol vehicles, both uniformed officers were met with a barrage of gunfire. At 1:24 p.m., officers radioed that there were shots fired and requested the activation and response of the Somerset County SWAT Team.

Prosecutor Soriano states that Reno fired upon the responding officers from a position of concealment inside of the kitchen area of the residence. One round narrowly missed the Sergeant’s head. That round or perhaps another travelled several hundred yards across the street, through an empty parking lot and lodged in an unoccupied professional office building. The officers took cover behind a motor vehicle and a tree. In all, Reno fired twenty (20) rounds at the officers from his position in the kitchen.

In response to requests for assistance, additional police units responded to the scene. Officers from Warren, Green Brook, Watchung, Bernards, and the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office were among the first to provide assistance. With vital assistance and cover from those officers, the Warren Township police officers were able to move from their position of cover to a position of safety.

Prosecutor Soriano states that, as Reno was firing upon the responding officers, his weapon began to experience mechanical malfunctions. As he attempted to clear those malfunctions, numerous live rounds fell onto the ground. A total of four (4) live rounds were recovered outside of the dwelling near the rear patio. Three (3) live rounds were recovered near the front porch and grass area of the residence. Seven (7) live rounds were recovered on the kitchen floor. Also recovered in the kitchen was a high capacity 30 round magazine containing additional live ammunition. Lastly, detectives recovered seven (7) live rounds and one (1) shell casing near the deceased body of John Reno, along with the aforementioned assault rifle that contained a large capacity magazine. An additional large capacity magazine also loaded with ammunition was located under his body.

Investigation has determined that, as the officers were attempting to establish a perimeter and while being fired upon, John Reno was able to exit the residence and obtain concealment in a depression in the wooded area in the rear of the home.

With the assistance of the mobile video recorders—specifically, the audio recordings captured by same--in responding officers’ patrol cars, detectives were able to create a timeline of gunshots after the initial attack on the two Warren Township officers. At approximately 1:32 p.m., a short burst of rounds was heard. Officers were unable to identify the location from which they were being fired upon. Shortly thereafter at 1:33 p.m., a single gunshot was heard. This was the final shot that was heard and detectives believe it to be the shot which Reno used to take his own life.

Prosecutor Soriano states that the Somerset County SWAT and Crisis Negotiations Team activation occurred at 1:30 p.m. At the time of the activation, it was believed that Reno could very well still have been in the residence. Due to the type of weapon that Reno possessed, a larger than normal perimeter was established, which included the evacuation of nearby residences. Following standard operating procedures, an attempt to make contact with Reno was initiated. SWAT members subsequently introduced a mechanical robot into the residence, which was followed by SWAT officers’ tactical entry into the residence. SWAT members assigned to perimeter security collapsed their positions towards the residence. While doing so, they discovered Reno lying in a drainage ditch in a dense wooded area to the rear of the dwelling with a self-inflicted, fatal gunshot wound to the head.

Prosecutor Soriano states that Reno did not possess a New Jersey Firearms Identification card. Moreover, the weapon that Reno possessed and utilized satisfies the criteria for designating a weapon as an assault firearm and consequently, it was unlawful for him to possess same in New Jersey.
Prosecutor Soriano commends the brave work of all law enforcement officers who responded to the incident and stated “This was clearly an individual who possessed a strong desire, a stated willingness, and a very apparent ability to inflict tremendous harm on people. I believe that I can speak on behalf of all law enforcement officers throughout Somerset County when I say that our hearts go out to the Errickson family for their losses. Without the quick and brave action by the immediate responding officers and those officers who followed, the magnitude of the tragedy could have greatly expanded.”

The following agencies responded and supported Warren Township Police during this incident:

• Bernards Township Police Department
• Bernardsville Borough Police Department
• Hillsborough Township Rescue Squad
• Long Hill Township Police Department
• Martinsville Rescue Squad
• Mt. Bethel Fire Department
• New Jersey State Police Aviation Unit (on standby)
• New Jersey State Police ROIC (Regional Operations Intelligence Unit)
• Peapack-Gladstone Police Department
• Somerset County CERT (Community Emergency Response Team)
• Somerset County Communications and Command Mobile Unit
• Somerset County EMS
• Somerset County EMS Coordinator
• Members of the Somerset County Police Emergency Response Plan (Eastern Region) consisting of:
North Plainfield Borough Police Department, Watchung Borough Police Department, Green Brook Township Police Department and Berkeley Heights Township Police Department
• Somerset County Sheriff’s Office
• Somerset County Tactical Emergency Medical Services Team
• Somerville Rescue Squad
• Warren Township Volunteer Fire Department
• Warren Township Office of Emergency Management
• Warren Township Police K-9 Unit
• Warren Township Rescue Squad

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AUGUST 21, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - SOMERVILLE MAN WANTED IN STABBING

SOMERVILLE, N.J. – Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano and Somerville Borough Chief of Police Dennis Manning announce that Charlton Hitchens, age 41, of Veterans Memorial Parkway, in Somerville, New Jersey has been charged with Aggravated Assault, 3rd Degree, Unlawful Possession of a Weapon, 4th Degree and Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose, 3rd Degree.

Prosecutor Soriano states that on Sunday, August 16, 2015 Somerville Police received notification from personnel at Robert Wood University Hospital - Somerset that they were treating a stabbing victim that walked into their emergency room at 8:40 p.m. Subsequent to Somerville patrols arriving at the hospital to initiate the investigation, the victim was transported to Robert Wood University Hospital in New Brunswick to undergo emergency surgery.

The investigation, conducted by detectives from the Somerville Borough Police Department, revealed that the victim “John Doe” was attending a backyard party at a residence on Third Street in Somerville. At approximately 8:30 p.m. he got into a physical altercation with defendant Hitchens. During the fight, defendant Hitchens stabbed the victim in the stomach and left forearm with a sharp object.

Defendant Hitchens has not been apprehended. Somerville Police are asking anyone who knows of his whereabouts to please call the Somerville Police Detective Bureau at 908-725-6900.

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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AUGUST 18, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - IMPAIRED DRIVING ENFORCEMENT TO BE CONDUCTED LOCALLY AS PART OF NATIONAL CAMPAIGN

SOMERVILLE, N.J. - Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano and Hunterdon County Prosecutor Anthony P. Kearns, III announce that law enforcement agencies throughout both counties will be participating in the 2015 Labor Day Statewide “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign. Beginning August 21 and running through September 7, local and state law enforcement officers will conduct sobriety checkpoints and roving patrols, looking for motorists who may be driving while intoxicated.

“Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” is a national campaign designed to raise awareness about the dangers of drinking and driving through high-visibility enforcement and public education tools, including posters, banners, and mobile video display signs. Launched across the U.S. in 1999, the program works to combat drunk driving during the busy summer travel season, including the Labor Day holiday period.

“More than 10,000 people are killed in the United States each year in alcohol-impaired driving crashes, and these crashes cost our society nearly $50 billion annually,” said Gary Poedubicky, Acting Director of the Division of Highway Traffic Safety. “There is a zero tolerance message for this campaign. If drivers are caught operating their vehicle while impaired they will be arrested.”

In 2013 alcohol-impaired fatalities accounted for 27 percent of New Jersey’s motor vehicle fatalities. As part of the initiative, the Division of Highway Traffic Safety provides grants to local law enforcement agencies throughout the state to run the two-week campaign.

Law enforcement agencies participating in the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over 2015 Campaign offer the following advice:

• If you plan to drink, designate a driver, someone who will not drink alcohol, before going out.
• Take mass transit, a taxi or ask a sober friend to drive you home.
• Spend the night where the activity is held.
• Report impaired drivers to law enforcement. In New Jersey, drivers may dial #77 to report a drunk or aggressive driver.
• Always buckle up, every ride, regardless of your seating position in the vehicle. It’s your best defense against an impaired driver.
• If you’re intoxicated and traveling on foot, the safest way to get home is to take a cab or have a sober friend or family member drive you to your doorstep.

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AUGUST 17, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - WARREN TOWNSHIP SHOOTING SUPSPECT AND VICTIMS IDENTIFIED

SOMERVILLE, N.J. – Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano, Somerset County Chief of County Detectives Timothy M. Fitzgerald and Warren Township Chief of Police William Keane have identified the suspect in yesterday’s double homicide as John Reno, age 48, of 232 Mt. Horeb Road, Warren Township, New Jersey.

Prosecutor Soriano states that at 1:21 p.m. on Sunday, August 16, 2015, police officers from the Warren Township Police Department were dispatched to 232 Mt. Horeb Road for a welfare check of John Reno as a result of a request by a family member. At 1:23 p.m., as two responding officers approached the residence, they observed a male victim lying in the driveway unresponsive and fatally injured. Upon exiting their respective vehicles, Reno fired an assault rifle at them from a first floor window of the dwelling. While taking fire, the officers radioed for backup and requested the deployment of the Somerset County Special Weapon and Tactics Team (“SWAT”). Neither officer returned fire. The victim was subsequently identified as Frederick Errickson, Jr. age 55, of Pershing Avenue, Middlesex, New Jersey.

Additional police backups from Warren Township and neighboring towns as well as SWAT responded to the scene. At that time, it was believed that Reno was in the residence and presented a danger to all responding personnel. Due to the type of weapon and caliber of ammunition utilized by Reno, SWAT members set up a large perimeter around the dwelling. After numerous attempts by the Somerset County Crisis Negotiations Team to communicate with Reno failed, SWAT utilized a remote-controlled robot to search the exterior and interior areas of the residence. Once inside, cameras attached to the robot captured the image of an unresponsive fatally injured female victim lying in a first floor hallway. The victim was later identified as Reno’s fiancé Heidi Errickson, age 45, also a resident of the dwelling.

SWAT subsequently made entry into the residence, and, once it was ascertained that Reno was no longer inside of same, SWAT members collapsed the perimeter. In the process of doing so, Reno was discovered lying in a drainage ditch in a dense wooded area to the rear of the dwelling with a self-inflicted fatal gunshot wound to the head. Lying next to his body officers located the assault rifle with two high capacity magazines.

The Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit as well as the Major Crime Unit responded to the scene once it was rendered secure by SWAT.

The investigation has revealed that after having an argument with Heidi Errickson, John Reno shot and killed her. Heidi Errickson’s brother, Frederick Errickson, Jr, went to the residence in an apparent effort to check on his sister’s welfare. Upon Frederick Errickson’s arrival he was shot and killed by Reno in the driveway leading up to the residence.

The investigation has also revealed that the last gun shot—possibly that associated with Reno’s suicide—was heard at 1:33 p.m.

Authorities believe that Reno may have had a history of mental health issues, and efforts to confirm same are underway.

None of the first responding officers who took Reno’s fire were physically hit or injured. However, they were transported to a local hospital for stress related symptoms and continue to receive appropriate treatment.

This matter remains an active and ongoing investigation.

Autopsies of Reno and both victims are to be conducted by the Northern Regional Medical Examiner’s Office in Newark, New Jersey.

The following agencies responded and supported Warren Township Police during this incident:

  • Bernards Township Police Department
  • Bernardsville Borough Police Department
  • Hillsborough Township Rescue Squad
  • Long Hill Township Police Department
  • Martinsville Rescue Squad
  • Mt. Bethel Fire Department
  • New Jersey State Police Aviation Unit (on standby)
  • New Jersey State Police ROIC (Regional Operations Intelligence Unit)
  • Peapack-Gladstone Police Department
  • Somerset County CERT (Community Emergency Response Team)
  • Somerset County Communications and Command Mobile Unit
  • Somerset County EMS
  • Somerset County EMS Coordinator
  • Members of the Somerset County Police Emergency Response Plan (Eastern Region)
    North Plainfield Borough Police Department
    Watchung Borough Police Department
    Green Brook Township Police Department
    Berkeley Heights Township Police Department
  • Somerset County Sheriff’s Office
  • Somerset County Tactical Emergency Medical Services Team
  • Somerville Rescue Squad
  • Warren Township Volunteer Fire Department
  • Warren Township Office of Emergency Management
  • Warren Township Police K-9 Unit
  • Warren Township Rescue Squad

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AUGUST 6, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - COUNTY BURGLARY TASK FORCE ARRESTS ELIZABETH MAN

SOMERVILLE, N.J. - Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano, Somerset County Chief of County Detectives Timothy Fitzgerald and Branchburg Township Chief of Police David Young announce the arrest of Scott Robert Esser, age 42, of Elizabeth Avenue, Elizabeth, New Jersey.

Prosecutor Soriano states that on July 27, 2015, the Somerset County Communications Center received, what appeared to them to be, an errant, open-line emergency cellular telephone call (commonly referred to as a “butt dial”). County Dispatchers continued to monitor male voices discussing an apparent burglary but were unsure of the caller’s location.

Later that same evening, Branchburg Township Police responded to a reported burglary of a residence on Lamington Road. Police found that the subject home was entered by force, and dresser drawers were emptied of their contents. The homeowner reported $1,355.00 in miscellaneous jewelry had been stolen.

Prosecutor Soriano states that a cellular telephone company confirmed that the cell phone from which the errant call was made to the 911 Center had recently been assigned to defendant Robert Esser.

Prosecutor Soriano states that on Wednesday, August 5, 2015, Detectives assigned to the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Burglary Task Force surveilled defendant Esser as he travelled by car from the City of Elizabeth into Stafford Township in Ocean County. At the time, Defendant Esser was alone and operating a silver 2002 Toyota Camry. Task Force Detectives ultimately followed the defendant’s vehicle to Mermaid Drive but lost sight of the suspect when he exited his vehicle. After the defendant was observed departing the area in his vehicle, Task Force detectives inspected a dwelling on Mermaid Drive and identified a forced entry of same. The defendant’s vehicle was then stopped on the Garden State Parkway by the New Jersey State Police assigned to the Bass River Barracks. Defendant Esser was arrested and taken into custody by Task Force detectives. The defendant’s vehicle was impounded and towed to the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Forensic Lab. A search warrant for vehicle was obtained and, detectives conducted a search of the vehicle. The search resulted in the seizure of miscellaneous pieces of jewelry, electronic devices, a Playstation 4 gaming system, a .38 Caliber handgun, U.S. Bonds worth approximately $11,300.00 and burglary tools.

Defendant Esser has been charged with Burglary, 3rd Degree (2 counts), Theft, 3rd Degree (2 counts), Criminal Mischief, 4th Degree (3 counts) and Burglary, 2nd Degree in connection with the burglaries committed in Branchburg Township, Berkeley Heights, and Stafford Township.

Defendant Esser was lodged in the Somerset County Jail with bail set by the Honorable Ann Bartlett, J.S.C., set bail in the amount of $100,000.00 cash only.

Prosecutor Soriano would like to thank the New Jersey State Police/Bass River Barracks and the Stafford Township Police Department in Ocean County for their assistance in this investigation.

The Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Burglary Task Force is an investigative unit created to assist municipal, county and state law enforcement agencies in the investigation of burglaries. The function of the Burglary Task Force is to collect data, analyze criminal patterns, and disseminate pertinent information to police agencies affected by burglaries.

Law enforcement officers from Branchburg Township, Bedminster Township, Readington Township (Hunterdon County) and Berkley Heights Township (Union County) police departments were integral to this investigation.

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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AUGUST 6, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - HILLSBOROUGH TOWNSHIP RESIDENT PLEADS GUILTY IN HILLSBOROUGH ARSON AND MURDER

SOMERVILLE, N.J. – Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano announces that defendant Juan Jimenez - Olivera, age 30, of Hamilton Road, Hillsborough Township, New Jersey pled guilty to charges of Murder, 1st Degree, Aggravated Arson, 2nd Degree, Disturbing, Desecrating Human Remains, 2nd Degree, Hindering Apprehension of Prosecution, 3rd Degree and Tampering with Physical Evidence, 4th Degree.

In exchange for defendant Juan Jimenez – Olivera’s pleas of guilty defendant will be sentenced to a mandatory term of 30 years incarceration without parole with a consecutive term of 5 years incarceration on his guilty plea to Disturbing, Desecrating Human Remains, 2nd Degree. Sentencing is scheduled for September 18, 2015. The State will move to dismiss the charge of Aggravated Sexual Assault, 1st Degree after the imposition of sentence.

Prosecutor Soriano states that on April 29, 2014 at approximately 8:23 a.m., Hillsborough Township Police along with the Hillsborough Township Fire Department responded to a residential fire on Bloomingdale Drive. Upon making entry into the residence, fire personnel located a deceased female, Sviatlana Dranko, age 30, on the second floor of the dwelling. The fire was deemed suspicious as two points of origin were noted.

Detectives from the Hillsborough Township Police Department, the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Unit, the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Crime Scene and Forensics Unit, the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Arson Task Force, and the New Jersey Regional Medical Examiner’s Office responded to the scene to conduct the investigation.

The investigation revealed that Ms. Dranko was deceased prior to the setting of the fires and that said fires were intentionally set. Detectives followed-up on numerous leads which ultimately led them to co-worker Juan Jimenez – Olivera.

Defendant Jimenez – Olivera was identified as the person responsible for sexually assaulting and murdering Ms. Dranko prior to the starting of fires. The victim and defendant were not involved in a relationship.

Defendant Jimenez – Olivera remains lodged in the Somerset County Jail in lieu of $1,000,000.00 cash bail set by the Honorable Julie M. Marino, P. J. Cr. Bail was revoked after the defendant pled guilty on Motion of the State. The State was represented by Assistant Prosecutor Frank P. Kolodzieski, II.

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AUGUST 5, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - NORTH PLAINFIELD MAN CHARGED WITH POSSESSION OF HANDGUN, HEROIN WITH THE INTENT TO DISTRIBUTE AND ENDANGERING THE WELFARE OF A CHILD

SOMERVILLE, N.J. - Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano, Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of County Detectives Timothy M. Fitzgerald and North Plainfield Borough Chief of Police William G. Parenti announce the arrest of Tyree K. Brown, age 28, of Craig Place, North Plainfield, New Jersey.

Prosecutor Soriano states that as part of the ongoing narcotics investigation, the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Organized Crime and Narcotics Task Force obtained a Superior Court Search Warrant for the residence and person of Tyree Brown.

On August 4, 2015 at approximately 1:00 p.m., detectives assigned to the Task Force and the North Plainfield Police Department observed defendant Brown exit his Craig Place residence. While he was walking in a westerly direction on Craig Place defendant Brown was observed to be carrying a black compact disc carrying case. Detectives approached defendant Brown and advised him of the ongoing narcotic investigation. Shortly thereafter, detectives executed the search warrant on defendant Brown’s residence. The search resulted in the seizure of 388 decks of heroin (over ½ ounce), four (4) Oxycodone pills, two (2) Alprazolam pills, nine (9) syringes and $732.00 in currency.

Prosecutor Soriano states that Task Force members subsequently obtained a Search Warrant for the compact disc case. A search of the case revealed a loaded 9mm handgun. The narcotics seized in this investigation were within 1000 feet of the Somerset School on Somerset Street.

The estimated street value of the seized narcotics is approximately $2,670.00.

