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News from Monmouth County, New Jersey

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    Off-duty Long Branch police Officer Jake Pascucci was traveling southbound on Ocean Boulevard on Sept. 22 when he hit 60-year-old Karen Borkowski. Watch video

    LONG BRANCH - An off-duty Long Branch police officer who fatally struck a woman on Ocean Boulevard last month told officers at the scene he had a green light and that she was jaywalking, newly obtained dashboard camera video shows.

    Jake Pascucci, 28, was driving a 2016 Jeep Cherokee southbound on Ocean Boulevard when the vehicle hit Karen Borkowski at the Broadway intersection around 8:15 p.m. on Sept. 22, authorities said. The intersection, located in front of the Ocean Place hotel near Pier Village, has traffic lights and a pedestrian walkway.

    Pascucci.jpgOfficer Jake Pascucci was named "Cop of the Month" in February 2015. (Long Branch Police Department Facebook page)

    "She walked right in front of me, jaywalking," Pascucci can be heard telling officers in the video. "I have a green light, going this way, southbound. She walked right out in front of me.

    "I swerved," he continued. "That's why I ended up coming over here."

    One of the video clips, obtained by NJ Advance Media through the state's Open Public Records Act, shows front-end damage to Pascucci's Jeep, which is facing southbound on the northbound side of the road. 

    The police report notes that there are streetlights on both sides of Ocean Boulevard but no lighting in the median. It was starting to get dark at the time the crash occurred, the report said.   

    It does not mention the speed Pascucci was traveling. 

    Borkowski, 60, of Stanhope, was found by first responders on the southbound side of the road along the grass median. They performed CPR on her but she was pronounced dead at 8:36 p.m.

    At around 8:48 p.m., Pascucci was taken to Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch by members of the Long Branch First Aid Squad.

    The investigation is ongoing.

    The crash was initially under investigation by the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office. However, Pascucci worked on an investigation with the prosecutor's office. Seeing a potential conflict, the prosecutor's office contacted the state Attorney General's Office, which had the case transferred to the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office, a spokesman for the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office, Charles Webster, said.

    No charges or summonses have been filed as of Thursday. 

    It's unclear if Pascucci remains on duty during the investigation. Jason Roebuck, the acting police chief in the city, said he needed to check to see if he could release that information. 

    Pascucci, of Long Branch, has been a full-time police officer with the city's police force since August 2014. He was previously a full-time Oceanport police officer and a part-time special officer for Long Branch.   

    In February 2015, Pascucci was recognized by the Long Branch Police Department as the "Cop of the Month."  

    "The choice to recognize Officer Pascucci was not made on one incident alone, but his overall work performance in recent months," a post on Facebook announcing the award said. "He has proven to be a true go-getter in the field and a real asset to the police force."

    NJ Advance Media reporter Craig McCarthy contributed to this report.

    Alex Napoliello may be reached at anapoliello@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @alexnapoNJ. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

    Have a tip? Tell us. nj.com/tips

     

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    More than 150 people reported seeing the fireball, also known as a bright meteor.

    SEA GIRT -- More than 150 people reported seeing a bright meteor, known as a fireball, streaking through the sky Wednesday afternoon in Sea Girt.

    People reported seeing the bright object from areas in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and all the way up in New Hampshire, according to a log on the American Meteor Society website.

    The fireball reportedly soared through the sky from northwest and southeast at about 2:40 p.m.

    A video of the meteor -- which appears to have been recorded on a dash-mounted camera in a vehicle -- was posted on YouTube by RadCakes.com.

    In the video, a flash of light can be seen appearing out of the blue sky as the vehicle is driving through the intersection of Route 71 and Sea Girt Avenue.

    Spencer Kent may be reached at skent@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @SpencerMKent. Find the Find NJ.com on Facebook.

     

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    A 30-year-old man was shot multiple times

    LONG BRANCH-- Authorities Wednesday arrested a shooting suspect who had been on the run for more than a week, the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office said.

    Donovan L. Wesley, 25, of Brick, was caught by officers from the US Marshals Service and the Monmouth County Sheriff's Office and has been charged with attempted murder, armed burglary, unlawful possession of a firearm and possession of a firearm for an unlawful purpose.

