Charlie Kratovil

Charlie is a community organizer in New Brunswick, and a Rutgers journalism graduate. He can be reached at (732) 993-9697 or editor@NewBrunswickToday.com.

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    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—A prosecutor and a judge quickly lost their patience with a young man who did not go along with the questions asked of him about his role in a scheme involving his position as a valet for the New Brunswick Parking Authority (NBPA).

    The case stems from a scam allegedly run by several NBPA valets who pocketed cash from customers in exchange for allowing them to park in an abandoned parking garage that the NBPA had sold to Middlesex County.

  • Photo Credit: Bing Maps

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—On January 31, agents with the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency arrested 37-year-old Javier Atlixqueno-Vaquero, a fugitive on their "most wanted" list, in New Brunswick.

    Atlixqueno-Vaquero was reportedly on the #2 spot on the dubious list of undocumented immigrants with serious criminal convictions that the government hopes to remove from the country.

    The Mexican citizen had reportedly been convicted of multiple felony charges, including sexually assaulting a minor.

    (Police)
  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    WOODBRIDGE, NJ—The Township quietly paid $125,000 to a man who had accused police of assaulting him and smashing his front teeth with a flashlight at a TGI Friday's restaurant.

    The payment settles the federal lawsuit brought by Jeffrey Guttierez, an Iselin resident who claims the Woodbridge Police Department assaulted and falsely arrested him after they responded to a call at the Gill Lane restaurant.

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    SOMERVILLE, NJ—A 38-year-old New Brunswick man who allegedly crashed into a police car after picking up a package filled with five kilograms of cocaine has pled guilty to two different charges, according to the Somerset County Prosecutor's Office (SCPO).

    Elvin Guzman-Rodriguez, also known as Joel Matos Santiago, lives on Sanford Street, according to authorities, but he'll be spending the next several years in state prison as part of a plea deal reached with prosecutors.

    (Police)
  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—The state's quasi-public law enforcement agency meant to target animal abuse has lost its tax-exempt non-profit status, also known as "501(c)(3)" status, after failing to file tax returns for three straight years.

    The New Jersey Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NJ-SPCA) is the second-oldest such organization in the United States, but it has recently come under fire for its lack of transparency and its handling of several animal cruelty scandals in the area.

    (Police)
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    SOUTH AMBOY, NJ--A Matawan man was charged with causing the death of a bicyclist, according to a January 23 press release from the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office (MCPO). 

    Francis Smith, age 56, was charged with aggravated manslaughter, death by auto, and leaving the scene of a motor vehicle crash involving fatal injuries, according to the release.

    The fatal crash occurred six days before the announcement, and five days after 57-year-old South Amboy resident William Nash succumbed to his head injuries.

    (Police)
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    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—A man facing more than 30 criminal counts including fraudulently collecting disability payments while working as a city firefighter has cut a plea deal with prosecutors, according to TapInto New Brunswick's Jack Murtha.

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    ATLANTIC CITY, NJ—A man is known by the company he keeps, or so the saying goes.

    New US President Donald Trump and New Jersey's Governor Chris Christie have been friends for over a decade.

    Both Trump and Christie siezed power by defeating establishment candidates in upset elections.

    While it remains to be seen whether Trump's story arc will follow that of Christie's spectacular downfall, it is apparent both men have quite a bit in common.

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    UPDATE (3/1): Defendant Jason Lewis turned himself in to authorities at the Somerset County Jail on February 10. Jaki Hooks-Lewis turned himself into authorities yesterday while at his attorney’s office located in Newark on February 28.

    FRANKLIN, NJ–Local law enforcement is seeking the public's help in located a father and son duo who they say were behind a January 3 shooting on Dewald Avenue and "should be considered armed and dangerous."

    (Police)
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    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—In honor of our first five years of covering the city we love, we've put together a highlight reel of some of our biggest accomplishments and most memorable moments captured on video.

    Since December 2011, New Brunswick Today has been working hard to educate and empower the community about what is going on in New Brunswick and the rest of Middlesex county.  We ask the tough questions that the community wants us to ask, and sometimes things can get very interesting, especially when a camera is rolling.

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    HELMETTA, NJ—A volunteer firefighter has been arrested on charges of possessing and distributing child pornography, according to Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey.

    Daniel Leal, a 24-year-old man from Helmetta was arrested at his home on January 5, following an investigation done by the Helmetta Police Department and the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office (MCPO).

    (Police)
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    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Former Rutgers Assistant Basketball Coach Eric Murdock received $500,000 to split with his attorney after a years-long legal battle with his former employer, according to NJ.com's Keith Sargeant.

    In 2014, Murdock's explosive allegations about Coach Mike Rice mistreating players garnered national media attention and led to the ouster of multiple university officials including Rice and Athletic Director Tim Pernetti.