Defendant Brown was charged with 2nddegree Possession of CDS (Heroin) with the Intent to Distribute, 2nd Degree Possession of a Firearm, 2nd Degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child, 3rd Degree Possession of CDS (Heroin) with Intent to Distribute within 1000 feet of a school, 3rd Degree Possession of CDS (Oxycodone), 3rd Degree Possession of CDS (Alprazolam) and Disorderly Persons offense Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

Defendant Brown was 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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AUGUST 5, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - NORTH PLAINFIELD MAN CHARGED WITH ROBBERY

SOMERVILLE, N.J. - Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano, Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of County Detectives Timothy M. Fitzgerald and North Plainfield Borough Chief of Police William G. Parenti announce the arrest of Tyree K. Brown, age 28, of Craig Place, North Plainfield, New Jersey.

Prosecutor Soriano states that during the course of a narcotic investigation, being conducted by detectives from the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Organized Crime and Narcotics Task Force and the North Plainfield Police Department, it was ascertained that defendant Brown was responsible for a robbery in North Plainfield on August 3, 2015. The robbery occurred at 3:28 a.m. at the intersection of Duer Street and Craig Place. During the robbery defendant brown struck the male victim about the head and body with a metal pipe. Brown forcibly took the victim’s wallet containing personal papers, cash and credit cards. The wallet and its contents were recovered during the execution of a search warrant on defendant Brown’s residence on August 4, 2014.

Defendant Brown has been charged with Robbery, 1st Degree and Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose, 3rd Degree. Defendant Brown was 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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AUGUST 3, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - PRINCETON MAN CHARGED WITH ATTEMPTED MURDER

SOMERVILLE, N.J. – Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano and Franklin Township Chief of Police Lawrence Roberts announce the arrest of Avery C. Gorman, age 21, of Gold Star Drive, Princeton, New Jersey.

Prosecutor Soriano states that on August 1, 2015 at 7:09 p.m., Franklin Township Police received a report of shots being fired in the vicinity of Eugene Avenue. Responding officers located a male victim who stated that he was shot at while he was sitting in his vehicle on Ambrose Street.

The investigation conducted by detectives of the Franklin Township Police Department revealed that a dark blue Honda Accord with tinted windows pulled up in front of the victim’s parked vehicle. The front right passenger of the suspect vehicle pointed a black handgun out the window and discharged the weapon towards the victim, shattering the glass in the victim’s vehicle but missing him.

Subsequent investigation caused detectives to believe that the shooter was Devin Alexander, age 21, of Hamilton Street, in the Somerset section of Franklin Township, N.J. and that the driver of the vehicle was defendant Gorman.

On August 2, 2015 at approximately 6:41 p.m. Franklin Township Patrols observed defendant Gorman operating his 2014 Honda Accord while on Stothoff Street. A motor vehicle stop was conducted and defendant Gorman was arrested without incident.

Defendant Gorman was lodged in the Somerset County Jail with bail set by the Honorable Angela Borkowski, J.S.C. at $500,000 cash only.

Defendant Gorman has been charged with Attempted Murder, 1st Degree.

Defendant Alexander has been charged with Attempted Murder, 1st Degree, Unlawful Possession of a Weapon, 2nd Degree and Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose, 2nd Degree.

Prosecutor Soriano states that law enforcement authorities are searching for Devin Alexander, detectives are urging Alexander to surrender to law enforcement authorities and are cautioning any individual that may come into contact with him to notify police immediately and do not try to apprehend him as he may be armed.

Crime Stoppers of Somerset County, Inc. is offering a reward of up to $1,500 for information leading to the whereabouts and arrest of Devin Alexander.

Prosecutor Soriano and Chief Roberts request that anyone with information pertaining to this shooting is asked to contact the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Squad at (908) 231-7100, the Franklin Township Police Department at (732) 873-5533.

Tipsters interested in collecting the reward monies are to call 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 Crime Stopper online tips and phone calls are 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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JULY 21, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - CRIME STOPPERS OFFERS REWARD IN MISSING CHILD INVESTIGATION

SOMERVILLE, NEW JERSEY – Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano states that Crime Stoppers of Somerset County, Inc. is offering a reward of up to $2,500 for information leading to the whereabouts and arrests of Michael Streko, age 34, Amy Streko, age 32.

Prosecutor Soriano states that Everett Streko, age 8, was last seen by his grandmother/legal guardian in the evening of Thursday, July 16th at 10:30 p.m. at her Green Brook residence. The next morning, the grandmother noticed that her daughter-in-law Amy Streko (Everett’s biological mother who was also living in the residence) was missing along with Everett and all of the child’s personal belongings.

The grandmother notified Green Brook Police of her missing grandson at 12:00 p.m. (noon).

The child’s biological father, Michael Streko was last seen by neighbors moving out of his West Sylvania Avenue residence in Neptune City, New Jersey at 1 a.m. on Friday, July 17th.

Suspects:
Michael Streko, white male, dob - 3/12/1981

Amy Streko, white Female, dob – 9/28/1982


The New Jersey State Police Missing Person Unit has assisted in this investigation.

Michael and Amy Streko are in violation of a court order and are wanted for child interference.

Everett Streko, white male, dob 11/20/2006, 4 foot tall, weighing 60 lbs. green eyes, brown hair, fair skin

Amy Streko is known to operate a 2007 Grey 4 door Ford Focus bearing NJ Registration Y96-FHN

Michael Streko is known to operate a 1997 White/Blue Winnebago bearing NJ Registration X72-FNK.


Anyone having information regarding the whereabouts of Michael /Amy Streko and their son Everett or anyone who may have observed their vehicles is asked to contact the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Major Crime Unit at 908-231-7100, Green Brook Police Department at 732-968-1188 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 calls will be kept confidential.

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JULY 18, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - MISSING CHILD

Everett Streko, age 8
White Male
D.O.B. 11/20/2006
4 foot tall, weighing approximately 60 pounds
Green eyes, Brown hair, Fair skin

SOMERVILLE, NEW JERSEY – Everett was last seen by his grandmother/legal guardian at 10:30 p.m. on July 16, 2015 at her residence located on Kings Court, Green Brook Township, New Jersey. On Friday morning July 17, 2015 the grandmother noticed that her daughter-in-law Amy Streko (Everett’s biological mother who was also living at the King Court residence) was missing along with Everett and all of the child’s personal belongings.

The grandmother notified the Green Brook Police Department of her missing grandson at 12:00 p.m.

The child’s biological father, Michael Streko’s last known address is 331 West Sylvania Avenue, in Neptune City, New Jersey. A search of the Neptune residence yielded negative results.

The investigation thus far has revealed that Michael Streko moved all of his belongings from the Neptune City residence on Thursday, July 16th at approximately 1:00 p.m. and his whereabouts are unknown.

Suspects:


Michael Streko, age 34, white male, DOB - 3/12/1981

Michael Streko is known to operate a 1997 White/Blue Winnebago bearing NJ Registration X72-FNK

Amy Streko, age 32, white Female, DOB – 9/28/1982

Amy Streko is known to operate a 2007 Grey 4 door Ford Focus bearing NJ Registration Y96-FHN


The New Jersey State Police Missing Person Unit has assisted in this investigation.

Michael and Amy Streko are in violation of a court order and are wanted for child interference.

Anyone having information regarding the whereabouts of Michael /Amy Streko and their son Everett or anyone who may have observed their vehicles are asked to contact the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Major Crime Unit at 908-231-7100, Green Brook Police Department at 732-968-1188 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 calls will be kept confidential.

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JULY 17, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - SOMERVILLE MAN CHARGED WITH SEXUAL ASSAULT

SOMERVILLE, N.J. - Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano, Somerset County Sheriff ¬¬¬¬¬Frank J. Provenzano and Somerset County Chief of County Detectives Timothy Fitzgerald announce the arrest of Thomas Bizarro, Jr. age 39, of Bell Avenue, Somerville, New Jersey.

Prosecutor Soriano states on July 15, 2015, it was reported to the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office that an adult male, who was incarcerated in the Somerset County Jail on July 14, 2015, had been sexually assaulted by another inmate.

Prosecutor Soriano states that an investigation was conducted by detectives assigned to the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Sex Crimes/Child Abuse Unit and the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office. As a result of the investigation defendant Bizarro was arrested and charged with Sexual Assault, 2nd Degree.

Defendant Bizarro, who is currently lodged in the Somerset County Jail pending trial on other charges, had an additional bail set by the Honorable Robert B. Reed, J.S.C., at $150,000.00 cash only.

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.

Quote from Somerset County Sheriff Frank J. Provenzano: "As soon as we were notified of the incident, we advised the County Prosecutor's Office of same. The investigation by the Prosecutor's Office detectives was equally as swift. We will continue to vigorously detect and prosecute any criminal behavior occurring in the county jail."

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JULY 16, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - UNDERCOVER NARCOTIC INVESTIGATIONS YIELD LARGE SEIZURE OF COCAINE

SOMERVILLE, N.J. - Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano, Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of County Detectives Timothy Fitzgerald, Franklin Township Chief of Police Lawrence Roberts and Hillsborough Township Chief of Police Paul A. Kaminsky announce the arrests of Jose Contreras, age 19, of U.S. Highway Route 206, Hillsborough Township, New Jersey, Andy Martinez-Ramos, age 37, of Columbus Place, New Brunswick, New Jersey, Alex Marroquin, age 29, of Commercial Avenue, New Brunswick, New Jersey, Abimael Sanchez, age 24, of Eves Drive, Hillsborough, New Jersey and Jose Juan Lozada-Rojas, age 22, of Home Street, Franklin Township, New Jersey.

Prosecutor Soriano states that on July 8, 2015, in the vicinity of Marshall Road in Hillsborough Township, an undercover detective assigned to the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Organized Crime and Narcotics Task Force met with Jose Contreras and purchased two bags of cocaine with a combined weight of one gram.

On July 9, 2015 the undercover detective met a second time with Contreras at a Route 206 shopping plaza in Hillsborough Township and he purchased one gram bag of cocaine from him.

On July 15, 2015 defendant Contreras made arrangements for his drug supplier to meet with him and the undercover detective at an Easton Avenue shopping plaza in Franklin Township.

At 9:00 p.m. Task Force detectives and members of the Franklin Township Crime Suppression Unit set up surveillance of the shopping plaza. The undercover detective arrived in his own vehicle and parked near a fast food restaurant located within the shopping plaza where he waited for defendant Contreras to arrive. The surveillance team observed defendant Contreras arrive in a Volkswagen Jetta driven by Abimael Sanchez. The team then observed the arrival of an Acura sedan driven by Andy Martinez-Ramos with Alex Marroquin in the front passenger seat. Defendant Contreras exited his vehicle and entered the rear seat of the Acura. A short time later, Contreras exited the Acura holding an aluminum foil package. Defendant Contreras then met with the undercover detective in the parking lot and sold him the 150 grams of cocaine that was in the aluminum foil package.

At this time, detectives approached the defendants and after a brief struggle with defendant Contreras he was placed under arrest. Defendants Martinez-Ramos and Mirraquin were removed from the Acura and were also placed under arrest without incident. Defendant Sanchez gave detectives voluntary consent to search his vehicle. The search resulted in the seizure of two marijuana cigarettes. Defendant Sanchez was arrested without incident.

Defendant Contreras was charged with Distribution of CDS (Cocaine), 1st Degree, Conspiracy to Distribute CDS (Cocaine), 2nd Degree, two counts of Distribution of CDS (Cocaine) 3rd Degree and Resisting Arrest, a Disorderly Persons Offense.

Defendants Martinez-Ramos and Mirraquin were each charged with Distribution of CDS (Cocaine), 1st degree, and Conspiracy to Distribute CDS (Cocaine), 2nd degree.

Defendant Sanchez was charged with Possession of Marijuana under 50 grams, a Disorderly Persons Offense.

Defendants Jose J. Contreras, Andy Martinez-Ramos and Alex Mirraquin were logged in the Somerset County Jail.

Defendant Sanchez was lodged in the Somerset County Jail with bail set by the Honorable Hector Rodriguez, C.J.M.C., at $2,500 cash only.

On July 16, 2015 the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Organized Crime and Narcotics Task Force and the Franklin Township Crime Suppression Unit continued its investigation into cocaine distribution in Franklin Township. Arrangements were made for an undercover detective to meet with Jose Juan Lozada-Rojas in the vicinity of Somerset Street. Subsequent to setting up a surveillance team in the area, detectives observed Lozada-Rojas arrive in a silver Honda Civic. Defendant Lozada-Rojas met the undercover and sold him one plastic bag containing 60 grams of cocaine. After the transaction was completed, detectives approached defendant Lozada-Rojas and arrested him without incident.

Defendant Lozada-Rojas was charged with Distribution of CDS (Cocaine), 2nd Degree and he was lodged in the Somerset County Jail with bail set by the Honorable Robert Reed, J.S.C., at $100,000 cash only.

The total cocaine seized from both investigations totaled 212 grams, having an approximate street value of $21,200.

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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JULY 15, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - POLICE INVESTIGATE FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP ARMED ROBBERIES

SOMERVILLE, N.J. - Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano, Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of County Detectives Timothy Fitzgerald and Franklin Township Chief of Police Lawrence Roberts announce that detectives are investigating two armed robberies that occurred yesterday in the Somerset section of Franklin Township, New Jersey.

Prosecutor Soriano states that at 12:00 a.m. Franklin Township Police responded to a robbery alarm at the 6Ten Convenience Store and Deli, on Hamilton Street. A store employee told officers that she was robbed at gunpoint by a white male assailant.

The suspect fled from the store with an undisclosed amount of currency and cigarettes. The suspect was last observed fleeing on foot towards the Exxon Tiger Mart located on Franklin Boulevard and Hamilton Street.

Prosecutor Soriano states later in the day at 9:46 p.m. Franklin Township Police responded to a 9-1-1 call reporting an armed robbery at the D-Mart Convenience Store, located on Somerset Street. Responding officers made contact with an employee who stated that he was robbed at gunpoint by a white male assailant. The suspect fled from the store with an undisclosed amount of currency and cigarettes.

The suspect was last observed fleeing on foot in the direction of Route 27 and Matilda Avenue.

Prosecutor Soriano states that detectives from the Franklin Township Police Department and the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Unit are conducting the investigation. The suspect is believed to be the same individual responsible for both convenience store robberies. Detectives have released the following description of the suspect, he is described as a white male, approximate age - late 20’s to mid 30’s, approximately 5’10” to 6” in height, dark hair, wearing a baseball cap and a scarf that was covering his face, dark pants with white lettering on right leg, long sleeve dark jacket with a grey stripe down the arm, he was armed with a handgun.

Detectives are asking for the public’s assistance. If anyone observed an individual matching the description of the suspect in the area at the time the robberies were committed they are asked to contact law enforcement authorities.

Prosecutor Soriano, Chief Fitzgerald and Chief Roberts request anyone with information regarding these incidents to contact the Franklin Township Police Department at (732) 873-5533, the Somerset County Prosecutors Office Major Crimes Unit at (908) 231-7100, 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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JULY 13, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - DEFENDANT SURRENDERS TO AUTHORITIES

SOMERVILLE, N.J. – Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano, Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey, Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of County Detectives Timothy M. Fitzgerald and Franklin Township Chief of Police Lawrence Roberts announce that on July 10, 2015 defendant Deshawn Carreker, age 22, of Seaman Street in New Brunswick, New Jersey surrendered to a Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office detective. At approximately 4:15 p.m., the detective turned defendant Carreker over to detectives with the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office in Somerville, New. Jersey

Prosecutor Soriano states that on June 24, 2015 at approximately 11:20 p.m. Franklin Township Police responded to a Route 27 convenience store on a report of an aggravated assault. Responding officers met with the victim, age 35, who told the officers that a male, later identified as Divendra Bhim, had asked to meet with him at the Country Side apartments in the Somerset section of Franklin Township. Once the victim arrived at that location, the victim was approached by defendant Bhim and two other unknown males who proceeded to rob and assault him.

The investigation revealed that defendant Bhim drove Dashawn Carreker and a third male only known as “Tyrone” to the apartment complex in order to sell marihuana to the victim. Defendant Carreker punched and kicked the victim while “Tyrone” struck the victim in the head with a hand gun. The victim was transported to an area hospital where he underwent surgery for a broken jaw.

Defendants Bhim and Carreker were charged with Robbery, 1st Degree, Conspiracy, 2nd Degree, Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose, 2nd Degree and Aggravated Assault, 2nd Degree.

Defendant Carreker was lodged in the Somerset County Jail with bail set by the Honorable Yolanda Ciccone, A.J.S.C., at $150,000 cash only.

Defendant Bhim was arrested on July 7, 20015 at the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office in Somerville. He was lodged in the Somerset County Jail with bail set by the Honorable H. Matthew Curry, J.S.C. at $100,000 cash only.

On July 8, 2015, Crime Stoppers of Somerset County, Inc. announced a reward of up to $1,500 for information leading to defendant Carreker’s location and arrest.

Prosecutor Soriano, Chief Fitzgerald and Chief Roberts request anyone with information regarding this investigation to contact the Franklin Township Police Department at (732) 873-5533, the Somerset County Prosecutors Office Major Crimes Unit at (908) 231-7100, 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 Crime Stopper tipsters will remain anonymous and all 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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JULY 9, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - TASK FORCE SEIZES HEROIN AND MORPHINE PILLS IN WARREN TOWNSHIP

SOMERVILLE, N.J. - Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano, Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of County Detectives Timothy M. Fitzgerald and Warren Township Chief of Police William Keane announce the arrests of Mark Orlando, age 39, of Richford Terrace, Linden, New Jersey and Angela Siess, age 52, of Evergreen Road, Edison, New Jersey.

Prosecutor Soriano states that the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Organized Crime and Narcotics Task Force received information that on July 8, 2015, Mark Orlando would be in possession of heroin while at a Warren Township shopping center. It was learned that he would be arriving in a white Cadillac with a female driver, later identified as Angela Siess.

At approximately 10:30 p.m., a Task Force surveillance team observed a white Cadillac park in the Warrenville Road shopping center. Defendant Siess exited the vehicle and entered one of the stores. Defendant Orlando also exited the vehicle but remained outside the store. Once Siess exited the store, detectives approached both individuals and identified themselves. Detectives observed defendant Orlando attempting to place a black plastic bag down his pants but instead the bag fell onto the ground and 50 decks of heroin fell out of the black bag. Detectives seized an additional 200 decks of heroin inside the plastic bag.

Defendant Orlando was placed under arrest without incident. He was also found to be in possession of one (1) Benzodiazepine pill.

Defendant Siess gave detectives voluntary consent to search her vehicle, purse and her person. Task Force members located 9 ½ morphine pills in an unmarked prescription bottle and 2 decks of heroin in another unmarked prescription bottle. Two additional partially filled prescription bottles bearing defendant Siess’ name were also located. Defendant Siess was placed under arrest without incident.

During the processing of defendant Sess it was discovered that one of the prescription bottles prescribed to Siess did not contain the correct medication. The 36 pills inside the bottle were identified as Benzodiazepine.

Defendant Orlando was charged with Possession of CDS (Heroin) with the Intent to Distribute, 3rd Degree and Possession of CDS (Benzodiazepine Pill), 4th Degree.

Defendant Siess was charged with Possession of CDS (Heroin), 3rd Degree Possession of CDS (Morphine Pills), 3rd Degree and Possession of CDS (Benzodiazepine Pill), 4th Degree.

