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Breaking news & local stories from Camden City, Berlin, Laurel Springs and more

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    She was last seen on Aug. 16.

    Amber Caruso.jpgAmber Caruso, 21, of Gloucester Township, was last seen Aug. 16. (Gloucester Township Police) 

    GLOUCESTER TWP. -- Authorities are asking for the public's help in locating a missing woman.

    Amber Caruso, 21, of the LaCascata section of Gloucester Township, was last seen around 5 p.m. on Aug. 16 at her residence, township police reported.

    She may be with friends in Camden, police said.

    Caruso is described as Hispanic, 5 feet 5 inches tall, 120 pounds, with brown eyes. Her hair is blonde with brown roots.

    She was last seen wearing a gray shirt with white lettering, blue jeans and black flip-flops.

    Anyone with information on her whereabouts is asked to call 911, Gloucester Township Police at 856-228-4500 or the department's anonymous tip line at 856-842-5560.

    Send an anonymous tip via text using the keyword TIP GLOTWPPD and your message to 888777 or access the online anonymous tip page at https:local.nixle.com/tip/alert/5170177.

    Matt Gray may be reached at mgray@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @MattGraySJT. Find the South Jersey Times on Facebook.

     

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    A statistical look back at the best players in New Jersey football.


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    David "D.J." Creato pleaded guilty to manslaughter in his 3-year-old son's death Wednesday.


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    I found countless photos of folks having fun in the summertime in New Jersey. There were so many pictures to choose from, in fact, that this is the second summer fun gallery of the season. MORE: Vintage photos around New Jersey As you look through these photos, remember: I ALWAYS welcome submissions for use in these weekly nostalgic features....

    I found countless photos of folks having fun in the summertime in New Jersey. There were so many pictures to choose from, in fact, that this is the second summer fun gallery of the season.

    MORE: Vintage photos around New Jersey

    As you look through these photos, remember: I ALWAYS welcome submissions for use in these weekly nostalgic features.

    gregplay.jpgSummer fun can be as simple as pushing your trucks along roads in the dirt, like this lad named Greg did in Vineland back in the '60s. 

    What photos should I send, you ask? Yours, I reply. As long as it was taken before 1987, I'll almost always be able to find a way to work a photo of yours into one of the myriad of topics featured in these galleries. All you have to do is convert your photo(s) into jpg files and attach them to an email to ghatala@starledger.com

    Meanwhile, here are some other summertime galleries you might enjoy.

    Vintage photos of wet 'n wild summer fun in N.J.

    Vintage photos of N.J. folks going 'Down the Shore'

    Vintage photos of N.J. fun in the good ol' summertime

    Greg Hatala may be reached at ghatala@starledger.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregHatala. Find Greg Hatala on Facebook.


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    There are 13 players returning who were named to one of the three NJ.com All-State teams last fall.


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    The incident happened earlier this month in Camden. Watch video

    CAMDEN -- A 28-year-old Camden woman has been arrested and charged for allegedly directing her child to go behind the counter of a takeout restaurant to steal cash.

    Lynntia Stratton was arrested without incident Tuesday when she was spotted by two city police detectives in the 300 block of Martin Luther King Boulevard. She was charged with endangering the welfare of a child, employing a juvenile in the commission of a crime, burglary and theft.

    The alleged theft occurred on Aug. 6 at a Chinese restaurant in the 1200 block of Chase Street. It was recorded on a surveillance camera.

    Stratton was processed and released pending a court date. 

    Bill Duhart may be reached at bduhart@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @bduhart. Find NJ.com on Facebook.
     

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    Who will be the most dangerous playmaker of 2017?


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    Petty Officer Kenneth Smith, of Cherry Hill, was pronounced dead Thursday.

    CHERRY HILL -- A 22-year-old soldier from New Jersey was pronounced dead three days into a search for missing sailors aboard the wrecked USS John McCain. 

    Petty Officer Kenneth Aaron Smith was pronounced dead Thursday, according to a release from the U.S. Navy. He was one of 10 sailors reported missing after the ship collided with an oil tanker off the coast of Singapore Monday. 

    Kenneth-Smith.pngKenneth Smith was pronounced dead after a three-day search for missing sailors aboard the USS John McCain.  

    Navy divers found some remains of missing soldiers in a flooded compartment of the ship Tuesday. On Thursday, they identified the body of Smith. A search for the nine other sailors, whose bodies have yet to been identified was suspended, the Navy announced. 