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    NORTH BRUNSWICK, NJ—Carolyn Sheldon, a 76-year-old Towship resident, became the 45th and final person killed on the highways of Middlesex County in 2016 on December 28.

    The crash occurred at Finnegans Lane and Route 1, a particularly dangerous intersection where residents have been complaining about the lack of safety.

    The intersection, located near the border of North Brunswick and South Brunswick, plays host to two gas stations and an office building that is home to one of the county's most powerful law firms.

    (Police)
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    WOODBRIDGE, NJ—Authorities announced that Margarita Bukhmil, a 33-year-old East Brunswick resident died after being struck by a vehicle on Route 9 South in Woodbridge on December 27, the same day she was killed.

    Bukhmil was walking on the highway at 3:25 a.m. when she was struck by a 1998 Nissan, according to a press release from the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office (MCPO).

    She was taken to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, where she was pronounced dead 27 minutes later.

  • Photo Credit: NJ.com/PAPD

    PERTH AMBOY, NJ--On Christmas Eve, authorities announced they are searching for a Woodbridge man who allegedly abducted two kids in Perth Amboy, "but later safely returned them to their home," according to a press release.

    The Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office (MCPO) did not include a photo of Frank John, the 41-year-old Woodbridge resident that police are looking for, in their press release posted on the county website.

    (Police)
  • Photo Credit: Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office

    PERTH AMBOY, NJ—A 54-year-old man from Howell Township was charged with second-degree "theft by extortion" in connection with his work as a drug treatment counselor at a Perth Amboy clinic called "Journey to Wellness."

    Anthony Trimble, who also earns $63,470 working for the state performing a similar function at the Special Treatment Unit of East Jersey State Prison in Avenel, according to NJ.com's Craig McCarthy.

    (Police)
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    PISCATAWAY, NJ—A housing facility on Rutgers University's Livingston campus has seen its heating and hot water infrastructure repeatedly fail during a tumultous semester for the school's aging infrastructure.

    The failures came on the heels of a prolonged  power outage that forced thousands of student on the school's Cook/Douglass campus to be relocated in September.

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    EDISON, NJ—A 61-year-old man from Elizabeth is facing serious charges after being arrested for beating up a 30-year-old woman who he allegedly kidnapped from Newark, and left to die in Edison.

    Mickey Vanderpool is charged with the alleged attack, which took place in June 2016, against a woman who he knew, according to authorities.

    Vanderpool allegedly met the unidentified woman in Newark before beating her and leaving her in an Edison business park.

    (Police)
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    PERTH AMBOY, NJ—A Perth Amboy motorist was charged in connection with the hit and run death of 83-year-old pedestrian Percio Hernandez.

    Hernandez, a resident of Perth Amboy, was pronounced dead on December 26 at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick.

    The crash occurred on December 16, ten days earlier, and the charges were announced nearly a week later on December 23 after the driver turned himself in.

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—On December 12, a 53-year-old plumber pled guilty to stealing from an elderly person he knew, including having her sign over the deed to her own home to him.

    For the past several years, Fady Chedid was living in the home at 11 Hartwell Street, which initially belonged his 88-year-old victim, Julia Ribar.

    But Chedid apparently had Ribar sign over the property to a company he controlled in 2013, around the time that he had her put in a nursing home out-of-state.

    (Police)
  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Concerns over fair and affordable access to clean, safe drinking water have repeatedly made headlines across the nation in recent years, but few communities have as bad of a track record as New Brunswick.

    That track record just got a lot worse in December, as multiple unfolding scandals enveloped the troubled New Brunswick Water Utility (NBWU), and the agency recruited police to help them seize potential evidence of their own corruption from the New Brunswick Today (NBT) newspaper.

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    CARTERET, NJ—Just around midnight on December 6, 63-year-old Briccio Guevara was found dead outside his home in Carteret, fatally wounded by gunshots, according to authorities.

    Guevara, a resident of Carteret, was taken to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in Rahway, where he was pronounced dead shortly after he was discovered at 12:01 a.m.

    (Police)
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    PERTH AMBOY, NJ—On December 7, Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew Carey announced that three people had been arrested and charged with "participating in a series of jewelry store break-ins that netted them nearly $1 million in stolen goods."

    Two men from Essex County and a woman from Union County were charged one day prior, following an "intensive investigation involving 17 law enforcement agencies," according to the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office (MCPO).

    (Police)
  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Several years after two men were murdered in Trenton, a 27-year-old from New Brunswick who goes by the nickname "Charmin," was indicted on charges he killed both as part of a criminal conspiracy involving a widespread underground prostitution business. 

    Now Wilmer Chavez Romero is facing the potential of being put to death by the federal government if convicted of the crime in a trial set to begin on January 3.

    (Police)
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    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ--The New Brunswick Police Department (NBPD) is "asking for the public’s help in identifying two suspects" in a daytime robbery that took place in a high-crime hot spot.