Both defendants were 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 defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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JULY 8, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - 2 CHARGED IN FRANKLIN ROBBERY

SOMERVILLE, N.J. – Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano, Somerset County Chief of County Detectives Timothy M. Fitzgerald and Franklin Township Chief of Police Lawrence Roberts announce the arrest of Divendra Bhim, age 20, of Mustang Trail in the Somerset section of Franklin Township, New Jersey.

Prosecutor Soriano states that on June 24, 2015 at approximately 11:20 p.m. Franklin Township Police responded to a Route 27 convenience store on a report of an aggravated assault. Responding officers met with the victim, age 35, who told the officers that a male, later identified as Divendra Bhim, had asked to meet with him at the Country Side apartments in the Somerset section of Franklin Township. Once the victim arrived at that location, the victim was approached by defendant Bhim and two other unknown males who proceeded to rob and assault him.

The victim was transported to an area hospital where he underwent surgery for his injuries.

The investigation conducted by detectives from the Franklin Township Police Department and the Somerset County Major Crimes Squad revealed that defendant Bhim drove Dashawn Carreker, age 22, of Seaman Street in New Brunswick, New Jersey and a third male only known as “Tyrone” to the apartment complex in order to sell marihuana to the victim. While the defendant was on the ground, defendant Carreker punched and kicked him while “Tyrone” struck the victim in the head with a hand gun.

Defendants Bhim and Carreker have each been charged with Robbery, 1st Degree, Conspiracy, 2nd Degree, Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose, 2nd Degree and Aggravated Assault, 2nd Degree.

Defendant Bhim was lodged in the Somerset County Jail with bail set by the Honorable H. Matthew Curry, J.S.C. at $100,000 cash only.

Law enforcement authorities are still searching for Deshawn Carreker who is considered to be armed and dangerous. Anyone in the vicinity of Deshawn Carreker are warned that they should not approach him or attempt to detain him.

Prosecutor Soriano states that Crime Stoppers of Somerset County, Inc. is offering a reward of up to $1,500 for information regarding defendant Carreker’s location and arrest.

Prosecutor Soriano, Chief Fitzgerald and Chief Roberts state that anyone with information regarding this incident or knows of defendant Carreker’s whereabouts should 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 calls are 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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JULY 7, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - FRANKLIN WOMAN CHARGED IN 3 ROBBERIES

SOMERVILLE, N.J. – Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano and Franklin Township Chief of Police Lawrence Roberts announce the arrest of Laquita Cooper, age 27, of Victor Street in the Somerset section of Franklin Township, New Jersey.

Prosecutor Soriano states that an investigation conducted by Franklin Township detectives revealed that Laquita Cooper was responsible for committing three recent robberies in Franklin Township.

On June 22nd defendant Cooper entered a Hamilton Street convenience store, pointed a knife at a store clerk and demanded money from the cash register. After reaching over the counter and removing an undetermined of currency she fled from the store.

On June 25th defendant Cooper entered a Hamilton Street gas station convenience store, pointed a handgun at the clerk and demanded money from the cash register. After receiving currency from the clerk the defendant fled from the store.

On June 29th defendant Cooper, as a passenger in a taxi cab traveling in the area of Douglas Avenue, pointed a gun at the driver and demanded money. When the driver refused to give the defendant money she reached over the seat and grabbed approximately $100 from the vehicle’s center console. A brief struggle ensued and the driver was able to disarm defendant Cooper before she exited the vehicle.

On July 6, 2015, at approximately 3:30 p.m., defendant Cooper was arrested without incident while at the Franklin Township Police Headquarters.

Defendant Cooper was charged with three counts of Robbery, 1st Degree and one count of Possession of Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose, 4th Degree.

Defendant Cooper was lodged in the Somerset County Jail with bail set by the Honorable Kevin Shanahan, J.S.C at $250,000 cash only.

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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JULY 1, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - NARCOTICS INVESTIGATION IN FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP YIELDS THREE ARRESTS

SOMERVILLE, N.J. - Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano, Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of County Detectives Timothy M. Fitzgerald Somerset County Sheriff Frank Provenzano and Franklin Township Chief of Police Lawrence Roberts announce the arrest of Jessica Simmonds, age 22, of North Dover Avenue, Franklin Township, New Jersey, Chris Gardner, age 24, Shane Gardner, age 23, both of Arden Street, Franklin Township, New Jersey.

Prosecutor Soriano states that the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Organized Crime and Narcotics Task Force received information that on June 30, 2015 two males would be arriving at a pharmacy located on Route 27 in a white four-door Mazda which would be operated by a female and that the occupants would be in possession of heroin.

At approximately 6:30 P.M, a surveillance team observed the Mazda, with 3 individuals, park in a pharmacy parking lot. Task Force detectives approached the vehicle, identified themselves as police officers, and advised its occupants of the narcotics investigation. Shane Gardner voluntarily advised detectives that he was in possession of 2 bags of MDMA. After retrieving the bags defendant Shane Gardner was placed under arrest without incident.

The Somerset County Sheriff’s Department K-9 “Apex” and his handler responded to the scene and conducted an exterior sniff of the vehicle. “Apex” gave a positive indication for the presence of additional narcotics inside the vehicle. Subsequent to securing a Superior Court Search Warrant for the vehicle, detectives seized
50 decks of heroin, 5 grams of marihuana, a scale, a cutting agent and baggies inside the passenger compartment. In the trunk area, detectives found 15 decks of heroin. Defendants Chris Gardner and Simmonds were also placed under arrest without incident.

Defendant Shane Gardner was charged with Possession of CDS (heroin) with Intent to Distribute 3rd Degree, Possession of CDS (MDMA) 3rd Degree, Possession of Marijuana, under 50 grams, a Disorderly Persons Offense and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, a Disorderly Persons Offense. Defendants Chris Gardner and Jessica Simmonds were both charged with Possession of CDS (heroin) with Intent to Distribute 3rd Degree, Possession of Marijuana, under 50 grams, a Disorderly Persons Offense and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, a Disorderly Persons Offense.

The heroin seized has an estimated street value of $1,000.00 and the MDMA has an estimated street value of one hundred ($100.00) dollars.

The defendants were 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 defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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JULY 1, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - POLICE INVESTIGATE FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP HOMICIDE

SOMERVILLE, N.J. - Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano, Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of County Detectives Timothy Fitzgerald and Franklin Township Chief of Police Lawrence Roberts announce that detectives are investigating a homicide which occurred last evening in the Somerset section of Franklin Township, New Jersey.

Prosecutor Soriano states that at 8:04 p.m. Franklin Township Police responded to a 9-1-1 call regarding a shooting victim in the vicinity of the Hempstead Gardens Apartment complex, located off of Route 27, Somerset, New Jersey. Responding officers observed an unresponsive male on the roadway, Hempstead Drive. The male, who was subsequently identified as Francis Vandy, age 35, of Buttercup Lane, Willingboro, New Jersey, was deceased upon the arrival of officers from an apparent gunshot wound to the head.
Prosecutor Soriano states that detectives from the Franklin Township Police Department, detectives from the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes and Crime Scene Investigations/ Forensics Units, as well as the New Jersey Regional Medical Examiners Office, responded to conduct the investigation.

Prosecutor Soriano states that detectives are attempting to determine a motive for the shooting. Detectives are also attempting to identify any witnesses which may have been present at or near the scene at the time of the shooting.
An autopsy will be performed at the New Jersey Regional Medical Examiner’s Office to determine the cause and manner of death.

Prosecutor Soriano further states that Crime Stoppers of Somerset County Inc, is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading the the arrest of the individual who shot Mr. Vandy.

Prosecutor Soriano, Chief Fitzgerald and Chief Roberts request anyone with information regarding this incident to contact the Franklin Township Police Department at (732) 873-5533, the Somerset County Prosecutors Office Major Crimes Unit at (908) 231-7100.

Individuals who want to remain annonymous and collect the reward monies offered by Crime Stoppers of Somerset County, Inc. must 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.

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JUNE 29, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP MAN PLEADS GULTY TO THE ATTEMPTED MURDER OF FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP POLICE OFFICERS

SOMERVILLE, N.J. - Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano announces that on June 26, 2015, Archie L. Ashley, age 27, of Seeley Road, in the Somerset section of Franklin Township (Somerset County) New Jersey, pleaded guilty before the Honorable Kimarie Rahill, J.S.C., to various charges in connection with the attempted murder of Franklin Township police officers. He pleaded guilty to four counts of Attempted Murder, 1st Degree, Disarming a Law Enforcement Officer, 1st Degree, Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose, 2nd Degree, Resisting Arrest, 3rd Degree, Burglary, 3rd Degree, Theft, 3rd Degree and Criminal Mischief, 3rd Degree. He also pleaded guilty to Burglary, 3rd Degree, and Theft, 3rd Degree relating to an incident from an earlier date. In exchange for the pleas of guilty, the State is recommending a sentence of 25 years in state prison, with 85% of that, 21 years and three months, without parole.

Prosecutor Soriano states that on Tuesday, August 13, 2013 at approximately 9:41 p.m. Franklin Township Police were dispatched to a Buttonwood Drive residence regarding an activated burglar alarm. Responding Officers met with the homeowner who related that when she arrived home she noticed that a living room window had been broken and blood droppings were on the floor. The officers cleared the residence with negative results for the suspect. A police broadcast requested additional Franklin Township patrol units to conduct a canvass of the area for the suspect.

During the search of the neighborhood, a Franklin Township officer observed a male, subsequently identified as defendant Ashley, walking towards the rear of St. Mathias Church on Overbrook Road. The officer observed that he was wearing a white t-shirt with stains that appeared to be fresh blood. The officer exited his marked police vehicle and directed defendant Ashley to stop walking to which he complied. During the course of the stop, defendant Ashley refused to cooperate with the officer’s additional commands and became aggressive towards the officer. Subsequent to the arresting officer’s advisement that defendant Ashley was being placed under arrest, a physical altercation ensued. The defendant was taken to the ground where he continued to resist arrest and violently assault the officer. While on the ground, defendant Ashley began to grab at the officer’s duty weapon, and he eventually succeeded in removing the weapon from the holster. The officer struggled to regain control of his weapon. Defendant Ashley continued to fight with the officer and verbally threatened to kill the officer. Defendant Ashley purposely fired one shot—at extremely close range--barely missing the officer.

Prosecutor Soriano further states that additional Franklin Patrol Units arrived to assist the officer who was still on the ground with the defendant. With the original officer and additional officers attempting to remove the weapon from defendant Ashley’s control, defendant Ashley managed to purposely fire a second shot. After being disarmed, defendant Ashley continued to fight with the officers by throwing punches while on the ground. The officers involved in this incident were transported to an area hospital for injuries they sustained during this encounter. They were all treated and released.

Regarding the other incident, on June 20, 2013, a Cedar Brook Drive home in Franklin Township was burglarized and various items were taken. There were exterior cameras on the home, and defendant was identified as the individual who committed the burglary. Additionally, fingerprint evidence also connected defendant to that burglary.

After his pleas of guilty Judge Rahill revoked Ashley’s bail and remanded him to the Somerset County Jail pending sentencing which is scheduled for August 19, 2015. Since his arrest he had remained in custody in lieu of $1,000,000 cash only bail.

The State was represented by Assistant Prosecutor Robert J. Hawkes.

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JUNE 24, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - PENNSYLVANIA WOMAN CHARGED WITH THEFT OF $325,000

SOMERVILLE, N.J. – Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano, Somerset County Chief of County Detectives Timothy M. Fitzgerald and Bridgewater Township Chief of Police Manuel Caravella announce the arrest of Younja Devine a.k.a. Jaimie Devine, age 52, of Route 590 in Hawley, Pennsylvania.

Prosecutor Soriano states that on February 17, 2015, Younja Devine’s former employer, Bridgewater Community Services, contacted the Bridgewater Police Department and reported that she had stolen in excess of $300,000.00.

Bridgewater Community Services operates 2 senior citizen housing complexes within Bridgewater Township named Centerbridge I and Centerbridge II.

An investigation was initiated by detectives from the Bridgewater Township Police Department and the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Special Investigations Unit. The investigation revealed that defendant Devine, in her position as resident manager for the properties, deposited over $325,000.00 in fraudulent checks into her personal account between September 2013 and January 2015. Subsequently, defendant Devine used the names of active vendors utilized by Bridgewater Community Services and submited fraudulent invoices in the vendor’s name. After making a check out to the vendor for the fraudulent invoice she would alter the check and have it made out to a consulting company which she owned.

On June 23, 2015, defendant Devine was arrested at the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office in Somerville. She was released on her own recognizance.

Devine was charged with Theft, 2nd Degree , Forgery, 3rd Degree and Uttering a Forged Instrument, 3rd Degree.

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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JUNE 18, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - PISCATAWAY MAN CHARGED WITH DISTRIBUTION OF HEROIN

SOMERVILLE, N.J. - Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano, Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of County Detectives Timothy Fitzgerald and Raritan Borough Chief of Police Kenneth McCormick announce the arrest of Jason Weaver, age 32, of Independence Court, Piscataway, New Jersey.

Prosecutor Soriano states that on June 17, 2015, an undercover detective assigned to the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Organized Crime and Narcotics Task Force purchased forty (40) wax folds of heroin from Jason Weaver while in a Raritan motel room in which defendant Weaver had been staying. Subsequently, detectives obtained a Superior Court Search Warrant for the motel room.

At approximately 9:15 p.m., defendant Weaver was arrested, and a search was conducted of this room. The search resulted in the seizure of nineteen (19) vials of cocaine (under ½ ounce) and an additional 106 wax folds of heroin (under ½ ounce).

Defendant Weaver was charged with Possession of CDS (Cocaine) under ½ ounce with the Intent to Distribute, 3rd degree and Possession of CDS (Heroin) under ½ ounce with the Intent to Distribute 3rd degree.

Defendant Weaver was lodged at 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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JUNE 15, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - 2 CHARGED IN FRANKLIN ROBBERY

SOMERVILLE, N.J. – Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano, Somerset County Chief of County Detectives Timothy M. Fitzgerald and Franklin Township Chief of Police Lawrence Roberts announce the arrests of Ernest James, age 31, of Bartle Court, Highland Park, New Jersey and a juvenile.

Prosecutor Soriano states that on Friday, June 12, 2015 at approximately 9:37 p.m., Franklin Township Police responded to a 911 call reporting the robbery of a food delivery person on Canterbury Circle. Responding officers met with the victim who related that while making a delivery on Canterbury Circle he was confronted by two (2) males. One of the suspects, later identified as a juvenile, was wearing a mask and he was armed with a handgun. The second suspect, later identified as defendant James, had a bandana around his neck. After the suspects demanded the victim’s money and the food he was delivering, the victim dropped the food on the ground and fled the area on foot.

Detectives from the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Squad responded to the scene to assist Franklin detectives during the investigation. With the assistance of the New Jersey State Police Tracking K-9 Unit detectives were able to determine that the suspects went inside the residence at 33 Canterbury Circle. A consent search was obtained from the owner of the residence. Defendant James and the juvenile were located inside the residence. Detectives also found inside the residence an imitation handgun, mask, bandana and the food that the delivery driver had previously dropped on the ground.

Defendant James was lodged in the Somerset County Jail and charged with Robbery, 1st Degree, Use of a Minor to Commit a Criminal Offense, 1st Degree and Possession of an Imitation Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose, 4th Degree. The juvenile was remanded to the Middlesex County Detention Center and he was charged with Robbery, 1st Degree and Possession of an Imitation Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose, 4th Degree.
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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JUNE 12, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - SOMERVILLE BANK ROBBERY SUSPECTS CAPTURED

SOMERVILLE, N.J. - Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano, Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of County Detectives Timothy M. Fitzgerald, Somerville Borough Chief of Police Dennis Manning announce the arrests of Luis Castaneda, age 39, of Thompson Avenue, Bound Brook, New Jersey, Carmelo Soto Jr., age 24, of Manville Avenue, Manville, New Jersey and Jaime Ayuso, age 39, of Kimberly Road, Hillsborough Township, New Jersey.

Prosecutor Soriano states that today at approximately 8:50 a.m., two males, later identified as Carmelo Soto Jr. and Luis Castaneda, entered the Somerset Savings Bank located on West End Avenue, Somerville, New Jersey. Once inside the bank, defendant Soto jumped over the counter while defendant Castaneda brandished a hand gun. A third suspect, later identified as defendant Ayuso, remained in a pickup truck parked outside the bank. Subsequent to taking an undisclosed amount of cash from the teller’s cash drawers, defendants Soto and Castaneda fled the bank and entered the pickup truck. Shortly after leaving the bank parking lot, the suspects were stopped by agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and detectives with the Somerset County Prosecutors Office and Somerville Police Department.

The suspects were removed from the vehicle and placed under arrest. Currency taken from the bank was observed in the vehicle, and a loaded hand gun was also recovered.
All three suspects were subsequently lodged in the county jail. Bail for defendants Soto and Castaneda was set at $200,000, cash only, and defendant Ayuso’s bail was set at $100,000 by the Honorable Julie M. Marino, P.J.Cr.

Prosecutor Soriano states that for a brief period of time this morning schools in the area of the bank were “Locked Down” as a precaution.

This investigation was conducted in cooperation with special agents of the FBI’s Newark Division, Franklin Township Resident Agency, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Richard M. Frankel, Somerville Police Department, Hillsborough Police Department, Branchburg Police Department, Bound Brook Police Department and the Readington Township Police Department.

Prosecutor Soriano, Chief Fitzgerald and Chief Manning request anyone with information pertaining to this incident to contact the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Squad at (908) 231-7100, the Somerville Borough Police Department at (908) 725-0331, the Federal Bureau of Investigation Newark Field Office at (973) 792-3000, 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 calls are 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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JUNE 11, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - PARLIN MAN APPREHENDED IN BRIDGEWATER SHOOTING

SOMERVILLE, N.J. – Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano, Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of County Detectives Timothy M. Fitzgerald and Bridgewater Township Chief of Police Manuel Caravela announce the arrest of Shane Shepherd, age 24, of Westminster Boulevard, Parlin, New Jersey.

Prosecutor Soriano states that on June 10, 2015, at 5:19 p.m., Somerset County Communications received a 9-1-1 call reporting a shooting in the area of Sunny Slope Road. Responding officers were approached by a 19 year old male with a gunshot wound to his leg. The victim was able to give a description of the suspect’s vehicle, a grey Nissan Altima. The victim was transported to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick. After receiving medical treatment he was released.

Detectives from the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office responded to the scene to assist Bridgewater detectives in the investigation.

Prosecutor Soriano states that through their investigation, detectives identified Shane Shepherd as the assailant and the vehicle described by the victim was located in area of Azalea Drive in North Brunswick.

With the assistance the North Brunswick Police Department, the New Brunswick Police Department and the New Jersey State Police, defendant Shepherd apprehended in North Brunswick.

Defendant Shepherd was lodged in the Somerset County Jail with bail set by the Honorable Julie M. Marino, P.J.Cr., at $100,000 cash or bond.