    "Kenneth was a great young man, son, and Sailor," his father, Darryl Smith, said in a statement released Thursday. "He truly loved his family, the Navy, and his shipmates. I am incredibly proud of his service to our country. He will be greatly missed and I am thankful we had 22 wonderful years together." 

    Born in Novi, Mich., Smith moved to Norfolk, Va. and later to Cherry Hill when his father, who is a Naval officer, was transferred to Philadelphia. He enlisted in the Navy in 2014, becoming a third-generation sailor. 

    Philly.com reported that Smith had attended Cherry Hill High School East. A spokesperson for the school district declined to confirm the report, and said the school did not have a statement regarding Smith while the search was underway Wednesday. 

    Smith worked in radar technology aboard the McCain, where he was deployed in June 2015. He enjoyed writing science fiction in his spare time, his mother told NBC10.  

    During his service, Smith received three awards, including the National Defense Service Medal, the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon and Navy Marine Corps Overseas Service Ribbon.     

    "Each and every one of us in Camden County are proud of his service and humbled by his dedication to our grateful nation," Camden County Freeholder Bill Moen said in a statement released Wednesday. "His commitment to become a third-generation sailor, following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather before him, is truly inspirational." 

    Cherry Hill Mayor Chuck Cahn extended his condolences Thursday, thanking Smith for his service to the nation. 

    "Our thoughts and prayers are with the Smith family and Kenneth's friends during this difficult time," Cahn said. "His was a life of service, and he proudly followed in the footsteps of his father and grandfather as a member of the United States Navy." 

    The collision remains under investigation. 

    Amanda Hoover can be reached at ahoover@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @amahoover. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

     

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    Which top returning stat leader will light up the state again in 2017?


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    A group of residents is suing Sherwin-Williams for failing to properly deal with contaminants at its former Gibbsboro sites.

    GIBBSBORO -- A group of residents here have filed a class action suit against paint supplier Sherwin-Williams, arguing that the company's former presence in the area and improper disposal of toxins has brought an influx in cancer to the community.  

    The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Camden Tuesday, is brought by nine families and individuals, some of whom say they have been struck by cancer, kidney disease and learning disabilities, including several affected children. They allege that Sherwin-Williams contaminated sites in Gibbsboro and then worked to "cover up" and "censor" the extent of contamination from the company's local operations, which were shuttered in 1978.

    From 1930 until that time, Sherwin-Williams operated a paint manufacturing contaminant facility and a paint manufacturing business across three plots in Gibbsboro, court documents say. They claim manufacturing waste products including toxins like pesticides, lead and arsenic were also disposed of at the locations, which are now located near residential and commercial properties. 

    Following the sites' closure, the Environmental Protection Agency designated the sites as a Superfund site, a national priority for cleanup. In the years after the sites closed, greenish-blue materials and sludge were observed in the area, and have since moved even further from the original sites, according to the suit. 

    But most of those in the suit live outside of the designated sites, and claim they have experienced adverse health effects related to the contamination. 

    The suit alleges that Sherwin-Williams knew that new businesses were being built on unsafe soil and sediment, but failed to properly clean up the sites or disclose the dangers. Some 18 years ago, the state department of Health and Senior Services along with the Agency of Toxic Substances and Disease Registry found that the sites created a health hazard to those living, working and frequenting the areas, the complaint states. 

    Still, construction continued, and cleanup allegedly languished. 

    It was this April that residents first "truly became aware of the delayed and/or non-existent cleanup efforts and that the contaminated commercial and residential property they have been occupying had higher levels of hazardous chemicals than previously was communicated to them by Defendant," the suit states. 

    That negligence has brought hazards to unsuspecting residents, who assumed their soil and drinking water were as safe as that of nearby communities, according to the complaint. 

    Improvements to the areas have made progress over the past year as Sherwin-Williams works alongside the EPA, but residents say that shift has come too late and too slowly. 

    "The superficial cleanup work performed by Sherwin-Williams over the past 40 years is inadequate and inherently flawed," the suit states. 

    The residents are calling for Sherwin-Williams to act immediately to get hazardous levels of chemicals under control, meeting EPA and state approved levels. They are also seeking testing and medical examination for plaintiffs, as well as compensation to offset lost property value.

    Mike Conway, director of corporate communications and investor relations for Sherwin-Williams, said that "the company just received the complaint and has no comment at this time." 

    Amanda Hoover can be reached at ahoover@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @amahoover. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

     

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    Edmond Brown was shot while attempting to flee, authorities said. Watch video

    CAMDEN -- A 39-year-old man who was shot by a Haddon Township police officer in an altercation after a traffic stop last year pleaded guilty this week for fleeing from an officer and a for having a loaded 357 Magnum handgun.

