AG Grewal and Colonel Callahan issue update on charges filed against violators of Gov. Murphy’s COVID-19 executive orders
NEW JERSEY – Attorney General Gurbir Grewal and Colonel Patrick Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, announced the following recent enforcement actions against alleged violators of Governor Murphy’s Emergency Orders related to COVID-19:
- Chris Giddle, 21, of Randolph, was arrested Friday night, April 10, by the Denville Township Police and charged with eluding (2nd degree), resisting arrest (4th degree), and violating the emergency orders. Giddle allegedly attempted to elude an officer who signaled for him to stop his vehicle. He allegedly crashed into multiple vehicles and attempted to flee on foot.
- Newark Enforcement, The Newark Police Department’s COVID-19 task force issued 85 summonses for violations of the emergency orders and ordered seven non-essential businesses closed in enforcement actions on Saturday and Sunday, April 11 and 12.
- Deja M. Lewis , 28, of Salem City, was charged on Saturday, April 11, by the Salem City Police with second-degree terroristic threats during an emergency. Lewis was arrested on warrants. While at police headquarters, she began to cough in close proximity to the arresting officers who were processing her. As she was coughing, she claimed that she was diagnosed COVID-19 positive and the health department had been to her apartment
- Terrell Coley, 30, of East Orange, was arrested on April 7 by the Newark Police for allegedly punching and spitting at an emergency medical technician (EMT) at the Exxon Gas Station at 481 Central Avenue. Coley is charged with throwing bodily fluid at an EMT who was on duty (4th degree), aggravated assault on an EMT who was on duty (4th degree), and obstruction (disorderly persons offense). Coley rode his bike in front of the emergency vehicle driven by the EMT, almost causing a collision. Coley began yelling at the EMT and followed him into the gas station. While the EMT was getting gas, Coley allegedly approached him and spat on him. Coley also allegedly stuck the EMT in the face with his fist. Coley drove away, but police were able to identify and arrest him.
- Alycia D. Roman, 37, of Camden, was arrested on Sunday, April 12, by the Brooklawn Police Department on charges of robbery (2nd degree), aggravated assault with a deadly weapon (3rd degree), shoplifting (disorderly persons offense), and violation of the emergency orders. Police responded to a report of shoplifting at the ShopRite in Brooklawn. Store employees followed Roman to her vehicle after she allegedly walked out of the store with various items without paying for them. When one employee tried to recover the items, Roman argued with him and allegedly spat on his shirt. She then drove in reverse, allegedly striking another employee. As she drove away, that second man had to jump out of the way to avoid being struck again.
- Stephen Breza, 70, of Toms River, was arrested twice on Saturday, April 11, by the Toms River Police in incidents at different Wawa stores. Shortly before 11 a.m., Breza allegedly became belligerent when he was told to wear a mask inside the Wawa store at 179 Route 37 East. He allegedly started screaming, flailing his arms, and cursing at employees. He allegedly threatened a customer in the store that he was going to hit him with a pipe. When police arrived, he screamed at officers and resisted arrest. Shortly after 1:30 p.m., he went to a second Wawa at 1600 Route 37 East, where he again refused to wear a mask. He allegedly punched a male customer in the face, and when the victim left the store, Breza allegedly went to his car and retrieved a pipe, which he wielded menacingly. Breza was arrested again and lodged in jail. In each case, he was charged with violating the emergency orders, disorderly conduct, and failure to submit to fingerprinting. In the first case, he also was charged with resisting arrest (disorderly persons offense). In the second case, he also was charged with second-degree terroristic threats during an emergency and third-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose.
- Lagbeh Tulay, 29, Tinnoh Blayee, 21, and Jonathan Payne, 25, all of Trenton, and Fomba Tulay, 23, of Hamilton, were arrested by the Trenton Police on Friday, April 10. Police responded to the residence of Lagbeh Tulay and Tinnoh Blayee in the first block of Vine Street on a noise complaint. Police found approximately 15 people inside the residence playing loud music. There were numerous food trays and empty and full bottles of alcohol. The four defendants were arrested when they refused to provide identification or comply with directions from officers. All four were charged with obstruction and resisting arrest, both disorderly persons offenses. Lagbeh Tulay was also charged with violating the emergency orders.