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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JUNE 10, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - POLICE INVESTIGATE SHOOTING IN FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP

SOMERVILLE, N.J. - Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano, Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of County Detectives Timothy Fitzgerald and Franklin Township Chief of Police Lawrence Roberts announce that law enforcement authorities are continuing to investigate a shooting yesterday in the Somerset section of Franklin Township, New Jersey.

Prosecutor Soriano states that at approximately 9:26 p.m., Franklin Township Police responded to the area of Sidney Place near Hamilton Street on a report of shots being fired. Responding officers arrived on the scene and found a 19 year old male victim with a gunshot wound to the midsection of his body. The victim was transported an area hospital for medical treatment. He is listed in stable condition.

Detectives from the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Squad and the Forensics Unit responded to assist Franklin Township detectives in conducting the investigation.

Prosecutor Soriano states that detectives responded to the hospital and spoke to the victim who told police that an unknown male fired a weapon three times towards him and his two friends. The shooter fled on foot with another unknown male. The victim and victim’s two friends were unable to provide any additional information on the assailant.

Prosecutor Soriano, Chief Fitzgerald and Chief Roberts request anyone with information pertaining to this shooting to contact the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Squad at (908) 231-7100, the Franklin Township Police Department at (732) 873-5533, 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 Crime Stopper online tips and phone calls are confidential.

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JUNE 5, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - WATCHUNG RESIDENT CHARGED WITH AGGRAVATED ARSON

SOMERVILLE, N.J. – Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano, Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of County Detectives Timothy Fitzgerald and Watchung Borough Chief of Police Joseph Cina announce the arrest of Jesus Aviles, age 30, of Summit Way, Watchung, New Jersey.

Prosecutor Soriano states that yesterday at 2:07 p.m. the Watchung Police Department along with the Watchung and North Plainfield Fire Departments were dispatched to a fire in building 9 of the Avalon Apartment Complex at Crystal Ridge Drive and Summit Way in Watchung. All residents were evacuated by emergency personnel.

The Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Arson Task Force responded to the scene to assist Watchung detectives with the investigation. The investigation revealed that the fire originated on the 3rd floor of building 9 inside a small unsecured room containing a waste disposal chute. Multiple rolls of toilet paper soaked in gasoline were used to set the fire. Detectives located a “John Frieda” hair curling iron amongst the pile of soaked toilet paper. Two gasoline cans covered with a black substance consistent with a melted black plastic bag were also recovered from the trash compactor on the ground floor. In the third floor hallway detectives located a large box of strike matches with green heads.

Several residents on the 3rd floor advised detectives that a male resident residing in apartment 304, later identified as Jesus Aviles, was banging on other tenant’s doors and yelling for everyone to get out and that there was a fire in the trash room. An employee of the complex attempted to ascertain where the gasoline smell was emanating from but defendant Aviles would not permit him entry to check his apartment.

After obtaining a search warrant for defendant Aviles apartment detectives located 2 empty Scott brand toilet paper plastic wrapper bags, black trash bags, matches with green heads, an empty “John Frieda” hair iron box and a cap for a gasoline can which had an odor of gasoline.

Prosecutor Soriano states that at approximately 10:00 p.m. defendant Aviles, returned to the complex. He was wearing a hospital identification bracelet and he had burns on his hands. Detectives also observed that the hair on the left side of his head was also singed.

Defendant Aviles was placed under arrest without incident. He was charged with Aggravated Arson, 2nd Degree and remanded to 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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JUNE 4, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - FORMER WATCHUNG TAX COLLECTOR CHARGED WITH OFFICIAL MISCONDUCT AND THEFT

SOMERVILLE, N.J. - Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano, Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of County Detectives Timothy Fitzgerald and Watchung Borough Chief of Police Joseph Cina announce that a criminal complaint has been filed against Catherine Hammel, age 49, of East Drive in Watchung, New Jersey, charging her with Official Misconduct and Theft by Failure to Make Required Disposition.

Prosecutor Soriano states that in September of 2014 two Watchung Borough tax payers contacted the Watchung Borough Tax Office regarding discrepancies with their special assessment histories and questioned why some of the principal and interest shown on their payment history did not match the amounts of their checks. A review by Watchung Borough Officials of the deposits revealed discrepancies in the amount of the checks when compared with the amounts posted to the individual assessment accounts. It was further noted that all of the entries were made by Catherine Hammel who was the full time Tax Collector in Watchung through December of 2013.

The investigation conducted by detectives with the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Special Investigation Unit and Watchung Borough Police Department revealed that between the January 17, 2013 and December 3, 2013 monies were misapplied involving tax overpayments, duplicate tax payments, sewer usage, sewer assessment, and homestead rebates. The diversion of these monies totaled $35,788.78. The complaint alleges that Catherine Hammel used this money for her benefit.

Residents that have been identified as victims in this investigation will be contacted by the Watchung Borough Tax Office.

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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JUNE 2, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - POLICE INVESTIGATE FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP HOME INVASION

SOMERVILLE, N.J. – Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano, Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of County Detectives Timothy M. Fitzgerald and Franklin Township Chief of Police Lawrence Roberts announce that the investigation regarding last evening’s Franklin Township home invasion is continuing.

Prosecutor Soriano states that at approximately 8:20 p.m. Franklin Township Police responded to a 9-1-1 call reporting a home invasion on Ambrose Street, in the Somerset Section of Franklin Township, New Jersey. Responding officers encountered four (4) males at the residence who reported to police that they were robbed at gunpoint while inside the residence. The victims stated that three (3) unknown black males, who were dressed in black hoodies, black pants and ski masks, forced their way into the residence, brandishing two handguns and one shotgun. The suspects robbed the victims of cash, cellphones, Nike Air Jordan sneakers and a North Face backpack. During the home invasion the suspects forced the victims onto the floor and assaulted the victims by pistol whipping them.

Prosecutor Soriano states that the victims sustained minor bruises and lacerations to their heads and faces as a result of the attack. All of the victims refused medical attention at the scene.

The assailants fled from the residence in an unknown direction of travel. Detectives from the Franklin Township Police Department in conjunction with detectives from the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes and Crime Scene Investigations /Forensics Units responded to conduct the investigation.

Prosecutor Soriano, Chief Fitzgerald and Chief Roberts request anyone with information or who may have witnessed any suspicious vehicles /individuals in the area of Ambrose Street around the time that this crime was committed to contact Franklin Township detectives at (732) 873-5533, the Somerset County Prosecutors Office Major Crimes Unit at (908) 231-7100, 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 Crime Stopper tips will be kept confidential.

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MAY 15, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - BRIDGEWATER WOMAN CHARGED WITH DWI IN SOMERVILLE CRASH

SOMERVILLE, N.J. – Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano, Somerset County Chief of County Detectives Timothy Fitzgerald and Chief Dennis Manning of the Somerville Borough Police Department state that the investigation regarding last evening’s motor vehicle crash is continuing.

Prosecutor Soriano states that at approximately 6:53 p.m. the Somerville Police Department responded to a motor vehicle crash at the intersection of Grove and Cliff Street. The investigation conducted by the Somerville Police and the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office C.A.R. Team (Collision Analysis Reconstruction Team) revealed that a Chrysler Voyager Minivan operated by Thomas Pollard, age 70, of Somerville was traveling southbound on Grove Street with a front seat 84 year old female passenger. Their vehicle was struck by a Jeep Wrangler operated by Cheryl A. Nowalsky, age 38, of Finderne Avenue in Bridgewater. Ms. Nowalsky was traveling eastbound on Cliff Street when she disregarded the posted stop sign and struck the passenger side of Mr. Pollard's vehicle.

Mr. Pollard and his passenger were removed from the vehicle and transported to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick where they underwent emergency surgery for their injuries.

Ms. Nowalsky was transported to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital – Somerset where she received treatment for her leg injuries.

The Somerville Police Department issued motor vehicle summons to Ms. Nowalsky for the following offenses: Driving While Intoxicated, Reckless Driving, Careless Driving, Failure to Stop or Yield at a Stop Sign, and Open Container of an Alcoholic Beverage (2 counts)

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 14, 2015

NEWS RELEASE - 2015 “CLICK IT OR TICKET” CAMPAIGN

SOMERVILLE, N.J. – Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano, North Plainfield Chief of Police William Parenti, President of the Somerset County Association of Chiefs of Police and Somerset County Sheriff Frank Provenzano state that law enforcement officers throughout Somerset County will once again be focusing on unbuckled motorists and passengers as part of the national “Click it or Ticket” campaign.

Starting on May 18th and running through May 31st, the annual initiative will include seat belt checkpoints, saturation patrols and national publicity designed to ensure that drivers and passengers recognize the life-saving value of seat belts.

“Using a seat belt is the simplest way for a driver and their passengers to protect themselves when traveling,” said Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey Soriano, "In the year 2012, seat belts saved an estimated 12,000 lives nationwide.”

The front seat belt usage rate in New Jersey currently stands at 87.59%. Gary Poedubicky, Acting Director of the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety noted that the goal for this year’s campaign is to increase the statewide rate to 90%. “To meet our goal, we must rededicate our enforcement and public outreach efforts that educate all motor vehicle occupants about the importance of buckling up, every ride,” he said.

Chief William Parenti added “this year’s campaign will also focus on rear seat passengers and nighttime enforcement. During evening hours seat belt usage is traditionally lower and the percentage of unbelted fatalities is higher”.

During the 2014 “Click it or Ticket” campaign, 374 police agencies participated statewide in the two-week initiative. As a result of the effort, law enforcement officers issued 26,635 seat belt citations, 4,363 speeding summonses and 944 motorists were arrested for drunk driving.

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MAY 13, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - INDICTMENT RETURNED AGAINST SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE CARLIA M. BRADY

SOMERVILLE, N.J. – Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano announces today a Somerset County Grand Jury returned a three count indictment against defendant Carlia M. Brady. The indictment stems from an investigation initially conducted by the Woodbridge Township Police Department. The matter was thereafter transferred by the Office of the Attorney General to the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office for additional investigation and prosecution due to defendant’s status as a Superior Court Judge in Middlesex County.

The investigation revealed that on June 10 and 11, 2013, after being advised of an outstanding arrest warrant for her then boyfriend, Jason Prontnicki, defendant Brady concealed Prontnicki within her home and offered to provide or aid Prontnicki in obtaining money, transportation or clothing as a means of avoiding discovery or apprehension.

Specifically, count one alleges that defendant Brady committed the crime of 2nd degree Official Misconduct by refraining from performing a duty clearly inherent in the office of Judge of the Superior Court, that is, defendant Brady failed to enforce an arrest warrant for Jason Prontnicki by failing to adequately notify the Woodbridge Police Department of Jason Prontnicki’s intended appearance or presence at her residence.

Count two charges that defendant Brady committed the crime of 3rd degree Hindering by harboring or concealing Jason Prontnicki within her home on June 10 and 11, 2013.

Count three charges that defendant Brady committed the crime of 3rd degree Hindering by offering to provide or aid Jason Prontnicki with money, transportation or clothing to assist Prontnicki in avoiding arrest on June 10 and 11, 2013.

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, 2015

NEWS RELEASE - NARCOTIC INVESTIGATION IN BOUND BROOK YIELDS LARGE SEIZURE OF HEROIN

SOMERVILLE, N.J. - Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano, Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of County Detectives Timothy Fitzgerald, Bound Brook Borough Chief of Police Michael Jannone and Somerset County Sheriff Frank J. Provenzano announce the arrest of Rahsjahn Courtney, age 38, of Plainfield, New Jersey.

Prosecutor Soriano states that the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Organized Crime and Narcotics Task Force received information that on May 9, 2015 Rahsjahn Courtney would be in the vicinity of West High Street in Bound Brook, and he would be in possession of a large quantity of heroin.

Subsequent to setting up a surveillance team detectives observed defendant Courtney operating a gold Plymouth Breeze at approximately 5:30 a.m. A motor vehicle stop was conducted, and defendant Courtney was advised of the ongoing narcotic investigation.

Somerset County Sheriff’s Office K-9 “Apex” and his handler responded to the scene and conducted an exterior sniff of the vehicle. “Apex” gave a positive indication for the presence of narcotics in the trunk of the vehicle. After securing a Superior Court Search Warrant, detectives searched the vehicle and seized 150 bricks of heroin in a shoe box located in the trunk. The total heroin seized amounted to 7,500 doses of heroin having an approximate street value of $75,000.00.

Defendant Courtney was charged with Possession of CDS (Heroin) with Intent to Distribute, 1st Degree.

Defendant Courtney was lodged in the Somerset County Jail with bail set by the Honorable H. Matthew Curry, J.S.C., at $200,000 cash only.

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 4, 2015

NEWS RELEASE - 2 CHARGED IN FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP ARMED ROBBERY

SOMERVILLE., N.J. – Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano and Franklin Township Chief of Police Lawrence Roberts announce the arrest of Louis Gonzalez, age 18, of North Brunswick, N.J. and Ajaan Genz, age 20, of Wavecrest Avenue, Linden, N.J.

Prosecutor Soriano states that on May 1, 2015, Franklin Township Police responded to Somerset Street on a report of an armed robbery. Responding officers met with the victim, “John Doe”, age 26, who related that he had negotiated the purchase of a cellular phone through a website and the seller asked him to meet with him on Myrtle Street. Upon arriving at this location two males, one later identified as Louis Gonzales, approached the victim’s vehicle. Subsequent to lowering the driver side window the victim observed that the unknown male was armed with a knife and defendant Gonzalez had a hammer. Defendant Gonzales reached into the vehicle and struck the victim with the hammer while attempting to rob him. The victim was able to exit his vehicle through the front passenger door. Once outside the vehicle the assault continued. The victim was able to get the hammer away from Gonzales and in order to stop the attack he struck defendant Gonzales in the head with same. Once the assault stopped the victim observed three individuals fleeing the area. The victim was able to provide the officers with a description of the two individuals who initially approached his vehicle.

All area hospitals were notified by Franklin Township Police Dispatch of the assault and they were asked to be on the alert for any victims who may seek treatment with wounds consistent with this incident. A short time later, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick notified the Franklin Township Police Department that emergency department personnel were treating defendant Gonzalez for a head wound. Defendant Genz was with defendant Gonzalez at the emergency department. Detectives from the Franklin Township Police department responded to the hospital to continue the investigation.

The investigation revealed that defendant Genz acted as a “lookout” while defendant Gonzalez and the unknown male attempted to rob the victim.

Defendants Gonzalez and Genz were each charged with Armed Robbery, 1st Degree, Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose, 3rd Degree and Aggravated Assault, 3rd Degree.

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 4, 2015

NEWS RELEASE - DRUG CHARGES AGAINST MATTHEW SHERIDAN TRANSFERRED

SOMERVILLE, N.J. – Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano announces that, at the request of the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office, the matter dealing with the September 28, 2014 arrest of Matthew Sheridan, age 41, of 49 Meadow Drive, Montgomery Township, N.J. has been transferred to the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office by the N.J. Attorney General’s Office. This request was made to eliminate any conflict or appearance of conflict due to the potential civil litigation by the Sheridan family against the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office.

Matthew Sheridan was arrested and released on his own recognizance.

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 1, 2015

NEWS RELEASE - MIDDLESEX MAN CHARGED IN NARCOTIC INVESTIGATION

SOMERVILLE, N.J. - Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano, Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of County Detectives Timothy M. Fitzgerald and Somerville Borough Chief of Police Dennis Manning announce the arrest of Michael Lopez, age 33, of Drake Ave, Middlesex, New Jersey.

Prosecutor Soriano states that the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Organized Crime and Narcotics Task Force received information that on April 29, 2015, an Hispanic male in his early 30’s, would be in possessing an undetermined amount of cocaine while in his vehicle in a parking lot on Veteran’s Memorial Parkway. Subsequent to establishing surveillance of the parking lot, at approximately 11:15 a.m., Task Force detectives observed a defendant Lopez driving a black colored Kia Rio. A motor vehicle stop was conducted and defendant Lopez was advised of the narcotics investigation. Defendant Lopez voluntarily turned over a bag containing approximately 14.9 grams of Cocaine. Detectives also seized $395.00 in currency from defendant Lopez.

At the request of the Task Force the Somerset County Sheriff’’s Office K-9 ‘Apex’ and his handler responded to the scene. Subsequent to defendant Lopez giving voluntary consent to search his vehicle, ‘Apex’ gave a positive indication for drugs in the vehicle. Detectives seized an additional an bag of 6.08 grams of cocaine and a digital scale from the trunk area of the vehicle.

Defendant Lopez was charged with Distribution of CDS (Cocaine), 2nd Degree and Possession of Paraphernalia, a Disorderly Persons offense.

The estimated street value of the cocaine is approximately $1,700.

Defendant Michael Lopez was lodged in the Somerset County Jail with bail to be set.

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 by plea or by jury verdict.

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MAY 1, 2015

NEWS RELEASE - GRAND JURY ISSUES INDICTMENT IN VEHICULAR HOMICIDE CASE

SOMERVILLE, N.J. – Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano announces that the Somerset County Grand Jury has issued an Indictment charging Sahil Kulgod, age 21, of Adams Court in Plainsboro Township, N.J., Middlesex County, with second degree vehicular homicide.

Prosecutor Soriano said at approximately 10:22 a.m. on Sunday, January 4, 2015, Hillsborough Police responded to a two-vehicle collision reported along Millstone River Road in Hillsborough Township, Somerset County. Police arrived at the scene and found a 2015 Ford Focus at final rest facing west across the north and southbound lanes. Police found a 1991 BMW 525i off the east side of the road against a tree. The driver of the 1991 BMW, Nancy Louie, age 50, of Hillsborough Township, was pronounced dead at the scene. Mrs. Louie was wearing a seatbelt restraint at the time of the collision. A passenger in the 1991 BMW, Melissa Louie, age 20, sustained minor injuries. The lone driver in the 2015 Ford Focus was identified as Sahil Kulgod. Mr. Kulgod was uninjured.

Prosecutor Soriano said that an investigation conducted by the Hillsborough Township Police Department and Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Collision Analysis Reconstruction Team determined that the 2015 Ford Focus was travelling southbound on Millstone River Road and failed to maintain its lane of travel. The 2015 Ford Focus crossed-over the double-yellow lines painted in the roadway and entered the northbound lane striking the 1991 BMW. Prosecutor Soriano said Nancy Louie died from multiple injuries sustained during the collision.

Prosecutor Soriano said, in addition to the Indictment, defendant Kulgod has been charged in the Hillsborough Township Municipal Court with reckless driving and failure to maintain his lane of travel.

Prosecutor Soriano said there is a posted speed limit of 45 miles-per-hour covering that section of Millstone River Road. Prosecutor Soriano said forensic evidence collected during the investigation indicated that excessive speed was a proximate cause of the collision. Prosecutor Soriano said there was no evidence that alcohol or drug use, or distracted driving, was a factor in the collision.


Prosecutor Soriano said defendant Kulgod will be required to appear in the Superior Court in Somerset County to be arraigned on the Indictment and enter a plea on a date to be set by the Court. That Arraignment will likely occur at the end of May or early June, 2015.

Prosecutor Soriano said the State will be represented by Assistant Somerset County Prosecutor Matthew Murphy.

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 by plea or by jury verdict.