    Shortly before 2 a.m. Oct. 8, police in Long Branch responded to a report of a shooting at a home on West Columbus Place. A 30-year-old man was hospitalized with multiple gunshot wounds.  

    Anyone with information regarding this crime is urged to call Detective Adam Hess, of the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office, at 800-533-7443, or Detective Todd Coleman of Long Branch police at 732-222-1000.

    Anonymous tips can be submitted to the Monmouth County Crime Stoppers confidential telephone tip-line by calling 1-800-671-4400. Tipsters can also text "MONMOUTH" plus their tip to 274637; or, can send an email a tip via the website at www.monmouthcountycrimestoppers.com.  Monmouth County Crime Stoppers will pay up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest of criminals and fugitives.

    Paul Milo may be reached at pmilo@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter@PaulMilo2. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

     

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    Greyhounds, Wildcats a tornado and more are vying to be named N.J.'s top HS mascot


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    A state trooper was accused of falsifying records. 20,000 cases are under scrutiny. What happens next?

    TRENTON -- Prosecutors in New Jersey are notifying more than 20,000 people charged with drunken driving that their cases are under review after a State Police sergeant who oversaw breath-testing devices was accused of falsifying records, NJ Advance Media has learned.

    County prosecutors have been sending letters to people charged with driving while intoxicated between 2008 and 2016 informing them a specially appointed judge would weigh "whether you are entitled to relief" based on the accusations against the sergeant.

    Prosecutors and defense attorneys told NJ Advance Media the number of cases that could be thrown out as a result of the criminal inquiry is likely low. But the issue, which came amid a similar probe of the State Police drug lab, created a morass of legal challenges which could take years to sort out.

    Sgt. Marc Dennis, a coordinator in the State Police Alcohol Drug Testing Unit, was accused last year of lying on official documents about completing a legally required step in re-calibrating the machines, known as Alcotest devices, which are used to check the blood-alcohol level of accused drunken drivers.

    The sergeant, who denies the charges against him, was allegedly observed skipping the step in calibrating just three machines. But the criminal accusations raised a cloud of doubt over every device touched by the trooper, who performed routine checks on devices used by local police across five counties.

    "Sergeant Dennis' alleged false swearing and improper calibrations of these three instruments may call into question all of the calibrations performed by Sergeant Dennis over the course of his career as a coordinator," said one letter, a copy of which was obtained by NJ Advance Media.

    The letters were sent in recent weeks to DWI defendants in Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, Somerset, and Union counties.

    Dennis was charged in September 2016 with second-degree official misconduct, third-degree tampering with public records and fourth degree falsifying records. He was indicted on those same charges in December, but the misconduct charge was dropped in a second indictment in June, records show. 

    His attorney, Robert Ebberup, said Dennis denied any wrongdoing.

    "At the end of the day, I'm sure he is going to be exonerated," Ebberup said. 

    In the meantime, a retired appellate judge, Joseph Lisa, is sorting through the thicket of as many as 20,667 cases affected by the claims against the sergeant. 

    According to an April Supreme Court order apponting him as "special master," Lisa will rule on whether Dennis' alleged failure to perform a preliminary temperature check required under Supreme Court rules would "undermine or call into question the scientific reliability of breath tests subsequently performed" on those devices. 

    The state Division of Criminal Justice has maintained that the check, while legally required, was not scientifically necessary.

    But under state law, a person is guilty of driving under the influence if they have a blood-alcohol level of .08 percent. Tougher penalties kick in for those who blow a .10 or higher. 

    Defense attorneys argue that because guilt or innocence or the level of punishment can hinge on a few decimal points, anything that suggests protocols weren't followed should bring test results into doubt. 

    A spokesman for the state judiciary said a hearing date on the matter had not been set. 

    The state also faces a potential class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of those defendants. That suit, filed in federal court, was dismissed in August but could be reinstated pending the state judge's decision. 

