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LAVALLETTE FIRE LABELED ACCIDENTAL

On Thursday, May 25th 2017, at 1:21 am, The Lavallette Police Department and Fire Department were dispatched to a structure fire at 1806 Grand Central Avenue. Upon arrival, emergency personnel observed the second floor of a two story, multi-unit dwelling condominium structure was fully involved in fire.  Both Seaside Heights and Seaside Park Fire Departments assisted with fire suppression.

Despite the intensity of the flames responding units found upon arrival, the fire event produced one minor injury.  A 45-year-old male was transported to Community Medical Center for non-life threating injuries sustained when jumping from the second story to escape the extreme fire and smoke conditions.

The subsequent investigation conducted by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes/Arson Unit, Ocean County Fire Marshal’s Office, Ocean County Sheriff’s Department Crime Scene Investigation Unit and Lavallette Police Department determined that the area of origin was on the exterior of the south side of the structure, along a balcony style walkway on the second floor.  The point of origin is on top of outdoor carpeting that lined the floor of the walkway in between unit #7 and unit #8. The cause of the fire is deemed accidental and improperly discarded smoking material cannot be eliminated as the cause of the fire.

Follow the Office of the Ocean County Prosecutor online at Twitter and Facebook.  The social media links provided are for reference only.  The OCPO does not endorse any non-governmental websites, companies or applications.  For additional information, visit our website at www.oceancountyprosecutor.org.

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NJSPCA COMMENTS IN DEATH OF “BOOSHU”

This morning, Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato announced that on May 22, 2017, Nicholas Piccolino, 34, of Seaside Heights, pled guilty before Judge James M. Blaney, J.S.C., to one count of Cruelty to Animal 3rd degree for causing serious bodily injury and death to a 10 year-old female Bichon Frise dog named “Booshu.”  Mr. Piccolino’s sentencing is tentatively scheduled for July 7, 2017.  Link to Ocean County Prosecutor Press Release:  http://oceancountyprosecutor.org/seaside-heights-man-pleads-guilty-death-booshu/

The NJSPCA commends Ocean County Prosecutor Coronato, Ocean County Assistant Prosecutor Heidi Tannenbaum-Newman and the entire staff for taking the time to work with the NJSPCA on this case and seeing this prosecution through to a successful outcome.  It is highly likely that Mr. Piccolino will see jail time for up to one year behind bars for his crimes against a defenseless fifteen pound animal. 

Unfortunately, this is the first time in a very time we have seen a perpetrator facing significant jail time for animal cruelty.   Thankfully, we are beginning to see Prosecutors like Mr. Coronato take the prosecution of animal cruelty cases seriously, like his office did in this case and the recent case against Andrew Mayer in Toms River.  More importantly, it sends a message that crimes against animals are not acceptable and will prosecuted with vigor. We thank Ocean County Prosecutor Coronato for sending that message.

NJSPCA Detective Sergeant Larry Donato, with assistance from the Seaside Heights Police Department, worked hard on this case and should be commended for their hard work and dedication.  It is cases like this, when the NJSPCA works in partnership with local law enforcement and local prosecutors to achieve an acceptable and just outcome.

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SEASIDE HEIGHTS MAN PLEADS GUILTY IN DEATH OF “BOOSHU”

Press Questions?
CONTACT: Al Della Fave
Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office
P.O. Box 2191
Toms River, NJ  08753
Phone: (732) 288-7616
Cellular: (732) 814-7347

Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato today announced that Nicholas Piccolino, 34, of Seaside Heights, pled guilty yesterday (5/22) before Judge James M. Blaney, J.S.C., to one count of Cruelty to Animal 3rddegree for causing serious bodily injury and death to a 10 year-old female Bichon Frise dog named “Booshu”.  His sentencing is tentatively scheduled for July 7, 2017.

Piccolino, upon entering his plea, minimized how he caused Booshu’s death by saying he threw her to the ground when she bit him.  He gave this same explanation to the victim/owner after the crime.  Ocean County Assistant Prosecutor Heidi Tannenbaum-Newman put on the record that the Necropsy report stated that Booshu had multiple rib fractures on both sides of her body, multiple bruises all over her body and broken and missing teeth.  Piccolino admitted that Booshu was only about 15 pounds and his actions caused all the injuries to Booshu, and caused her death.

