PHOTOS BY KATHY McBAIN/STAFF PHOTOS BY KATHY McBAIN/STAFF Greater Media Newspapers held a holiday food drive in the Manalapan office from Dec. 9-21. Donations were brought to the Food Bank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties in Neptune.

Holmdel home damaged in fire

HOLMDEL—A Tuesday morning fire broke out in a home in Holmdel just weeks before the homeowners were set to move in.

The Holmdel Police Department responded to an unoccupied home on Hop Brook Lane just after 2 a.m. on Dec. 22.

The home was newly constructed and was approximately two weeks away from being occupied by homeowner.

The cause is still under investigation by the Holmdel Fire Inspector, Monmouth County Fire Marshall’s Office, Monmouth County Prosecutors Office and Holmdel Detective Bureau.

Fire departments from Holmdel and several surrounding towns responded along with Holmdel First Aid Squad.

Any immediate inquiries can be referred to evening Patrol Commander Lt. Robert Philhower. All other case inquires please refer to Lt. Keith Cannata.

Race, ride and party into 2016


iPlay America rings in the New Year with a blast during the Fifth annual New Year’s Eve Bash from 7:30 p.m.-1 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 31. iPlay America’s New Year’s Eve Party pass includes unlimited rides and attractions, a $10 game card, party favors, spectacular prizes and giveaways throughout the evening, a confetti cannon, light show and great music pumping through the entire park, with a live D.J., all for just $39.99. A la carte treats can be purchased at Sonny’s Boardwalk Grill, Boardwalk Bites, Rob’s Pizza, The Grind Coffee Co. and Mixx Frozen Yogurt throughout the celebration.

The New Year’s Eve Party and Prix Fixe Dinner pass is just $79.99 for adults and $54.99 for children age 12 and younger. This pass includes everything in the New Year’s Eve Party Pass plus a champagne toast for adults 21 and older. Dinner reservations begin at 7:30 p.m. and are for 90 minute seatings with staggered seatings every 15 minutes. Toddlers are free. Reservations are required to 732-577-8200.

You can watch the ball drop on one of iPlay America’s multitude of big screen monitors. iPlay America is located at 110 Schanck Road in Freehold.For more information call 732-577-8200 or visit

New year offers opportunity to organize

Staff Writer

Mise en place is a French culinary term that means “putting in place.” For chefs, having ingredients prepared and arranged before the cooking process begins allows for greater organization and efficiency in executing a recipe. Applying that concept in everyday life can bring that same organization to almost any task.

“The ability to be organized has become increasingly more important because living in contemporary America, life has become very complex and multifaceted. We live in an age of specialization which creates more options and more decisions,” said Michael Osit, Ed.D., a psychologist, author and speaker from Warren.

Osit offers an example. Forty years ago, he said, one would go to the grocery store to buy orange juice and it was available fresh or frozen and came in either a frozen can or a glass bottle.

“I recently went to the local market and found 27 varieties of orange juice — pulp, no pulp, some pulp, concentrate, vitamin D, and it now comes in cartons, juice boxes, pouches, bottles, etc.,” Osit said. Such mundane decisions can overwhelm individuals and lead to an inability to focus, and in turn, to stay organized.

“To become organized takes a good deal of emotional control and focus,” said Michael Vito, Ph.D., a psychologist with offices in Morristown and Watchung.

To get (and stay) organized, individuals must be “convinced of the value of organization,” Vito said.

Organization, Vito said, leads to better mental health by creating a “less stressful and better functioning” state of mind.

“Organized individuals run their life instead of their life running them. They are in control, which optimizes positive outcomes and minimizes stress and crisis occurring in their life,” Osit said.

According to National Association of Professional Organizers Member Director, Lori Vande Krol, good organizational systems reduce stress and allow people to focus time and energy on what matters most.

“With the speed and volume of information and clutter in our lives today, it has become even more important to have the right systems in place to manage it all,” Vande Krol said.

Organized people, Osit said, can greatly reduce anxiety when life is relatively predictable and surprises are at a minimum.

“Organized people frequently have a plan B, so they do not feel trapped or victimized in specific situations,” Osit said.