    S.P. Sullivan may be reached at ssullivan@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

     
     

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    Every county has a top administrator who takes policy and budget orders from the elected board of freeholders. Five counties also have an elected county executive


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    A look at the hot topics in N.J. girls soccer this past week.


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    Check out all the must-read content

    ESSENTIALS
    LIVE updates, results and links for Week 7
     19 bold predictions for Week 7
    NJ.com Top 20, group and conference rankings
    Another Top 3 showdown and 25 other must-see games
    34 unbeaten football teams remain
    Season statistical leaders
    Week 6 top performers
    Week 7 schedule/scoreboard by conference
    Conference standings
    Power points


    PLUS: Hidden gems: The 38 best N.J. football players nobody knows


    PICKS
    Top 20
    Picks for all six conferences
    Every game, every winner

    MUST-READ CONTENT
    Hidden gems: The 38 best N.J. football players nobody knows
    19 bold predictions for Week 7
    Hobbled West Deptford, Haddonfield renew rivalry
    The Face of Pope John: Jake Brown is Lions' leader
    Football recruiting hearing for St. Joseph (Mont.) recruiting allegations delayed
    Voorhees, North Hunterdon look to re-write history
    12th Man TD Club honorees
    Which N.J. alums shined in College Football Week 7?
    Steinert defense ready for huge Allentown test
    Asbury Park to name stadium after log-time coach Friday


    WATCH: Videos for #NJmascot challenge - last days to nominate N.J.'s best mascot


    RECRUITING
    Which football recruits has Rutgers offered in October?
    How have N.J.'s top 50 football recruits fared in 2017?
    Brooklyn coach has 2 headed to Rutgers
    N.J. RB Keshon Farmer back on market

    GAMES OF THE WEEK

    NJ.com/Star Ledger: South River at Keansburg
    South Jersey Times: Gloucester Catholic at Woodstown
    Times of Trenton: Burlington Township at Trenton


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    What has been the biggest news in N.J. boys soccer?


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    A 32-year-old man was taken into custody on Wednesday

    LONG BRANCH -- A 32-year-old man was arrested four days after allegedly slashing an off-duty Long Branch police officer.

    joyce.jpgLong Branch officer Patrick Joyce 

    Eric Henderson, 32, of the Bayville section of Berkeley, is charged with armed robbery, aggravated assault, possession of a weapon for unlawful purposes and violation of a final restraining order, Long Branch police said in a statement Friday. He was taken into custody just before 7 p.m. Wednesday.

    Officer Patrick Joyce was leaving a friend's house around 3:30 a.m. Saturday near the corner of Norwood Avenue and High Street when a man attacked him with a knife, according to police.

    The assailant fled into a waiting car. Joyce, who was slashed on his left upper arm, was treated and released at Monmouth Medical Center in the city.

    Henderson was sent to the Monmouth County jail, where he await a bail hearing, police said.

    Joyce returned to work earlier this week. 

    Police didn't disclose a motive for the attack.

    Jeff Goldman may be reached at jeff_goldman@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @JeffSGoldman. Find NJ.com on Facebook. 


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    The 2017 Far Hills Race will take place Saturday at Moorland Farm.

    FAR HILLS -- It's that time again. 

    Thousands will converge on the rolling hills of Moorland Farm Saturday for a day of steeplechase racing and tailgating -- in style -- for the 97th annual Far Hills Race Meeting

    Proceeds from the event will benefit the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset and Cancer Support Community.  

    Seven races will be held throughout the day with combined winnings of $800,000, organizers said. It's a premier event for the American steeplechase community. But the day is also known for drawing party-goers across the state. 

    In previous years, dozens have been arrested for unruly behavior but the police have cracked down recently, pushing that number down. 

    The Far Hills Race Meeting began as a fox hunting event in Montclair in 1870. In 1916, the event moved to Moorland Farm -- where it's still held today -- and eventually became known as the Far Hills Race Meeting.

    NJ Transit is offering special services between Hoboken and Far Hills. Extra trains will leave from Hoboken at least every hour from 7:31 - 11:20 a.m., with more frequent service from 8:39 - 10:35 a.m.