    According to a NBPD press release, on December 4 at approximately 2pm, a 40-year-old man was assaulted after being approached from behind on Suydam Street.

    (Police)
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    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—The NJ Attorney General's Office isn't done with New Brunswick's embattled water utility just yet.

    This time last year, the AG's Office was announcing that the city's former treatment plant operator pled guilty to public corruption, admitting that he covered up problems with the water supplied to customers in New Brunswick, Milltown, and parts of Franklin Township.

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    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—City police are investigating a report of gunshots fired in broad daylight near Douglass campus of Rutgers University.

    The incident occurred around noon on December 2 at the intersection of  Jones Avenue and Seaman Street, one block from the Jameson dormitories in the Second Ward of the city.

    Though New Brunswick Police Department (NBPD) is investigating the alleged crime, it was Rutgers University Police Department (RUPD) that notified the public about the incident.

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—An indicted man was allowed to continue working as a firefighter for nearly three months while another case was mounted against him. 

    After being suspended following an arrest on fraud charges last year, city firefighter Dell Walker has also been arrested twice more by local cops.

    Walker, who pleaded guilty to a drug possession charge in Bergen County and twice beat charges of making terroristic threats in Middlesex County, apparently still faces charges of shoplifting from the Toys R Us in East Brunswick.

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    PERTH AMBOY, NJ—Two men from New York City who ran a poultry slaughterhouse in Perth Amboy were arrested on November 30 and charged with forcing their undocumented immigrant employees to work there for long hours at extremely low wages.

    According to the official story, the two men who were paid to slaughter chickens "complained about the hours they were working and the conditions of the facility (no gloves, masks or proper soap)," prompting a threat from the bosses.

    (Police)
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    OLD BRIDGE, NJ—Authorities arrested a 30-year-old man and charged him with killing his 61-year-old mother over the Thanksgiving weekend.

    Frank Polera was charged on November 27 with the crime that ended the life of Patricia Polera one day earlier, according to the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office (MCPO).

    (Police)
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    PISCATAWAY, NJ—Four men allegedly stole "a high value of athletic equipment" from the Rutgers Athletic Center on the school's Livingston Campus on November 11, according to Facebook post by the NJ State Police (NJSP).

    More than a week after the incident occurred, the NJSP asked the public for help solving the crime, offering two photographs from surveillance cameras that show four young men inside the facility.

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    SOUTH AMBOY, NJ—A medical doctor from South Amboy pleaded guilty on November 22 to  "engaging in sophisticated fraud and money laundering schemes," according to a press release from the NJ Attorney General's Office.

    Manoj Patharkar, the 45-year-old doctor who led the Edison-based Pain Management Associates of Central Jersey (PMACJ), admitted to hiding approximately $3.6 million in income from his medical practices to evade taxes, .

    (Police)
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    MILLTOWN, NJ—The botched demolition of an old tire factory in Milltown caused an oil spill that forced the embattled New Brunswick Water Utility to shut down one of its two pumping stations for more than six weeks.

    A follow-up investigation by New Brunswick Today has discovered that one of the parties being held responsible for the October 4 spill is a company led by a convicted felon who pled guilty to federal crimes in a 2005 public corruption case.

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    SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ—On November 21, local police announced the arrests of two women, including one from New Brunswick, following a raid on a Route 130 "spa" that authorities say was "a front for prostituion."

    Police siezed $823 cash, a 2010 Lexus, a television, and "numerous office items" in the raid, which was executed five days earlier on November 16.

    (Police)
  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—In the wake of President-elect Donald Trump's anti-immigrant political rhetoric, a counter-celebration of America's diversity--and sharp opposition to his policies--has blossomed in the Hub City.

    Protests showing support for immigrants--including one that drew well over a thousand people on November 16--have largely prioritized immigration in the aftermath of the election.

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    NORTH BRUNSWICK, NJ—Two county residents were arrested on November 18 on charges they were part of a "nationwide ring that scammed 19 senior citizens out of cash totaling $45,500," according to a press release from the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office (MCPO).

    It was actually a Detective from the Union County Prosecutor’s Office (UCPO), Dennis Donavan, who first discovered the scam after a Maryland resident reported he had been cheated.

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—New Brunswick and Middlesex County agencies affect many aspects of New Brunswick residents' lives, along with several other major organizations such as the non-profit hospital Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital and public schools like Rutgers University.

    These organizations, and many others that you might not know about, host public meetings from time to time.

    If you want to attend a public meeting this month, you can look at this schedule of meetings times and locations.

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    EDISON, NJ—On November 13, authorities found a man's body in the woods near an apartment complex at the foot of the Donald Goodkind Bridge, which spans the Raritan River and connects Edison and New Brunswick

    A resident of the Valley Manor Apartments told NJ.com's Tom Haydon that he heard a loud bang at around 6 am.