The first step to getting organized, whether at home or at work, involves a commitment to putting in the work upfront.

“Employ a ‘work now, play later’ philosophy,” Osit said.

In other words, “become a list maker and prioritize items,” Osit said.

Other suggestions that Osit offers include the following: immediately enter appointments into either a mobile phone or calendar; promptly list items on a to-do list; leave buffer time for appointments and deadlines to account for unexpected events such as traffic or illness; and develop routines for daily tasks so they are automatically completed.

Although technology is often designed to help with getting organized, the opposite effect often occurs.

“Technological devices can be critical tools to help a person be organized in their life if used appropriately (calendar, reminders, to-do lists, alerts, etc.), but they are also a significant distraction from the task at hand, which can cause inefficiency,” Osit said.

The Internet, tablets and mobile phones, Osit said, have created a “tremendous distraction from the present moment.

“Even when people are not sending or receiving messages, a piece of their attention is on the device that could buzz or vibrate at any moment.” Osit said.

Simple advice, like make a plan and stick to it, can facilitate greater organization.

“Put the keys in the key spot and the junk in the junk spot,” Zito said.

In the last decade, the organization industry has experienced growth, as evidenced by the increase in membership in the National Association of Professional Organizers. In 2005, there were 2,945 members, and today there are nearly 4,000 members, about a 30 percent increase, Vande Krol said.

“Interestingly, I am seeing a revitalized interest in living a simpler lifestyle by downsizing space, possessions and activities,” Vande Krol said.

Heather Pierce, owner of House in Order, a professional organization company serving central New Jersey, said the most common request she receives is for help in organizing paperwork.

“Many people hold on to much more paper than they need to because they don’t know what to keep and what to get rid of,” Pierce said.

People often become overwhelmed by the sheer volume of paper that enters their home whether it’s via mail, their child’s backpack or shopping receipts, Pierce said.

“They do nothing to clear the paper clutter. The result is often cluttered kitchen counters, drawers or cabinets, overstuffed filing cabinets, bags and boxes of papers that get moved from place to place, but never sorted and dealt with,” Pierce said.

Pam of Toms River, a client of Pierce, said her “breaking point” with clutter came after she retired and was at home amidst years of accumulated items.

“I started feeling overwhelmed with my possessions,” Pam said.

With Pierce’s service, Pam was able to organize papers that had piled up for years.

“Now I follow a path that there is a place for everything. I’ve been able to break old habits,” Pam said.

When Pierce meets with clients, she discusses any fears or anxieties they may have about the reorganization process.

“Every client is different, so my plan for each client may be different — what works for one person does not work for all. It is important to set clear expectations as far as the desired outcome, projected time needed to complete an organization project, costs of completing a project and the roles each of us will play in the overall completion of the organization project, Pierce said.

It takes a great deal of courage for many people to reach out to a professional organizer for help, Pierce said.

“Many people feel shame, anxiety and embarrassment about the disorganization of their home or office,” according to Pierce.

By conquering the clutter, she said, clients are able to focus on the things that matter most to them.

“Generally, you first want to determine your vision. In other words, how would your ideal space or day look and feel?” Vande Krol said.

Seeing a revitalized interest in living a simpler lifestyle, Vande Krol said, has led to individuals downsizing space, possessions and activities.

Organization Strategies

Get Organized at Home

Some basic tips for better organization at home, according to, include: find a place for every item; keep clutter out of the house; shop for containers after de-cluttering is complete; get rid of duplicates; de-clutter nostalgia, such as children’s artwork, by taking a picture of a child holding art work or crafts.

Get rid of old clothes using the 80:20 rule: we wear 20 percent of the clothes we own 80 percent of the time; look for simple solutions, like a key hook by the front door; and schedule de-cluttering for areas that need it daily, weekly and monthly.

Get Organized at Work

A focus on time, space and mindset is the key to organization at work, according to

Concerning time, the website recommends that individuals start the day with structured time by sorting through email and responding to quick responses and referrals right away, deleting unimportant information and scheduling more essential tasks.

Space, which refers to physical and virtual space, is critical to productivity, the website stated.