    Extra trains will depart Summit at least every hour from 8:14 a.m. - 1:14 p.m., with more frequent service from 9 - 11:15 a.m. NJ Transit said travelers should purchase round trip tickets in order to avoid long lines. 

    There will also be additional shuttle buses running at least every 30 minutes between Gladstone and Far Hills.

    Doors open at 8 a.m. Saturday. The first race starts at 1 p.m. Tickets are $200 at the door. For more information visit www.farhillsrace.org.

    Karen Yi may be reached at kyi@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter at @karen_yi or on Facebook


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    Long Branch Officer Jake Pascucci was driving a 2016 Jeep Cherokee on Sept. 22 when he fatally struck a 60-year-old woman crossing the street. Watch video

    NEW BRUNSWICK -- An off-duty Long Branch police officer who fatally struck a woman in Long Branch last month has been issued reckless and careless driving summonses, authorities said Friday.

    Jake Pascucci, 28, was driving a 2016 Jeep Cherokee southbound on Ocean Boulevard when the vehicle hit Karen Borkowski at the Broadway intersection as she crossed the road around 8:15 p.m. on Sept. 22, authorities said.

    Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew Carey said criminal charges are being considered. The investigation into the incident is continuing.  

    Pascucci.jpgOfficer Jake Pascucci was named "Cop of the Month" in February 2015. (Long Branch Police Department Facebook page)

    Pascucci told officers at the scene he had a green light and that Borkowski was jaywalking, according to dashboard camera video from police at the scene.

    "She walked right in front of me, jaywalking," he can be heard saying in the video. "I have a green light, going this way, southbound. She walked right out in front of me."

    Borkowski, 60, of Stanhope, was pronounced dead at the scene.

    A police report filed by the Long Branch Police Department did not include the speed Pascucci was traveling. 

    The crash was initially under investigation by the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office. However, the case was transferred to Middlesex County to avoid a conflict of interest because Pascucci was part of an investigation led by the prosecutor's office in Monmouth County.

    Pascucci's status as an officer is unclear. Long Branch acting police Chief Jason Roebuck said Thursday that he needed to check if he could release that information. He said on Friday that he didn't have a chance to check on the officer's status, and declined to comment on the summonses. 

    A message left for Pascucci was not immediately returned. 

    Pascucci has been a member of the Long Branch police force since August 2014. Before that, he was a full-time officer in Oceanport for a couple years and a part-time special officer in Long Branch.

    He was recognized by the Long Branch Police Department as the "Cop of the Month" in February 2015. 

    Anyone with information may call (732) 745-8842.

    Alex Napoliello may be reached at anapoliello@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @alexnapoNJ. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

    Have a tip? Tell us. nj.com/tips

     

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    A look at all of Week 7's football action.

    WEEK 7 KEY LINKS
    19 bold predictions
    26 must-see games
    Top 20 picks and schedule
    Statewide stat leaders
    Quick picks
    Power points
    Top 20, group and conference rankings 

    FRIDAY FEATURED GAMES

    Ramapo 23, No. 16 River Dell 20
    Green Raiders prevail in possible finals preview
    Photo gallery
     Look back at live updates
    Box score

    Shabazz 44, Glen Ridge 6
    Roll continues in 'Redemption year'
    Photo gallery
     Look back at live updates
    • Box score

    St. John Vianney 35, No. 15 Red Bank Catholic 17
    Johnny Buchanan hammers away
    Photo gallery
     Look back at live updates
    Box score

    West Deptford 17, Haddonfield 14
    South's best rivalry adds exciting renewal
    Photo gallery
     Look back at live updates
    Box score

    North Hunterdon 38, Hillsborough 31
    Matt Busher scores 5 TDs in dramatic victory
    Photo gallery
    Box score

    Florence 39, Maple Shade 0
    Joe Frappolli reaches coaching milestone
    Photo gallery
    Box score

    Allentown 35, Steinert 21
    Emory rolls up 300 on ground
    Photo gallery
    Box score

    Woodstown 32, Gloucester Catholic 0
    Wolverines get much-needed victory
    Photo gallery
     Look back at live updates
    Box score