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW YORK, NY—New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and several of his allies, were demoted from President-Elect Donald Trump's "transition team," leaving observers wondering what the future holds for the embattled official.

    Christie shocked some by endorsing Trump earlier this year, becoming one of the first establishment figures to do so earlier this year, after previously suggesting he was unfit for the office during his own campaign for President.

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    EDISON, NJ—A Township police officer, and another man who recently left the department in disgrace, have been charged with hatching a plan to set the home of one of their bosses on fire.

    Michael Dotro, who resigned from the Edison Police Department (EPD) in September and still faces attempted murder charges in connection with a May 2013 blaze, is now being accused of conspiring with another officer to light a different superior officer's home on fire.

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    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—A young woman from South Amboy remains hospitalized after being knocked into a coma for more than a week, rendered unconscious by a man who punched her in the face during a Halloween weekend streetfight in New Brunswickt.

    However, the man who threw that punch, Dan Murray, remains free and police say they won't arrest or charge him because video shows Emily Rand striking him first.

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    METUCHEN, NJ—A diversionary tactic did not stop local police from arresting a pair of brothers from Carteret for robbing the TDBank in the quiet town of Metuchen.

    Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey and Chief David Q. Irizarry of the Metuchen Police Department announced on November 7 that two brothers were arrested and charged with robbing the bank "after staging a bomb scare at the high school to divert police," according to a press releae.

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    EDISON, NJ—Authorities announced criminal charges against a 29-year-old man who was involved in a fatal crash on Route 1 that took the life of a 74-year-old Edison resident.

    Both men were taken to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, but Ronald Setlight was pronounced dead shortly after he arrived there in the early morning hours of November 5.

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    CARTERET, NJ—Voters in Carteret rejected Mayor Dan Reiman’s controversial proposal to stop having school board elections and give the Mayor the permanent power to appoint members to the Board of Education.

    That measure went down in flames, with 65% of Carteret voters voting "NO" to the proposal.

    The question, which was asked only after the Board of Education unanimously voted to put the question to voters at Reiman's behest, also provided an opportunity for challengers to kick two of the incumbents out of office.

  • Photo Credit: Sean Monahan

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Dharun Ravi, the ex-Rutgers student whose spying may have led to the unfortunate suicide of his roommate, pled guilty after cutting a deal that will allow him to avoid another prosecution and put an end to the prolonged criminal matter.

    Ravi had previously been convicted by a jury on 15 different counts in 2012, and already served a brief jail sentence.

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    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—There was a somber mood in New Brunswick City Hall on November 9.

    Local officials here in this Democratic stronghold are lamenting the victory of entertainer and real estate developer Donald Trump, who won the US Presidential election in a stunning upset one day earlier.

    In every election district in the Hub City, Hillary Clinton handily defeated Trump.  Seventeen of the 25 municipalities in Democrat-controlled Middlesex County also saw more votes cast for the former First Lady than for Trump.

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    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Incumbents won most of the local and county races in the 2016 general election, including longtime Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr.

    Pallone has represented New Brunswick in Washington since 1991, and has been in Congress even longer, a fact that some consider a credit to the man's service.

    Still others, such as his most recently vanquished opponent, Brent Sonnek-Schmelz, criticize Pallone for occupying the same public position for so long.

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Voters across Middlesex County will be deciding who will occupy key roles such as US Congressional representative, Sheriff, Freeholder, as well as local offices.

    While the Presidential election may steal the limelight from the local, county, and Congressional races, many voters will be asked to decide on who will run their local governments.

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    EDISON, NJ—Democrat State Senator Peter Barnes' departure from the Legislature has caused three different elections to be held to decide who will finish so-called "unexpired" terms left after elected officials got promoted to higher office.

    It all started with Barnes securing a Superior Court judgeship, thanks to an appointment to the bench from Republican Governor Chris Christie.

    But that is just one of a dozen local offices where candidates are running for partial terms.

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    PERTH AMBOY, NJ—The "City by the Bay" is in the midst of an important local election, as is another town on the other end of the county: Spotswood.

    The two communities are unique--at least in Middlesex County--because political parties are not directly involved in their local government elections.

    But in Perth Amboy and Spotswood, no local primary elections are held, though primary elections are held for offices such as US Congress, Sheriff, Freeholder, State Senator, and State Assembly.

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    PISCATAWAY, NJ—Authorities announced the arrest of a Piscataway man on charges that he killed a 31-year-old woman from Raritan Borough who "suffered severe injury to her head" after visiting his condominium.

    The victim, Beth Bezek, was "found dead outside his home, the victim of apparent head injuries," according to a press release issued by the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office (MCPO).

    That home was located on Pond Lane, in Cedar Woods, a relatively new condominium development located off of Possumtown Road.

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Even as top city officials claim the embattled New Brunswick Housing Authority (NBHA) Board of Commissioners does not suffer from "weak memberbership," the agency recently lost another board member and was forced to cancel a public meeting.

