Lakewood News

Robbery at Greenwald Caterers

An employee at Greenwald Caterers was robbed at knifepoint while she was working alone at the business’s offices in central Lakewood.

According to Lakewood Police, last Tuesday night shortly after 12 a.m., two black men entered the caterer’s facilities on 8th Street between Princeton Avenue and Squankum Road. The pair, whose faces were covered with scarves, produced a weapon and demanded that the lone 48-year-old woman on the premises show them where the business’s cash is stored.

When she responded that she did not know, the pair stole money from her wallet which was on a chair, broke the employee’s cellphone and fled.

Terrified, the victim locked herself in the office and when she determined that the intruders were out of the vicinity began to scream for help. A passerby heard the cries at about 1 a.m. and called the police who responded to the scene.

Agreement Sealed For Township to Contract With LSTA

An agreement between Lakewood Township and LSTA will allow courtesy busing to continue for an additional year. The arrangement was near completion over a month ago, but the prospect that the contracting might occur directly between the consortium and the Board of Education had put plans on hold.

Three years ago, Lakewood’s perennial busing financial crunch was addressed by pilot legislation signed by former Governor Chris Christie which essentially transferred funds for all private school transportation to LSTA, which has managed busing since. Their private status allowed them to negotiate long-term contracts with busing companies, significantly reducing costs that the district had previously incurred.

New Jersey mandates funding for the transportation of all students in the state, regardless of the school they attend, providing they live two miles or more from their place of education. Busing for students who live within that radius is known as courtesy busing. In Lakewood, many have long claimed that a lack of sidewalks and other logistical challenges have made busing for many within the two-mile area a necessity.

The legislation expired this past year. Initially, funding and authorization for LSTA were in Governor Phil Murphy’s budget proposal, but under scrutiny from legislators, funding was slashed together with millions more that had been earmarked for Lakewood’s public schools. Subsequently, under the threat of a legal challenge to the authorization from an anti-private-school advocacy organization, that was also cut, funds were returned in the form of a loan from the state Department of Education.

Now, rather than acting as an arm of the state, LSTA will function as a fully private entity contracted by the township, which, as it has over the past three years, will contribute over $1 million from its surplus to fund courtesy busing for public school students.

Man With Weapons Trove Arrested At Six Flags

A man was arrested at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson with a large trove of weapons after employees reported that he had been “acting irrationally.”

According to Jackson Police, Jonathan Fruchter, 38, of Allentown, New Jersey, was recently denied a job at the amusement park. He arrived there late Thursday morning and began harassing employees and asking questions about security procedures.

Police arrived and searched Fruchter’s vehicle. In it, they found a pistol with three 15-round magazines, several knives, and a tomahawk.

After he was taken into custody, a search of his home in Allentown in Monmouth County found him to be in possession of an assault rifle and another handgun, and a trove of ammunition for both.

Fruchter was placed in the Ocean County jail and faces several weapons-related charges.

Burglaries in Brookhill

Several homes were burglarized this past Shabbos in the Brookhill neighborhood. According to police reports, thieves entered homes while residents slept, late Friday night.

No suspects have been identified.

Freeholders Urge Hurricane Preparedness

As Hurricane Dorian bore down on the Caribbean and southern coastal waters, members of the Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders warned local residents to be ready for tropical storms that could hit closer to home.

“While Hurricane Dorian currently poses no threat to our region, this monster storm should serve as a reminder that the Jersey Shore remains vulnerable to hurricanes and tropical storms,” said Freeholder Director Virginia E. Haines.

September is the most dangerous time of hurricane season. Ocean County is usually out of the path of storms, but the area suffered tremendous damage in its coastal areas and wide power outages during Superstorm Sandy in 2012.

The county leadership encouraged residents to have a portable disaster supply kit with essentials ready at all times, should an evacuation be necessary.

“The time to prepare this kit is now,” said Freeholder Deputy Director John P. Kelly. “Don’t wait for a storm to approach.”

The county also encouraged the elderly and handicapped to register with New Jersey’s Special Needs registry for disasters, which will allow first responders to identify and accommodate residents with specified needs.