    West Morris 21, Sparta 7 
    Defense sparks bounce-back W
     Look back at live updates
    Box score

    Somerville 33, Johnson 7
    Ryan Kovacs helps hand Johnson 1st loss
     Look back at live updates
    Box score

    South Brunswick 27, Sayreville 14
    Offense continues to roll
    Box score

    Ewing 20, Hamilton West 6
    Playoff hopes kept alive
    Box score

    Nottingham 12, Lawrence 7
    Nicholson sets up 2 FGs, scores deciding TD
    Box score

    No. 6 Millville 34, Bridgeton 16
    Changes pay off for No. 6 team
    Box score

    Clearview 34, Cherry Hill East 14
    James Vargo helps break losing streak
    Box score

    Union City 35, Bayonne 28
    Izayah Reyes runs for 3 TDs
      Photo gallery
    Box score

    TOP 20 SCOREBOARD
    Friday
    No. 4 DePaul 48, Seton Hall Prep 14
    No. 5 Timber Creek 36, Paul VI 19
    No. 6 Millville 34, Bridgeton 16
    No. 9 Vineland 34, Atlantic City 8
    No. 10 Manalapan 56, Neptune 21
    No. 11 Montclair 48, West Orange 7
    No. 12 Lenape 49, Hopewell Valley 7
    No. 14 Paramus Catholic 22, No. 13 Don Bosco Prep 21 OT
    • St. John Vianney 35, No. 15 Red Bank Catholic 17
    Ramapo 23, No. 16 River Dell 20
    • No. 17 Westfield 23, Immaculata 6
    No. 18 Old Tappan 49, Northern Highlands 10
    • No. 19 Phillipsburg 41, Montgomery 16
    No. 20 Camden Catholic 34, Seneca 7
    Saturday
    • No. 1 Bergen Catholic vs. No. 7 Pope John, 1
    • No. 2 St. Joseph (Mont.) at No. 3 St. Peter’s Prep, 1
    • No. 8 Rancocas Valley vs. Notre Dame, 2

    SATURDAY FEATURED GAMES

    No. 1 Bergen Catholic vs. No. 7 Pope John, 1
    • Live updates
    • Game story
    Photo gallery
    • Box score

    No. 2 St. Joseph (Mont.) at No. 3 St. Peter’s Prep, 1
    • Live updates
    • Game story
    • Box score

    South River at Keansburg, 1
    Live updates
    • Game story
    Photo gallery
    • Box score

    Manchester Regional at Rutherford, 1
    • Game story
    Photo gallery
    • Box score

    Burlington Township at Trenton, 1
    Preview: Burlington Township at Trenton in The Times of Trenton Game of the Week
    • Game story
    Photo gallery
    • Box score

    Notre Dame at No. 8 Rancocas Valley, 2
    • Game story
    Photo gallery
    • Box score

    Gateway at Haddon Township, 10:30
    • Game story
    Photo gallery
    • Box score

    Delaware Valley at Hillside, 1
    • Live updates
    • Game story
    • Box score

    Camden at Pennsauken, 12
    Photo gallery
    • Box score

    Triton at Woodrow Wilson, 12
    • Game story
    • Box score

    Jeremy Schneider may be reached at jschneider@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @J_Schneider. Find NJ.com on Facebook.


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    It's the best of this weekend's action.


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    See the images plastered on nearly 50 businesses in downtown Freehold.

    FREEHOLD TWP. -- A faceless ballerina, Pennywise from "It" and a skeleton eating a lollipop. 

    These are among the images plastered on nearly 50 businesses in downtown Freehold. Students from the Freehold Regional High School District participated this week in a "well-loved" tradition in the county seat: the annual Halloween Spooktacular Window Painting contest.

    Dozens of students from six high schools in Monmouth County - Colts Neck, Freehold Borough, Freehold Township, Howell, Manalapan and Marlboro - take half the school day to transform their drawings of Halloween designs from paper to glass.

    For Annabella Piazza, 18, this is her fourth year participating in the annual contest.

    "I choose to do this every year to spread art throughout the town and to get into the festive season of Halloween," Piazza said.  