    At some point in August or September, Anthony Cupano became the third NBHA board member to leave office in just over a year, according to NBHA Executive Director John Clarke.

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—A 71-year-old former Carteret Police Director, who only lasted three weeks in the job, agreed to spend the the next three years on probation and never hold a public job again following a DWI arrest.

    Mayor Dan Reiman hired Ronald Franz to be police director earlier this year, but Franz only lasted three weeks before getting arrested for eluding police and driving while intoxicated.

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    EDISON, NJ—Authorities announced on October 24 that young man from Edison has been charged with vehicular homicide in a motor vehicle crash that killed 93-year-old Luis Figueroa, also of Edison.

    Joseph Petrillo, age 20, was "traveling north at a high rate of speed on Route 27 near the Peterson Avenue intersection in Edison and was unable to stop before striking the victim’s vehicle," according to a statement from the Middlesex County Proseuctor's Office (MCPO).

  • Photo Credit: HCPO

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—The movie theatre on Route 1 is home to one of the city's largest parking lots, but that lot was also a crime scene on October 30.

    Police responded to the scene at approximately 1:00pm, according to New Brunswick Police Department (NBPD) Captain JT Miller, where they found the body of a man who they believe shot himself inside a parked vehicle.

    "The preliminary police investigation suggests suicide however a final determination cannot be made until an autopsy is completed," Miller told New Brunswick Today.

    (Police)
  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Local police have their hands full with a string of unsolved crimes plaguing the Rutgers University community in the leadup to Halloween.

    After going a full month without a crime that the school deemed worthy of issuing one of its infamous "crime alerts," there have been six crimes to achieve the dubious honor throughout during a one-week period.

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    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ–Police say that a fire on Comstock Street in the Second Ward may have been intentionally set on the night of October 28.

    The incident occurred at 50 Comstock Street, located between Jones and Commercial Avenues, at approximately 9:10pm.

    The home in question is owned by Hedy Tehrani, a Monroe resident who purchased it in 1996 for $99, according to property records.  The home is assessed at $52,200 and the land it is on at $22,500, according to tax records.

  • Photo Credit: Bing Maps

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—City firefighters rescued an unidentified woman who had become trapped as she climbed up one of the two Route 1 bridges connecting Edison and New Brunswick, according to a report on TapInto New Brunswick.

    The woman was apparently climbing the arches of the Morris Goodkind bridge, which carries cars along Route 1 North over the Raritan River, when the New Brunswick Fire Department (NBFD) recieved a call on October 21.

  • Photo Credit: UNNJ.edu

    NEWARK, NJ—The federal government charged 21 people, including six New Jersey residents, with serious crimes related to a scheme that they used a made-up university to help more than 1,000 "foreign nationals," mostly from China and India, maintain visas.

    The accused were characterized as "brokers, recruiters, and employers" who engaged in a conspiracy to fraudulently "mantain student and foreign worker visas through a 'pay-to-stay' New Jersey college."

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    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Local cops are investigating a shooting that took place following a large party in the early morning hours of October 16, according to a report on TapInto New Brunswick.

    According to the report, police said that a vehicle was struck with gunfire near the intersection of Hassart and Welton Streets in the First Ward.  The New Brunswick Police Department (NBPD) did not otherwise publicize the incident.

    (Police)
  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Public records show that a 18-year-old Rutgers student has been charged by campus police with a disorderly persons offense and a petty disorderly persons offense after she allegedly climbed and fell from a new building.

    The future home of a Starbucks coffee shop on College Avenue was the scene of the crime shortly after 2am on September 9, in the strange case where the first-year student resident was injured after climbing up the side of a building located in the courtyard outside her dormitory.

  • Photo Credit: Bing Maps

    CARTERET, NJ—On October 18, authorities including ​Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew Carey and Carteret Police Chief John Pieczyski, finally announced the "fatal beating of a borough man" on Holly Street.

    But those same authorities had kept the fatality a secret for nearly a week, citing only "investigative reasons."

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    SAYREVILLE, NJ—An Old Bridge man was convicted of aggravated manslaughter and a weapons charge on October 14, according to a statement from the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office (MCPO).

    Robert McGranahan, age 29, was found guilty of fatally stabbing a 63-year-old man in Sayreville, following a jury trial and more than two days of deliberations.

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Timothy Puskas, a New Brunswick landlord accused of beating a young man to death on Valentine's Day 2014 has been sentenced in a fatal crash that took the life of Leonel Lopez-Hernandez two years earlier.

    While Puskas was out on bail in the hit-and-run case, he was accused of the brutal murder of Billy McCaw, a college student found dead in a Hartwell Street backyard in February 2014. That case is still pending.

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    CARTERET, NJ--Two men, one from Cartertet and another from Essex County, are headed to state prison for their role in the death of a Maryland man who was visiting relatives in Carteret on April 5, 2013.