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APRIL 20, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - PLAINFIELD POLICE OFFICER CHARGED WITH OFFICIAL MISCONDUCT AND RECEIVING STOLEN PROPERTY

SOMERVILLE, N.J. - Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano, Somerset County Chief of County Detectives Timothy M. Fitzgerald and Somerville Borough Chief of Police Dennis Manning announce the arrest of Vincent Saggese, age 32, of Metuchen, N.J., a 10 year veteran of the Plainfield Police Department.

Prosecutor Soriano states that between the dates of March 29, 2015 and April 17, 2015 Vincent Saggese met twice with a Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office undercover detective and negotiated for the sale of stolen computer equipment /KNC Miner Neptune Computers, which are used to mine for bit coins, a form of electronic currency.

Prosecutor Soriano further states that in addition to selling the computers to the undercover detective defendant Saggese accepted $250 from the detective and agreed to obtain the address of the owner of a license plate and to provide a photograph of that person. Such information is available to law enforcement officers through various computer platforms that are to be used solely for law enforcement purposes.

Defendant Saggese was arrested in Somerville on April 17, 2015 without incident by detectives from the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office and the Somerville Police Department patrol division.

A search of defendant Saggese resulted in the recovery of a slip of paper in his shirt pocket bearing the license plate number given to him by the undercover officer. After giving detectives permission to search his vehicle, detectives seized the currency used by the undercover detective to purchase the computers as well as the $250 for the license plate lookup.

Defendant Saggese has been charged with Official Misconduct 2nd degree and Receiving Stolen Property 3rd degree.

Defendant Saggese was released on his own recognizance.

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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APRIL 15, 2015

NEWS RELEASE - REWARD INCREASED IN SOMERVILLE INVESTIGATION

SOMERVILLE, N.J. – Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano announces that Somerset County Crime Stoppers, Inc. has increased the reward they are offering from $5,000 to $10,000 for any information regarding the vehicle that was parked in front of the firehouse prior to striking George Kavanaugh, which information ultimately assists investigators with determining the identification of the owner and/or operator of the vehicle.

Prosecutor Soriano states that on Friday, March 6, 2015 at approximately 9:25 p.m. Mr. Kavanaugh, age 75, a Somerville resident, was standing on the sidewalk directly in front of the Somerville Fire Department Lincoln Hose Company #4, located at 34 Warren Street. While Mr. Kavanaugh was awaiting a ride from a friend, he was struck and run over by a light colored vehicle that backed out of the fire department parking lot. According to a witness, the light colored vehicle had been “idling” and parked in the area of the front bay firehouse door between 9:15 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.

Mr. Kavanaugh, a former Fire Chief, was transported to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital- Somerset where he died from his injuries.

On March 30, 2015, Somerset Sheriff Frank J. Provenzano announced that the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office was adding a $5,000 cash reward in addition to Somerset County Crime Stoppers reward. The total reward now stands at up to $15,000.

Anyone having any information is asked to contact the Somerset County Crime Stoppers Tips Line at (888)-577-8477. Information may also be submitted online at www.888577TIPS.org

All tips and tipster identities will remain confidential and anonymous.

Download a PDF version of this Reward Document

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APRIL 14, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - RISKS AND DANGERS OF DISTRACTED DRIVING

SOMERVILLE, N.J. – As we approach the half way mark of Distracted Driving Awareness Month, Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano, North Plainfield Police Chief William Parenti, President of the Somerset County Association of Chiefs of Police and Somerset County Sheriff Frank J. Provenzano and would like to remind motorists of all ages who travel our roads of the following dangers of driving while distracted.

The effects of distracted driving can range from someone simply missing an exit right up to missing a red light and causing a crash that takes the life of an innocent person. Every driver owes it to themselves and others to understand why it is so risky and dangerous to drive distracted. Distracted driving can be caused by any activity in which a driver engages, other than driving. When you begin your morning commute it doesn’t take very long before you might notice someone eating, drinking, grooming, reading or using an electronic communications device. If you are one of those drivers who engages in this type of activity it doesn’t matter what the conduct is, the effects are the same. When we are driving and we choose to multitask in some activity other than driving it can impair us in three different ways.

• Visually; by taking our eyes off the road to look at what we are doing other than the task of driving.
• Mechanically; by taking our hands off the steering wheel to pick up and look at the item or device.
• The third way and perhaps the most significant is the impairment to our cognitive ability.

When we take our eyes off the road while driving we miss the things that are happening around us. Several studies show that between 4-6 seconds pass during the time that we respond to the phone alert, pick it up and look at it to see who is calling or what the message is. During that time we are driving “blindfolded”, we are still moving forward and even at a speed of 25 miles an hour we cover 183 feet in 5 seconds.

If we remove one hand from the steering wheel we drastically reduce our ability to safely control the vehicle in the event of an emergency. We also risk not safely controlling the vehicle during normal operation. A left hand on the wheel by itself with reduced attention to the roadway in front of us could cause a drift to the left into an oncoming lane and an approaching vehicle or perhaps off the road entirely striking a fixed object.

The human brain can only focus on one task at a time. When we focus on one thing, everything else becomes secondary. If we are “simply” involved in a conversation with someone on a hands free device, we are listening to what is being said, thinking about what we just heard, formulating our reply and then saying it. During that time, the task of driving becomes secondary and hazards that present themselves might not be identified as hazards and we fail to avoid them. It is this cognitive impairment that is the most dangerous. The video, The Distracted Mind, put out by Toyota explains it very simply. To see the video go to http://www.sctddd.org/the-distracted-mind/
Try this experiment. Turn on your television to the news. Focus on a story being reported and at the same time try to listen to a conversation that is going on elsewhere in the house. You may be able to catch a piece of the news and a portion of the conversation but you will be unable to get every detail of both stories. Similarly, try reading a book or newspaper article while have a conversation with someone. Either you are not going to hear what is being said or you are going to stop reading. You can’t do both.

Studies have shown that having a hands free conversation with someone while driving slows a person’s reaction time to the equivalent of having a 0.08 % Blood Alcohol Content, the legal limit for intoxicated driving in the State of New Jersey. Other studies have clearly demonstrated that the degree of measurable eye movements (scanning) that a driver normally does while driving is markedly diminished while that driver is actively engaged in a hands-free phone conversation. As in the other scenarios, this form of tunnel vision dangerously reduces a driver’s ability to perceive a hazard in a timely manner and react appropriately to that hazard.
Safe driving is all about making good choices. As drivers each one of us can choose not engage in risky driving behaviors. We can decide to buckle up, not to drive impaired and when it comes to distracted driving we must find a way to minimize and/or eliminate as many distractions as possible.

Choose…not to reach for the phone when it alerts you! If the temptation is too great, choose…to turn the phone off while you are driving. If you don’t feel comfortable turning the phone off, you can download an app on your smartphone that makes the phone safe while the vehicle is being operated. Should you need to make or answer a call or read/send a text, pull off the road and park before doing so. The few minutes it adds to your trip just might spare you a lifetime of regret.

For more information please visit www.distraction.gov

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APRIL 9, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - TRI-COUNTY NARCOTICS INVESTIGATION “OPERATION THREE CARD MONTE”

SOMERVILLE, N.J. - Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano, Hunterdon County Prosecutor Anthony P. Kearns, III and Warren County Prosecutor Richard T. Burke announce the arrests of Michael Melitski, age 54, of Deer Run Road, High Bridge, New Jersey and John Renner, age 45, of Route 206, in Hillsborough Township, New Jersey.

Prosecutor Soriano states that on April 4, 2015, after a four month tri-county narcotic investigation regarding the distribution of methamphetamine, detectives from the three County Prosecutor’s Offices and officers from municipal police departments in the three counties executed search warrants on defendant Melitski’s High Bridge residence, his rented garage located on Belvidere Avenue in Washington Township, New Jersey, and two of his vehicles. The searches resulted in the seizure of over two ounces of methamphetamine, $20,000 in U.S. currency, and three vehicles owned by Melitski. In addition, a personal bank account with a balance of $139,000 belonging to defendant Melitski was frozen by the Superior Court pending further investigation and steps to seize same.

Detectives also executed search warrants on defendant Renner and a property located on Route 206 South in Hillsborough Township at which he runs his business. These searches resulted in the seizure of one-half ounce of methamphetamine and a firearm.

During the investigation, detectives determined that between the years 2013 and 2015 defendant Melitski would frequently travel to a casino located in Pennsylvania. Once there, defendant Melitski used currency from his criminal activity to gamble in an effort to conceal or disguise the source of the money.

Defendant Melitski was charged with Possession with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine, 2nd degree, Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine, 2nd Degree, Money Laundering, 2nd degree and Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine, 3rd degree.

Defendant Melitski was lodged in the Hunterdon County Jail, with bail set by the Honorable Yolanda Ciccone, A.J.S.C. at $350,000 cash only.

Defendant Renner was charged with Maintaining or Operating a Controlled Dangerous Substance Production Facility, 1st Degree, Possession of a Firearm During a Drug Offense, 2nd Degree, Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine, 2nd Degree, Distribution of Methamphetamine, 3rd Degree, and 3rd degree Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine.

Defendant Renner was lodged in the Somerset County Jail with a bail set by the Honorable Yolanda Ciccone, A.J.S.C. at $350,000.00, cash only.

In the early morning hours of April 8, 2015, the following individuals were arrested and charged with Conspiracy to Possess a Controlled Dangerous Substance, 3rd degree and Attempt to Possess a Controlled Dangerous Substance, 3rd degree:

Ned Coolbaugh, age 33, of Rt. 579, Flemington, New Jersey

Stacie Hillman, age 34, of East Main Street, High Bridge, New Jersey

James Mahler, age 46, of West Wilkes Barre Street, Easton, Pennsylvania

Kyle Reed, age 32, of Mine Road, Asbury, New Jersey

Jan Thatcher, age 54, of Island Road, Mt. Bethel, Pennsylvania

John Thomas, age 50, of Rt. 519, Belvidere, New Jersey

The methamphetamine seized in this investigation had a total street value of over $12,520.00

 

The following law enforcement agencies assisted in this investigation:

New Jersey National Guard Counterdrug Task Force
New Jersey State Police

Somerset County

Hillsborough Township Police Department
Somerset County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Unit
Warren Township Police Department/ K-9 Unit

Hunterdon County

Clinton Township Police Department
High Bridge Police Department
Raritan Township Police Department
Readington Township Police Department

Warren County

Hackettstown Police Department
Mansfield Police Department
Phillipsburg Police Department
Pohatcong Police Department
Warren County Sheriffs Office
Washington Township Police Department/K-9 Unit

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.

 

Quote from Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano: “As far as we are aware, this three county initiative was the first of its kind, and I must say that the teamwork was nothing short of spectacular.”

 

Quote from Prosecutor Anthony P. Kearns III:

"I would like to thank Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey Soriano and Warren County Prosecutor Richard Burke for their leadership in the successful conclusion of this operation, as well the various municipal police chiefs and officers in charge that provided their department's expertise and manpower. I also commend the investigators from all the participating agencies for their commitment, dedication, and hard work. All involved worked together toward the common goal of taking this dangerous poison off our streets."

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APRIL 8, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - RHODE ISLAND MAN CHARGED WITH HUMAN TRAFFICKING, KIDNAPPING AND SEXUAL ASSAULT

SOMERVILLE, N.J. – Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano, Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of County Detectives Timothy M. Fitzgerald and Franklin Township Chief of Police Lawrence Roberts announce the arrest of Paul J. Monteiro, age 29, of Zone Street, Providence, Rhode Island.

Prosecutor Soriano states that on April 6, 2015, Franklin Township detectives along with agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security were actively searching for a missing 14 year old female from Rhode Island. The juvenile and defendant Monteiro were located in a room of a hotel located on World’s Fair Drive in the Somerset section of Franklin Township, New Jersey. The investigation revealed that defendant Monteiro brought the juvenile from Rhode Island to New Jersey.

Defendant Monteiro was arrested and charged with Human Trafficking, 1st Degree, Kidnapping, 1st Degree and Sexual Assault, 2nd Degree.

Defendant Monteiro was lodged at the Somerset County Jail with bail being set by the Honorable Julie M. Marino, P.J.Cr., at $400,000 cash only.

Prosecutor Soriano states that detectives from the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office have joined in the ongoing investigation. Detectives are in the process of scrutinizing defendant Monteiro’s travels from Rhode Island to New Jersey to determine whether he engaged in similar activity in locations other than Franklin Township. Detectives are also requesting the public’s assistance in supplying any information relative to defendant Monteiro’s activities along with any additional potential victims.

Prosecutor Soriano, Chief Fitzgerald and Chief Roberts request anyone with information regarding this investigation to contact the Franklin Township Police Department at (732) 873-5533, the Somerset County Prosecutors Office Major Crimes Unit at (908) 231-7100, 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 Crime Stopper tipsters will remain anonymous and all 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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APRIL 2, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - DEFENDANT CHARGED WITH ADDITIONAL COUNT OF MANUFACTURING CHILD PORNOGRAPHY

SOMERVILLE, N.J. - Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano, Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of County Detectives Timothy M. Fitzgerald, Somerset County Sheriff Frank J. Provenzano and Montgomery Township Police Director/Captain Robert Palmer announce that additional criminal charges have been filed against Seymour Halpern, age 60, of Primrose Court, Montgomery Township, New Jersey.

Prosecutor Soriano states that on March 25, 2015, after a three month investigation by the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, detectives from the Task Force and the Montgomery Township Police Department executed a search warrant on defendant Halpern’s residence and seized his computer. Defendant Halpern was arrested and charged with Endangering the Welfare of a Child/ Possession of Child Pornography, 3rd Degree.

On Wednesday, April 1, 2015 while processing the contents of the seized computer, Task Force detectives discovered that defendant Halpern was manufacturing child pornography by creating printed pictures and digital image files from video files of underage children engaged in prohibited sexual acts.

This morning at 8:30 a.m. defendant Halpern, who was out of jail after posting $50,000 bail on March 25th , was arrested at his home and charged with Endangering Welfare of a Child (Manufacturing Child Pornography), 2nd Degree.

Defendant Halpern was lodged in the Somerset County Jail with bail set on the new charges at $100,000 cash only, by the Honorable Yolanda Ciccone, A.J.S.C.

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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APRIL 2, 2015

NEWS RELEASE - BOUND BROOK ROBBERY

SOMERVILLE, N.J. – Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano and Bound Brook Borough Chief of Police Michael Jannone announce the arrest of Luis A. Flores, age 37, last known address Crescent Avenue, Plainfield, New Jersey.

Prosecutor Soriano states that on Wednesday, April 1, 2015, Bound Brook Police responded to a disturbance in front of a Hamilton Street grocery store. Responding officers observed 3 individuals in front of the store with Luis A. Flores brandishing a knife. The officers disarmed defendant Flores and he was placed under arrest.

The investigation, conducted by Bound Brook detectives, revealed that defendant Flores was observed by a store employee stealing items from the store. When confronted by the employee the defendant pulled out a knife and attempted to leave the store. With the assistance of a witness, the employee was able to detain the defendant until the police arrived. The employee sustained abrasions to his hands during the incident.

Defendant Flores was charged with Robbery, 1st Degree and Possession of a Weapon for Unlawful Purpose, 3rd Degree.

Defendant Flores was lodged in the Somerset County Jail with bail set at $150,000 cash only by the Honorable Julie M. Mariano, P.J.Cr. .

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 30, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - SHERIFF’S OFFICE OFFERS ADDITIONAL REWARD

SOMERVILLE, N.J. – Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano and Somerset County Sheriff Frank J. Provenzano announce that the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office is offering a $5,000 cash reward for any information regarding the vehicle that was parked in front of the Lincoln Hose Company #4 firehouse prior to striking the victim, which information ultimately assists investigators with determining the identification of the owner and/or operator of the vehicle.

The Sheriff’s Office reward is in addition to the $5,000 reward offered by Somerset County Crime Stoppers, Inc. on March 17, 2015.

Prosecutor Soriano states that on Friday, March 6, 2015 at approximately 9: 25 p.m. George Kavanaugh, age 75, a Somerville resident, was standing on the sidewalk directly in front of the firehouse located at 34 Warren Street. While Mr. Kavanaugh was awaiting a ride from a friend, he was struck and run over by a light colored vehicle that backed out of the fire department parking lot. According to a witness, the light colored vehicle had been “idling” and parked in the area of the front bay firehouse door between 9:15 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.

Mr. Kavanaugh, a former Fire Chief, was transported to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital- Somerset where he died from his injuries.

Anyone having any information regarding the vehicle is asked to contact the Somerset County Crime Stoppers Tips Line at (888)-577-8477. Information may also be submitted online at www.888577TIPS.org

All tips and tipster identities will remain confidential and anonymous.

Download a PDF version of this Reward Document

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March 27, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - RESULTS OF SHERIDAN INVESTIGATION RELEASED

Download a PDF version of this Press Release

SOMERVILLE, N.J. – Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano, Somerset County Chief of County Detectives Timothy M. Fitzgerald and Montgomery Township Police Captain/Director Robert E. Palmer announce the conclusion of the investigation of the deaths of John Sheridan and Joyce Sheridan of 49 Meadow Run Drive, in the Skillman Section of Montgomery Township, New Jersey.

Prosecutor Soriano states that a very lengthy and comprehensive investigation has culminated with the issuance, yesterday, of the Final Report of the Northern Regional Medical Examiner Office.  The Assistant Medical Examiner has determined that John Sheridan’s cause of death is sharp force injuries and smoke inhalation, and the manner of his death is suicide.   Those determinations are consistent with the evidence developed during the investigation which supports the conclusion that John Sheridan killed Joyce Sheridan and, thereafter, committed suicide. 

On Sunday, September 28, 2014 at approximately 6:13 a.m., a 9-1-1 call was placed to Somerset County Communications reporting a house fire at the residence of John Sheridan and Joyce Sheridan.  Upon receipt of the aforementioned 9-1-1 call, Montgomery Township Police were dispatched to the residence and arrived at same within four minutes of the call.  Also providing an initial response to the scene were firefighters from Montgomery Township, Hillsborough Township, and Rocky Hill Borough.  Rescue squads from Montgomery Township, Hillsborough Township and Princeton as well as the Mobile Intensive Care Unit from Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital were among the first units to arrive on scene.  Upon arrival, the first responding police officers entered the home, but they were unable to ascend the main staircase to access the second floor due to a heavy smoke condition which permeated same.  First responders shouted to anyone who may have been inside the home, and they received no response.  They searched the first floor and basement of the home and found no one on those floors.  Through their initial observations, first responders determined that the fire was localized in a second floor bedroom which was located at the top of the main staircase and was later identified as the master bedroom.

Equipped with self-contained breathing apparatuses, firefighters then ascended the staircase and entered the smoke-filled master bedroom.  Despite an overwhelming lack of visibility in that bedroom, they were ultimately able to locate John Sheridan. John Sheridan was found lying on the floor face up, at the foot of the bed with the top portion of a two piece, armoire dresser resting on his body.  After the fire was extinguished, the entire armoire was found to be badly damaged, and the lower, supporting portion was severely charred and essentially destroyed.  Firefighters removed the body of John Sheridan from the residence.  Firefighters thereafter continued their search and located Joyce Sheridan, who was also found lying face up on the floor to the left of the bed, and she was removed from the residence. Shortly thereafter, both individuals were pronounced dead. 