- Joseph C. Davenport, 34, of Penns Grove, was charged late Saturday night, April 11, by the Penns Grove Police with violating the emergency orders. Police on patrol found a group of approximately six people gathered outside and not practicing social distancing. When police approached the group, Davenport allegedly became verbally abusive to the officers.
- Thong Quoc Tran, 44, of Fairless Hills, Pa., was charged by the Hamilton Township Police (Mercer County) on Saturday, April 11, with violating the emergency orders for opening his business, Diamonds Nail Salon at 2200 South Broad Street. Police determined that he was allowing customers in through the rear of the business to receive salon services.
- Shakeem Sanders, 23, of Paterson, was charged on Saturday, April 11, with violating the emergency orders for operating his recording studio at 463 Grand Street in Paterson. Police responded early Saturday to a report that Sanders had been attacked and wounded by an unknown assailant while operating the studio. The investigation of the attack is ongoing.
- Brendan R. Vidulich, 34, of Hewitt, has a recording studio on the same floor as Sanders’ studio at 463 Grand Street in Paterson (see previous case). He was also charged on Saturday, April 11, with operating his studio in violation of the emergency orders.
- Paulina B Kashirsky, 35, of Jersey City, was charged by the Long Beach Township Police on Friday, April 10, with violating the emergency orders for renting a condominium she owns on Long Beach Island for 10 days. She also was charged with obstruction (disorderly persons offense) for falsely claiming to have rented it for 30 days.
- Frank Medina, 37, of Spotswood, was charged by the East Brunswick Police with violating the emergency orders, theft by unlawful taking (3rd degree), and criminal trespass (disorderly persons offense). He was arrested on Saturday, April 11, for allegedly stealing tires from an industrial park on Connerty Court in East Brunswick.
- Dionicia Zapoteco, 36, of Bridgeton, was arrested Saturday, April 11, by the Bridgeton Police on charges of DWI, resisting arrest (disorderly persons offense), and violating the emergency orders. She allegedly was involved in a hit and run accident on Bank Street in Bridgeton.
- Gina F. Fabrico, 29, of Gloucester Township, was charged on Saturday, April 11, by the Gloucester Township Police with violating a restraining order (4th degree) and violating the emergency orders for traveling to the home of a relative who has a restraining order against her.
“Our police officers are working bravely and tirelessly every day to protect us during this health crisis. Regrettably, they are being called upon far too often to deal with people violating the emergency orders— or what is more egregious, people using the virus to spread fear or impede officers in their vital work,” Grewal said. “Staying home and maintaining social distance isn’t just the best advice to stay healthy, it’s the law. Make no mistake, we will do everything in our power to keep our residents and officers safe, and that means we won’t hesitate to file charges against violators.”
“Law enforcement and medical professionals are on the frontlines of this battle to protect the citizens of New Jersey from the COVID-19 virus, and we cannot stress enough how important it is that each person follow the guidelines set forth in the Executive Order,” Callahan said. “Because lives are at stake, enforcement action will be taken without hesitation against those who are blatantly placing the lives of others at risk.”
Violations of the emergency orders constitute a disorderly persons offense carrying a potential sentence of up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. However, violators can potentially face criminal charges including second, third, and fourth degree indictable offenses.
Last week, Attorney General Grewal announced enhanced charges against six individuals who were charged with assaulting law enforcement officers and violating the emergency orders. Specifically, those enhanced charges included making terroristic threats during a state of emergency, which is a second degree offense and carries a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000. Defendant Deja Lewis is similarly charged for her conduct against law enforcement officers.
Third-degree charges carry a sentence of three to five years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000, while fourth-degree charges carry a sentence of up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
If you are seeing a lack of compliance with the Governor’s emergency orders in your town, please contact your local police department or report here: covid19.nj.gov/violation. To report bias crimes call 1-800-277-BIAS.
The Attorney General’s Office and New Jersey State Police will continue to work with law enforcement throughout New Jersey to deter non-complaint behavior.