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

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    Students working in dining halls, libraries and other facilities will see their pay go up 30 percent, but some protesters say the raise is not enough.

    Rutgers University students who work minimum wage jobs on campus will start the new year with a big raise -- but some protesters say the pay boost is too stingy.

    Minimum wage for student workers will go from $8.44 an hour to $11 an hour, starting Jan. 1, Rutgers President Robert Barchi said in a letter to students Monday.

    The 30 percent raise affects more than 13,000 students who work in dining halls, libraries, offices and other facilities on the New Brunswick-Piscataway, Newark and Camden campuses, the president said. Student in the Federal Work Study program will also get the boost in pay.

    "Over the last several years, I am proud that we have been able to keep tuition increases at a minimum while simultaneously strengthening our academic profile," Barchi wrote in his letter. "Despite our efforts, more than 13,000 of you still must commit many hours each week to working on our campuses to defray the cost of your education. While holding an on-campus job can offer many benefits, we are cognizant of the delicate balance that you must strike between work and your studies."

    N.J.'s minimum wage going up 16 cents

    The raise, which does not affect non-student workers on campus, comes after months of protests by students calling for Rutgers to boost its minimum wage from $8.44, the state's minimum wage, to $15 an hour.

    Mariah Wood, one of the student organizers of the "Fight for Fifteen" movement, said the raise to $11 an hour is not enough for student workers who struggle to pay for rent, food and medical care while paying Rutgers tuition.

    "This is only a partial victory," Wood wrote Monday on the group's Facebook page. "Barchi is TERRIFIED of us because we have POWER. He is willing to throw us a bone because he knows we have the ability to make it so he can't pass a budget -- he knows we can shut this university down."

    Wood called on students to join a 2:30 p.m. "Fight for Fifteen" demonstration today at the Rutgers Board of Trustees meeting at the Douglass Student Center in New Brunswick.

    The Rutgers fight to increase the school's minimum wage is part of a national movement for better pay on college campuses. There have been similar protests from the University of Maryland and Columbia University to San Francisco State University.

    The University of Washington is among the schools that have raised their minimum wage to $15 an hour after student protests.

    In New Jersey, Gov.-elect Phil Murphy made raising the state's minimum wage to $15 one of his campaign promises. Though the Democrat has not given many specifics on his plan.

    "This is as high on the priority list as anything we've got," Murphy said in November, shortly after he was elected to succeed Republican Gov. Chris Christie.

    New Jersey's statewide minimum wage is slated to go up 16 cents in January to $8.60 an hour. The minor increase is prompted by an increase in the consumer price index, which is used to set the minimum wage each year.

    Kelly Heyboer may be reached at Follow her on Twitter @KellyHeyboer. Find her at KellyHeyboerReporter on Facebook.


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    The student's car, with his wallet inside, was found parked on campus.

    Police in Gloucester Township are looking for a student who walked away from Camden County College campus Monday and hasn't been seen since.

    Philip Robert Cerria, 23, of Marlton, left the Blackwood campus around noon Monday, possibly heading to the Wawa on Little Gloucester Road, according to a release from township police.

    He last seen walking in the area of College Drive and Peter Cheeseman Road around that time. Police said his Honda Civic, which had his wallet inside, was left parked in the college lot.

    Additional information about his disappearance was not available Tuesday from police or Camden County College.

    College spokeswoman Julie Yankanich said the college has distributed the police release about Cerria but declined to comment further.

    Cerria is 5 feet, 4 inches tall, weighs approximately 160 pounds, and has brown hair and hazel eyes. He was wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt, blue jeans, and Nike slide-type sandals, according to police.

    Anyone who has information on Cerria's whereabouts should contact police at 856-228-4500. Anonymous tips can be called in to 856-842-5560 or submitted online here.

    Rebecca Everett may be reached at Follow her on Twitter @rebeccajeverett. Find on Facebook.

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    Marc Saunders stole a machine that imprints money orders, he admitted in court Tuesday

    A mail carrier has admitted forging money orders with a stolen imprinting machine, a scheme that netted nearly $100,000, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

    Marc Saunders, a 39-year-old Sicklerville resident who worked at the New Lisbon branch of the U.S. Postal Service, took the machine and then recruited middle men who in turn brought in others to cash the money orders for a fee. Saunders and the others he worked with kept the balance of the money.