Autopsies were performed on John Sheridan and Joyce Sheridan at the Northern Regional Medical Examiner Office on September 29, 2014, and September 30, 2014, respectively. The results of the post-mortem examination of Joyce Sheridan revealed that she suffered eight wounds to her head.  Five of those wounds were incised wounds.  Three of the wounds were stab wounds.  She also suffered from a stab wound to her chest that perforated her aorta.  In addition, Joyce Sheridan had three incised wounds to her hands that the Assistant Medical Examiner characterized as defensive in nature. She sustained bruising to the back of her left hand and to her right shoulder. Her cause of death was determined to be a stab wound to the chest which perforated her aorta, and the manner of death has been classified as a homicide.  The autopsy further revealed that Joyce Sheridan was dead before the fire started. A toxicological analysis for Joyce Sheridan revealed the presence of prescribed medication.

The results of the post-mortem examination of John Sheridan revealed that he had five wounds to his torso and neck area.  Two of the wounds were incised wounds.  Three of the wounds were stab wounds.  All five wounds have been characterized by the Assistant Medical Examiner as superficial in nature, consistent with self-infliction.   However, one wound to the neck caused a small perforation to the right jugular vein and would be fatal without medical treatment.  There were no defensive wounds noted on John Sheridan’s body.  The Assistant Medical Examiner found that John Sheridan suffered five broken ribs—2 on the left side and 3 on the right side--which were consistent with an armoire falling on him.  The elevated level of carbon monoxide in his blood and the presence of soot in his larynx, trachea and bronchial tree indicated that John Sheridan was alive after the fire was started.  John Sheridan’s cause of death was found to be sharp force injuries and smoke inhalation, and the manner of death has been classified as a suicide. A toxicological analysis for John Sheridan revealed the presence of prescribed medication and carbon monoxide.   
 
Pursuant to the execution of multiple search warrants, an examination of the entire Sheridan residence revealed that the crime scene was confined to the second floor master bedroom.  The fire in that room was started by the use of an accelerant, namely, gasoline. A half empty gas can was found in the bedroom. Subsequent investigation revealed that the gas can in question belonged to the Sheridan family and had been stored in the garage area of the residence.  Testing by the New Jersey State Police Office of Forensic Sciences revealed that John Sheridan’s DNA was located on the handle of the gas can in question. A pour pattern of gasoline in the master bedroom was observed around the bed on the floor.  A flattened box containing wooden matches and individual wooden matches were located on the floor of the master bedroom near the area where John Sheridan was reported by first responders to have been located.  The same type of wooden matches was also found in the first floor living room near the fireplace.

Detectives recovered a large carving-type knife from the bed in the master bedroom.  The Assistant Medical Examiner determined that the wounds to Joyce Sheridan—most notably, the chest wound--were consistent with having been caused by that knife.  DNA testing revealed that Joyce Sheridan’s blood was on that knife.  A small amount of male DNA was recovered from the handle of the knife, and analyses revealed that John Sheridan could not be excluded as a possible contributor.  A large serrated bread knife was also recovered on the bed.  While none of the stab wounds to either party can be attributed to that knife, DNA consistent with that of John Sheridan was recovered on the handle and on the blade of the serrated knife.  Both knives were found to be from knife sets located in the kitchen of the Sheridan residence. 

An article of John Sheridan’s clothing, specifically his underpants, which he was wearing at the time that his body was removed from the house, was submitted to the New Jersey State Police Office of Forensic Sciences Laboratory for examination.  Initial testing revealed the presence of blood on that article of clothing.  Further analysis revealed that the bloodstain identified on this piece of clothing was a mixed DNA sample and that neither John Sheridan nor Joyce Sheridan could be excluded as possible contributors.  Clippings and scrapings were taken from Joyce Sheridan’s fingernails and examined for DNA.  DNA testing indicated the presence of male DNA, and John Sheridan could not be excluded as a possible contributor.

In the master bedroom, detectives located six folds of cash totaling $950.00, John Sheridan’s wallet, wristwatch and cell phone, all undisturbed, on a night stand.  Also located on the floor of the master bedroom was Joyce Sheridan’s iPad.  When Joyce Sheridan’s body was recovered, two of her rings remained on the ring finger of her left hand, one ring was on her right ring finger, earrings remained on her ears, and she was wearing a necklace.  Other items of value such as additional amounts of currency, jewelry, computers, electronics, and antiques were found throughout the home and were undisturbed. There was no evidence indicating that any area of the residence was disturbed by anyone other than first responders. There was blood outside of the master bedroom on the staircase and the wall that abuts the staircase.  Aside from that blood and blood in the master bedroom, there was no blood in any other area of the home.  The aforementioned blood was observed to be deposited on top of the soot and on swipe marks in the soot, and, thus, the blood transfers in these areas were caused by the extrication of John Sheridan and Joyce Sheridan from the residence by the firefighters. 

A variety of items such as door knobs and handles were examined with various lighting techniques to determine whether further processing was warranted.  It was determined by the experts of the Crime Scene Investigation Unit that fingerprints would not be revealed by dusting, and nothing of further evidentiary value was observed on those items. 

The investigation further revealed that there were no signs of forced entry into the home except for one door forced open by firefighters.  Detectives learned, through interviews of potential witnesses, that the Sheridans routinely left the doors to their home unlocked. First responders found that three doors at the rear of the residence as well as the main front door of the home were unlocked.  An additional door in the front of the residence between the living quarters and the garage was the only door found to be locked; this was the aforementioned door which was forced open by firefighters.  All windows were closed and intact, with no evidence of an attempted forced entry.  Items located beneath a number of windows inside the home appeared undisturbed.  The only windows that were damaged were those on the second floor that were broken by firefighters for ventilation during their fire suppression efforts.  Police canvassed the neighborhood and received no reports of any unidentified person or vehicle in the immediate area of the home that night or that morning. 

Various vehicles located at the scene were searched pursuant to search warrants.  These searches revealed no evidence pertinent to the fire or to the deaths of John Sheridan and Joyce Sheridan.

On Saturday October 4, 2014, a second autopsy was performed on John Sheridan by Dr. Michael Baden in the presence of the Assistant Medical Examiner.  Dr. Baden also reviewed the findings of the autopsy of Joyce Sheridan.  Dr. Baden, a former medical examiner, was retained as a consultant by the Sheridan family.  Immediately after this autopsy and review, the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office was notified that both doctors opined that neither of the two knives that were recovered from the master bedroom caused any of the stab wounds sustained by John Sheridan. 

Detectives returned to the Sheridan residence on Sunday, October 5, 2014, for the purpose of further searching for a knife or other implement that may have caused the wounds to John Sheridan.  No additional knives were located in the master bedroom. A piece of resolidified metal, which had apparently melted during the course of the fire, was recovered.  During the original search by crime scene detectives on September 28th, the metal piece was found and photographed embedded in the hardwood floor in close proximity to where the body of John Sheridan was reported by first responders to be located.  The metal was submitted to the New Jersey State Police Office of Forensic Sciences Laboratory for analysis, and further analyses were performed by a private materials testing laboratory.  The metal was two inches wide by six and one-half inches long with a mass of approximately 132.5 grams.  The composition of this metal piece was identified as predominantly zinc with very small percentages of aluminum and copper.  Although the properties of the metal were identified, its original shape and purpose could not be identified.

During the course of this investigation, representatives of the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office and the Northern Regional Medical Examiner Office spoke on more than one occasion with Dr. Baden.  The opinions and comments expressed by Dr. Baden were taken into consideration.  Dr. Baden was also invited to discuss the case in its entirety with Prosecutor’s Office personnel and representatives of the Medical Examiner Office prior to the formulation of any final determinations.

Through interviews with all four sons of John Sheridan and Joyce Sheridan, detectives were able to learn where each of them was located on September 27, 2014 and during the early morning hours of September 28, 2014.  Detectives analyzed cellular telephone records and cellular tower records for the four sons’ cellular telephones.   The analysis of that cellular activity revealed that none of the sons’ telephones was used in the area of the Sheridan residence during that relevant time period.  Further, their cellular telephone activity demonstrated that their phones were used in other areas during said relevant time period--consistent with the statements of all four sons.
 
Throughout this investigation, Detectives from the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office and the Montgomery Township Police Department conducted over 180 interviews of potential witnesses.  Among others, these individuals included family members, friends and neighbors of John Sheridan and Joyce Sheridan, co-workers and close colleagues, as well as persons identified by the Sheridan family.  Various records, including cellular telephone records, cellular tower records, computer generated and stored information, medical records, financial records, and miscellaneous documents found in the home were obtained and reviewed by investigators and members of the New Jersey Regional Computer Forensic Laboratory.  There was no definitive link to the proximate cause of these deaths found in any of those records.

Information was obtained from family members and colleagues regarding John Sheridan’s demeanor in the days leading up to September 28, 2014.   Among other things, he was described as presenting himself as “out of character”, “very upset”, “withdrawn”, and with “an attitude of resignation”. The predominant source of his preoccupation appears to have been work related.  John Sheridan was scheduled to meet with a group of his co-workers on the afternoon of Sunday, September 28, 2014.  With regard to work related issues, family members and colleagues characterized John Sheridan as “disproportionately concerned”, “genuinely worried” and “overly worried”.  To many, the level of concern which John Sheridan was exhibiting was categorized as unwarranted.  To those closest to John Sheridan and Joyce Sheridan, it was apparent that Joyce Sheridan was worried and upset because she, too, recognized that John Sheridan was exhibiting levels of apprehension atypical to his usual calm and deliberative demeanor.  Based upon accounts of his behavior during the time period immediately preceding September 28, 2014, it is evident that John Sheridan was acting materially differently than his norm. 

This intensive investigation involved a number of law enforcement agencies, numerous interviews, a variety of forensic analyses and examinations which took time to consider, prioritize and evaluate.  Many possible scenarios and theories were considered. The evidence in this case supports the conclusion that John Sheridan fatally stabbed Joyce Sheridan, set the fire, and committed suicide.  This conclusion rests upon, among other things and most notably:

  • The qualitative difference between the wounds sustained by Joyce Sheridan versus John Sheridan.  That is, the nature and number of the wounds sustained by Joyce Sheridan were extensive and included defensive wounds on her hands.  Juxtaposed to her wounds, there was an absence of defensive wounds found on John Sheridan.  In addition, the superficial nature of the wounds sustained by him has been found by the Assistant Medical Examiner to be consistent with self-infliction.
  • The fact that the instrumentalities recovered from the scene, most significantly, the knives, the accelerant, and the matches all belonged to the Sheridans and were located in the residence.
  • The fact that the crime scene was confined to the master bedroom.
  • The quantity and variety of items of value that remained in or at the Sheridan residence, including jewelry, currency, computers, electronics, antiques, and motor vehicles. 
  • The investigation has revealed no evidence indicating that the home was forcibly entered or disturbed by an intruder. 
  • The absence of any evidence of an unidentified third party leaving the Sheridan residence or departing the neighborhood on the morning in question.
  • The uncharacteristic demeanor exhibited by John Sheridan during the days leading up to September 28, 2014 as observed by and described by family members and colleagues.
  • The DNA findings relating to John Sheridan with regard to Joyce Sheridan’s nail clippings and scrapings, the gas can, and the two knives recovered.
  • The DNA findings relating to John Sheridan and Joyce Sheridan found in the blood stain on John Sheridan’s clothing.       

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March 18, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - POLICE YOUTH WEEK

SOMERVILLE, N.J. – Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano, Somerset County Sheriff Frank Provenzano and the Somerset County Association of Chiefs of Police President, Chief William Parenti of the North Plainfield Police Department, announce that the Somerset County Police Academy with be conducting a 5-day “Police Youth Week”.

This program will be held from Monday, July 20, 2015 to Friday, July 24, 2015 between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. at the Somerset County Emergency Services Training Academy, located at 402 Roycefield Road, Hillsborough Township, New Jersey.

The goals of the program are to introduce high school students to a career in law enforcement and to develop positive interaction between students and members of the law enforcement community.

Academy Director Dr. Richard Celeste states the Police Youth Week program is modeled after the Somerset County Police Academy Recruit Training Program which trained police recruits up until 2014. Instruction will be provided by Police Academy staff members and police officers from participating local police departments. The program is being sponsored by the Somerset County Association of Chiefs of Police, the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office and the Somerset County Prosecutor's Office.

Participation in Police Youth Week will provide the attending student with an overview of various components of the criminal justice field. The program will be conducted through both classroom and practical based exercises providing the student with not only an academic understanding but also a “hands-on” experience. The program changes every year and is based on a four year curriculum to encourage the student to participate in the program the following year. It should be understood that due to the course design, it is not necessary to attend a previous year in order to attend a following year program.

The program is open to students who:
(1) Are residents of Somerset County or are enrolled in a secondary school within the County, and
(2) Are entering 9th grade through graduating seniors.

Since 1996 this successful community program has been funded by the Somerset County Association of Chiefs of Police, and as such, there will be no cost for the program participants.

Registration forms must be received by June 15, 2015.

To register for the program, candidates can download a registration form by going to www.somersetcountypoliceacademy.com, then clicking on the Community Events, then the Police Youth Week icon, or can pick up applications at the Somerset County Emergency Services Training Academy/Police Academy located at 402 Roycefield Road Hillsborough N.J. 08844 or their local police department.

The Coordinator of Police Youth Week, Det. William Brown, can be reached by email wbrown@co.somerset.nj.us by phone 908-541-5035 for any questions pertaining to the program.

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MARCH 17, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - POLICE INVESTIGATE FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP SHOOTING

SOMERVILLE, N.J. - Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano, Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of County Detectives Timothy Fitzgerald and Franklin Township Chief of Police Lawrence Roberts announce that detectives are investigating a shooting which occurred on Monday evening in the Somerset section of Franklin Township, New Jersey.

Prosecutor Soriano states that on Monday, March 16, 2015 at 7:20 p.m. Franklin Township Police responded to a 9-1-1 call for shots fired in the vicinity of Naaman Williams Park, near Matilda Avenue, Somerset, New Jersey. Responding officers observed numerous spent shell casings and immediately conducted a canvass of the area for any victims, witnesses, or suspects with the assistance of New Brunswick Police Department. While at the scene police were informed of a shooting victim being treated at an area hospital.

Prosecutor Soriano states that detectives from the Franklin Township Police Department along with detectives from the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Unit responded to conduct the investigation. The investigation has thus far revealed that the victim, whom detectives are identifying only as a 19 year old, Somerset male resident, was walking with a group of approximately ten (10) males, after playing a game of basketball at Naaman Williams Park. As the group was walking in the area of the children’s playground they noticed a group of approximately three (3) males walking towards them. The three unknown males then allegedly brandished handguns, and from a short distance away began to fire into the aforementioned group of males as they fled by running away in separate directions. The only victim identified in this incident was struck in the back left thigh as he fled from the area. The assailants were described as black males, all wearing dark clothing and they were last observed fleeing from the area on foot towards Route 27. While no additional victims were identified, an unoccupied vehicle parked on Mark Street sustained damage from one of the rounds fired during this incident.

Prosecutor Soriano states that detectives are attempting to determine a motive for the shooting. Detectives are also trying to identify any witness which may have been present with the victim or at the park at the time of the shooting.

Prosecutor Soriano, Chief Fitzgerald and Chief Roberts request anyone with information regarding this incident to contact the Franklin Township Police Department at (732) 873-5533, the Somerset County Prosecutors Office Major Crimes Unit at (908) 231-7100, 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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MARCH 17, 2015
NEWS RELEASE - CRIME STOPPERS INCREASES REWARD

SOMERVILLE, N.J. – Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano announces that Somerset County Crime Stoppers, Inc. has increased the reward they initially offered from $2,500 to up to $5,000 for any information regarding the vehicle that was parked in front of the firehouse prior to striking the victim, which information ultimately assists investigators with determining the identification of the owner and/or operator of the vehicle.

Prosecutor Soriano states that on Friday, March 6, 2015 at approximately 9: 25 p.m. George Kavanaugh, age 75, a Somerville resident, was standing on the sidewalk directly in front of the Somerville Fire Department Lincoln Hose Company #4, located at 34 Warren Street. While Mr. Kavanaugh was awaiting a ride from a friend, he was struck and run over by a light colored vehicle that backed out of the fire department parking lot. According to a witness, the light colored vehicle had been “idling” and parked in the area of the front bay firehouse door between 9:15 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.

Mr. Kavanaugh, a former Fire Chief, was transported to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital- Somerset where he died from his injuries.
Anyone having any information regarding the vehicle is asked to contact the Somerset County Crime Stoppers Tips Line at (888)-577-8477. Information may also be submitted online at www.888577TIPS.org

All tips and tipster identities will remain confidential and anonymous.

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MARCH 13, 2015

PRESS RELEASE - 3 CHARGED WITH RACKETEERING

SOMERVILLE, N.J. – Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano and Somerset County Chief of County Detectives Timothy M. Fitzgerald announce that on March 10, 2015, Somerset County Burglary Task Force Detectives arrested three men following an attempted burglary and theft in the Village of Ridgewood in Bergen County, New Jersey.

Prosecutor Soriano identified the defendants as, (1) Stanley Mitchell, also known as Stanley Lee, Kevin Parker, and Frank James Walters, approximately age 41, of Anderson Avenue in Ft. Lee, New Jersey; (2) Steven Miller, also known as Steve Coats, and Steve John, approximately age 41, of Estok Road in Edison, New Jersey; and (3) Sonny Mitchell, also known as Sonny West, Sonny Mano, Steve Mitchell and John Miller, approximately age 44, of Barnhardt Lane in Rahway, New Jersey. Prosecutor Soriano states that each defendant has multiple aliases and dates of birth which inhibits positive identification.

Prosecutor Soriano said the Task Force, led by Lt. Joseph Walsh, initiated a three month investigation following a residential burglary and theft committed in Somerville, New Jersey on December 17, 2014. Prosecutor Soriano explained that a lone actor approached a single-family home on North Adamsville Road. The actor advised the 90 year homeowner that he was “with the water company” and needed entry to the home to “check the pipes”. The elderly victim admitted the actor into the home and, together, they proceeded to the basement. At the time, the actor was communicating with another person over a two-way radio and repeating “it is clear”. The actor ultimately advised the victim that the water problem appeared to be fixed and he exited the home. The victim subsequently realized that a safe containing jewelry and United States currency exceeding $75,000.00 had been stolen.

Prosecutor Soriano said the Burglary Task Force investigation identified reports of similar distraction-type burglary and thefts committed throughout the State of New Jersey. The typical victim was an elderly person who is distracted while one or more associates enter the home and steal jewelry and United States currency. Stolen jewelry is frequently sold immediately to gold-buying entities in exchange for cash.

Prosecutor Soriano states that a common distraction scheme is known as the “water company” scam where victims are lured into their basement while another actor(s) enters the home and steals property. Another common scheme, known as the “tree work” scam, involves luring the victim out of their home and into the backyard for the alleged purpose of identifying the property line while another actor(s) enters the home and steals property.