The absence of office interruptions can improve concentration when writing or researching a topic, and this might be a task better completed away from the office, according to the website.

Switching off pop-up notifications on mobile devices and on computers, in addition to limiting the number of times email is checked, can result in greater organization of virtual space.

Finally, there is an individual’s mindset. To reduce the feeling of overload and the procrastination associated with taking on overwhelming jobs, divide large tasks into small chunks to better focus, according to the website.

Get Organized at School

It’s as easy as ABC to keep school-related tasks in order, according to

First: “A” place for everything — keep a ready-to-use homework kit filled with school supplies. Next, “be” focused — studying needs to come first when scheduling time and planning activities. Finally, “calendars” posted in a central place at home can help students prioritize tasks, such as test dates and report due dates.

Children should keep a small, personal to-do list in order to get a better understanding of time management, according to the website.

Contact Information

For info, visit the National Association of Professional Organizers at

Matawan officers recognized for their feats on and off duty

Staff Writer

In the start of a new tradition, the Matawan police department recognized several of its officers for their outstanding service and dedication with actions taken while in the line of duty, and while off duty, too.

“What we have tonight is a small segment of our new awards and recognition program,” Chief Jason Gallo said at the Borough Council’s Dec. 15 meeting, where the awards were handed out. “It is a program that is long overdue and … this evening we’ll be recognizing a few officers, some within the program and a couple outside the program’s parameters, for some of the great work that they have done, whether on or off duty.”

Before going into the presentation of awards, the department recognized the retirement of long-time member Joseph Dizwil, who began his career in 1987 in Colts Neck, before coming to the borough in 1989 — where he has spent almost 27 years on the force.

“He’s been through a lot, he’s seen a lot … but all I can say is he had an awesome career, met a lot of nice people and certainly made an impact on the community,” Gallo said. “So we thank him for his service and what he’s done.

The first two awards that were presented, Gallo said, fell outside of the parameters of the new awards and recognition program, but he said he would be remiss if the two officers weren’t recognized.

Ptl. Joseph Mason was recognized with a certificate in recognition of his outstanding performance in the field of narcotics enforcement.

“Joe came here in the end of March from another agency and has excelled far beyond what we expected from him, specifically with regards to narcotics enforcement,” Gallo said. “Joe has made … countless arrests for heroin and other serious narcotics and weapons offenses … and I congratulate him for doing this and thank him for his dedication and hard work.”

Det. Joseph Lovallo was recognized for the hard work and dedication he has brought to his current position within the department’s detective division. “Det. Joseph Lovallo has been here for quite some time and is … one of our most proactive people on the street that we have,” Gallo said.

“Again with the recent spike of heroine use in this town, Joe has been instrumental in many of the arrests, search warrants and convictions … working not only with county, state and federal agencies, but has even gone outside, working with agencies overseas. So I congratulate him for all of his hard work and appreciate everything that he does.”

Awards were presented for actions taken while on or off-duty in 2015 and even went back as far as 2011, when Gallo began his tenure as chief.

Several officers were presented with the Meritorious Service Award.

“It is awarded for a highly unusual accomplishment under adverse conditions with some degree of hazard to life and limb to the nominee or where death or injury to a third party is prevented,” Lt. Thomas J. Falco said.

Ptl. Andrew Marsala received the award for his efforts and assistance on Sept. 30, 2012 when, while off duty, he received a call for assistance from on-duty personnel regarding an armed suicidal subject who had barricaded himself inside his Ravine Drive apartment.

“Without hesitation Ptl. Marsala reported for duty,” Falco said. Securing the wife and son of the subject and gathering information, Marsala was able to diffuse the situation without harm coming to any fellow officers or citizens.

“After speaking with Ptl. Marsala for some time and gaining his trust, the accused came out the front door of his apartment with his hands in the air and was taken into custody without incident,” Falco said.

Ptl. Jeffrey Bodner received the award for his quick efforts on Aug. 4, 2013, when he responded to the Matawan-Aberdeen Train Station on a report of a pedestrian struck by a train.