    Edmond Brown Jr. was shot in October after he fled in his vehicle from a traffic stop as an officer clung to the door of his truck. Brown then crashed into another vehicle on the other side of the street.

    A struggle ensued when the officer caught up to him. Brown was shot in the leg during the confrontation. The incident was recorded on the dashboard camera of the officer's patrol car.

    Under the terms of the plea agreement , Brown Jr. will be sentenced to seven years in state prison. He will be required to serve at least five years of his sentence before he is eligible for parole.

    He pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree eluding and one count of second- degree certain persons not to possess a weapon. He was originally charged with aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, resisting arrest and eluding, assault by automobile, and several related charges.

    The incident occurred on Alabama Avenue, on the border between Camden and Haddon Township. The officer, said he jumped off of Brown's truck just before he struck another car. 

    The dashboard video seemed to indicate the officer, who has never been identified by the prosecutor, did not immediately know he had shot Brown. 

    "You shot me," Brown was heard saying in the video. "No I didn't," the officer said before he took him down to the ground.

    Inside the truck, detectives found a loaded Smith & Wesson, .357 Magnum revolver, over 50 rounds of ammunition and a speed loader, used to reload a revolver more quickly, a folding knife and a wooden-handled, steak-type knife. Police also located Brown's license, which during the traffic stop he claimed he did not have.

    Authorities later learned that Brown had a conviction which prevented him from having a handgun and was that he was in violation of his probation.

    The Prosecutor's Office had previously ruled he officer's use of force was justified.

    Bill Duhart may be reached at bduhart@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @bduhart. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

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    A woman called police after seeing her friend unconscious in a Snapchat post.

    GIBBSBORO -- A man was arrested here after he assaulted a woman and posted footage of her on his Snapchat, authorities said. 

    Mason-Mallon.jpgMason Mallon was charged with aggravated sexual assault, authorities said.  

    Mason Mallon, 24, faces charges of first degree aggravated sexual assault, aggravated assault and sexual assault, criminal restraint and invasion of privacy, according to the Camden County Prosecutor's Office. 

    Mallon was arrested last weekend after an 18-year-old woman's friend saw her on a Snapchat post made by Mallon. In the post, the woman appeared unconscious, prompting her friend to call the police, according to the prosecutor's office. 

    When officers arrived at Mallon's home on West Clementon Road to check on the woman, they found her in Mallon's bedroom disoriented, bruised and covered in blood, authorities said.

    She was taken to to Cooper University Hospital for treatment.

    Mallon has been held in Camden County Jail. He is due in court Tuesday for a pretrial hearing. 

    Amanda Hoover can be reached at ahoover@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @amahoover. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

     

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    One of the state's best all-time QBs has one more year left.

    Two years ago, Devin Leary arrived at Timber Creek’s training camp as a precocious sophomore who had seen limited playing time as a freshman quarterback.

    Last season, Leary returned as the starter having shined in leading the Chargers to a South Jersey Group 4 championship and putting up 23 touchdowns to earn third-team all-Group 4 honors as a sophomore.

    This year?

    Leary is the reigning state Player of the Year, having thrown for all-time state records of 3,688 passing yards and 48 touchdowns and leading the Chargers to a 12-0 record. He shined at the prestigious showcase The Opening In Oregon this summer.

    And he has his future secure having accepted a scholarship offer to North Carolina State.


    THEY'RE BACK : 13 all-state players


    “This year is a lot different, I have to be a leader,” said Leary. “I have to show by example everything I do. Coach was telling me yesterday even if I’m a little sore or have a bad day, I have to keep pushing and set an example. Everybody is looking up to me to see what I do next. If I can lead this team, I think it will be in really good hands.”

    Leary performed well in Oregon – he was MVP of one of his team’s games – and it reiterated the belief he is one of the best quarterbacks in the country. MaxPreps has Leary ranked No. 8 nationally.

    “It was a great experience being with the best athletes and coaches all around the country and really just absorbing everything and taking it all in and learning as much as I possibly can and bringing it back here,” said Leary. “It showed where I stand if I reach my full potential.”

    Timber Creek graduated a pair of all-state players in Ezrah Archie and Dante Waugh-Hill as well as another top receiving threat in Jean-Paul Roane. But a pair of senior transfers in wide receiver Michael Johnson and running back Kyle Dobbins – the latter who played youth football with Leary – the emergence of senior Deion Jennings at receiver and a core of young talented skill players should give the senior options to distribute the ball.

