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

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    Campbell Soup Co. plans to focus on its core snacks and soup business in North America and sell its international business and pay down debt.

    Campbell Soup Co. plans to focus on its core snacks and soup business in North America and sell its international business and pay down debt.

    The moves announced Thursday follow a review it began in May, when Campbell also announced the retirement of then-CEO Denise Morrison, as it faces changing food trends and potentially costly tariffs on aluminum and steel.

    Interim CEO Keith McLoughlin also said the board is still open to evaluating other strategic options for the company.

    The planned sales will leave Campbell Soup with brands like Pepperidge Farm and Snyder's of Hanover, which it acquired earlier this year to help move into a faster-growing business.

    Campbell has been wrestling with declining soup and juice sales in a market crowded with competitors at the same time that many families are seeking foods they consider healthier and less processed. It had been trying to modernize by acquiring brands it said were more in line with changing tastes, such as Bolthouse Farms. But it has now put up that brand for sale as well as manufacturing operations in Indonesia and Malaysia and its business in Hong Kong and Japan.

    The company also has faced headwinds due to recent changes in U.S. trade policy that increased costs. Earlier this year, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross famously held up a can of Campbell's soup in a CNBC interview to make the case that the Trump administration's steel and aluminum tariffs were "no big deal."

    Campbell has said it expects steel and aluminum costs to rise, pushing its overall costs higher.

    The company's planned divestments are the latest shift in the reconfiguration of the U.S. food industry. As major food makers struggle to increase sales, they've come under pressure from investors to boost profits through cost cuts, mergers and acquisitions.

    Camden, New Jersey-based Campbell said it's working urgently to complete all the moves by next July. Assuming they are completed on schedule, the company expects fiscal 2019 earnings per share of $2.40 to $2.50 on an adjusted basis, down from $2.87 per share this year.

    Fourth-quarter profit plunged 70 percent to $94 million, or 31 cents per share, as surging costs outpaced a revenue boost. Still, the results topped Wall Street expectations. Sales rose 33 percent to $2.22 billion, but fell short of forecasts.

    Shares of the company slipped 1.4 percent to $39.42 in Thursday trading. The stock is down nearly 17 percent in the year to date.


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    Ah'ree Stanley-Nellom was in charge of watching the girl while his girlfriend was at work

    No one could have been more defenseless than the 8-month-old baby who died in a Gloucester Township man's care last week, a prosecutor said Thursday.

    "She was at an age where it is impossible to imagine a more vulnerable victim," assistant prosecutor Peter Gallagher said. "Someone who could not fight back, who couldn't even flee from what this defendant did to her.

    The defendant is Ah'ree Stanley-Nellom, and a judge ruled at a Thursday hearing that the 20-year-old will stay jailed.

    Stanley-Nellom, of Gloucester Township, is accused of causing the death of the baby girl identified in court documents as A.W. The infant was his girlfriend's daughter.

    She was in his care the morning of Aug. 23 at the Buttonwood Village apartments on the Black Horse Pike, while his girlfriend was at work.

    According to the probable cause statement in the case, which was read in court before Judge Edward McBride on Thursday, Stanley-Nellom gave detectives multiple accounts of what happened to the baby.

    Initially, he said he woke up around 3 a.m. to see A.W. with milk coming out of her nose and mouth before calling his girlfriend and 911.

    Later, he stated he was listening to music and dancing when he walked into the master bedroom, where the baby was asleep on the bed. Stanley-Nellom said he wasn't thinking and jumped on the bed and his left elbow came down on the baby's abdomen, leaving her gasping and needing her diaper changed.

    Gallagher alleged Stanley-Nellom then changed the baby's diaper with "ferocity," causing genital injuries. The hit to the abdomen caused extensive liver damage, including holes in the organ, he said.

    "The degree of force which was found in this infant child('s injuries) was inconsistent with what he describes as sort of flinging himself on a bed," Gallagher said.