“Upon arrival, officers discovered a female victim had been struck and was trapped under the eastbound New York City Train,” Falco said. “Ptl. Bodner … immediately collected the life-saving equipment [and] without regard for his own safety and well being, climbed under several railroad cars while the locomotive was still running and initiated treatment to the victim in an attempt to save her life.”

Ptl. Eric Andersen and Lt. Thomas J. Falco received the Meritorious Service Award for efforts on Dec. 4, investigating the report of a male subject in front of a residence who was believed to have a gun and known to have an unstable mental status.

Life-Saving awards were also presented to several officers.

“The Life-Saving Award is awarded to an officer for an outstanding act where the actions taken were directly related to the saving of a life,” Falco said.

Sgt. Christopher Stark and Det. Jonathan Borsari received the award for saving a woman’s life on May 7, 2014 at the Brass Rail Bar & Grill after a bay leaf got lodged in her airways.

“Her condition rapidly deteriorated,” Falco said. “Due to the switch actions of Sgt.. Stark and Det. Borsari the patient started to show signs of life. Her color slowly returned to normal and she regained consciousness and was able to breathe on her own [and] although not having any recollection of the incident, she appeared in good health.”

On Aug.1, 2014, Ptl. Eric Budelmann responded to a Middlesex Road residence to assist a dehydrated elderly female, but upon arrival, it was found that the victim was having a more serious medical episode.

“While treating the victim her health began to rapidly deteriorate to the point that Ptl. Budelmann initiated rescued breathing,” Falco said. “MONOC paramedics and EMS credit the swift actions of Ptl. Budelmann to saving the life of the victim.”

The final award of the night was presented to Ptl. Charles Henry, who was honored with the Police Officer of the Year award.

“Since beginning his full-time law enforcement career with the Matawan Police Department in January 2014, Ptl. Charles Henry has excelled in all facets of the job,” Falco said. “His many fine attributes have contributed to his exemplary performance during the past year … and he always represents the department and the borough well … and serves as a role model for many local children.”

“The Matawan Police Departments intention, is to utilize the awards and decorations to publicly reward and recognize extraordinary, exceptionally meritorious or conspicuously outstanding acts of heroism or other service,” Falco said.

“It is our goal to bring attention to actions that are above and beyond those normally expected and that distinguish the individual or units from others performing similar acts of service.”

Matawan Aberdeen Library turns the page to turn to the future

Staff Writer

Throughout the last several years, the function of a public library has slowly begun to alter — going from a place to check-out books, to a hub of activity with something for patrons of every age and skill level to do.

“The gist of the modern library is changing every day,” said Kimberly Paone, library director at the Matawan Aberdeen Public Library. “We’re really looking to be the library of the future, not just the present, so that is why it is important to maintain what libraries always were, but also become what libraries need to be now.”

The Matawan Aberdeen Public Library recently underwent renovations to provide patrons with a modernized space that is more user-friendly and geared towards any needs they may have, Paone said.

“This is our second big renovation, so we maintained some of the old and incorporated the new, and I think it is nice and much more welcoming,” she said. “I think we just basically brightened things up, cleaned things up and made it a little more inviting and cozy.”

According to Paone, the renovation involved rearranging the upstairs space — replacing flooring, repainting and updating the space with new additions — to make the library a place people want to come to.

“We rearranged the reference area to create more space, opened up our Bay Window area,” she said.

According to Paone, since many of the questions the library receives are computer questions, they created a Computer Assistance Desk, located right upon entrance into the library.

“It will be beneficial that the first person who a patron meets when coming into the reference area is a computer help technician,” she said. “If there is a book related question or more research related question, then the patron is sent across the room to the reference librarian and I think it has been a great help already,” she said.

Paone said the children’s area is also completely different.

“We have new carpeting, we have some new furniture down there and we rearranged things so that there’s a separate study area and a separate play area,” she said. “There’s new magnetic toys and all kinds of wonderful things for the youngest of our patrons and there’s a seating area for the parents while the kids are playing.”

A new bench has also been added into the library, courtesy of the Friends of the Matawan Aberdeen Public Library, for when the group does there book sales.