    Their victim, Deonte Shackleford, was just 26 years old when he was shot and killed in the borough, during his visit from Baltimore.

    Both 24-year-old Daniel Gillens, of Newark, and 30-year-old Hakeem Mercer, of Carteret, had pleaded guilty to lesser crimes than the ones they had been charged with in a plea deal with prosecutors.

    (Police)
  • Photo Credit: MCPO

    JAMESBURG, NJ—Law enforcement officials announced the arrest of a 50-year-old resident of Jamesburg after the man allegedly texted "a lewd photo of himself" to an undercover cop who was pretending to be a 15-year-old girl.

    Linus Germe was arrested and charged on the evening of October 5, according to the official statement from the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office (MCPO).

    (Police)
  • Photo Credit: MCPO

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—The Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office (MCPO) issued a press release on September 30 touting three arrests that resulted in the "recovery" of what they claimed was $20,000 worth of heroin, as well as six handguns and a bulletproof vest.

    The official statement claimed the trio was "running a street-level drug sales operation that netted thousands of dollars annually."

    (Police)
  • Photo Credit: NBPD

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ--A Ford Crown Victoria owned by the New Brunswick Police Department (NBPD) crashed into a guardrail before striking a concrete barrier on September 13, sending two officers to the hospital.

    The vehicle, driven by Officer Richard Reed III, "was responding with lights and sirens to a call for assistance from other officers," according to the police report signed by NBPD Sgt. James Hoover.

    The officers' ultimate destination was just a block away: the New Brunswick train station.

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—The headquarters of the city's housing authority was struck by gunfire on August 31, but that agency's Board of Commissioners refused to acknowledge that fact during their September 28 meeting.

    "We can't comment on any ongoing matters of that type because they're active investigations going on, and cases that the police have brought," said NBHA Executive Director John Clarke, fielding a question about the damage to the building nearly a month later.

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    PISCATAWAY, NJ—Suffering its worst loss in nearly 130 years, the Rutgers University football team struggled for the second week in a row, shut out in their home stadium by a laughably lopsided margin.

    The loss, by a final score of 78-0, was so bad that it raised questions about the school's decision to focus on big-time athletics, including a recent decision to join the "Big Ten" athletic conference.

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—A new building that Rutgers University officials neglected to realize could easily be climbed by its student body has been modified to make it harder to mount, after an allegedly drunk student was seriously injured in a bad fall.

    "This building is constructed in a manner that would easily allow, and may invite, some individuals to climb on top of it," read an email reported in the student newspaper, the Daily Targum.

  • Photo Credit: Executive-Magazine.com

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—On October 5, a grand jury opted to indict 45 individuals and the same number of private companies in connection with an allegedly massive and intricate racket based in Middlesex County.

    Carlos Alcantara, just 26 years old, is accused of being the head of the criminal organization that "fraudulently obtained more than $2 million in U.S. currency and fraudulently wired more than $15 million from victims’ accounts."

  • Photo Credit: Facebook

    BENSALEM, PA—A 32-year-old New Brunswick man who previously attended Somerville High School has been sentenced to more than a decade in state prison for turning an out-of-state motel into a brothel where women were paid in heroin or crack cocaine.

    Christopher DeGrasse was arrested on April 5 at the Best Western Motel in the 3400 block of Street Road in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, according to Bucks County authorities.

    (Police)
  • Photo Credit: South Brunswick Police Dept.

    SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ—Local police charged a "home nurse aide" with stealing an electronic tablet and more than $1,000 from an elderly client who lives in the Dayton section of the Township.

    Caitlyn Burton, age 21, surrendered to South Brunswick Police on September 26, and was charged with theft as well as theft of a credit card, and credit card fraud for making twelve cash withdrawals using the victim's credit card between August 8 and August 25. 

    (Police)
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    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—The Hub City's water woes continued over the weekend of September 23-25, as thousands of city residents were forced to boil their water before use or risk their health while crews worked to repair a 20-inch water main that ruptured on a ramp connecting Routes 1 and 18.

    After the main broke, a chunk of the roadway above it collapsed, causing traffic delays amid the Friday rush hour on September 23, and another headache for city's embattled Water Utility.

  • Photo Credit: Federal Bureau of Prisons

    WHITE PLAINS, NY—A local woman with ties to New Brunswick and Manville has been sentenced to three years in federal prison for her role in an out-of-state murder that took place on August 24, 2014.

    Almost two years after the killing, 29-year-old Andrea Beatty, was sentenced by sentenced Judge Kenneth Karas on August 11.

    She pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit robbery, conspiracy to distribute drugs, aiding and abetting a robbery, and aiding and abetting a murder.

    (Police)
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    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—A cyclist was injured after being struck by a large Nestlé branded water delivery truck at the corner of Easton Avenue and Hamilton Street on September 23.