The case and subsequent guilty plea stems from an animal abuse incident reported on August 19, 2016, at approximately 9:55 pm, to the Seaside Heights Police Department.  Booshu’s owner alleged that Piccolino, who was alone with the dog in her kitchen, caused the dog’s death.  An investigation by NJSPCA Det. Sergeant Larry Donato, with assistance from the Seaside Heights Police Department, determined that during Piccolino’s time alone with Booshu, a resident of the house upstairs heard several loud banging sounds and a dog yelping in the kitchen below.  Shortly after, Piccolino notified the dog’s owner that something was wrong with her dog.  Booshu’s owner found the dog dead on the floor of the bathroom.  Piccolino claimed that Booshu “dirtied” herself in her crate and that while he was cleaning her up, he dropped her.

Booshu was transported to Red Bank Animal Hospital where she was pronounced dead upon arrival.  A subsequent necropsy performed on Booshu by Dr. Shannon Swist of the NJ Animal Health Diagnostic Lab found that Booshu suffered multiple blunt force injuries to her head and body that contributed to her death.

On September 13, 2016,  having received the necropsy report and having completed witness interviews, Det. Donato presented his findings to Ocean County Assistant Prosecutor Heidi Tannenbaum-Newman who approved Third Degree charges pursuant to NJSA Title 4:22-17c(1) and 4:22-17 c (3)(a) of Torment, torture, unnecessarily or cruelly beating a living animal resulting in their death.  He remains incarcerated in Ocean County Jail pending sentencing.

Nicholas Piccolino

Follow the Office of the Ocean County Prosecutor online at Twitter and Facebook.  The social media links provided are for reference only.  The OCPO does not endorse any non-governmental websites, companies or applications.  For additional information visit our website at www.oceancountyprosecutor.org.

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Point Pleasant Beach Fatal Boat Accident

Press Questions?
CONTACT: Al Della Fave
Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office
P.O. Box 2191
Toms River, NJ  08753
Phone: (732) 288-7616
Cellular: (732) 814-7347

On Sunday, May 21, 2017, at approximately 1255 p.m. Point Pleasant Beach PD was notified of a fatal vessel crash that occurred at the Point Pleasant Grand Prix event.

A 2012, 26′ Joker (race boat: “Smith Brothers”), operated by Peter Smith (driver) of Riverton N.J. and his brother Richard Smith (throttle) of Souderton, P.A., were racing around a 4.5 mile rectangular course when they struck another vessel while in a turn. A similar race boat “Repeat Offender”, operated by James Byrne (driver) of Nutley and David Raabe (throttle) of Forked River were also racing when for an unknown reason the vessel crossed directly in front of the Smith Brothers vessel causing the collision. The crash occurred during the first lap of seven while in the first turn at the second of three water buoys (the 3 buoys navigate the boats through their turn). 

Upon impact, both occupants on the “Smith Brothers” vessel were ejected. The vessel then sank and as of this report has not been recovered. Both brothers refused medical attention, however, were transported to Ocean Care Center where both consented in providing a blood sample. 

As a result of the crash, Raabe and Byrne were stuck by the hull of the Smith Brothers boat as it passed over top of them. All occupants were wearing full helmets. Raabe sustained serious head injuries and subsequently was pronounced dead at 1:22 p.m. The other operator, Byrne sustained serious injuries and was transported to Jersey Shore University Medical Center where he is listed in critical condition. 

Due to injuries sustained to Byrne, a statement could not be obtained as to why the vessel turned in front of the Smith vessel. Both Smith brothers provided a taped statement at the P.P. Beach PD. 

Det Michael Proto of the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office is the accident lead investigator. The Ocean County Sheriff Department CSI responded to the U.S. Coast Guard Station to photograph the vessel and document damage associated with the accident.

Operator/Boat Info.

Vessel 1: at fault

26′ Magnum

“Repeat Offender”

Operator 1: deceased

David Raabe – throttle 

Forked River, NJ 

DOB: 11-17-1978 38 y/o 

Operator 2:

James Byrne – driver

Nutley, NJ 07110

DOB: 5-12-1982

Vessel 2:

2012 Joker 26 foot 

“Smith Brothers”

Operator 1:

Richard Smith – throttle 

Souderton, PA 18964 

DOB: 3-10-1964 53 y/o

Operator 2:

Peter Smith – driver 

Riverton, NJ 08777 

DOB: 7-3-1966 50 y/o 

Follow the Office of the Ocean County Prosecutor online at Twitter and Facebook.  The social media links provided are for reference only.  The OCPO does not endorse any non-governmental websites, companies or applications.  For additional information visit our website at www.oceancountyprosecutor.org.