    She said she picks a different theme each year - one year it was pumpkins, another year it was the moon. This year, she chose to draw a skeleton eating a lollipop.

    This is also 17-year-old Alyssa Randazzo's fourth year participating in the annual contest. She was painting a woman with ghosts behind her, a spontaneous design that wasn't planned.  

    "I definitely love art a lot and it's always been a favorite hobby of mine," Randazzo said. "I think I want to go to a college where I can at least minor in it and still continue it throughout my life. I really like illustration and children's book, so I think that's something I can do."

    A panel of judges will select a first, second and third-place winner, which will be announced at the Nov. 20 Board of Education meeting.

    NJ Advance Media photographer Patti Sapone contributed to this report.

    Alex Napoliello may be reached at anapoliello@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @alexnapoNJ. Find NJ.com on Facebook.


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    The two, unidentified suspects are responsible for cashing in on more than $70,000 in fraudulent ATM transactions in September at banks throughout Monmouth County.

    HOWELL - An international scheme to steal thousands of dollars from ATM customers by using a device that captures debit card information has infiltrated Monmouth County, police said.

    ATM_Scheme.jpgPolice said these two suspects used an ATM "skimmer" to steal thousands of dollars from hundreds of customers. They have been spotted making fraudulent withdraws at ATM machines around Monmouth County and one bank location in Middlesex County. (Howell Police Department)

    The two, unidentified suspects are responsible for cashing in on more than $70,000 in fraudulent ATM transactions in September at banks around Monmouth County and at least one bank in Middlesex County, police said.  

    A device, known as an ATM "skimmer," was placed on an automated teller machine at the Manasquan Bank location at 185 East Main Street in Manasquan from Sept. 1 to Sept. 4 and again on Sept. 8 to Sept. 11, according to police.

    The device looks like a real debit-card reader and is placed over the bank's original ATM card slot. It captures the information from every card that goes through it while allowing the customer to proceed with the transaction. This elaborate scheme also included the use of a second device to capture an ATM user's pin number as the customer entered it in the keypad, police said. 

    At the Manasquan Bank on Route 9 in Howell, police said bank employees noticed the two suspects used lip balm to blur the camera as they made "numerous" ATM withdrawals from multiple account holders one after another.

    Police said most of the $70,000 obtained through fraudulent transactions at Manasquan Bank locations in Howell, Manasquan and Wall, and the First Constitution Bank in Fair Haven, as well as several other banks and ATM locations in the area, came from cardholders in countries outside of the United States. 

    So far, police said, none of the fraudulent transactions have affected bank customers in Monmouth County. However, police are urging customers who used the ATM at the Manasquan Bank on East Main Street in Manasquan in early September to notify the bank and "take immediate action on their accounts" to avoid fraud.

    Police have released surveillance photos in hopes of identifying the two suspects.

    Police said the suspects have used two rental cars from an agency in Brooklyn, which have since been returned. One of the suspects used the fake identity "Michele Toto" and presented a driver's license from Italy to rent the vehicle, according to police. 

    Police urged anyone with information to call Howell police Detective Robert Ortenzi at 732-938-4575 ext. 2894 or email him at rortenzi@howellpolice.org. Anonymous tips can also be left at www.p3tips.com.  

    Alex Napoliello may be reached at anapoliello@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @alexnapoNJ. Find NJ.com on Facebook.


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    Schneider's Restuarant in Avon-by-the-Sea has served generations of families for decades. It was destroyed by a fire early on Saturday.

    AVON-BY-THE-SEA -- From the Clinton Hill neighborhood in Newark to the beloved Jersey Shore, Schneider's Restaurant has been serving generations of families since 1960.  

    But early on Saturday, the family-owned restaurant, which served authentic German cuisine and homemade ice cream, fell victim to a fire that tore through the inside, leaving parts of the structure the Schneider family labored in for decades badly damaged.

    Johann "John" Schneider, 74, rushed from his home in Mercer County to the restaurant in Avon-by-the-Sea around 5 a.m. to find dozens of firefighters and police he served many meals to ripping apart the walls and the roof his 94-year-old mother, Theresia, worked feverishly in for the past 48 years.