    Saunders pleaded guilty Tuesday to presenting unlawfully issued money orders.

    He faces up to five years in prison when he's sentenced in March. Saunders also faces a fine of up to $250,000.

    Paul Milo may be reached at Follow him on Twitter@PaulMilo2. Find on Facebook.  



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    The final rankings of the season.

    The Final 50:'s 2017 year-end high school football rankings

    • Non-Public 
    Group 5
    Group 4
    Group 3
    Group 2
    • Group 1

    Greater Middlesex Conference
     Mid-State 38
    North Jersey Interscholastic Conference
    North Jersey Super Football Conference
    Shore Conference
    West Jersey Football League

    Jeremy Schneider may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @J_Schneider. Find on Facebook.

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    She worked in the couple's home, authorities said.

    Deviese M. Bryant.jpgDeviese M. Bryant, 32, of Lindenwold. (Salem County Correctional Facility)

    Authorities say a woman working as an in-home caregiver stole more than $70,000 from an elderly Woodbury Heights couple.

    Borough police received a complaint of theft and credit card fraud from the victims in October.

    Following a six-week investigation, police arrested Deviese M. Bryant, 32, of Lindenwold, who was employed by Home Helpers in Woodbury.

    She worked for the victims as an in-home caregiver between July and October of this year, police said.

    Bryant surrendered to police Wednesday and was charged with theft by unlawful taking (third-degree), six counts of credit card fraud (third-degree), and six counts of credit card theft (fourth-degree).

    She was placed in Salem County Correctional Facility pending a hearing. Woodbury Heights Police Investigator Jason Neely led the investigation.

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

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    Fatima Perez was killed in 2014 when she was tied up and buried alive in the woods.

    The second half of a duo charged with burying a woman alive has been convicted of her murder. 

    fatima-perez.pngFatima Perez was buried alive in the woods in 2014.  

    Carlos Alicea-Antonetti, 39, of Camden, was found guilty by a jury of first degree murder and kidnapping, as well as robbery and felony murder, in the death of 41-year-old Fatima Perez, the Camden County Prosecutor's Office announced Wednesday. 

    Additionally, the jury found that the murder constituted special circumstances, as it was "outrageously or wantonly vile, horrible or inhuman in that it involved torture," authorities said. 

    Perez's family reported her missing in May of 2014 after she left home with $8,000 in cash to buy a car and never returned. 

    They knew she had gone with Alicea-Antonetti, the family's landscaper, to purchase the car.

    Days later, her body was found in a wooded area in Monroe Township in Gloucester County, authorities said. 

    An investigation revealed that Alicea-Antonetti tied Perez up in the back of his van with duct tape before going to pick up one of his employees: 60-year-old Ramon Ortiz, of Pennsauken. 

    The two men drove to the woods, where Alicea-Antonetti told Ortiz to dig a hole. The men then buried Perez alive and left, according to the prosecutor's office. 

    After searching for Alicea-Antonetti, police found him at the Express Inn on Route 38 in Cherry Hill, with Ortiz nearby and $6,000 in cash stashed in a motel room.

    Both confessed to the murder while speaking with detectives, authorities said at the time. Ortiz took police to the gravesite, where they recovered Perez's body. An autopsy revealed that she had died of asphyxiation, authorities said. 

    Vanessa Castro, Perez's sister, told NJ Advance Media in 2014 that her sister was "a hard worker" who "bought her house within a couple of years of coming here."

    She had an adult daughter and a young son. 

    "She was strong, very strong," Castro said. "But she was very naive about people. She trusted people too easily. She just didn't have any bad inside her. And she didn't see any evil in people, and how far (with that evil) people can go." 

    Alicea-Antonetti is scheduled for sentencing February 2. He faces a mandatory sentence of life without parole. 

    His accomplice, Ortiz, pleaded guilty to aggravated manslaughter, and was sentenced to 25 years in prison in 2016. He must serve 21 years before becoming eligible for parole. 

     Amanda Hoover can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @amandahoovernj. Find on Facebook.

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    The discussion came at a summit of doctors in Camden on Wednesday.

    Gov. Chris Christie delivered the keynote address Wednesday to a conference of doctors in Camden exploring alternatives to a rising tide of addiction and abuse of opioid pain medications.

    christie.opioid summit.jpegFormer NFL players Todd Herremans, left, Marvin Washington, far right, with Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ), at opioid-pain medication summit in Camden on Wednesday. 