    Additionally, when detectives tried to scrape DNA from the defendant's fingernails, they saw that they were much shorter on his right hand. Stanley-Nellom told them that he bit them off on the right hand and had not yet done so on his left hand.

    Gallagher also noted that if a jury were to find Stanley-Nellom guilty of causing A.W.'s death by his own conduct, he would face a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment without parole.

    Stanley-Nellom is currently in the Camden County Jail as his case continues.

    Joe Brandt can be reached at jbrandt@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @JBrandt_NJ. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

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    Find out which teacher from your county made the cut.


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    See which teams are expected to make a run in each of N.J.'s six groups this fall.


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    The company was raided by the FBI last year

    A Cherry Hill-based solar company that made millions installing residential solar arrays -- and was raided by the FBI last summer -- is closing down amid massive financial problems and a flurry of lawsuits.

    Code Green Solar owes upwards of $18 million, mostly to companies it's done business with, but also to customers and employees, according to lawsuits filed in state and federal court and complaints filed with the state.

    The nail in the coffin came a month ago when an arbitrator decided the company had to pay $15 million to its funding partner, Sunnova, over a contract dispute.

    Owner Charles Kartsaklis, known locally for his charity work as well as his business, said Code Green Solar's financial problems really started when hurricanes impacted solar arrays the company had installed in Puerto Rico, but court records show the company was failing to pay attorneys and having cash-flow problems as early as April of 2017.

    The nail in the coffin came a month ago when an arbitrator decided the company had to pay $15 million to its funding partner, Sunnova, over a contract dispute.

    owner2.pngCharles Kartsaklis, TV photo

    Kartsaklis, 41, of Sicklerville, said his own bankruptcy is "imminent," but he is still hoping that he can close down what's left of Code Green Solar and pay employees and vendors without the business having to file for bankruptcy.

    Either way, he said the company is done, other than closing out paperwork on a few recently-finished jobs.

    "It's a shame all the way around. It really is," Kartsaklis said in an hour-long interview with NJ Advance Media. "I never anticipated this happening."

    On Wednesday, Code Green Solar's once-fine office in a building on Route 38 East was being slowly emptied. Piles of office chairs were stacked in the doorway and the spectacular fish tank built into the wall was clouded and green from a lack of cleaning. 

    The company that installed $78 million worth of solar arrays around New Jersey and seemed to be always growing is now defunct, without even the money to pay its debts -- though Kartsaklis said he hopes to change that soon.

    Those owed include an unknown number of customers who were promised $1,000 sign-up bonuses, an electrical supplier that says its out $3 million, and at least four employees seeking their last three weeks of pay. 

    code-green-office.jpgThe Code Green Solar office at 523 Hollywood Ave. in Cherry Hill on Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018. (Rebecca Everett | For NJ.com)

    It's not the first spot of trouble the company's had.

    The FBI said last year it was "conducting court-authorized law enforcement activity" when it visited the Code Green Solar office in June of 2017, but no charges have been filed. Kartsaklis said he couldn't comment other than to say it had "nothing to do with Code Green." 

    Some customers and a former employee have accused the company of unethical sales practices, from unauthorized sales calls to fudging contracts.

    Kartsaklis defended his running of the company and also rejected criticism from four former employees, who told a reporter he spent a surprising amount of the profits on travel, company parties and luxury items.

    He said that at its peak, the company was doing more than $130 million in revenue a year across five states and Puerto Rico, so it could afford things like a chartered plane to a conference -- split with another company -- and a VIP box at Lincoln Financial Field, which he said was used partly to woo clients.

    He said he never misused any company money but paid himself a salary -- and usually spent 30 to 50 percent of it on charity, including paying off store layaways at Christmas.

    "I haven't taken pay from the company for the vast majority of the year and even when I did it was very minimal," he said of the hard times this year. "It wasn't like I was receiving pay while everyone else wasn't."

    He said he still hopes to make everyone whole.

    "I can understand why a lot of them are upset," he said. "I'm doing my best."