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OCPO HEROIN TREATMENT PROGRAM TO SEND THOSE FIGHTING ADDICTION TO REHAB GETS NEW NAME AND PD PARTICIPANT

Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato today announced the “Heroin Addiction Response Program” (HARP) will now be known as “Blue Hart” (Blue Heroin Addiction Recovery & Treatment) Program.  Along with the new name comes the addition of another participating Ocean County police department.  After exhaustive preparations, Chief Thomas Dellane has successfully prepared the Stafford Township Police Department to join Brick Township PD and Manchester Township PD in providing critical addiction recovery help.

The “Blue HART” program, which initially began on January 9, 2017 under the name HARP was the first of its kind law enforcement addiction help program in New Jersey.  The program allows substance abusers to turn themselves and their product in at any of the three participating police headquarters in order to go to addiction services providers for treatment evaluation without any threat of charges or jail.

On Tuesday (5/23), Stafford Police Department will join this innovative initiative by collaborating with Ocean Mental Health in Manahawkin and Bayville.  Presently, Brick PD is aligned with Preferred Behavioral Health in Lakewood and Manchester PD works with Integrity House in Toms River.  The expansion of the program now makes help available at Stafford PD on Tuesday, Manchester PD on Wednesday or Brick PD on Thursday to seek immediate critical help in fighting drug addiction.

Blue HART is designed to go beyond OCPO’s initial proactive Narcan and Recovery Coach Program measures to offer substantial diversion help in order to reduce the impact of heroin and opiate abuse in our community.  The premise of the program is simple – any person who voluntarily enters the three participating agencies and requests help with addiction to heroin or opiates, or any substance, shall be immediately screened for potential participation in the program.  Though the program is primarily designed to apply to persons who present themselves at the station, an officer who encounters a person outside the police station believing they would benefit from Blue HART has the  discretion,  based  upon their training and experience, to the bring an individual to the police station if the person consents to the voluntary screening process.  The officer/shift supervisor, upon completion of the Blue HART screening process shall provide transportation for the participant to the designated provider as soon as reasonably possible.

Prosecutor Coronato concluded by saying, “To date, Brick and Manchester Police Departments have accounted for over 160 participants accepted into the program thanks to the generous commitment of Behavioral Health and Integrity House.  Bringing the partnership of Stafford PD and Ocean Mental Health into the program is a great step in expanding options to those in Ocean County seeking addiction help.”

Follow the Office of the Ocean County Prosecutor online at Twitter and Facebook.  The social media links provided are for reference only.  The OCPO does not endorse any non-governmental websites, companies or applications.  For additional information visit our website at www.oceancountyprosecutor.org.

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OCEAN COUNTY PROSECUTOR RELEASES FINDINGS IN MANCHESTER TOWNSHIP POLICE OFFICER INVOLVED SHOOTING

In compliance with the New Jersey Attorney General’s Law Enforcement Directive 2006-5 (July 28, 2015) on the uniform statewide procedures and best practices for conducting police officer use-of-force investigations, this public statement is being issued regarding the July 31, 2016 Manchester Township Officer involved shooting of LiMichael Shine.

The Office of the Attorney General agreed with the findings of Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato that the undisputed facts of this case establish that the use of deadly force by the police officer was legally justified. The Attorney General also agreed that there are no material facts in dispute with regard to the officers’ use of force. As a result, a Grand Jury presentation is not warranted.

The facts regarding the use of force are as follows: On July 31, 2016, three uniformed officers were dispatched to Robin Street, a senior community, on the 911 call by a suicidal man with unknown weapons. The man reported that he was enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corp and had anger issues. He stated to the 911 operator that you will see people laughing as soon as the first patrol car arrived. The 911 operator was unsure if the caller had a weapon and conveyed that information to the Manchester Police. The exact whereabouts of the man were unknown when the police arrived.

Due to the uncertainty of the information, two of officers parked their police vehicles about a block away and walked toward Robin Street. A third officer arrived separately from a different direction and secured the scene. They ultimately encountered the suicidal man, identified as LiMichael Shine, in the driveway of a Robin Street residence. There was a red vehicle parked in the driveway with the back window blown out.  The officers engaged with Shine in an effort to talk him down.  Shine advised the officers that he had a knife and to put the red dot on his forehead and pull the trigger and to do it quickly.  He went on to state that he couldn’t do it anymore, he lost it all and that he had a knife in his waistband and that he was going to stab the officers with it.