    The American Pain Society's Turn the Tide Summit focused on exploring public-policy solutions to help regulate the prescribing and distribution of opioid pain relievers and to finding non-addictive alternatives.

    "Health prescribers have to be part of the solution," said Christie, who also leads a White House opioid crisis commission and has championed the issue in his final year in office. "We consume 85 percent of the opioid medications and we're 4 percent of the world's population."

    Christie said the federal Drug Enforcement Administration should require doctors to take yearly training in the safe prescription of opioid medications and federal law enforcement should be streamlined to foster more aggressive monitoring of prescription-drug distribution.

    "He knows the government so he's the best person to have in this war," Dr. Sanjay Gupta, the pain society president, said about Christie.

    Gupta said the issue was missing from the Surgeon General's Call to Actions list despite more than 500,000 opioid-related deaths nationally in the past 15 years.

    Christie said the federal commission he was appointed to lead by President Donald Trump has a list of 65 recommendations to improve the government response to what he and the society call an epidemic.

    A panel of former professional athletes also spoke about their battles with pain medications while playing professional sports.

    Todd Herremans, a former NFL offensive lineman who once played with the Eagles, said he took a "dark turn" while using pain medications to stay on the field. Herreman's asked Christie about the viability of marijuana-based products as an alternative to opioids.

    Christie said he had no problem with marijuana use regulated by doctors, which he began as governor. But he said he opposed marijuana for recreational use, as proposed by governor-elect Phil Murphy.

    Two other former athletes, Marvin Washington, a defensive lineman with the Jets, and Riley Cotes, who played professional hockey with the Flyers, also spoke about their battles with prescription pain medications and discussed alternatives.

    The former athletes belong to a group called Athletes for Care, which advocates marijuana as an alternative for opioid medications.

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

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    With a new season about to kick off, there are plenty of unanswered questions.

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    A trip to the supermarket - part of growing up in New Jersey.

    I suppose I could write about the history of The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co., Acme (pronounced Ack-a-Mee for many of us) or smaller supermarket chains such as United Service Grocers or National Self-Service Stores.

    But I'd rather write about the sensory experience of going to the supermarket as a child.

    MORE: Vintage photos around New Jersey

    If your mother brought you along for the trip to the supermarket as a child, you might remember the multitude of aromas in the store; the sounds of the mechanical cash register and the squeaky cart with the bad wheel mom always managed to choose. The sight of aisle after aisle of things you'd give anything for her to put in the cart ... and the things you tried to toss out of the cart when she wasn't looking.

    595e5ca499a25.image.jpgHe spent the next three years in his room. 

    If you were fortunate, you made it through childhood without causing a dreaded call for a "cleanup in aisle four."

    Maybe I'm over-embellishing, but I propose that riding in the folding seat of the shopping cart at the supermarket was as good as any amusement park ride.

    Is it the same today? I can't say for sure, but those people I know with young children don't make a weekly trip to the supermarket; they make multiple stops and pick up a few things each time. It isn't the same weekly pilgrimage.

    Here's a gallery of supermarkets from back in the day around New Jersey. And if the store you remember isn't in this gallery, there's a very good chance it's in one of the previous galleries linked to below.

    Vintage photos of supermarkets in N.J.

    A look at vintage food stores in New Jersey

    Vintage photos of supermarkets and food stores in N.J.

    Vintage photos of N.J. supermarkets

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

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    Paras Jha, a former Rutgers student, admitted in court Wednesday to repeatedly hacking the university's computer network over two years.

    The mystery is solved.

    The enigmatic hacker who repeatedly crashed Rutgers University's computer network between 2014 and 2016 -- then taunted campus officials online for their weak cyber security -- was one of the school's own students.

    Paras Jha, 21, admitted in federal court Wednesday that he was behind the series of cyber attacks that shut down campus websites and knocked tens of thousands of members of the Rutgers community off the internet.

    The former computer science major caused days of frustration for students trying to submit assignments, professors trying to post grades and researchers who couldn't work on their projects.

    But, he also cost Rutgers money -- lots of it, prosecutors said.

    N.J. man wrote code that crashed the internet

    Jha's online pranks may have cost Rutgers between $3.5 million and $9.5 million, said William Fitzpatrick, the acting U.S. Attorney in New Jersey. The exact amount will be determined at Jha's sentencing hearing in March.