    What happened?

    Founded by Kartsaklis, a trained electrician, Code Green Solar began installing residential solar arrays in 2009 through direct sale or third-party ownership. With the latter method, the homeowner pays monthly -- either for the energy used, or to lease the panels, which are owned by a third company.

    For most of Code Green's jobs, Sunnova served as the third-party owner, and paid Code Green Solar for each job once the array was producing energy.

    With Sunnova's backing, the company expanded to Pennsylvania, South Carolina, California, Florida and Puerto Rico.

    Two lawsuits in 2016 and 2017 claimed Code Green wasn't paying its bills, and a third alleged Code Green Solar and Sunnova strong-armed their way into the Puerto Rican market.

    Two lawyers representing Code Green Solar in that matter asked to withdraw from the case, writing in court documents this February that the company had not paid them since April of 2017.

    One former employee said the company had been having cash-flow problems for roughly two years, and three others said they first saw problems last year. One said he started to notice there was no money for supplies to install the panels when he needed it. 

    "It was really the hurricanes in Puerto Rico that started putting a financial strain on the company," Kartsaklis said.

    After Hurricane Maria hit in September of 2017, much of the the island had no power for months and the solar panels Code Green had installed weren't getting connected to the grid -- which meant Sunnova legally didn't have to pay in full.

    However, Sunnova wrote in court documents that Code Green Solar was having cash flow problems, so it agreed in November to send Code Green advances for each job to help cover their costs.

    As Sunnova tells it in court documents, Code Green Solar couldn't get projects done and failed to make payments it owed. In January, Sunnova canceled the contract, demanded the advances back, and ordered Code Green to stop working on current jobs and communicating with customers.

    It was a big blow as 94 percent of Code Green's solar arrays were built with Sunnova, Kartsaklis said. He reduced his workforce -- that had peaked at 600 -- to about 140 people, he said.

    repo.jpgOne of Code Green Solar's fleet of vehicles is towed by repossession company ANS Recovery in this submitted photo from 2018.  

    Then came the vendors, calling to be paid for goods or services provided.

    Cooper Electric Supply Co. of Monroe Township, Middlesex County, filed suit for $3.2 million. Four other companies that provided roofing, electrical or recycling goods or services are seeking over $578,000 in superior court. Judges have entered default judgements in two after Code Green Solar failed to respond.

    Other New Jersey vendors contacted by NJ Advance Media -- Enright's Tree Service, Bumblebee Tree Service, and ProGreen Management -- say they are owed $22,500, $15,000, and just under $12,000, respectively.

    Kartsaklis said that after he pays employees, he wants to get vendors paid, either with any money that may still come in from jobs he's closing out now, or by helping them go after Sunnova for the money.

    Unpaid employees

    When the money ran out this summer, many employees were laid off. Others said they stopped going to work when they realized they weren't getting paid.

    Four who spoke to NJ Advance Media on the condition their names not be used said they are owed between two and three weeks of pay. At least two former staffers filed complaints with the state's Department of Labor and Workforce Development, according to a spokeswoman.

    Angela Delli-Santi said the Division of Wage & Hour Compliance's Wage Collection Section found in one worker's favor and ordered the company to pay $21,000. The other complaint is scheduled for a hearing in September, she said.

    She said the division is also "investigating the company for possible violations of State labor laws under their purview, following receipt of a complaint from an employee." No further information was available.

    Kartsaklis said the vast majority of employees were paid all they were owed, and in the case of any that weren't, the reason involved either clerical errors or an account that was frozen for a reason he declined to disclose.

    "Any revenue that's collected is going straight to the employees," he said of his efforts to pay.

    Two suits by former employees claim the company was already underpaying workers. 

    Michael Criscitello's suit says he left the company in February when he was owed a month's salary and $65,000 in commissions. James Hundley claimed he and other call center staff were routinely underpaid, and he was fired for his complaints about payroll and ethical issues. 