    New Brunswick Police confirmed that the female victim was taken to a nearby hospital with "non-life-threatening injuries."

    But five days later, police still declined to give much additional information about the crash, saying the crash was "still under investigation and not yet completed."

  • Photo Credit: Bing Maps

    CARTERET, NJ—Authorities announced they are searching for "one or more individuals" who were involved in a stabbing that killed an 18-year-old Carteret man. 

    The victim, Nelson Delgado, was pronounced dead at 3:08 a.m. on September 20 at University Hospital in Newark.

    Police had been dispatched to the scene of the crime, the corner of Pershing and Pulaski Avenues, where they found the victim at 2:06 a.m.

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    PERTH AMBOY, NJ—A jury seated at the Middlesex County Courthouse decided on September 20 that former Perth Amboy Police Chief Benjamin Ruiz is not guilty of official misconduct, theft of services, and witness tampering.

    Ruiz was potentially facing 5 to 10 years in prison over the allegations that he had gotten police department mechanics to make repairs and enhancements to his private vehicles.  He also faced charges he tried to get a potential witness to alter his side of the story.

    (Police)
  • Photo Credit: Pestkill.org

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ--The county government announced that a raccoon found in the city's Fifth Ward tested positive for rabies, the first rabid animal found in New Brunswick this year.

    "On Saturday, September 17, 2016, the Animal Control Officer for New Brunswick responded to a call concerning a raccoon that was found to be acting strangely in the vicinity of Laurel Place and Somerset Street," reads the announcement from the Middlesex County Office of Health Services.

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    EDISON, NJ—Four Edison police officers, including a Sergeant, resigned and agreed to never hold public jobs in New Jersey ever again as part of a guilty plea in Superior Court.

    At the time the agreement was reached, jury selection was underway for a trial that was sure to attract a lot of publicity.

    The guilty quartet includes Michael Dotro, the troubled 36-year-old Edison police officer who lives in Manalapan, and has been accused of igniting a bomb outside the Monroe Township home of one of his bosses in a separate case.

    (Police)
  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—The city's embattled Water Utility, which also provides drinking water to customers in Milltown and Franklin, has admitted to violating drinking water standards yet again.

    After more than two years without being caught violating state or federal drinking water laws, the city was issued a formal "notice of violation" on August 25, after three of its regular water testing sites were found to have exceeded the allowable amount of a common contaminant.

  • Photo Credit: CBS

    SOMERVILLE, NJ—While a Middlesex County judge is still awaiting the final result of the case against her, the man who she is accused of harboring as a fugitive was convicted of a 2013 armed robbery in Old Bridge.

    The Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office (MCPO) announced the conviction of Jason Prontnicki, who had been accused of robbing the Woods Pharmacy on Texas Road with a "lug wrench" on  April 29, 2013.

  • Photo Credit: Sean Monahan

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—A lot has changed since Dharun Ravi was convicted of using his laptop computer to spy on his roommate at Rutgers University, the late Tyler Clementi, during a sexual encounter.

    Clementi took his own life just two days after learning of the incident, where Ravi and another student briefly watched Clementi being intimate with another man by remotely activating his laptop's built-in camera.

  • Photo Credit: Middlesex County

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—On September 15, local police and firefighters recovered a dead body from the Raritan River near "New Brunswick Landing," the city's rarely-used boat docks. 

    It was the second body found just outside the city in just four days.

    The Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office has still not identified the individual whose body was found inside a vacant home on Joyce Kilmer Avenue in North Brunswick on September 12.

    (Police)
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    NORTH BRUNSWICK, NJ--Authorities announced that "township maintenance workers" had alerted police to an "apparent break-in" at a vacant home somewhere on Joyce Kilmer Avenue, which in turn led them to find a dead body.

    ​Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey did not identify the victim, a man whose body was discovered by police the morning of September 12.

    (Police)
  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—A new large-scale development in the Hub City is off to a dangerous start, thanks to a student who was able to climb on top of one of the new buildings recently erected on College Avenue.

    The scene of the incident was the former home of the university's beloved "grease trucks," which were kicked out to make way for the massive 443-bed dormitory.

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ--Three of the city's elementary schools had early dismissals on Friday, September 9, as the air temperature exceeded 93 degrees for the first time since August.

    But the district did not thoroughly explain why some of its students were getting an early start to the weekend at first.

    It was only the fourth day of school in the New Brunswick school district, which serves more than 10,000 local children.

  • Photo Credit: SCPO

    UPDATE (9/15): Authorities announced that, after "an exhaustive search for defendant Bell" he was arrested in Staten Island with assistance from the New York Police Department.

    FRANKLIN, NJ—Authorities are offering $2,000 in reward money for anyone who can provide "information leading to the whereabouts and arrest of Isaiah J. Bell," according to a statement released by the Somerset County Prosecutor's Office (SCPO).