Shine began to count down quickly from fifteen while pulling the long bladed knife from his waistband. Both officers backed away from Shine as he began to count. Shine was about 20 feet away from one officer when he pulled the knife and lunged forward at the officer.  The officer then discharged one (1) round from his department issued firearm striking Shine in the chest.  He fell to the ground about 10 feet from the officer.

Police officers immediately started life saving measures until an ambulance arrived.  Shine was transported to Community Medical Center Hospital by ambulance for further medical treatment. He was later pronounced dead and an autopsy determined that the cause of death was a single gunshot wound to chest.

A search of the red vehicle in the driveway revealed a suicide note located on the driver side of the car. The note stated that “I am sorry to the officer on duty that will do this act. Remember you are loved.

…” The note went on for two pages indicating that he was sorry to his parents, the Marines and missed an opportunity to be happy and included usernames and passwords.

Neighbors, who witnessed the event, indicated that they saw the police officers walking down the street in uniform. They saw the officers engage with Shine, although not every word was audible to them. They saw Shine advance on the officers and pull a knife or silver object from his belt prior to being shot.

The Office of the Attorney General and Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph Coronato are satisfied that the undisputed facts establish that the Manchester Township police officer used the appropriate force necessary to protect his life and that of his fellow officer and that he was legally justified in doing so. This investigation was conducted consistent with the New Jersey Attorney General’s Law Enforcement Directive 2006-5 (July 28, 2015) regarding the uniform statewide procedures and best practices for conducting police officer use-of-force investigations.

Follow the Office of the Ocean County Prosecutor online at Twitter and Facebook.  The social media links provided are for reference only.  The OCPO does not endorse any non-governmental websites, companies or applications.  For additional information visit our website at www.oceancountyprosecutor.org.

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Details of Last Night’s Fatal Car Fire in Plumsted

Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato today announced preliminary details of last night’s fatal car fire in Plumsted, Ocean County NJ.   Preliminary details of the event are as follows:

On May 1, 2017, Joint Base Fire Department spotted smoke in the area of Route 539 and Colliers Mills Wildlife Management Area.  At approximately 7:12 pm, Joint Base Fire Department located a brush fire about a mile into the woods on Hawkin Road off of Route 539 in the Township of Plumsted. The brush fire was approximately one acre in size.  Upon further investigation of the fire scene, a vehicle was located on the side of Hawkins Road, which displayed significant fire and heat damage throughout the vehicle. Upon closer examination, the Investigator’s located a deceased individual in the driver’s seat of the vehicle.

At this time the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Unit, Ocean County Fire Marshal’s Office, Ocean County Medical Examiner’s Office, New Jersey State Police, New Jersey Forest Fire Service, New Jersey State Fire Marshal’s Office, Division of Fish and Wildlife and the Plumsted Township Police are investigating.  It appears at this time that there is no foul play, however the investigation is continuing and the exact cause and manner of death has not yet been determined. The identity of the deceased is pending autopsy results and has not yet been determined. No further information will be released until the exact identity of the deceased is determined and the next of kin is notified.

There is no further information that can be provided at this time.

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Prosecutor relentlessly continues effort to address and raise the Heroin Epidemic alarm

Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato joined Monmouth County Sheriff Shaun Golden last night (4/19) to speak before the Rutgers University Student Organization RU Drug Aware. RUDA held the “Living in the Age of Addiction” Town Hall meeting for students and parents. Sheriff Golden and Prosecutor Coronato spoke about the drug epidemic and how their agencies work tirelessly to address and combat this crisis, through innovative approaches, strategies and solutions. Other guest speakers included the CEO from Carrier Clinic, a criminal trial attorney and addiction and recovery specialists.

Prosecutor Coronato will continue his crusade tomorrow morning by returning to Rutgers to address members of the NJ Nurses Association.

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PROSECUTOR’S SPECIAL OPERATIONS GROUP JOINS FORCES WITH BERKELY TOWNHIP & LITTLE EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP POLICE IN LATEST DRUG INVESTIGATION

Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato, Stafford Township Police Chief Thomas Dellane and Little Egg Harbor Township Chief Richard Buzby announced today the culmination of an investigation into drug activity in the Southern Ocean County area.

Detectives from the Prosecutor’s Special Operations Group, Northern Enforcement Unit conducted a cooperative investigation with the Stafford Township Police Department Drug Enforcement Unit and Little Egg Harbor Township Police Department Drug Enforcement Unit that resulted in the arrest of three Ocean County residents on various drug charges.

