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

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    Who stole the show in state tournament?


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    She passed a note to the cashier demanding money, noting that she had a knife.

    A Haddonfield woman was arrested after confessing to robbing Heritage's in Clayton.

    On Wednesday, Nov. 15, a disguised women entered the Heritages store on Delsea Drive in Clayton with a knife and allegedly demanded money by passing a note to the cashier. According to Clayton Police, an undisclosed amount of money was turned over to the woman.

    Patrice L. QuackenbushPatrice L. Quackenbush (Provided)
     

    The woman was later identified as 37-year-old Patrice L. Quackenbush.  

    Clayton Police responded to the scene and with the assistance of Monroe Twp. Police, Ptlm. Picillio and his K9 partner, were able to track Quackenbush to the area of her boyfriend's residence located on Church Lane in Clayton.  

    Police learned that Quackenbush had a Taxi waiting for her at the home and that she had fled the scene prior to police arrival, they reported.

    Police located her later in the day when she returned to the home from Camden. Police reported that in addition to charges from the robbery, Quackenbush had an active warrant for an unpaid traffic citation out of Deptford. Police arrested and searched her without incident.

    Multiple bags of heroin, hypodermic needles, and drug paraphernalia were found on her during the search, police said.

    Quackenbush was taken to the police department where she confessed to the robbery, police reported. She told police that she robbed the store to feed her drug addiction.

    Clayton detectives applied for a search warrant for her residence. The clothing that Quackenbush was wearing to disguise herself was located along with the note that she had passed to the cashier. 

    Additional drugs and paraphernalia were located inside of the residence, as well.

    Quackenbush was charged with possession of Heroin, possession of hypodermic needles, possession of drug paraphernalia, failure to surrender C.D.S., robbery, theft, and terroristic threats. 

    Quackenbush is currently lodged in Salem County Jail awaiting a detention hearing.

    Caitlyn Stulpin may be reached at cstulpin@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @caitstulpin. Find NJ.com on Facebook.


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    Five cops have accused Haddon Township Chief Mark Cavallo of sexual harassment.

    Haddon Township Police Chief Mark Cavallo took his place on a dais before a township commissioner's meeting late last month, still firmly at the helm of an embattled department nine months after four senior, male officers accused him of making unwanted sexual advances toward them.

    cavallo-cropped.jpgHaddon Township Police Chief Mark Cavallo 

    The officers had also accused the chief of being lazy and neglecting his duty managing the 26-officer department in this town of nearly 15,000 in Camden County.

    An attorney for the officers filed a tort notice in February -- a document signaling the intent to sue -- with all of the accusations, but no further action has been taken, according to township officials. The officers have since retained a new attorney, Jeffrey Caccese who said his clients are continuing to do their jobs and report to Cavallo. 

    Another patrolman had previously accused Cavallo of unwanted sexual advances in a 2015 lawsuit, filed shortly after he was fired. Former officer Jason DeMent claims he was ousted, in part, for rebuffing the chief. DeMent's attorney declined to comment last week on the suit.

    Township officials said they hired an attorney nine months ago to investigate the complaints, which, if true, are a violation of their sexual-harassment policy. That report is expected to be completed soon, township attorney Eric Riso said last month.

    Mayor Randy Teague said Cavallo -- who has been with the department for 30 years -- is still on the job and leading the police department, despite accusations by five officers that he has sexually harassed them.

    "They're only allegations," Teague said last month before the start of a township commissioners' meeting. "They were submitted to us during a time when we had advertised for promotions in the department. This all occurred after the chief had submitted a desire to retire and then changed his mind and then the allegations were submitted."

    Cavallo declined to comment on the allegations moments later, just before the start of the Oct. 24 township commissioners' meeting.

    Cavallo, 59, is also president of the township school board, which has not received any complaints about him, the board administrator said.

    "There have been no allegations of sexual harassment or inappropriate conduct received by the board," Jennifer Gauld, the board administrator said in an email.  

    Capt. Scott Bishop, Lt. Sean Gooley, Sgt. Thomas Whalen and Det. Sgt. Joseph D. Johnston allege the harassment began nine years ago, not long after Cavallo became chief, according to the tort document.