    Accusations of unethical business practices

    John Laskowski of Cinnaminson said he wasn't sorry to hear Code Green was going out of business.

    "I'm glad because they can't lie and rip more people off," he said Tuesday.

    Laskowski said he fought for more than six months to get the $500 sign-up bonus he was promised.

    Most of the 30 complaints on the Better Business Bureau's website about Code Green Solar are from customers who said they were never paid sign-up bonuses of up to $1,000 and referral bonuses of $500. Most were from 2018.

    Read Courtney W.'s review of Code Green Solar on Yelp

    Kartsaklis said that Code Green couldn't pay all the bonuses this year because Sunnova had canceled their contract. Still, he tried to pay some bonuses, he said.

    A former employee of Code Green Solar said that getting the company to cut checks to customers for those bonuses was often a struggle, but especially over the last year. "It was always one story after another" about why the check couldn't be mailed out, the former staffer said.

    Laskowski also believes the Code Green salesman hid some pages of the contract from him. When he contacted Sunnova about his higher-than-expected bill, he said, he discovered he hadn't seen or initialed several key pages of the contract.

    Hundley's lawsuit claimed the company used "unethical and illegal" tactics including lying to customers and illegally obtaining and robocalling cell phones.

    Code Green in 2017 settled a suit that claimed it had violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act by calling cell phone numbers that it had obtained.

    Kartsaklis said his salesforce was always ethical -- not wanting to burn customers who could give them referral -- and denied Hundley's claims.

    What's next

    Code Green's former chief operating officer, Jonathan Seibert, said he left the company in July to start his own solar business and Kartsaklis is not involved.

    Seibert said he wasn't involved in Code Green's finances but said Kartsaklis "doesn't seem like the kind of guy" to live large while not paying employees.

    Kartsaklis said he did his best running the company. "It's not like I went through the company coffers and took things I shouldn't have," he said.

    He said he tried to keep the company afloat and pay staff this year, even when he was late on his mortgage, watching his water get shut off and waiting for his Tesla to get repossessed.

    When business was better, he gave to charity and won a South Jersey award for philanthropic businesspeople. Martino Cartier, the celebrity hairstylist who runs the charity Wigs and Wishes, said that Kartsaklis had generously granted many wishes for sick kids over five years, sending them to Disney World or to play basketball with Shaquille O'Neal.

    "With what they've done for us and our charity, we're going to miss them," Cartier said Wednesday. "It's a sad day for us."

    Asked how he feels about the demise of the company he's been building for most of his life, Kartsaklis -- uncharacteristically -- didn't have a lot to say.

    "I'm almost numb," he said. "It's going to be a hard road ahead, and I understand that."

    Rebecca Everett may be reached at reverett@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @rebeccajeverett. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

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    Video released by police appears to show an unidentified man pointing a handgun. Watch video

    Officials on Friday released surveillance video showing a man possibly linked to the killing of a father of two, who was gunned down near the Camden eatery he ran.

    Police found Miguel Rodriguez-Zavala shot in the 2300 block of Federal Street shortly before 2 a.m. Tuesday, according to Camden County authorities. The married 38-year-old died about 20 minutes at Cooper University Hospital.

    An unidentified figure in the footage released by police appeared to be pointing a handgun.

    "Members of the public should not approach the individual shown in the video below," a statement from the Camden County Prosecutor's Office said.

    Rodriguez-Zavala was discovered wounded on the street with another man, who was beaten, according to authorities. The surviving man was identified only as a 60-year-old friend of the slain restaurant operator.

    They were both found near El Taco Loco, which was run by Rodriguez-Zavala.

    By Tuesday night, a memorial was set up in front of the shop with candles and flowers.

    "Very sad and most heartfelt sympathies to the entire Rodriguez-Zavala family," said a message left on a social media post about the slaying.