    “The receivers are really young, there’s a lot of new guys coming in but they’re picking up the offense,” said Leary. “The line is doing a good job, the running backs are helping us a ton. So we’re really excited.”

    Despite playing only a few games his freshman year, Leary has a chance to leave a legacy that will be tough to match. He is just 26 touchdowns away from 100 in his career and 3,191 yards from 10,000.

    He could also leave with a third sectional champion. Leary and Timber Creek stopped Shawnee and Mike Welsh from winning three in a row in 2015 and now they’ll have the same chance.

    Leary would be the first quarterback to lead his program to three South Jersey titles since Kevin Harvey led Paulsboro to four from 1991 to 1994.

    “We’re expecting him to do a lot more this year,” said Timber Creek coach Rob Hinson. “We’re expecting him to be almost be perfect, because he doesn’t have guys with experience to bail him out. That’s hard to do, be perfect. But if you want to be the dude, it shouldn’t matter.

    “The skill positions have a different makeup, but he still has an ability to put up pretty good numbers. He’s in striking distance of the state record, numbers like 10,000 and 100 that are unheard of, but his focus and all of ours is winning. He may have won a championship as a freshman if he played because (senior starter) Khalil Trotman was trying to go with a high ankle sprain. But (winning a third) would be big for Devin’s legacy and the senior class.”

    Without even playing a game as a senior, Leary has left a legacy. Opposing coaches like Delsea’s Sal Marchese and Shawnee’s Tim Gushue have called him one of the best South Jersey quarterbacks of the last few decades.

    Leary said his biggest goal this season is a third straight, sectional title, which would be unprecedented at Timber Creek. He wants part of his legacy to be he was a team player.

    “Everything I’ve won, I’m doing it for the team, the program and Coach Hinson,” said Leary. ‘I like to see myself as a selfless player. As a senior class, this is our last year. You want to leave a legacy every practice, every down to help out the team. I do as much as I can every day and hope it pays off in the end.”

    Bill Evans can be reached at bevans@njadvancemedia.com or by leaving a note in the comments below. Follow him on Twitter @BEvansSports. Find the NJ.com High School Football page on Facebook by following this link.


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    A look at who picked up offers and who committed this summer.


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    Police in Camden are looking for these men. Watch video

    CAMDEN -- Police are looking for two men in connection with an alleged sexual assault.

    The incident occurred on Aug. 18 between 11 p.m. to 4:25 a.m. in the 2900 block of Westfield Ave., police said. A woman reported she was drinking with several people and then accompanied a man she was with to a vacant home. 

    She said she lost consciousness and was sexually assaulted. She awoke at 4:25 a.m. in a smoke-filled room and fled the home, police said.

    Two men who may have been involved in the incident were recorded on a surveillance video from a local store. Police posted the video Thursday evening.

    The Camden County Police Department is investigating a sexual assault and is seeking help from the public to identify two persons of interest seen on surveillance video.

    Anyone with information about these persons of interest should call the Camden County Police Department tip line at 856-757-7042.

    Bill Duhart may be reached at bduhart@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @bduhart. Find NJ.com on Facebook.
     

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    AG says long sentence is "appropriate punishment for his vile betrayal."

    TRENTON -- The former chief of a volunteer fire department in Camden County was given a six-year prison sentence on Friday after admitting he used a station computer to share child pornography online.

    John Terruso, 46, used electronic devices at the Audubon Park Volunteer Fire Company to amass a collection of more than a thousand files depicting graphic child sexual abuse, according to state Attorney General Christopher Porrino's office.

    terruso.jpgJohn Terruso

    "A fire chief is supposed to be a guardian of public safety and a person children look up to, but Terruso instead used his position and public equipment to participate in the cruel exploitation of children by distributing child pornography," Porrino said in a statement following the sentencing. "This lengthy prison sentence is appropriate punishment for his vile betrayal."

    Massive N.J. child porn bust: What happened?

    Terruso was charged in 2015, after investigators monitoring a file-sharing network known as a haven for child pornography traced files shared on the network to an IP address used by the fire house. He had been fire chief for about four years when he was arrested, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported at the time. 

    He pleaded guilty in May to charges of possession and distribution of child pornography and was sentenced Friday in front of Judge John T. Kelley in Camden County.

    Under the terms of the sentencing, Terruso will be ineligible for parole for at least three years, is banned from public office and must register as a sex offender under Megan's Law. 