    (Police)
  • Photo Credit: Rutgers

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Rutgers students were unable to use non-Rutgers websites and online services via the school's wireless internet networks on the first day of classes this year, thanks to yet another cyberattack.

    Similarly, those outside the school were unable to access Rutgers websites during a window of time that the massive network was breached.

    The Daily Targum's Nikilesh De broke the story on September 6, the same day that the attack caused major inconveniences for at least a half-hour.

  • Photo Credit: KT Riley Photography

    MILLTOWN, NJ--A home in the quiet borough of Milltown erupted in flames in the early-morning hours of September 4.

    Karen Piciullo, the 50-year-old homeowner, was charged the following day with aggravated arson and criminal mischief, according to a press statement from the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office (MCPO).

    "The fire destroyed the entire 1 ½-story house and resulted in the death a dog," read the statement.

    The MCPO statement indicated that Piciullo started the blaze at about 5:24am.

    (Fire)
  • Photo Credit: Bing Maps

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Students at Rutgers University had yet to attend their first classes of the semester before they received their first crime alert, documenting an armed robbery of students.

    According to the alert issued at 11:32am on Labor Day, the New Brunswick Police Department (NBPD) is looking into an armed robbery that occurred the night before in the parking lot of the city's only major department store.

    (Police)
  • Photo Credit: Bing Maps

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Rutgers cops, city police, and the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office (MCPO) have all been investigating Demetrius Lee, who has been charged with multiple crimes in the same area of the Hub City.

    Lee, a 33-year-old man who lives in an apartment on Elizabeth Street in Newark, has been charged with trying to kill two members of the same family on different dates in August, at the same street corner.

    (Police)
  • Photo Credit: Reader-submitted photo

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ--Two young men were shot in the parking lot of a supermarket on August 31 at approximately 11:15 am according to a press release from the New Brunswick Police Department (NBPD).

    While the suspects fled on foot, the victims fled the scene as well, apparently in a vehicle that ended up crashing just a stone's throw away from the entrance to a hospital emergency room. 

    It's at least the second shooting to take place in the supermarket parking lot in the past year.

  • Photo Credit: Charlie Kratovil

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—On September 1, a Highland Park man was sentenced to serve 64 years in state prison for shooting and robbing a 22-year-old New Brunswick resident more than three-and-a-half years ago.

    Lewis C. Hooper, age 32, was sentenced by Superior Court Judge Alberto Rivas at the Middlesex County Courthouse for his role in the crime.

    "As a persistent offender, [he] must serve 85 percent of the term before he can be eligible for parole," according to a press release from the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office (MCPO).

  • Photo Credit: Rxreviewz.com

    METUCHEN, NJ—A grand jury in New Brunswick has indicted a Metuchen woman on charges of poisoning a man who was hospitalized, but since has recovered.

    Theresa Freis, age 44, allegedly administered "clonazepam or a benzodiazepine or benzodiazepines" to a man who authorities did not identify on May 25 somewhere in Metuchen, according to a statement from the office of Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew Carey.

  • Photo Credit: Bing Maps

    NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—A child molester is on the loose in Highland Park, according to authorities, who asked for the public's help in solving a troubling crime in the borough.

    ​Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey and Chief Stephen J. Rizco of the Highland Park Police Department (HPPD) issued a joint statement on August 29 that described an incident where an 11-year-old girl was " improperly touched" by an unidentified man on the South side of town.

    (Police)
  • Photo Credit: Bing Maps

    UPDATE: This article has been corrected to reflect Julio Perez's employer was JP Installations.

    EDISON, NJ--On August 27, 36-year-old Julio Perez died after an accident at the NU World Beauty Supply warehouse on Mill Road in Edison's Heller Industrial Park.

    Perez, a New Brunswick resident with Guatemalan roots, was killed at 4:15 p.m. "when a section of steel scaffolding accidentally collapsed inside the warehouse," according to a statement released by the Township.

    (Police)
  • Photo Credit: Facebook

    WOODBRIDGE, NJ—On August 14, at the Annual India Day parade, a member of the Asian Indian community was sworn in to serve the Fourth Ward on the Township Council for the first time in history.

    Woodbridge is the state's sixth-largest muncipality by population, with just over 100,00 residents, a quarter of which are of Asian descent.

    The Fourth Ward includes the Iselin and Menlo Park Terrace sections of the Township, home to a large concentration of Asian Indians.

  • Photo Credit: Edison Township

    SAYREVILLE, NJ--The Middlesex County Utilities Authority's seven-member board has a new member, as of August 18, when the Board of Chosen Freeholders approved the nomination of Robert Diehl.

    Diehl, an Edison Councilman, replaces Robert Karabinchak on the powerful board, which controls the county's landfill and sewer systems in portions of three different counties.

    Karabinchak left the authority's board to become a New Jersey Assemblyman earlier this year.