Prosecutor Soriano said detectives ultimately identified the three defendants who were actively engaged in distraction-burglaries that targeted the elderly in New Jersey and the surrounding States. On various dates and time, Task Force Detectives followed the defendants – either alone or in combination - into Pennsylvania, Maryland, New York, and Connecticut, during which distraction burglary-thefts were either attempted or completed. Specifically, on February 26, 2015, the defendants travelled together and committed a distraction burglary-theft at a Highland Avenue residence in Sleepy Hollow, Westchester County, New York. The female victim is 80 years old. The defendants stole a safe containing jewelry, United States currency, credit cards, and identification documents.

Prosecutor Soriano said Task Force Detectives pursued the defendants as they returned to New Jersey and followed them to a residence on Anderson Avenue in Ft. Lee, the rental home used by defendant Stanley Mitchell. Shortly thereafter, the defendants travelled to a jewelry store located along Route 4 in Paramus where they sold miscellaneous jewelry stolen during the burglary in Sleepy Hollow, New York. Prosecutor Soriano said Westchester County law enforcement was appraised of the Task Force investigation.

Prosecutor Soriano said on March 10, 2015, the defendants again travelled together and attempted a distraction burglary-theft at a single-family home along Greenway Lane in the Village of Ridgewood, Bergen County. The residents, husband and wife, are 80 years old. After the defendants departed the area, Task Force Detectives approached the residents and determined that nothing had been taken by the defendants. Task Force Detectives then arrested the three defendants in nearby Lyndhurst.

Prosecutor Soriano said, following the arrests, Task Force Detectives executed a number of Search Warrants at various locations across New Jersey. Specifically, at defendant Stanley Mitchell’s home in Ft. Lee, detectives recovered the safe stolen during the February 26, 2015, burglary and theft in Sleepy Hollow, New York. At the Rahway home used by defendant Sonny Mitchell, detectives recovered various and fictitious forms of identification and financial documents. During the search of the rental home used by defendant Steven Miller in Edison, detectives recovered the safe stolen during the December 17, 2014, burglary and theft in Somerville. Detectives also recovered two firearms from Miller’s bedroom, specifically a .22 caliber Rohm model 66 revolver, and a .45 caliber Astra model A-80 automatic pistol. Defendant Miller has a prior criminal conviction and is prohibited from possessing firearms.

Prosecutor Soriano said, during the take-down of this Operation, Task Force Detectives also seized a large amount of United States currency as well as ten motor vehicles. The vehicles were either unregistered, displayed false Temporary Registrations and license plates, and/or were registered to persons other than the defendants and/or under fictitious names and entities. Prosecutor Soriano said the criminal racketeering statute authorized the seizure and forfeiture of those vehicles in the event of a conviction.

Prosecutor Soriano said the investigation of those responsible for distraction burglar-thefts continues.

Prosecutor Soriano said on March 11, 2015 the defendants were arraigned in the Superior Court in Somerville before the Honorable Kimarie Rahill, J.S.C. At the State’s request, Judge Rahill set bail for each defendant at $100,000.00 cash only. Judge Rahill also Ordered that a Bail Source Hearing be held in the event that any of the defendants or others attempt to post cash bail for the defendants.

Prosecutor Soriano said the State will be represented by Assistant Prosecutor Matthew Murphy.

Prosecutor Soriano said he wants to recognize and thank the following law enforcement agencies for their invaluable and outstanding efforts in this case.

New Jersey State Police
New York City Police Department Organized Theft Crimes Unit
Pennsylvania State Police
Bergen County Prosecutors Office
Hillsborough Police Department
Montgomery Police Department
Somerville Police Department
Clinton Township Police Department
Readington Police Department
Bayonne Police Department
Edison Police Department
Paramus Police Department
Cherry Hill Police Department

 

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 by plea or by jury verdict.

 

CRIME PREVENTION TIPS

To reduce the risk of becoming a victim of a distraction burglary and theft, please use the following prevention tips and information,

* Keep all doors and windows securely locked – even when you are home

* Preprogram your telephone with the number of your local police or Somerset County Communications at 908-526-2500

* When responding to an unexpected knock at your door, use the door chain and spy hole. Ask the person who they are and what company they are from. Ask to see their identification and business card

* Never let anyone into your home whom you did not request or invite their presence

* Never let anyone into your home without verifying their identification by calling the company

Most utility and public service companies send letters to customers announcing in advance their intention to work in your area. Unannounced presence is not normal.

Employees should be wearing a uniform and operating a vehicle that is clearly marked with the service company’s logo

* If someone approaches your home and requests to be admitted, call your local police or Somerset County Communications at 908-526-2500 for assistance. Police will be glad to assist

* If a sales or repair person comes to your home at your request, invite a family member or neighbor to be present

Verify their identification. Legitimate sales and repair employees are trained to welcome your efforts to assure their identity

* If you suspect a sales, repair or utility company employee is not whom they claim to be, call your local police or Somerset County Communications at 908-526-2500

* Do not keep large amounts of cash in the home

* Keep a list along with photographs of expensive jewelry, furs and electronics to assist police in case of a theft

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MARCH 11, 2015

NEWS RELEASE - CRIME STOPPERS OFFERS REWARD IN SOMERVILLE INVESTIGATION

SOMERVILLE, N.J. – Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano, Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of County Detectives Timothy M. Fitzgerald and Somerville Borough Chief of Police Dennis Manning announce that the investigation regarding Friday’s incident which occurred near a fire house on Warren Street and resulted in the death of a long-serving Somerville fireman is continuing.

Prosecutor Soriano states that on Friday, March 6, 2015 at approximately 9: 25 p.m. George Kavanaugh, age 75, a Somerville resident, was standing on the sidewalk directly in front of the Somerville Fire Department Lincoln Hose Company #4, located at 34 Warren Street. While Mr. Kavanaugh was awaiting a ride from a friend, he was struck and run over by a light colored vehicle that backed out of the fire department parking lot. According to a witness, the light colored vehicle had been “idling” and parked in the area of the front bay firehouse door between 9:15 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.

Mr. Kavanaugh, a former Fire Chief, was transported to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital- Somerset where he died from his injuries.

Prosecutor Soriano states that Crime Stoppers of Somerset County, Inc. is offering a $2,500 cash reward for any information regarding the vehicle that was parked in front of the firehouse prior to striking the victim, which information ultimately assists investigators with determining the identification of the owner and/or operator of the vehicle.

Anyone having any information regarding the vehicle is asked to contact the Somerset County Crime Stoppers Tips Line at (888)-577-8477.
Information may also be submitted online at www.888577TIPS.org

All tips and tipster identities will remain confidential and anonymous.

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MARCH 6, 2015

NEWS RELEASE - SOMERVILLE MAN CONVICTED OF ARMED ROBBERY

SOMERVILLE, N.J. – Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano announces that a Somerset County Jury has found Stephen Maurrasse, age 25, of Fairview Avenue, Somerville, New Jersey, guilty of first degree armed robbery and third degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose. The guilty verdict was delivered after a five day trial held before the Honorable Julie M. Marino, P.J.Cr.

Prosecutor Soriano states that on February 12, 2012 at approximately 4:30 p.m., Somerville Police received a report of an armed robbery at 129 Fairview Avenue in Somerville. Responding officers met with the victim who related that he was just robbed by 2 males, each brandishing a knife, while in the hallway of the multi-unit apartment complex. Subsequent to taking $2,500.00 from the victim, the suspects fled the area on foot.

According to the victim, he searched “Craigslist”, a classified advertisements website, in order to purchase Apple products. Subsequent to locating and making initial contact with a purported seller in Somerville, the victim was directed to the Fairview Avenue location by one of the suspects. The phone number posted by the seller was a cellular telephone utilized by defendant Stephen Maurrasse.

The ensuing investigation was conducted by police officers and detectives with the Somerville Police Department. The investigation revealed that defendant Maurrasse and codefendant Jeremy Grant were responsible for the armed robbery. That investigation included the victim picking Grant’s photograph out of a photo line-up and text messages between Grant and Maurrasse earlier in the day planning the robbery.

On February 28, 2012, both Grant and Maurrasse were arrested at their residences on the same block of Fairview Avenue.

Following the verdict, Judge Marino revoked defendant Maurrasse’s bail. Since his arrest, Maurrasse was being held in the Somerset County Jail in lieu of $150,000.00 bail. Maurrasse faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in New Jersey state prison, with 85% of that, or 17 years, to be served without parole.

In January of 2014, Grant, likewise, was convicted after a trial before Judge Marino of first degree armed robbery and third degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose. Grant was subsequently sentenced to 15 years in state prison, with 85% of that term, or 12 years and nine months, to be served without parole.

The State was represented at both trials by Assistant Prosecutor Robert J. Hawkes.

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MARCH 2, 2015

NEWS RELEASE - NARCOTIC INVESTIGATION IN BRIDGEWATER RESULTS IN SIX (6) ARRESTS AND SEIZURE OF HEROIN AND SUBOXONE

SOMERVILLE, N.J. - Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano, Somerset County Prosecutor's Office Chief of County Detectives Timothy Fitzgerald and Bridgewater Township Chief of Police Manuel Caravela announce the arrests of Douglas Zielaznicki, age 49 of Old York Road, Bridgewater, New Jersey, George Hagaman, age 35, Deann Larson, age 46, Erik Snyder, age 22, James Snyder, age 41 and Bruce Snyder, age 47, all of Brahma Avenue, in Bridgewater, New Jersey.


Prosecutor Soriano states that on February 26, 2015 members of the Somerset County Prosecutor's Office Organized Crime and Narcotics Task Force received information that a red Toyota Sequoia with multiple occupants would be arriving at defendant Zielaznicki’s residence on Brahma Avenue, and the occupants would be in possession of heroin.

At approximately 10:00 p.m. Task Force members observed the red Toyota Sequoia arrive and park at the residence on Brahma Avenue. The vehicle was being operated by defendant Zielaznicki. Defendant Bruce Snyder was the front seat passenger, and defendant Larsen was in the rear seat.

As Task Force members approached the vehicle, Bruce Snyder exited same and began to run towards the residence. As defendant Bruce Snyder continued to run towards the residence, he was apprehended and placed under arrest. Defendant Bruce Snyder was found to be in possession of nine (9) decks of heroin, used empty wax folds, and two (2) hypodermic needles. Defendant Zielaznicki voluntarily gave detectives consent to search his person and his vehicle. As a result of the search, defendant Zielaznicki was found to be in possession of four (4) decks of heroin and he was placed under arrest. Defendant Larsen voluntarily turned over eighteen (18) decks of heroin and one (1) used empty wax fold and was subsequently arrested.

Upon executing a Superior Court Search Warrant at the at Brahma Avenue residence, detectives located and detained defendants James Snyder, Erik Snyder and George Hagaman inside the residence. A search of defendant Hagaman’s living area within the residence resulted in the seizure seized eight (8) suboxone packets and numerous hypodermic needles. In a bedroom shared by defendants James Snyder, Erik Snyder and Larsen, detectives seized eighteen (18) suboxone packets, numerous hypodermic needles and drug paraphernalia to include glass pipes and empty baggies. All three defendants were subsequently arrested.

Prosecutor Soriano states that the total estimated street value of the heroin seized is approximately $465.00, and the total estimated street value of the suboxone seized is approximately $520.00.

Defendant Zielaznicki was charged with Possession of Heroin, 3rd Degree. Defendant Hagaman was charged with Possession of Suboxone, 3rd Degree and Possession of Hypodermic Needles, a Disorderly Persons offense. Defendant Larson was charged with Possession of Heroin, 3rd degree, Possession of Suboxone, 3rd degree, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia and Possession of Hypodermic Needles, both Disorderly Person offenses. Defendant Erik Snyder was charged with Possession of Suboxone, 3rd degree, Possession of Hypodermic Needles, a Disorderly Persons offense. Defendant James Snyder was charged with Possession of Suboxone, 3rd degree , Possession of Drug Paraphernalia and Possession of Hypodermic Needles, both Disorderly Persons offenses. Defendant Bruce Snyder was charged with Possession of Heroin, 3rd Degree, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Possession of Hypodermic Needles and Obstruction, all Disorderly Persons offenses.

Defendants Hagaman, James Snyder, Bruce Snyder and Deann Larson were lodged in the Somerset County Jail. Defendants Erik Snyder and Zielaznicki were released on their own recognizance.

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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FEBRUARY 26, 2015

NEWS RELEASE - CONTRACTOR AND HIS WIFE INDICTED FOR SWINDLING SENIOR CITIZEN IN HILLSBORORUGH

SOMERVILLE, N.J. – Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano announces that a Somerset County Grand Jury has returned indictments against Wilhelmina Gangi and Thomas Gangi, Jr. of Hillsborough Township, New Jersey on charges of Theft By Deception, Second Degree, Theft By Failure To Make Required Disposition Of Property Received, Second Degree, and Misapplication Of Entrusted Property, Second Degree. The indictment is the result of a joint investigation conducted by detectives from the Hillsborough Township Police Department and the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Special Investigations Unit.

Prosecutor Soriano states the investigation revealed that the victim used her savings in the approximate amount of $135,000 to purchase a residential property in Matawan, New Jersey in June 2010. In June, 2011, the victim also took out a $95,000 reverse mortgage on a retirement home in Florida to finance the repairs on the Matawan property. The defendants’ responsibility was to renovate the home and sell it. The agreement called for the victim to receive her investment and a share of the profits after the house was sold. The investigation also revealed that defendants used proceeds from the reverse mortgage for their personal expenses. After spending $95,000.00, the victim and defendant Wilhelmina Gangi jointly applied for a $60,000.00 home equity loan in January, 2012. After depleting the $60,000.00 loan, the defendants later took out two home equity loans in 2012 for $12,000.00 and $95,700.00, respectively. They were also secured by the property to finance the repairs, but the Gangis’ used those funds for personal expenses as well. The loan for $95,700.00 at 16% interest was used to pay off the first two home equity loans leaving a balance of approximately $14,000.00 which was also depleted. The Gangis’ personal expenses were for restaurants, beauty salons, clothing stores, pet salons, among others. The victim transferred her interest in the Matawan home to defendant W. Gangi on March 5, 2012, at defendants’ urging to protect the property from victim’s creditors. The victim was experiencing financial problems for having invested in the partnership. When she told the defendants of her financial woes, the deed was transferred solely to Wilhelmina Gangi. The Gangis subsequently encumbered the property with home equity loans to finance the renovation and also pay their personal expenses unrelated to the partnership. The defendants repeatedly assured the victim that she would recieve her money. The defendants sold the house in April 2013 for approximately $343,000.00 without telling the victim. After the home equity loans and fees were paid, the defendants received a balance of $156,607.88. Defendants did not tell the victim that the house was sold or reimburse her initial investment or give her a share of the profit. They did not account to the victim for the expenses to renovate the home. The victim learned of the sale on her own after the fact. The defendants spent the balance of the proceeds on personal expenses, including a car and a mink jacket. The victim’s home in Hillsborough was foreclosed and sold in a Sheriff’s sale in August, 2013. The victim was provided re-location assistance to a garden apartment through the assistance of Fannie Mae in connection with the foreclosure. The victim has not been reimbursed her savings used to purchase the Matawan property or the $95,000 in reverse mortgage proceeds.

Prosecutor Soriano states the defendants will be issued Court dates to appear in order to answer the charges in the indictment.

The case was presented to the Grand Jury by Assistant Prosecutor Frank Kolodzieski.

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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FEBRUARY 25, 2015

NEWS RELEASE - FRANLIN MAN INDICTMENT IN COLUMBUS DAY HOMICIDE

SOMERVILLE, N.J. - Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano announces that a Somerset County Grand Jury has returned an indictment against Dequan Rogers, age 20, of Alcorn Street, Franklin Township, New Jersey in connection with the October 13, 2014, fatal shooting of Joell Burton, age 17, of New Brunswick, New Jersey. Defendant Rogers is charged with first degree murder, second degree possession of a firearm for an unlawful purpose, second degree unlawful possession of a handgun and fourth degree underage possession of a handgun.

Prosecutor Soriano states that on the evening of October 13, 2014, at approximately 9:12 p.m., Franklin Township Police responded to a 9-1-1 call reporting a shooting victim who was presently in a church parking lot on Somerset Street. Responding officers located Joell Burton, of Bergen Court, New Brunswick, New Jersey, a 17 year old male suffering from a gunshot wound to his chest. The teen was transported to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Prosecutor Soriano states that at 9:17 p.m. Franklin Township Police received a second 9-1-1 call reporting a stabbing victim in the area of Victor Street which is in close proximity to Somerset Street. Additional responding officers located Dequan Rogers, a 19 year old male, suffering from a stab/laceration wound to his upper torso.

Prosecutor Soriano states that detectives assigned to the Franklin Township Police Department, and the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes and Crime Scene Investigation/Forensics Units, responded to conduct the investigation. The investigation, conducted by detectives from the Franklin Township Police Department and the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office, revealed that the victim was shot following a verbal and physical confrontation with Dequan Rogers. During the altercation, Dequan Rogers pulled out a handgun, and fired one shot, striking Mr. Burton, causing his death.

Dequan Rogers was taken into custody on October 14, 2014. He has remained in the Somerset County Jail in lieu of $500,000.00 cash bail since his arrest.

The matter was presented to the Somerset County Grand Jury by Somerset County 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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FEBRUARY 19, 2015

NEWS RELEASE - CRANFORD MAN CHARGED WITH AGGRAVATED SEXUAL ASSAULT AND ENDANGERING THE WELFARE OF A CHILD

SOMERVILLE, N.J. – Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano and Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of County Detectives Timothy M. Fitzgerald announce the arrest of Jason Fennes, age 40, of Van Buren Avenue, Cranford, New Jersey.

Prosecutor Soriano states that on January 28, 2015, a female victim (age 10) related to detectives that defendant Fennes, while employed as a first grade teacher at the Cedar Hill Prep School, in the Somerset Section of Franklin Township, New Jersey, sexually assaulted her during the years of 2010 and 2011. At the time of the assaults the victim was enrolled as a student at the school.

As a result of an investigation conducted by detectives assigned to Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Sex Crimes/Child Abuse Unit, defendant Fennes was arrested this morning and lodged in the Somerset County Jail. Bail was set by the Honorable Kimarie Rahill, J.S.C., at $100,000 cash or bond.

Defendant Fennes was charged with Aggravated Sexual Assault, 1st Degree and Endangering the Welfare of a Child, 2nd Degree.

Detectives are looking to talk to anyone who may have information about inappropriate contact involving defendant Fennes. Individuals with information are asked to contact the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Sex Crimes/Child Unit at 908-575-3300.

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 13, 2015

NEWS RELEASE - NORTH PLAINFIELD RESIDENT CHARGED WITH DISTRIBUTION OF CHILD PORNOGRAPHY

SOMERVILLE, N.J. - Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano, Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of County Detectives Timothy M. Fitzgerald, Somerset County Sheriff Frank Provenzano, North Plainfield Borough Chief of Police William Parenti and Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) Newark, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Richard Frankel, announce the arrest of Jose Orellana, age 42, of Duer Street, North Plainfield, New Jersey.

Prosecutor Soriano states that in October 2014 the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office, the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) working under the auspices of the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force Program initiated an investigation into certain computer activities that were taking place at the aforementioned Duer Street address.