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


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    The incident occurred early Friday morning.

    CAMDEN -- A 28-year-old city man was fatally shot early Friday morning, the Camden County Prosecutor's Office said.

    It happened shortly after midnight in the 700 block of Ware Street. Officers found Jose Cabreara laying on the ground suffering from multiple gunshot wounds when they arrived. He was taken to Cooper University Hospital by ambulance where he died at 12:34 a.m.

    The investigation is ongoing and no arrests have been.

    Anyone with information is urged to contact the Camden County Prosecutor's Office at 856-225-8623 or 856-757-7420.

    Information may also be emailed to ccpotips@ccprosecutor.org.

    Bill Duhart may be reached at bduhart@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @bduhart. Find NJ.com on Facebook.
     

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    Six of the seven teachers who filed the lawsuit against Camden schools said they were forced to retire.

    CAMDEN -- Seven Camden public school teachers have sued the city school district and its superintendent charging they were forced out of the system by unfair performance evaluations and bias because of their age. 

    The suit was filed in state Superior Court on June 28 and moved to federal court in Camden on Tuesday.

    Six of the teachers said they were forced to retired prematurely and the seventh said school officials created a "hostile work environment" that led to a "psychiatric disability."

    The teachers accused Superintendent Paymond Rouhanifard of giving evaluations with false, undeserving or unwarranted low scores or by selecting evaluators who would do so. They said one evaluator exhibited bias by reviewing them when they were preparing students for a test instead of a lesson plan.

    School officials provided an email response Thursday after a request to comment on the suit.

    "The district does not comment on ongoing legal matters related to personnel," the email said. "We remain committed to ensuring there is a high-quality teacher in every classroom."

    One plaintiff, Margaret Goode said an evaluator "harassed, bullied, humiliated her and used unethical, unprofessional and intimidating tactics in writing her evaluation."

    Another plaintiff, Jacqueline Ballenger, said in the suit that in being reassigned from Cooper B. Hatch Middle School to Camden High School the district "did succeed in 'breaking' her, leading to a leave of absence...for work related psychiatric disability that continues to this day."

    The plaintiffs are seeking to be reinstated in their former positions with back pay and attorney fees paid.   

    Bill Duhart may be reached at bduhart@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @bduhart. Find NJ.com on Facebook.
     

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    The suspect was at large for more than three months after the killing.

    CAMDEN -- A 22-year-old Burlington City man was indicted for murder and aggravated assault Thursday for the fatal shooting of a 17-year-old at a motel in Cherry Hill last year.

    Kevin FentressKevin Fentress

    Kevin Fentress is accused of shooting Camden resident Jaydre Gordon and a 20-year-old Willingboro man who were sitting in a car parked outside the Inn of the Dove, on Route 38, during the early hours of Feb. 28 2016. Gordon later died at Cooper University Hospital.

    A woman sitting near the men in the car also sustained injuries from flying glass. She and the other victim had non-life-threatening injuries.

    Police said the shooting occurred after an altercation during a party in one of the motel rooms.  

    Fentress was on the run for more than two months after the shooting until he was nabbed in Marietta, Georgia on May 6, 2016 at the home of a friend, authorities said. He has been remained at Camden County jail since being extradited from Georgia.

    Bill Duhart may be reached at bduhart@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @bduhart. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

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    After he and his ex split earlier this year, Vincent Manago Jr. had threatened to burn down the ex's house, police say.

    WINSLOW TWP. -- A man who allegedly carried out his threat to burn down his ex's home has been arrested and charged with arson, authorities say.

    Winslow Township Police have charged Vincent S. Manago Jr., 27, of Atlantic City with second-degree aggravated arson and third-degree burglary, police said.

    The case dates to March 10 when firefighters were called to a house fire on Pennington Avenue in the Waterford Works section of the township. No one was home at the time and it was determined that the blaze had been set, according to police.

    Police said they found eyewitnesses who gave them descriptions of a suspect and vehicle seen hear the home.

    Man tried to torch mom's house: Police

    They say they also learned Manago recently had ended a relationship with one of the men who lived at the home and threatened to burn the place down.

    Police began the search for Manago and made phone contact with him but he refused to speak with them.

    U.S. Marshals tracked Manago down in Atlantic City on Wednesday and turned him over to Winslow Township Police.

    Manago was taken to the Camden County jail pending a court hearing.

    Bill Gallo Jr. may be reached at bgallo@njadvancemedia.com. Follow Bill Gallo Jr. on Twitter @bgallojr. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

     

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