    "These computer attacks shut down the server used for all communications among faculty, staff and students, including assignment of course work to students, and students' submission of their work to professors to be graded," Fitzpatrick said. "The defendant's actions effectively paralyzed the system for days at a time and maliciously disrupted the educational process for tens of thousands of Rutgers' students."

    The Rutgers attacks were one of several crimes Jha pleaded guilty to in federal court this month. In a separate case filed in federal court in Alaska, Jha pleaded guilty to conspiring with two other hackers to create computer viruses, including the "Mirai" botnet that was used by other hackers to disable much of the internet in an October 2016 worldwide cyber attack.   

    Investigators opened the case in Alaska because that is where some of the first devices were infected by the "Mirai" botnet virus, which was named after a Japanese anime character Jha and his co-conspirators liked, prosecutors said.

    Jha faces up to 10 years in prison, though he is expected to get less under the plea agreement he reached with federal prosecutors. He faces a fine of at least $250,000, but he could also be fined as much as twice the amount of money his victims, including Rutgers, lost because of his crimes.

    The former student, who left Rutgers after two years, has already agreed to forfeit his bitcoin account, which he used to get online payments as a cyber-attacker-for-hire, prosecutors said. His account had 13 bitcoin-- currently worth about $220,000 due to a recent spike in the value of the online currency.

    A Rutgers spokeswoman declined to comment on how much money the university lost because of Jha's cyber attacks, citing the ongoing legal proceedings. In 2015, university officials said they were spending at least $3 million to upgrade cyber security in campus due to the repeated DDoS, or distributed denial of service, attacks on its servers.

    Rutgers officials later said the extra money spent on cyber security upgrades was one of the reasons they hiked tuition for the following school year.

    In 2015, Jha used a Twitter account with the the screen name "Exfocus" to taunt Rutgers officials about the latest cyber attack that crashed Rutgers' websites and cut off internet and wifi to the campus.

    "where internet go?? 3m dollar gone?" read one tweet, referring to the $3 million Rutgers said it spent on consultants and new software and equipment to upgrade its cyber security.

    In a letter to the Rutgers community sent Wednesday, Rutgers' top internet security official said the university has made big improvements to it technology infrastructure since Jha's attacks.

    "We recognize the threat posed by cybercriminals, and we will be tireless in working with law enforcement to pursue individuals who attempt to compromise the Rutgers network," wrote Michele Norin, Rutgers' senior vice president and chief information officer.

    Jha, who lives with his parents in Fanwood, is remorseful for his attacks on Rutgers and his other crimes, his attorney said.

    "He is fortunate to have loving, supportive parents and a bright future ahead. He has pled to charges here in the District of New Jersey, and in the District of Alaska, as the first step in his evolution into adulthood and responsibility," said Robert Stahl, Jha's attorney.

    Kelly Heyboer may be reached at Follow her on Twitter @KellyHeyboer. Find her at KellyHeyboerReporter on Facebook.

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    Get links to all the all-star teams, final rankings and more in one easy to find location

    Team of the Year
    Coach of the Year
    Defensive Player of the Year
    Overall Player of the Year/Offensive Player of the Year

    • First Team: Offense | Defense
    • Second Team: Offense | Defense
    • Third Team: Offense | Defense

    • Group 1: Offense | Defense
    • Group 2: Offense | Defense
    • Group 3: Offense | Defense
    • Group 4: Offense | Defense
    • Group 5: Offense | Defense
    • Non-Public: Offense | Defense

     Group rankings: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | NP
     Conference rankings: GMC | Mid-State 38 | NJSFC | NJIC | Shore | WJFL

    Mid-State 38
    • NJSFC

    • Shore Conference: All-Shore | All-Division
    • Times of Trenton: All-County | All-Area | Prep
    West Jersey Football League: All-Division
    • South Jersey Times: All-Area
    • Bergen County: All-County

    Season stat leaders 
    • Season heroes: Single-game leaders

    Joe Zedalis may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @josephzedalis. Like HS sports on Facebook.

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    Which teams have what it takes to win a state title this season?

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    Hundreds enjoyed caroling, tree lighting and visits with Santa as well as the meal.

    Hundreds of Camden residents got to enjoy much more than just soup at the Campbell Soup Company's fourth annual community holiday dinner Wednesday.

    The event held in partnership with The Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center also included youth caroling, tree lighting and photos with Santa Claus.