Prosecutor Soriano states that yesterday morning at 6:00 Task Force members executed a search warrant on the subject residence. The search resulted in the seizure of a computer belonging to defendant Orellana. The lengthy investigation revealed that defendant Orellana was hosting over 1,300 image files of child pornography available for downloading through a file sharing network.

Defendant Orellana was arrested without incident and lodged in the Somerset County Jail. Bail was set by the Honorable Paul W. Armstrong, J.S.C. at $100,000 cash only.

Defendant Orellana was charged with Distribution of Child Pornography, 2nd Degree, Endangering the Welfare of a Child / Possession of Child Pornography, 3rd Degree.

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, 2015

NEWS RELEASE - HUSBAND AND WIFE ARRESTED IN UNDERCOVER NARCOTIC INVESTIGATION

SOMERVILLLE, N.J. - Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano, Somerset County Prosecutor's Office Chief of County Detectives Timothy Fitzgerald and North Plainfield Chief of Police William Parenti announce the arrests of Jamie Hoagland, age 42, and Marcie Hoagland, age 35, both of East Second Street, Plainfield, New Jersey.

Prosecutor Soriano states that on February 5, 2015, at approximately 11:30 p.m. Jamie Hoagland and Marcie Hoagland met with an undercover detective in the parking lot of a North Plainfield motel located on Route 22 West. The defendants arrived in a green Honda Accord with a N.J. registration. At this time, a Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Task Force undercover detective approached the vehicle and negotiated the sale of 10 oxycodone pills with the defendants who remained in their vehicle. After the detective handed defendant Marcie Hoagland $100 defendant Jamie Hoagland gave the undercover detective 10 oxycodone pills. Once the transaction was completed additional Task Force members approached the defendants and placed them under arrest without incident.

Defendants Jamie Hoagland and Marcie Hoagland were each charged with Distribution of CDS (Oxycodone), 3rd Degree.

Defendant Jamie Hoagland was lodged in the Somerset County Jail. Defendant Marcie Hoagland was released on her own recognizance.

Defendant Jamie Hoagland was also found to have outstanding warrants from Municipal Courts in the Boroughs of Dunellen and Metuchen.

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, 2015

NEWS RELEASE - 2 LOADED HANDGUNS SEIZED IN NARCOTICS ARREST

SOMERVILLE, N.J. - Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano, Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of County Detectives Timothy M. Fitzgerald and Franklin Township Chief of Police Lawrence Roberts announce the arrest of Kenneth James, age 23, of Lenox Place, in the Somerset section of Franklin Township, New Jersey.

Prosecutor Soriano states that on January 28, 2015, members of the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Organized Crime and Narcotics Task Force along with members of the Franklin Township Police Department Crime Suppression Unit were conducting a narcotics investigation regarding the distribution of marijuana by Kenneth James from his residence.

At approximately 6:05 p.m., a surveillance team observed defendant James exit his residence and enter his Acura TL. Detectives conducted a motor vehicle stop and advised defendant James of the ongoing narcotics investigation. Detectives executed a previously obtained Superior Court search warrant on defendant James’ person, motor vehicle and residence.

A search of his vehicle resulted in the seizure of approximately fifty-six (56) grams of marijuana, 6 Ecstasy pills (MDMA) and methamphetamine (under one ounce).

A search of defendant James’ residence resulted in the seizure of 2 additional ounces of Marijuana, 9 Ecstasy pills (MDMA) and Methamphetamine (under one ounce). Detectives also seized a Ruger Super Blackhawk, .44 Magnum revolver loaded with hollow point bullets and a loaded .22 caliber JM Marlin revolver.

The total Marijuana seized has an estimated street value of $1,200, Ecstasy pills $300 and Methamphetamine $400.

Defendant James was lodged in the Somerset County Jail.

Defendant James was charged with Possession of CDS (Marijuana) with the Intent to Distribute, 3rd Degree, Possession of CDS (MDMA) Ecstasy, 3rd Degree, Possession of CDS Methamphetamine, 3rd Degree, Possession of Hollow Point Bullets, 4th Degree, Possession of a Firearm while Committing a CDS Offense (2 counts), 2nd Degree.

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 29, 2015

NEWS RELEASE - FANS DON’T LET FANS DRIVE DRUNK

SOMERVILLE, N.J. – The Super Bowl is America’s most watched national sporting event. On Super Bowl Sunday, February 1, there will be lots of game day socializing that may include drinking. That’s why the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Somerset County’s law enforcement authorities are urging football fans to choose sides now: drinking OR driving. If you plan on drinking on Super Bowl Sunday, designate a sober driver to get you home safely.

NHTSA’s Fans Don’t Let Fans Drive Drunk campaign encourages people to make plans ahead of time that will prevent them from getting behind the wheel of a vehicle after drinking. Whether you call it “buzzed or drunk” driving, driving while impaired could result in injury or death for you or others on the road.

According to data from NHTSA, in 2012 there were 10,322 people killed in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes in the United States—31 percent of all crash fatalities in the nation. A driver is considered alcohol-impaired with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher, the legal limit in all states. This February 1, don’t become a tragic Super Bowl stat.

“Drunk driving is completely preventable,” said Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey Soriano. “All it takes is a little planning. We want fans to remember that it’s a choice. Drink or drive—but never do both.”

Chief William Parenti, President of the Somerset County Association of Chiefs of Police had this to offer, “For those who plan to drink, leave your keys at home. Designate a sober driver, whether it’s a friend, relative, taxi, or public transportation. For those who plan to drive, refrain from any alcohol. Instead, enjoy the game with food and non-alcoholic drinks. Being a sober, designated driver is a key role on Super Bowl Sunday. You might just save a life.”
Sheriff Frank J. Provenzano states that the Somerset Sheriff’s DWI Enforcement Team will be roving the roads of Somerset County. Additionally, the Sheriff’s Office will be working with The Safe Communities Coalition of Hunterdon/Somerset and EmPower Somerset to promote the John R. Elliott HERO Campaign for Designated Drivers.

As part of the Somerset Campaign, Big Heads Pub in Hillsborough, Southside Grille & Restaurant in South Bound Brook, Rolf's Restaurant and Pub in Warren, Uncle Vinnie’s Clam Bar in Raritan, Wasabi and Verve in Somerville and Lexus and BMW car dealerships in Bridgewater have agreed to promote the HERO Campaign for Designated Drivers.

Bill Elliott and his wife Muriel started the HERO Campaign for Designated Drivers in memory of their son, U.S. Navy Ensign John R. Elliott, who was killed in a collision with a drunk driver in July 2000. While at the U.S. Naval Academy, Ens. Elliott was selected as a Human Education Resource Officer (HERO) to counsel and mentor other members of his company and was named “the outstanding HERO” of his graduating class. Ens. Elliott was killed two months after graduating from the academy.

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JANUARY 22, 2015

NEWS RELEASE - PLAINFIELD MAN CHARGED WITH POSSESSION OF HEROIN WITH THE INTENT TO DISTRIBUTE

SOMERVILLE, N.J. - Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano, Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of County Detectives Timothy Fitzgerald and Green Brook Township Chief of Police Christopher Kurz announce the arrest of Robert Rhodes, age 40, of West 4th Street, Plainfield, New Jersey.

Prosecutor Soriano states that the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Organized Crime and Narcotics Task Force received information that on January 21, 2015, Robert Rhodes would be traveling from Plainfield to Green Brook in a gray Honda Accord and he would be in possession of Heroin.

At approximately 11:30p.m. a Task Force surveillance team observed a gray Honda Accord leave the area of Clinton and Myrtle Avenues in Plainfield. Once the vehicle was on U.S. Highway Route 22 West, in Green Brook, detectives conducted a motor vehicle stop. The driver of the vehicle was identified as defendant Rhodes and he was advised of the narcotic investigation. Defendant Rhodes gave voluntary consent to detectives to search his person and vehicle.

A search of defendant Rhodes resulted in the seizure of a plastic bag containing 497 folds of heroin. Defendant Rhodes was placed under arrest without incident.

The estimated street value of the heroin is approximately $9.940.00.

Defendant Rhodes was charged with Possession of Heroin with Intent to Distribute, 3rd Degree 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 defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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JANUARY 21, 2015

NEWS RELEASE - COMMUNITY EVENT: “PREPARING FOR A LAW ENFORCEMENT CAREER”

SOMERVILLE, N.J. - Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano and Somerset County Police Academy Director, Dr. Richard Celeste announce that the Somerset County Police Academy will be conducting a community program titled “Preparing for a Law Enforcement Career”. This program is open to all community members who may have an interest in understanding how to enter the law enforcement or corrections profession.

Part One will include a free one night overview of the basic entrance protocols for a law enforcement or corrections career. Topics will include minimum basic requirements, the traditional law enforcement or corrections employment route, the N.J. Alternate Route Program, the Police Training Commission (PTC) and various testing or evaluative processes to be experienced.

Part two will include eight (8) one night per week interactive blocks of instruction on various themes directed towards entrance into the profession. Participants will be exposed to leadership principles, the completion of the law enforcement application, interviewing strategies, nutritional guidance, stress management techniques, writing/reporting for success, developing a physical fitness strategy to prepare for law enforcement physical fitness testing and preparing for the law enforcement training class. Participants will also be required to partake in a physical conditioning session each week.

Although no longer undertaking basic recruit training, the Somerset County Police Academy has a robust history in its Recruit Training Programs having trained more than 2,100 new police and corrections officers for agencies across New Jersey between 1987 and 2013. The Academy’s Law Enforcement Continuing Education Program offers a variety of training programs which are mandatory for every officer as well as a cadre of other courses that officers require based upon their particular assignment or the particular equipment which they may deploy.

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.

The free initial session will be held on Monday, March 2, 2015 at 6:30 p.m. at the Somerset County Emergency Services Training Academy (ESTA), where the Police Academy is located, 402 Roycefield Road, Hillsborough Township, N.J. 08844.

Please visit our website at: www.somersetcountypoliceacademy.com in order to complete the registration form. Online registration for Part 1 must be completed by February 23, 2015.
The following Part Two (nine week sessions) will commence on Monday, March 9th and be held weekly ending on Monday, May 4th. Registration for this portion of the program will be taken during the initial March 2nd session. The fee for the Part 2 is $50.00 which includes all nine training sessions.

For more information contact the Somerset County Police Academy at 908-725-5070.

Individuals interested in a career in law enforcement are encouraged to “like” the Somerset County Police Academy on Face Book so as to get regular updates on job opportunities as well as other educational opportunities.
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JANUARY 12, 2015

NEWS RELEASE - 3 OUT OF STATE RESIDENTS CHARGED WITH ROBBERY

SOMERVILLE, N.J. – Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano and Bridgewater Township Chief of Police Manuel Caravela announce the arrests of:

Kevin Garner, age 55, of Midwood Street, Brooklyn, New York
Quatavia Ashburn, age 23, of Union Street, of Brooklyn, New York
Crystal Morrison, age 34, of Observation Court, Germantown, Maryland

Prosecutor Soriano states that on Friday, January 9, 2015, at approximately 4:27 p.m. Bridgewater Police received a report of a shoplifting at the Bridgewater Commons Mall. Responding police officers met with security officers who advised that a man and two women (later identified as defendants Garner, Ashburn and Morrison) had shoplifted $799.50 worth of merchandise from the Victoria Secret Store. As the defendants exited the store, a mall security officer confronted defendant Garner in the parking lot. Defendant Garner pushed the officer over the hood of a parked vehicle, and, with the assistance of additional security officers, defendant Garner was held until the arrival of Bridgewater Patrols.

A second Mall Security Officer attempted to stop defendants Ashburn and Morrison while still inside the mall. When confronted, Defendant Morrison produced a large canister of pepper spray, and she sprayed the security officer causing temporary blindness and pain. The defendants then fled the mall.

Bridgewater Police ascertained that the female defendants entered a nearby hotel. With the assistance of the hotel’s security staff, the defendants were apprehended. Upon reaching the ground level of the hotel, defendant Morrison pepper sprayed one of the hotel’s security officers.

Upon the arrival of a Bridgewater Patrol unit, both defendants were placed into custody.

All three defendants were lodged in the Somerset County Jail and each were charged with Robbery, 2nd Degree, Possession of a Weapon, 3rd Degree and Shoplifting, 3rd Degree.

Bail was set by the Honorable Yolonda Ciccone, A.J.S.C. at $100,000 cash or bond for defendants Garner and Morrison and $50,000 cash or bond for defendant Ashburn.

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 8, 2015

NEWS RELEASE - BROOKLYN MAN CHARGED IN BERNARDS FATAL CRASH

SOMERVILLE, N.J. – Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano, Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of County Detectives Timothy Fitzgerald and Bernards Township Chief of Police Brian Bobowicz announce the arrest of Shern A. Noel, age 18, of Pulaski Street in Brooklyn, New York.

Prosecutor Soriano states that last evening at approximately 8:57 p.m. a Bernards Township patrol officer observed a 2013 Honda Accord, bearing a New York registration with tinted windows, parked in a Martinsville Road gas station. A registration inquiry was made on the vehicle which revealed that the status of the registration was suspended. The vehicle, later learned to be operated by Shern Noel, exited the parking lot, and the patrol unit followed same. Once on Valley Road, the officer activated his emergency lights in an attempt to effectuate a motor vehicle stop of the vehicle and its 2 occupants. As the patrol unit approached the vehicle defendant Noel accelerated and fled the area.

Additional patrol units arrived and canvassed the area in an attempt to locate the fleeing vehicle. A patrol unit located the Honda parked in a cul-de-sac with the lights off. After observing the patrol vehicle, defendant Noel once again accelerated at a high rate of speed. While searching for the vehicle a second time, patrol officers came across the scene of a crash at 9:06 p.m. involving the Honda on Stonehouse Road near Columbia Road. The front seat passenger was ejected from the vehicle and was found deceased at the scene. Defendant Noel fled the scene on foot and was apprehended in a nearby wooded area by Bernards Township Police. Defendant Noel sustained an injury to his wrist in the crash and was transported to an area hospital for treatment.

Police are still attempting to identify the deceased passenger and notify the next of kin.

Defendant Noel has been charged with Death By Vehicular Homicide, 2nd Degree, Knowingly Leaving the Scene of a Motor Vehicle Accident Resulting in Death, 2nd Degree, Eluding, 2nd Degree, Aggravated Assault, 2nd Degree and Endangering an Injured Victim, 3rd Degree.

Bail for defendant Noel was set by the Honorable Kimarie Rahill, J.S.C. at $200,000 cash only.

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 4, 2015

NEWS RELEASE - CRIME STOPPERS OFFERS REWARD IN SOMERVILLE SHOOTING

SOMERVILLE, N.J. - Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano, Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of County Detectives Timothy M. Fitzgerald and Somerville Borough Chief of Police Dennis Manning announce that detectives are investigating a shooting that occurred in Somerville yesterday afternoon.

Prosecutor Soriano states at 1:45 p.m. Somerville Police were notified by emergency personnel at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital -Somerset that they were treating a 21 year old male for a gunshot wound to his hip and leg. Somerville Officers responded to the hospital to speak with the patient.

At 1:51 p.m. Somerville Police received a 9-1-1 call from a Second Street resident who reported hearing shots being fired in the neighborhood. Additional Somerville Police Officers responded to the area of Second and Center Streets where they observed spent bullet shell casings on the ground.

Prosecutor Soriano states that detectives from the Somerville Police Department, the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Squad, and the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Crime Scene Investigations and Forensics Unit responded to conduct the investigation.

Prosecutor Soriano states that the investigation revealed that the victim, who is only being identified by detectives as a Somerville resident, was the intended target. Detectives were able to ascertain that the victim was shot near Second and Center Streets and was then transported to the hospital by taxi with non-life threatening injuries. A description of the suspect(s) or motive for the shooting is undetermined since the victim and potential witnesses who were present during the shooting were uncooperative with law enforcement authorities.

Officers and detectives went house to house to ensure that no additional victims were injured as a result of this event. Two bullets traveled into the structure of two separate residences. No additional victims were reported.
Prosecutor Soriano, Chief Fitzgerald and Chief Manning request anyone with information regarding this incident to contact the Somerville Borough Police Department at (908) 725-0331, the Somerset County Prosecutors Office Major Crimes Unit at (908) 231-7100.

In addition, Prosecutor Soriano states that Crime Stoppers of Somerset County, Inc. is offering a reward of $1,500.00 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the individual responsible for this shooting incident. Those individuals who want to remain annonymous and collect the reward monies need to call the Somerset County Crime Stoppers’ Tip Line at 1-888-577-TIPS (8477) or submit their information online at www.888577tips.org or www.scpo.net and click on either “Crime Stoppers” or “TIPS HOTLINE”. All Crime Stopper tips will be kept confidential.

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JANUARY 2, 2015

NEWS RELEASE - POLICE INVESTIGATE BRIDGEWATER MOTEL ROBBERY

SOMERVILLE, N.J. - Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano, Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of County Detectives Timothy Fitzgerald and Bridgewater Township Chief of Police Manuel Caravela, announce that the investigation regarding yesterday’s robbery at the Americas Best Value Inn is continuing.

Prosecutor Soriano states that on January 1, 2015 at approximately 4:27 a.m. Bridgewater Township Police responded to a report of a robbery/shooting victim at the motel, located on U.S. Highway Route 22 West. Responding Officers encountered the female victim, age 46, who is an employee of the motel, suffering from multiple lacerations to her head, and a graze gunshot wound to her leg. The victim reported that while working at the front desk, two unknown black males entered separately from the front entrance doorway, and both suspects brandished firearms towards her.

Prosecutor Soriano states that the suspects demanded money and the victim complied by turning over an undisclosed amount of currency. The suspects then led the employee at gunpoint towards a back office in the motel and demanded additional money, at which time one of the suspects began to pistol whip the victim, causing multiple lacerations to her head. During the assault one of the suspects fired a round from his handgun thus striking the victim on her right calf, causing a minor graze wound. Following the assault, the suspects fled from the motel on foot.

Prosecutor Soriano states that detectives from the Bridgewater Township Police Department, along with detectives from the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Unit and the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office K-9 unit responded to conduct the investigation. The investigation revealed that, following the robbery, the suspects fled on foot in a southerly direction across Route 22 West near the Bridgewater Diner. The victim was transported to an area hospital where she received treatment for her injuries and was subsequently discharged.

Prosecutor Soriano states that detectives are releasing the following descriptions of the suspects:

Suspect #1 – Light skin black male, 5’9”- 5’11”, slender build, wearing a black “snorkel” jacket, black beanie cap and dark pants .

Suspect # 2 – Black male, 5’10”- 5’11”, medium build, wearing a dark colored face mask, gray hooded sweatshirt, blue jacket with white stripe, dark colored jeans, black shoes and gloves. Both suspects were armed with handguns at the time of robbery.

Prosecutor Soriano, Chief Fitzgerald and Chief Caravela ask that anyone who may have been in the area at the time of the incident or who may have witnessed the suspects as they fled on foot, or entered into a motor vehicle, to contact the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Unit at (908) 231-7100, the Bridgewater Township Police Department at (908) 722-4111.

Those with information who want to remain anonymous can 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 Crime Stopper tips will be kept confidential.

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