    Caccese disputed Teague's account of how and why the allegations were made.

    "The officers appropriately reported very troubling and extremely inappropriate workplace conduct by Chief Cavallo," Caccese said Thursday in a statement. "The decision to report the conduct of their superior officer was a difficult one and was not entered into lightly by any of the officers. Since the time the first report was made over a year and a half ago, we have been patiently awaiting prompt and remedial action in response to their reported concerns. Unfortunately, to date, we have not been advised of a remedy or whether there will be a remedy."

    Two requests for comment from Riso last week were not returned.

    The four ranking officers allege that since 2008, Cavallo has made flirtatious, sometimes sexual comments to and about them. They also say he touched them including on the upper, inner thigh, the cheek, and during "spontaneous hugs." They also said they witnessed him do the same to other officers in the department, according to the tort claim.

    DeMent alleges he was fired for rebuffing Cavallo's alleged sexual advances, though the township maintains he was terminated due to a medical condition that meant he could not perform the basic functions required of the job, according to his lawsuit. 

    His initial federal suit was dismissed in 2016 but a new suit was filed in superior court later that year. Teague said DeMent had promised to produce text messages to support his other claims of sexual harassent, but never did. 

    DeMent's attorney, Zachary Wall, previously said the four ranking officers' tort-claim helps substantiate his client's claims.

    "It also demonstrates that Chief Cavallo's mistreatment and harassment of police officers was severe, pervasive, and adversely affected the operation of the entire department," Wall said in a statement earlier this year.

    DeMent claimed Cavallo indicated to him that desk work might be available while he sought treatment for an eye disorder. He said Cavallo then asked to hold him "like a baby" and when he refused, he "never again discussed the possibility" of him keeping his job, according to his lawsuit.

    Teague and Riso said none of the officers ever filed a grievance claim or presented their concern to township officials before notifying them about their plans to take legal action.

    "As far as we're aware, there haven't been any grievances," Teague said. Caccese and the four officers he represents said they strongly disagree.

    In the tort notice, the four officers said that when they complained about Cavallo's behavior to then-Commissioner and Public Safety Director John Foley, Cavallo retaliated against them and created a hostile work environment.

    In email correspondence obtained by NJ Advance Media all sent in January, the officers told township officials the chief was not doing his job and should not be allowed to interview candidates for a promotion because he was allegedly biased against Whalen and Johnston.

    The officers claimed the department was suffering and that Foley had failed to act on their complaints or grant their requests for a meeting with Teague. Foley resigned on Feb. 24 and was replaced by Jim Mulroy.

    Teague said he has no concern about public safety, despite the roiling disputes in the department.

    "I've not been presented with any information that would lead me to be concerned about public safety at this time," Teague said.

    State records show Cavallo was paid a salary of $131,542 in 2016. Teague said he has been employed by the township police department for nearly 30 years.

    RELATED STORIES

    Officers claim chief isn't 'doing anything for the money he is paid'

    Officers who called chief lazy are also accusing him of sexual harassment

    Suit accusing chief of harassment, wrongful firing can continue, judge says

    Staff writer Rebecca Everett contributed to this report.

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

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    He will oversee surgical services at the three Jefferson Health New Jersey hospital locations as well as at its Surgery Center in Sewell.

    Roy Sandau, DO, FACOS, has been named Chief of Surgery at Jefferson Health New Jersey.

    In his new role, DSandau will provide system-wide leadership and oversee surgical services at the three Jefferson Health New Jersey hospital locations -- Cherry Hill, Stratford and Washington Township, as well as at its freestanding Surgery Center in Sewell.

    Sandau_Roy2017.jpgRoy Sandau (Provided)

    In 2016, Sandau, who is also an Assistant Professor at RowanSOM, was awarded the Distinguished Surgeon Award by Intuitive Surgical, Inc., creator of the da Vinci robotic surgical system, and Mentor of the Year by the RowanSOM Department of General Surgery and Surgical Residency program. A three-time "Top Doctor" through South Jersey Magazine, the Cherry Hill, resident has practiced robotic-assisted surgery since 2011, completing more than 500 robotic surgeries at Jefferson Health New Jersey to date. 