    Campbell chefs and executives cooked the meal for 375 residents, including families from the Kroc Kids after-school program, the Adult Ministries drop-in center, and Kroc Center members and volunteers.

    This NJ woman invented green bean casserole

    The company's partnership with the Salvation Army Kroc Center began in 2012, when Campbell gave $500,000 to start the Campbell Healthy Community Kitchen at the center, according to a press release from Campbell. It serves thousands of daily meals and snacks to anyone who needs one  at the Kroc Center.

    The company has also offered training for the center's culinary staff and cooking demonstrations for center members, according to the release. 

    Rebecca Everett may be reached at Follow her on Twitter @rebeccajeverett. Find on Facebook.

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    Breaking down New Jersey's top teams entering 2017-18.

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    A bill that would allow some elected officials in New Jersey to collect bigger pensions is being fast-tracked in the state Legislature's lame-duck session.

    State lawmakers have resurrected controversial legislation that would allow some elected officials in New Jersey -- like the well-connected outgoing mayor of Camden -- to collect larger pensions.

    It's being fast-tracked in the state Legislature's lame-duck session before a new governor and set of legislators take office in January.

    If signed into law, the Democratic-sponsored bill would permit certain politicians -- such as Camden Mayor Dana Redd, a Democrat who is allied with both top Democratic leaders and Republican Gov. Chris Christie -- to re-enroll in the Public Employees Retirement System after being kicked out because they switched elected positions.

    A similar bill was pulled shortly after being introduced in 2014 amid outcry.

    But four days after the new version was introduced, the state Senate's budget committee took about a minute Thursday -- without debate -- to advance the measure by a 9-2 vote, with one abstention, at the Statehouse in Trenton.

    Christie pension fixes not enough and Murphy faces huge problem, report says

    The crux of the issue is a 2007 law that stipulated all newly elected officials be placed in a less generous "defined contribution" pension plan similar to a (401)k. Incumbent elected officials at the time were allowed to remain in the traditional pension system, as long as they kept the same office, with the exception of legislators who moved between the state Senate and Assembly.

    As a result, when Redd, then a state senator and Camden councilwoman, was elected mayor in 2010, the pension she had been collecting since 1990 was frozen.

    The new measure (S3620) -- first reported by the political news website Observer NJ -- would allow those who held office continuously since July 1, 2007 to re-enroll in the system as long as they have served at least 15 years in elected office with no break in time between switching positions. 

    They also would be allowed to make their enrollment retroactive to the date they first took elected office. 

    The bill comes as New Jersey's public-worker pension system faces nearly $90 billion in unfunded liabilities, according to a report released by a state commission this month. It is one of the worst-funded in the U.S.

    But Democratic leaders told reporters Thursday that the fiscal impact of the bill will be minimal because it benefits so few people. 

    They did not know how many, though state Sen. Paul Sarlo, D-Bergen, chairman of the chamber's budget committee, said it's only a "handful" -- "fewer than five."

    State Senate President Stephen Sweeney, D-Gloucester -- a Redd ally -- argued that the 2007 law was only meant to address newly elected officials.

    "The people they're talking about were in the system -- they just moved to a different office," Sweeney said. "They paid into the system, and they were thrown out illegally, in my mind."

    "It's a small number of people," he addd. "We're going to fully fund the pension like (Gov.-elect) Phil Murphy said. So it's not hurting the pension." 

    But some lawmakers are balking. 

    "I believe it is aimed at a select few getting that benefit," said State Sen. Kristin Corrado, R-Bergen, who voted against the bill Thursday. "We shouldn't be doing that."

    The bill will now be considered by the state Assembly's appropriations committee Monday. 

    To become law, it must pass the full Senate and full Assembly -- both of which are controlled by Democrats -- before the legislative session ends Jan. 9 and signed by Christie before he leaves office Jan. 16. Otherwise, the new Legislature would have to reconsider the measure again.

    It's unclear if Christie will sign it. His office did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

    Robert Corrales, a spokesperson for Redd, declined comment.

    Despite hailing from different political parties, Christie and Redd have worked together closely for years to help spur a revival in Camden. 

    Redd -- who did not run for re-election this year -- is also aligned with George Norcross III, a powerbroker who is considered the most powerful non-elected Democrat in the state.

    Brent Johnson may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @johnsb01. Find Politics on Facebook.