    Anyone with information or who can identify the man in the video was asked to call Camden County Prosecutor's Office Detective Lee Hopkins at 856-225-8623 or Camden County Police Detective Colin O'Sullivan at 856-757-7420. Tips can also be sent to ccpotips@ccprosecutor.org

    Noah Cohen may be reached at ncohen@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @noahycFind NJ.com on Facebook.

     


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    There have been no zeroes in Week 0 in N.J., check out some hot takes from the first and second day of games from the Garden State.


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    Campbell's is selling off divisions and re-thinking sales priorities. But the possibility of a merger that wipes out local jobs must be acknowledged.

    Eat your soup! It's good for you, and the job you save this Labor Day weekend may be your neighbor's.

    Things are not going so well for Camden-based Campbell Soup Co. Sales of like products are down 3 percent from the comparable 2017 quarter. It still makes nice profits from its iconic canned soup, but people are buying less of it, and the company has made missteps with recent non-slurpable acquisitions. 

    To help the bottom line, Campbell's said last week it will sell its overseas units and the fresh-food business (chilled vegetables and perishable juices) it hoped would give it a boost with younger consumers. For now, it will concentrate on growing its domestic soup business and a snack-food line including the veritable Pepperidge Farm Goldfish.

    Why is it worth watching closely what happens with Campbell's? Its large white-collar work force is housed mainly in Camden, although manufacturing operations have moved elsewhere. If Campbell's is forced into a sale or merger of the whole company -- as some stock analysts ultimately predict -- South Jersey might have to kiss up to 1,200 good jobs good-bye.

    It's not time to panic -- yet. Government officials just need to keep developments on their radar.

    If you grew up during the Cherry Hill housing explosion of the 1960s, your father probably worked for Campbell's if he didn't work for RCA (a small fraction of which lives on as Lockheed-Martin). Campbell's has had some layoffs, but you can't name another large private-sector South Jersey employer whose office work force has remained so stable over six decades.

    If the soup-maker gets absorbed into another consumer-goods company, how many brand-manager, financial analyst, human-resources, etc., jobs will remain in Camden? The specter of a ghost town at 1 Campbell Place is unlikely, but the potential hit to Camden's rebirth and the region's economy should be recognized.

    What could be in store for a merged/sold Campbell's is already happening to another New Jersey-based food maker. Pinnacle Foods, with offices in Parsippany and Cherry Hill, is set to be acquired by larger Conagra Brands, best known for Healthy Choice dinners and Hunt's ketchup. Ironically, Pinnacle came into being by picking up previous Campbell castoff brands, including Vlasic pickles and Hungry Man frozen dinners. The thing is, Conagra is based in Chicago.

    It's important that the entire brain trust of South Jersey's food industry does not get relocated to Illinois or Pittsburgh. (That could be the case if Campbell competitor Kraft-Heinz ends up buying the company.) The Bridgeton area's attempt to become a regional food technology center with help from Rutgers University could be thwarted if all of the executives who decide on new products or innovations no longer live or work locally.

    Acquisition-related exits of Campbell or Pinnacle workers can't be prevented with big government handouts. The model that applies best would resemble DuPont's integration into Dow Chemical a few years ago. Delaware and other regional officials convinced the merger partners that some longstanding DuPont operations would work more effectively if they stayed where the labs were familiar, and the financial/emotional costs of wholesale employee transfers could be avoided.

    It's a tough environment for packaged-goods companies. Higher costs for steel and aluminum packages from new tariffs hurt, but they've become a convenient scapegoat for falling sales and bad management decisions.

    Let's hope that Campbell's can remain on its own and boost profits and sales of its soups, crackers and shelf-stable juices. Throw an extra can of soup into your cart this weekend, won't ya?

    Send a letter to the editor of South Jersey Times at sjletters@njadvancemedia.com

    Bookmark NJ.com/Opinion. Follow on Twitter @NJ_Opinion and find NJ.com Opinion on Facebook.


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    Dogs and cats throughout the Garden State await adoption.

    Some fun and interesting facts about cats and dogs from Nationwide pet insurance:

    *  Dogs only sweat from the bottoms of their feet, the only way they can discharge heat is by panting. Cats do not have sweat glands.