On Thursday, April 6, 2017, as a result of a month long investigation, members of the partnering agencies established stationary / mobile surveillance in the area of the 2 Hannah Place, Little Egg Harbor, New Jersey in preparation to execute a court authorized search warrants for the residence and a vehicle, described as a black 2001 Ford Taurus.  Prior to the execution of the search warrant, investigating Detectives observed a vehicle arrive at the target residence and observed what appeared to be a narcotics related exchange between the operator of the vehicle and Brandon Marino.  As the vehicle departed from the residence, investigating Detectives maintained constant surveillance of the vehicle and initiated a motor vehicle stop on Route 9 in Little Egg Harbor, New Jersey.  As a result of a Consent to Search of a white Ford Mustang, investigating Detectives seized approximately $2700 in U.S currency.  The operator of the Mustang was identified as Patrick Farrell.

Additionally, investigating Detectives observed Marino exit the target residence and depart the area in the black Ford Taurus.  A motor vehicle stop was initiated by Little Egg Harbor Police Department, at which time both Marino and the vehicle was secured and transported back to the residence.  Upon arrival at the residence, investigating Detectives executed the search warrant on the target residence.  Upon searching the residence, quantities of cocaine, marijuana, U.S currency and paraphernalia were seized.

As a result of the above information Marino, Farrell and Leighann Brown were placed under arrest and transported to the Little Egg Harbor Township Police Department where they were processed and subsequently released from the Little Egg Harbor Township Police Department pending future court proceedings.  During processing additional information was developed indicating Farrell was in possession of additional quantities of marijuana and U.S currency at his residence located at 249 Division Lane, Berlin, New Jersey.  After a consent to search Farrell and Brown were transported to their residence of 249 Division Lane, Berlin, New Jersey.  Members of the Berlin Township Police Department arrived to assist.  As a result of the search of the residence, Investigating Detectives seized additional quantities of marijuana, THC wax, THC brownies, U.S currency and drug paraphernalia.

As a result, Brandon Marino, 22, of Berlin, NJ, was charged with the following:

  • Possession of CDS with Intent to Distribute (over one (1) ounce or more of marijuana), Possession of CDS (marijuana over 50 grams), Possession of CDS (under ½ ounce of cocaine), and Possession of drug paraphernalia

Patrick Farrell, 21, of Berlin, NJ, was charged with the following, per the investigation in Little Egg Harbor:

  • Possession of CDS with Intent to Distribute (over one (1) ounce or more of marijuana), Distribution of CDS (over one (1) ounce or more of marijuana), Possession of CDS (marijuana over 50 grams). Additional charges for Berlin Township Investigation are pending presentation to the Grand Jury.

Leighann Brown, 19, of Berlin, NJ, was charged with the following, per the investigation in Little Egg Harbor:

  • Conspiracy to Possess CDS with Intent to Distribute (over one (1) ounce or more of marijuana). Additional charges for Berlin Township Investigation are pending presentation to the Grand Jury.

All three subjects were released from the Little Egg Harbor Township Police Department pending future court proceedings.  The media and public are reminded that criminal charges are merely accusations and that these defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

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LITTLE EGG HARBOR MAN INDICTED IN ATTEMPTED SEXUAL ASSAULT CASE

Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato today announced the Ocean County Grand Jury returned an indictment against Christopher Wilson, 20, of Little Egg Harbor Township, charging him with second degree Attempted Sexual Assault and two counts of third degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child.

The indictment yesterday (4/18) stems from an investigation by Ocean County Prosecutor’s Special Victims Unit Detective Stephanie Bayha and Little Egg Harbor Township Police Detective Joel Mahr.  The partnering agencies’ investigation, which began in December of 2016, alleges that Wilson offered the 12 year old female victim a gaming system in return for sexual favors.

On 1/19/17, Wilson was arrested after Sr. Assistant Prosecutor Christine Lento approved charges.  Nicole’s Order (No contact with victim) was implemented by Judge Patricia B. Roe J.S.C. and Wilson remains incarcerated in the Ocean County Jail.

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

Follow the Office of the Ocean County Prosecutor online at Twitter and Facebook.  The social media links provided are for reference only.  The OCPO does not endorse any non-governmental websites, companies or applications.  For additional information visit our website at www.oceancountyprosecutor.org.

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