    Over the past few years, Sandau, who has been a guest lecturer/research presenter at national surgical conferences, has been part of several robotic surgery milestones at the South Jersey-based health system. He performed New Jersey's the first EndoWrist(r) Stapler technology on the da Vinci robotic system, as well as South Jersey's first robotic-assisted Laparoscopic Single Incision (SILS) colon surgery.

    Specializing in "scarless" robotic, single-incision colorectal and gallbladder procedures, Sandau is Jefferson Health New Jersey's Cancer Liaison Physician for the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer (CoC). He is among a national network of more than 1,500 volunteer physicians responsible for providing leadership and direction to establish, maintain, and support their facilities' cancer programs.

    Sandau, who has a strong interest in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with malignant diseases, is a member of Jefferson Health New Jersey's multidisciplinary Cancer Committee. Earlier this year, he took the lead role in the health care organization's "80% by 2018" initiative to increase colorectal screening awareness and participation among its employees.

    Have community news you'd like to share? Send an email to sjtowns@njadvancemedia.com. Have an event happening you want to share? Go to nj.com/events to submit your information to be included in a community calendar. 


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    Where did your favorite team land in the season's final ranking?


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    NJ.com looks at 25 unhealded performances from the state football semifinals


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    The final boys soccer Top 50 for the 2017 season

    NorthNon-publicAboys366907.JPGLukasz Matwiejczyk #13 of Delbarton and Jason Gomes of SHP battle for the ball during the North Jersey, Non-Public A boys soccer finals between No. 1 Delbarton and No. 2 Seton Hall Prep at Passaic County Tech in Wayne, NJ on 11-9-17.  
    HCboyssoccer368134.JPGWilliam Drinane of Hunterdon Central heads upfield in front of Harry Malady of Princeton during the Central Jersey, Group 4 boys soccer final between No. 14 Hunterdon Central and Princeton at Hunterdon Central High School in Flemington, NJ on 11-10-17.  

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    A $10K Mega Millions ticket was also bought in the state

    There was one jackpot winning ticket sold for Tuesday's $158,468 Jersey Cash 5 drawing. 

    The lucky ticket was purchased at The News Shoppe on Haddonfield Road in Pennsauken, state lottery officials said Wednesday.

    Tuesday's winning numbers were 6, 21, 23, 36 and 38. The XTRA number was 2.

    Wednesday's jackpot resets to $75,000.

    Unclaimed $1 million ticket expires soon

    Meanwhile, Wednesday's Powerball jackpot is worth $134 million with a cash option of $82 million.

    No one across the country hit Tuesday's Mega Millions $106 million jackpot, but three tickets matched five numbers. Tickets bought in Florida and Illinois are worth $1 million apiece. One sold in California is worth $783,546.

    A ticket sold at D'Latinos Beauty Supply on Bergenline Avenue in West New York matched four numbers and the Mega Ball. It's worth $10,000. 

    The next Mega Millions drawing will be held on Friday. The top prize is $119 million with a cash option of $75 million.

    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 accident occurred early Wednesday on Interstate 295.

    A driver was transported to Cooper University Hospital on Wednesday morning after his pickup truck ran off Interstate 295, hit a tree and burst into flames, state police reported.

    The Bridgeton man was traveling northbound near milepost 295 in Bellmawr when the vehicle left the roadway around 6:40 a.m.

    Photos posted by Bellmawr Fire Department show the truck consumed in flames as firefighters work to douse the blaze.

    The driver's injuries were deemed non-life threatening, police said.

    The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

    The right lane was closed temporarily and the scene was cleared by 8:30 a.m.

    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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    Getting your shop on has never been a problem in the Garden State.

    When I write about vintage photographs, I often note how much things change. In the case of shops and stores in New Jersey, I think that as much as things have changed, they have stayed the same.

    Naturally, before malls entered the retail landscape, shopping was a store-to-store exercise; folks visited specialty retailers for all their needs. For several years now, we have seen a resurgence in small specialty shops. In 2010, in fact, American Express launched Small Business Saturday. The idea is to get consumers through the doors of local businesses on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

    Shopping at a local merchant's store is a nice alternative to searching for a parking space in a mall on Black Friday, I'd say.