    *  Dogs have about 100 different facial expressions, most of them made with the ears.

    *  A cat can jump as much as seven times its height.

    *  Dogs do not have an appendix.

    *  Cats have over one hundred vocal sounds, while dogs only have about ten.

    *  Using their swiveling ears like radar dishes, experiments have shown that dogs can locate the source of a sound in 6/100ths of a second.

    *  A cat's tongue is scratchy because it's lined with papillae--tiny elevated backwards hooks that help to hold prey in place.

    *  When faced with the choice of going the way around something that untangles herself or the way that makes it worse, my dog will choose the wrong way 101 times out of 100.

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


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    A Top 10 upset shifted the NJ.com football Top 20 after an eventful Week 0.


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    NJ Advance Media takes a look at the top quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers for the 2018 season.


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    The suspect and two others allegedly fired 14 rounds into the unmarked car of two undercover detectives. Watch video

    In a courtroom packed with cops and the family of the accused, one of three men charged with shooting two police detectives in Camden was ordered held in jail until his trial.

    Camden County Superior Court Judge Edward McBride acknowledged Tuesday that the attempted murder case relies on circumstantial evidence against Juan M. Figueroa, 21, of Philadelphia, but said the risk to the public was so great that he should not be released.

    Figueroa's attorney, Robin Lord, argued that police had the wrong man, saying she had never seen a case with less convincing evidence of probable cause. She said the best evidence they have is video of him in the general vicinity of the van investigators connected to the shooting, and an identification from a so-called "professional rat" who was just after the reward.

    The two detectives who were shot have been released from the hospital.

    The courtroom Tuesday was filled with roughly 20 Camden County police officers, and nearly as many of Figueroa's family and supporters. He sat quietly and stoically in the courtroom, wearing a jail jumpsuit, sneakers with no laces and shackles.

    Figueroa was the first of the three to be captured in connection with the Aug. 7 shooting that injured the detectives and the first to have his detention hearing.

    The other two, Alexander DeJesus, 19, of Philadelphia, and Ammar A. Hall, 26, of Camden, were caught in Philadelphia Aug. 21 and have not yet been extradited to New Jersey, according to the Camden County Prosecutor's Office.

    The plainclothes officers, a man and a woman, were stopped at a red light near Broadway and Mount Vernon on the evening of Aug. 7 when a white Chevrolet Uplander stopped and two men got out and fired 14 rounds into the undercover vehicle, according to a police narrative in court documents.

    In court Tuesday, Assistant Prosecutor Victoria Shilton said authorities connected Figueroa to the crime because they have video surveillance of him with the other two defendants in the general vicinity of where the white van used in the shooting was parked before and after the shooting. She admitted they do not have footage of him actually getting in or out of the van, but said there is no other way he could have left the area.

    The other two defendants were identified when their photos were released to the public and authorities used cell phone records to place them at the crime scene, authorities said in court documents. But that didn't happen for Figueroa.

    Three sought in Camden ambush.jpgAlexander DeJesus, 19, Ammar A. Hall, 26, and Juan M. Figueroa, 21, are charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault and weapons offenses in the shootings of two detectives.  

    Lord slammed the prosecution's evidence, saying she reviewed 35 surveillance videos and 25 recorded witness statements, and no one identified Figueroa as being at the scene of the shooting or driving the van, and the videos don't show him even near the van. His clothing also didn't match the description given by the officers who were shot, she said, and DNA evidence collected from the van did not match her client.

    To identify the third man in the videos, she said, authorities instead went to a man in jail who identified him as Figueroa because he had heard about a reward. The photo he identified Figueroa in was taken approximately 4 hours before the shooting, and Figueroa was not with the van or the other defendants, Lord said.

    "There's zero evidence against my client," she said. "Is this, 'let's hold him till we can get more evidence?'"

