Along with the increase of coronavirus cases in New Jersey are growing numbers of people charged with crimes directly tied to the pandemic, authorities said.
No fewer than five of them either spit or coughed on police officers and claimed they’d tested positive for COVID-19, authorities said.
Others held weddings or other gatherings in violation of state emergency orders.
Another is accused of dialing 911 and claiming she had the coronavirus to try to get a community college to close.
All are being held accountable, state Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal said.
“Our police officers are going above and beyond the call of duty during this health crisis,” Grewal said. “Unfortunately, they are being called upon far too often to deal with people violating the orders put in place to protect us all— or what is more egregious, people falsely using the coronavirus to spread fear or impede officers in their vital work.
Police arrested a Jersey Shore man who authorities said sent Facebook messages to Gov. Phil Murphy and others threatening to go to Lakewood with a baseball bat and assault members of the Orthodox community for violating the governor's coronavirus restrictions.
Among the other incidents cited by Grewal:
Marina N. Bishara-Rhone, 22, coughed directly on a police officer during a domestic violence incident in River Edge, saying she had the virus and that she hoped he was now infected. She was charged with endangering and throwing bodily fluid at a law enforcement officer.
Karley A. Rosell, 24, was charged in a domestic violence incident with leaving her home and throwing a Molotov cocktail at her boyfriend’s residence in Pitman. It didn’t detonate. She was charged with arson and weapons offenses, as well as a disorderly persons offense for violating the stay-at-home order.
Nicole A. Ayvaz, 23, of Belleville was charged with causing a false public alarm for calling emergency dispatchers and falsely claiming she had the coronavirus to try to get Essex County College to close.
David Merring, 62, owner of Rack and Roll Billiards Hall in Washington Township, Warren County was charged with obstruction for keeping his business open in violation of the emergency order. He was previously warned about opening during the emergency and closed down. He re-opened and had customers inside when police arrived.
Carmen J. Fasanella, 25, of Waterford went to the home of another woman and assaulted her. She was charged with aggravated assault, harassment, and a disorderly persons offense for violating the stay at home order.
George Falcone, 50, was charged with making terroristic threats, obstruction, and harassment for purposely coughing on an employee at the Wegmans store in Manalapan and refusing to cooperate with a police officer.
David C. Morris, 54, told New Jersey state troopers in Sussex County that he had the coronavirus in an attempt to avoid arrest after a motor vehicle stop. He was charged with DWI.
Raymond Ricciardi, 51, was arrested in New Providence on domestic violence charges. He stated that he was infected with the coronavirus and started to cough at police and medical personnel. He was charged with obstruction and harassment.
Zachary Hagin, 33, was charged with aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, resisting arrest, and endangering for spitting on a police officer in Gloucester Township and claiming to have the coronavirus.
Jennifer Burgess spit on officers in Dunellen and claimed to have tested positive for COVID-19. She was charged with throwing bodily fluid at a law enforcement officer and second-degree terroristic threats.
David Haley, 52, was charged in Middlesex County with throwing bodily fluid at a law enforcement officer and making terroristic threats. He claimed to be infected with the coronavirus.
Lea Piazza, 28, was charged with false public alarm and motor vehicle offenses after falsely claiming to be infected with the coronavirus during a DWI arrest in Hanover Township.
Travis Urban, 30, was charged by NJ state trooper in Hazlet with obstruction and hindering apprehension or prosecution for falsely claiming he had the coronavirus to try to avoid charges after being involved in a motor vehicle accident.
Adrienne Morris, 34, was charged in Gloucester Township after he went out drinking with a friend and crashed his car. He was charged with DWI, reckless driving, and a disorderly persons offense for violating the stay at home order.
Juan Gomez Sanchez was charged with a disorderly persons offense for purposely coughing at a Lakewood liquor store employee and claiming he was infected with the coronavirus.
Yu Han, 20, Xiaonuo Shi, 18, Chenyu Yang, 19, and Roukai Wang, 19, were charged with disorderly persons offenses for violating the emergency orders and criminal mischief for drag racing and doing donuts in a Piscataway school parking lot.
Meir T. Gruskin, 37, was charged with a disorderly persons offense for holding a wedding at his Lakewood home in violation of the emergency orders.
Shaul Kuperwasser, 43, was charged with maintaining a nuisance for holding a wedding in Lakewood the previous day, March 19, in violation of the emergency order prohibiting large gatherings.
Eliyohu S. Zaks, 49, was charged with maintaining a nuisance for holding a wedding in Lakewood in violation of the emergency order prohibiting large gatherings.
Jacquon Jones, 37, was charged with disorderly conduct for holding a large party in Penns Grove in violation of the emergency order prohibiting large gatherings.
Abraham Bursztyn, 48, with maintaining a nuisance, in violation of the emergency order prohibiting large gatherings, for holding a gathering of approximately 25 young men at the Lakewood school where he is headmaster.
William Katzenstein, 39, was charged by Lakewood police with a disorderly persons offense for holding a wedding in violation of the emergency order.
Pria Milledge, 37, was charged with a disorderly persons offense for holding a party in Bridgeton in violation of the order prohibiting large gatherings.
Three Jersey City juveniles were issued delinquency complaints for defiant trespass, failure to disperse, and disorderly persons offenses related to the emergency orders after police found them loitering as a group outside an apartment building.
“Staying home and maintaining social distance is not just good advice to stay healthy, it’s the law,” Grewal said. “Make no mistake: We will do what it takes to keep our residents and police officers safe, and that means we won’t hesitate to file criminal charges against those who violate the emergency orders.”
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