    And, although it can't be denied that there are store vacancies in malls these days, many folks still consider the mall the "go to place" for their retail needs. The energy of the mall, with restaurants and rides for children, is unique.

    Vineland Times Journal August, 1961.jpgReferred to with love as 'Garbage Mills' by everyone in Cumberland County. 

    We also have the freestanding stores such as Lowe's, Home Depot, Walmart, Target and Kohls to purchase the things we need in our lives. But, decades ago, we had stores such as Rickel, Grants and Two Guys. The names of the stores have changed, true, and most people are using payment methods other than cash, but it's still quite similar.

    Shopping via computer has a permanent place in retail, that's for sure. But, I would submit that folks will never completely surrender the shopping experience for the online one.

    And, as a nice little bit of trivia, here's what history.com has to say about the origin of the Black Friday tradition:

    "Back in the 1950s, police in Philadelphia used the term to describe the chaos that ensued on the day after Thanksgiving, when hordes of suburban shoppers and tourists flooded into the city in advance of the big Army-Navy football game held on that Saturday every year.

    "Not only would Philly cops not be able to take the day off, but they would have to work extra-long shifts dealing with the additional crowds and traffic."

    Enjoy this collection of shops, stores and malls in New Jersey. And if you don't see your favorite, here are links to other galleries on the same topic.

    Vintage photos of shops and stores in N.J.

    Vintage photos of discount and department stores in N.J.

    More Vintage photos of shops and stores in N.J.

    Vintage photos of stores, shops and malls in New Jersey

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


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    An iconic Thanksgiving staple has its roots in Camden.


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    A Special Recognition Award was presented to Jefferson Health New Jersey Employee Health associate and Gold Star Mother Trudy Corma.

    A Gold Star Mother and more than 30 Camden County veterans were honored at the 16th Annual Camden County Veterans Medal Ceremony held at Kennedy Health New Jersey's Voorhees offices.

    A Special Recognition Award was presented to Jefferson Health New Jersey Employee Health associate and Gold Star Mother Trudy Corma, RN, of Deptford, mother of fallen U.S. Army war hero Salvatore S. Corma II.

    First Lieutenant Salvatore S. Corma II lost his life in Afghanistan in April 2010 while trying to contain an improvised explosive device (IED). The 24-year-old platoon leader attempted to isolate the explosion while warning other soldiers of the threat. The 2008 West Point graduate's actions are credited with saving as many as 19 other soldiers' lives, and Corma II received a Purple Heart posthumously.

    Along with Trudy Corma's special recognition, 34 Camden County veterans were honored with the Camden County Military Service Medal, which recognizes Camden County veterans who have served their country with honor and valor.


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    Three people have been arrested in connection to a bank robbery.

    Three people have been arrested after allegedly robbing a bank and leading police on a high-speed chase Tuesday. 


    Cas Miller, 24, Emanuel Almodovar, 32, and Cecelia Lopez, 46, all of Camden, face robbery charges, the Camden County Prosecutor's Office announced Wednesday. 

    Authorities said one of the suspects entered the TD Bank on College Drive in Blackwood around 9:45 a.m. and passed a note to the teller demanding money. 

    When police tried later to apprehend the alleged robbers by stopping the vehicle in Gloucester Township, the driver sped away onto Route 42. 

    Police were able to end the chase in Camden, where all three suspects were arrested. The money was recovered in full, authorities said. 

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


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    The man said he wanted to help make Christmas wishes come true for families who may be struggling financially.

    Dozens of South Jersey families are getting toys for free, thanks to the generosity of a local "secret Santa." 

    A man identified as Charlie K. arrived at the Toys "R" Us in Cherry Hill Friday morning to do some shopping for his son and picked up the tab on more than 60 layaway orders while he was there. 

    "We love the heartwarming acts of one secret Santa who visited Toys"R" Us Cherry Hill this morning - Charlie K. paid off more than 62 Layaway orders totaling approximately $10,780," a company spokeswoman confirmed in an email.

    Additionally, he bought $2,000 worth of items to donate to Toys for Tots, she said. 