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    The two girls were last seen in Camden, according to the prosecutor's office.

    Authorities are seeking the public's help to find two missing teen girls. 

    Tianie Bundy and Jesenia Hernandez, both 14 and from Lawnside, are likely  traveling together on foot around Camden, according to the Camden County Prosecutor's Office.

    The two have other connections around South Jersey, and could also be in Voorhees, Woodbury, Deptford, Paulsboro, Vineland or Glassboro, authorities said. 

    Bundy is described as 5 feet 5 inches in height who weighs about 230 pounds. She was last seen in Camden wearing red or brown pants, black and white sneakers, a black jacket and a camouflage print bandana, authorities said. 

    Hernandez stands around 5 feet 6 inches and weighs 165 pounds. She was also last seen in Camden wearing a blue hoodie, ripped jeans and black sneakers, according to the prosecutor's office. 

    It was not immediately clear when the girls went missing, or how they know one another. 

    Anyone with information about the girls is asked to contact the Mount Ephraim Police Department at 856-931-2225, the Camden County Prosecutor's Office at 856-225-8580 or call 911. 

    Amanda Hoover can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @amandahoovernj. Find on Facebook.

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    The incident occurred in Camden last month

    A woman has been charged with throwing a 2-year-old dog to its death from the 17th floor window of a housing complex in Camden, an animal control officer said Thursday.

    Juanita Jones, 28, was charged with a felony animal cruelty this week for a Nov. 30 incident at the Northgate 1 Apartments, said John Micklewright, a contracted animal control officer who investigated the incident.

    Jones was taken for a psychiatric evaluation after the incident, according to a police report.

    The dog, Hazel, a female pug-pit bull mix, belonged to Jones' boyfriend, Howie Ellis, officials said. Jones lived with Ellis.

    The pair had reportedly been quarreling before the incident. Ellis, 59, discovered Hazel dead on the sidewalk moments after he left Jones in their apartment, Micklewright said.

    The incident occurred shortly before 7 p.m. The dog landed less than 5 feet from Ellis' vehicle in the building's parking lot on North 7th Street, a witness and investigators said.

    "He was really upset," said a woman Thursday at Northgate who declined to give her name, but said she saw Ellis immediately after the incident. "He had it wrapped in a shirt holding it in his arms. He tried to bring it back into the building, but the building managers wouldn't let him."

    A neighbor on the 19th floor heard the commotion before and after the dog was dropped, Micklewright said. She allegedly saw Jones and believed she was going to jump and rushed down two floors to Jones' apartment and held her until police arrived, according to the witness and investigators.

    The witness said she was surprised to see Jones recently again at the apartment building. "I was wondering how she got out," the woman said.

    Jones is scheduled to for a hearing in a Camden County Superior Court in Cherry Hill next week.

    Micklewright's company is contracted by Camden to respond to animal control issues. He said they get up to 70 calls a month. He said he's handled animal cruelty issues like killings of cats, but hasn't seen anything like this.

    "This is horrible what happened," he said.

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

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    The top teams in the state to start the year.

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    Can anyone threaten Bergen Catholic?

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    The host donated $10,000 to pay for layaway items at a New York City Toys 'R' Us.

    A South Jersey man's good deed has inspired a similar act in New York City.

    A man identified as Charlie K. spent more than $10,000 to pay off 62 layaway orders at the Cherry Hill Toys "R" Us on Black Friday.

    On a segment of the Rachael Ray Show that aired Friday morning, Charlie said he hoped to pay his good fortune forward by helping needy families put memorable gifts under the tree on Christmas. 

    "I was shopping for my son, and I realized how fortunate I am to be able to provide as good as I can for my son," Charlie said. "Something just clicked and I realized how hard people work and can't provide as much as I can for my son. And I just decided it would be something great to do if I could just help people in my community by paying it forward and trying to put a smile on everyone's face by paying the layaways as much as I could."

    In return, Ray said she donated $10,000 to pay off layaway items at Toys "R" Us in the Bronx, and also gave Charlie a $500 gift certificate to have a Christmas dinner at Del Frisco's, his favorite Philadelphia restaurant.  

    Charlie isn't New Jersey's only good Samaritan this holiday season. Others have paid off layaway orders at a Walmart in Somerset County and a Toys "R" Us in Warren County

    Amanda Hoover can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @amandahoovernj. Find on Facebook.


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