    "It's devastating," John Schneider said by phone on Sunday. "You think it's a nightmare. ... You're sort of not sure if you're watching a movie in your dreams, but then reality sets in. You look at it and you walk around, and it's surreal and devastating."

    Avon-by-the-Sea police Chief Terence Mahon said the fire began just after 4 a.m. and does not appear to be suspicious. No one was injured, and the cause of the fire remains under investigation.

    John Schneider said he's unsure at this point if the family will rebuild the restaurant, located on Main Street in Avon-by-the-Sea since 1970. The family will survey the damage on Monday.

    "I don't know what we're going to do," he said. "At this point, I have to wait until tomorrow to see what we can salvage."

    The damage is "pretty extensive," he added.

    Peter and Theresia Schneider opened up Strubbe's on Clinton Avenue in Newark in 1960. It was a candy store and an ice cream parlor, where skilled employees would chit-chat and craft hand-dipped chocolates. On holidays, lines extended out the door for the chocolate hearts and rabbits.  

    "It was amazing to watch," John Schneider recalled.

    On his day off, Peter Schneider would go down to the Jersey Shore. He fell in love with the area and in 1968-69, he relocated the family business to Avon-by-the-Sea, a tiny seaside borough located just north of Belmar in Monmouth County. 

    The chocolates weren't as popular at the Jersey Shore, but people loved the ice cream, especially in the summer.

    Theresia Schneider, known as "Mrs. Schneider" or "mom" to the locals, used to cook for the merchants near her husband's shop in Newark. She incorporated her German-Austrian-Hungarian style dishes at the new location in Avon-by-the-Sea.

    Peter Schneider passed away in 1975. But Mrs. Scheider, 94, continued to work the deli section of the shop, preparing dinner platters with meatloaf and mashed potatoes, sauerbraten, roast pork, bratwurst, among others.

    John Schneider said he's experienced a roller coaster of emotions since the fire.

    "You get memories from the old times, then you get sad and then you (remember) good times and you're so happy for the experiences," he said. "What does the future hold? I don't have the answer."

    The loss of Schneider's Restaurant leaves a void in Jersey for authentic German cuisine, John Schneider said. He said on Saturday, he met people who drove down from North Jersey looking for German food. He said he wasn't sure where to direct them.

    "People are lamenting that another German place is gone," he said.

    Schneider was left searching for a silver lining and said he found one in the fact that no one was inside the restaurant when the fire started.

    And all the great memories, he said, they will never go away. 

    "You meet so many interesting people, nice people," Schneider said. "You build a rapport. They come in, they bring their kids. Over the last 48 years in Avon-by-the-Sea, we wound up with four generations (of customers). We still had people from Newark come down.

    "It's extremely gratifying," he continued, "that you've had an impact on people's lives just by feeding them." 

    Alex Napoliello may be reached at anapoliello@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @alexnapoNJ. Find NJ.com on Facebook.


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    The Howell woman suffered numerous leg injuries that required four surgeries

    HOWELL -- A Howell woman badly injured when her car was rear-ended while she dropped her daughter off at school three years ago has settled her lawsuit for $2.5 million, her attorney said.

    The New Jersey Law Journal, which was the first to report the Sept. 11 settlement, identified the woman as Gina Peraza, now 50.

    Student hurt in gym class awarded $6M

    Peraza was stopped in traffic when a vehicle struck her from behind and pushed her into oncoming traffic, her lawyer Paul Caliendo said in a statement.

    She fractured and broke several bones in her left foot and broke a bone in her right leg, the attorney said. Peraza also tore meniscus in her right knee and injured her right ankle.

    Peraza has had four surgeries since the June 3, 2014 accident and hasn't been able to go back to work, Caliendo said. 

    The driver of the other car was an information technology worker employed by the state Administrative Office of the Courts, the New Jersey Law Journal said. The state of New Jersey will pay the settlement.

    Retired Judge Mark B. Epstein mediated the settlement last month.

    Jeff Goldman may be reached at jeff_goldman@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @JeffSGoldman. Find NJ.com on Facebook.


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