    Charlie K., whose full-name has been withheld, told CBS in Philadelphia that he was "trying to fulfill some Christmas wishes for people."

    He said it was the first time he had paid for layaway items, and he wanted to help out less fortunate families in the area. 

    "I can only do it because of the community that provided me the luxury to do it," he added. "I love this community, and I'm trying to provide back for it."

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


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    Dolores Earley was struck and killed by a bus at the Voorhees Town Center last month. Her family says current routes put shoppers at risk.

    The family of an 86-year-old Cherry Hill woman who was fatally struck by a bus while leaving the mall last month wants to see NJ Transit modify its bus routes to keep them farther from the entrance, where pedestrians frequently come and go. 

    Dolores Earley was leaving the second floor of the Voorhees Town Center Boscov's store on October 17 when a NJ Transit bus hit her. Her family and friends gathered at the site of the crash early Friday morning, wielding signs calling on bus drivers to slow down and hoping to gain more attention for the cause by protesting the routes on the busiest shopping day of the year. 

    Her grandson, Isaac Earley, 28, described his grandmother as a "nice, sweet, smart, worldly lady." She was a devoted member of the Haddonfield United Methodist Church, which she attended for more than 50 years. She had five children, three of whom are still living, and seven grandchildren. 

    The day of the crash, Dolores Earley had arrived at the mall alone to pick up some things before going to visit her husband, who has cancer and was staying in a rehab center following a procedure, Isaac Earley said. 

    Is NJ Transit bus stop near where woman died in a bad location?

    "We still don't know exactly what happened," he said Friday morning. 

    A Voorhees Police Department report stated that woman likely fell or tripped from the curb as the bus passed, leading the back wheel to run her over. Evidence from the scene indicated that she was hit by the back right tire, police said. 

    The bus driver did not have any points on his license, and had worked for NJ Transit for 14 years. He had no moving violations during that time, according to the police report. 

    "At this point, the crash investigation is still on-going," Captain Carmen Del Palazzo, a spokesman with the Voorhees Police Department, said Friday. He said the department believes that Dolores Earley tripped and fell as the bus was passing, or had some kind of medical episode that caused her to fall. 

    While there is a security camera outside of Boscov's, there's no footage to be found, and mall employees say the camera has not worked in a year. 

    "Had it been working, we would clearly know exactly what had happened," Del Palazzo said. "There's no evidence that she was hit by the front of the bus -- none whatsoever." 

    He also said there's no evidence that the driver was being reckless, or that he could have avoided the tragic crash. 

    But in a Voorhees Town Center incident report, witnesses indicated that they heard two bumps, as if the front and back tires of the bus struck her. 

    That discrepancy is what concerns Isaac Earley. He said he hopes that NJ Transit will consider moving the stop farther from the mall, and enforce the policies that prohibit buses from driving through empty spaces or even lower the speeds. 

    Dolores Earley's family members aren't the only ones who worry about buses in the parking lot. An employee at Center for Neurological and Neurodevelopmental Health, which is connected to the mall, told NJ.com last month that she has tried in the past to have the route moved, and feared a crash like the one that killed Dolores Earley might someday occur.  

    Several routes, including the 403 bus, send dozens of NJ Transit buses in and out of the parking lot each day. 

    And while discussions of moving the routes and stops have arisen in the past, no changes have come. 

    "NJ Transit worked in coordination with officials from the mall to relocate the bus layover area farther from the mall entrance to address these concerns," Nancy Snyder, a NJ Transit spokeswoman, told NJ.com last month. "After touring the mall site with mall representatives, it was determined to leave the bus stop in the location where it has been for years."

    Isaac Earley said that in the several weeks he's stood outside and watched the bus routes, he has seen drivers traveling quickly through the lot of taking shortcuts through spaces. 

    "Ultimately, we hope to not have the stop anywhere near the mall," he said. 

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


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    The fireball, a very bright meteor, passed over the mid-Atlantic from New York to North Carolina

    Almost 70 people reported seeing a fireball passing over the mid-Atlantic on Friday night, the second fireball spotted from New Jersey in two months. 