    Judge McBride, however, agreed with Shilton that the circumstantial evidence was enough to "connect the dots" to prove probable cause. He said Figueroa had missed several court dates in the past and was at risk of committing another violent crime, so he should be held pending his trial.

    The attorneys noted in court that Figueroa had two juvenile adjudications for drug offenses, an adult conviction for possession of hollow-point bullets, and two ongoing cases for obstruction of justice or hindering apprehension for giving police false information.

    The male detective who was shot suffered wounds to the bicep and forearm and the female detective was struck in the hand. They have not been named due to the nature of their undercover work. The male officer was able to return fire that night but apparently did not wound anyone.

    Rebecca Everett may be reached at reverett@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @rebeccajeverett. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

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    The already crowded New Jersey fast food frontier will be getting another addition this year as California-based Fatburger has announced its return to the East Coast with the opening of a restaurant in Cherry Hill this year.

    The New Jersey fast food frontier will be getting another addition this year as California-based Fatburger has announced its return to the East Coast with the opening of a restaurant in Cherry Hill this year.

    The burger chain's parent company, FAT Brands, announced a development deal with its franchise partner, Praveen Vig, on Tuesday that will culminate in the opening of a Fatburger at the Cherry Hill Mall in "late 2018", the company announced Tuesday.

    Vig is the owner and operator of several fast food franchise restaurants, according to his Linkedin account. 

    "It has been a longtime goal of ours to bring Fatburger back to the East Coast, but we knew that we had to be deliberate in our strategy," FAT Brands CEO Andy Wiederhorn said in a release. "Entering the Cherry Hill market is the perfect entry point back into the East Coast for us and we are thrilled to have found such an excellent partner in Praveen Vig."

    The Beverly Hills-based company opened in Southern California about 70 years ago and there are now 70 Fatburgers in California, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado and Washington. 

    The opening of the Cherry Hill located is being called the chain's "return to the East Coast," as there were once Fatburgers located in Jersey City, Rockaway and Atlantic City. The Jersey City location closed nearly 10 years ago, much to the dismay of at least one frequent customer 

    Read Kendra T.'s review of Fatburger on Yelp

    Representatives for Fatburger did not respond to an email Tuesday evening asking how many restaurants opened and closed on the East Coast or what the reason was for their closure. 

    Wiederhorn pleaded guilty in 2004 to filing a false tax return and to giving an illegal gratuity while he was with Los Angeles-based Wilshire Credit and spent 16 months in federal prison, the New York Post reported. He first invested in Fatburger in 2003.

    The company's trouble with finding its footing on the East Coast came on the heels of Wiederhorn's legal troubles, the Philly Voice reported. 

    Since that time, the company's finances appears to be trending positively as FAT Brands reported at net income of $771,000 and total revenues of $2 million for Fatburger, according to second quarter 2018 financial results.

    The company did not announce plans for any future East Coast locations.

    Fatburger prides itself as "The Last Great Hamburger Stand," and is known for its grilled to order burgers, milkshakes and onion rings. It even has a monstrous meat-lover's dream in the XXXL Fatburger which is three half-pound patties topped with lettuce, tomato, mustard, relish, diced onions, pickles, mayo and cheddar cheese. Eating it grants you a spot on the restaurant's XXXL Wall of Fame.

    Chris Sheldon may be reached at csheldon@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @chrisrsheldon Find NJ.com on Facebook.

     

     


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    It's New Jersey vs. Pennsylvania in three nationally ranked showdowns and multiple rivalry games highlight the action.

    WashingtonTwp.JPGUnder second-year coach Mark Hendricks, Kingsway hits the road for this WJFL Royal matchup looking to extend its winning streak to five games against the Minutemen. The Dragons won last year's contest 25-0. The game will also mark the debut for Washington Township coach and 2008 graduate Mike Schatzman. The Minutemen are coming off back-to-back losing seasons. 

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    More than 79 percent of the firearms seized by New Jersey law enforcement during the first six months of the year were first purchased out of state.


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