    The reports included nine from the central and southern parts of New Jersey, including Trenton, Voorhees, Vineland, Ocean City and Stone Harbor, according to a log on the American Meteor Society website. 

    People who reported seeing the fireball -- a very bright meteor -- around 10:30 p.m. described it as a mix of colors, including white, orange, yellow, red and blue, with a trail. Commenters on the Jersey Shore Hurricane News Facebook page remarked that they saw it break into pieces in the sky. 

    The fireball was also seen in New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Washington, D.C., Virginia and North Carolina.

    In October, hundreds of people said they saw a different meteor in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Hampshire. That fireball was captured on video by a driver in Sea Girt. 

    Fireballs are meteors that are brighter than magnitude -4, which is the same magnitude as Venus as seen in the morning or evening sky, according to the American Meteor Society. A certain type of fireball, known as a bolide, explodes at its end and often shatters into pieces. 

    Several thousand fireballs exist in the Earth's atmosphere every day, but most happen over uninhabited areas or are hidden by daylight, the AMS says. The brighter the fireball, the less common the event. 

    Marisa Iati may be reached at miati@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @Marisa_Iati or on Facebook here. Find NJ.com on Facebook

    Have a tip? Tell us. nj.com/tips

     

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    Her family has launched a fundraiser to help with medical bills.

    A Camden County woman suffered serious burns after a bonfire mishap early Thursday, Franklin Township police said.

    Taylor Lanthier, 28, of Lindenwold, was at a home on Malaga Lake Boulevard in Franklin Township around 3 a.m. when police say she poured gasoline on a bonfire.

    The flames traveled up into the can, causing it to explode, Lt. Matt DeCesari explained.

    Lanthier was transported to the burn treatment center at Crozer-Chester Medical Center in Upland, Pennsylvania.

    Family and friends have rallied to help Lanthier in her recovery.

    A family member launched a Pray4Tay fund drive via YouCaring.com to help with medical bills. Nearly $4,000 had been raised toward a $50,000 goal as of Sunday morning.

    Lanthier remained in an induced coma and on a ventilator as of Sunday and was due for surgery to perform skin grafts, according to an update on the YouCaring page.

    "She has a very long road ahead and her hospital bills are going to be exorbitant," one relative noted in a Facebook post.

    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 man stopped by Berlin police allegedly carjacked a vehicle hours earlier in Cherry Hill.

    Berlin police arrested a Burlington County man early Saturday after learning that he was driving a stolen vehicle taken in a carjacking, authorities said.

    A Berlin officer saw a suspicious vehicle pulling into the PATCO parking lot on Berlin Road around 3:30 a.m. Saturday. When the driver spotted the approaching officer, he took off on Route 73, police said.

    The officer caught up with the driver on 73 southbound and soon stopped him on the White Horse Pike, police said.

    The driver, James Keck, of Rancocas, was arrested without incident.

    In addition to finding more than an ounce of synthetic marijuana in his possession, police learned that Keck was involved in a carjacking hours earlier in Cherry Hill and that the vehicle he was driving was taken in that incident, police said.

    The carjacking victim was not injured, police added.

    Berlin police charged Keck with receiving stolen property and possession of synthetic marijuana. He was also issued several motor vehicle summonses.

    He was then turned over to Cherry Hill Police for processing in the carjacking case.

    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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    Pets throughout New Jersey need homes.

    According to thenoseprint.com, a pet-focused online hub for major pet product brands, New Jersey is the most generous state in the U.S. when it comes to buying gifts for their dogs.

    The 2015 survey of how much dog owners will spend on their pets at Christmas showed Garden State dog lovers coming in first at $30.01. New York ($29.55) and Pennsylvania ($28.75) came in second and third, making the tri-state area a good place to be a dog. The national average, by the way, was $23.10.

    The survey went on to note that the top five reasons dog owners say they spoil their pets:

    * "to express love to my dog"

    * "because it's fun for me"

    * "to help my dog feel included like a family member"

    * "to give my dog a moment of happiness"

    * and, "to feel closer and bond with my dog"

    Many pets throughout New Jersey won't be receiving any gifts this holiday season, though, because they don't have homes, like those in this gallery of homeless pets from New Jersey.


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