“That used to be just shelving … so now there is a little space for someone to sit and take a look at the book sale books which is nice,” Paone said.

The latest renovations come after the library renovated its basement in 2013. “We had a lot of storage down there and unused and misused space and we cleared it all out and created a large meeting room that can be split in half, a larger staff room and sort of brought some organization to the space,” Paone said.

At a recent council meeting in Aberdeen Township, Councilwoman Margaret Montone raved about the updates to the library.

“The renovations are spectacular,” she said. “If you have not had a chance to get over to the library and see what’s going on, I would suggest you do … it just looks so beautiful.”

“Libraries are changing now … they are truly becoming places where a community can go and relax and meet each other and sit and talk and … I think they have just done a wonderful job of setting that up and you’ll be very happy with what you see.”

Paone said the goal going forward is making sure the library continues to be a place for people to feel comfortable and meet and making sure patrons know about all the programs, activities and resources they have access to.

“We have all of these great programs and we feel like we’re not reaching the people who need to know about these things,” she said. “We want this [to be] a comfortable space for people to meet and for the exchange of ideas and for real human face-to-face interaction, but we also want our patrons to understand and take advantage of all the electronic resources that we have.”

Some services patrons have access to with a click of a button include, an online training library which allows patrons to learn technology, creative and business skills for personal growth or to spice up a resume; IndieFlix, which offers unlimited access to thousands of shorts, features and documentaries; Job & Career Accelerator;; Zinio Digital Magazines; and Mango Languages, which offers dozens of foreign language courses.

“We have all these wonderful resources and we want people to know about them and use them and realize that the library is not just about books anymore,” Paone said.

The library also offers other services such as story-time for young children, craft-related activities, an AARP Tax Assistance program and small group and one-on-one computer classes with reference librarians and computer technicians.

“We also have a Museum Pass Program that is available to our card holders to the Grounds for Sculpture, the Guggenheim Museum, the Garden State Discovery Museum and the Intrepid,” Paone said. “Those are very popular and is a program that we have had for several years and it’s really caught on and something that I think some people don’t necessarily know about.”

Paone said for a medium sized library, they offer a lot more than what people might expect upon first sight of the building.

I feel like we are doing a lot … we’re kind of a medium sized library, and people are always surprised when they come in, because outside it looks very tiny and then inside there’s a whole world going on, but we want to become the forward thinking library that we need to be,” Paone said. “I think that is what libraries need to do now, we can’t be in the dark ages and we’re not. I think libraries have consistently kept up with technology and have sometimes been in the forefront of technology … and that is really wonderful.”

The Matawan Aberdeen Public Library is located at 165 Main St. in Matawan.

The library is open Monday and Thursday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday noon to 5 p.m.

For more information, visit

Youngster shows strength in battle against cancer

Staff Writer

 Gracie West, a seventh-grader at the Barkalow Middle School, Freehold Township, has been battling cancer for two years and recent scans showed no evidence of the disease. In December 2014, Gracie traveled to Rome and received a blessing from Pope Francis.  CHRISTINE BARCIA/STAFF Gracie West, a seventh-grader at the Barkalow Middle School, Freehold Township, has been battling cancer for two years and recent scans showed no evidence of the disease. In December 2014, Gracie traveled to Rome and received a blessing from Pope Francis. CHRISTINE BARCIA/STAFF Gracie West literally jumped for joy with the good news her doctor recently delivered to her. Gracie, 12, of Freehold Township, has been battling cancer for two years. After she found out her latest scans showed no evidence of the disease, she was jumping on a trampoline within the hour.

“I knew I was going to hit the clear mark,” said Gracie, who is the daughter of Don and Sharon West.

Sharon West said it felt like “the world lifted off your shoulders” when she heard from the doctor that her daughter’s scans were clear.

Gracie, whose nickname is “Cookie,” as in one tough cookie, is a seventh-grader at the Barkalow Middle School, Freehold Township. Two years ago she was diagnosed with stage four neuroblastoma.

 COURTESY OF THE VATICAN COURTESY OF THE VATICAN Gracie’s protocol included chemotherapy and radiation at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and additional treatments at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York City.

But it was a special blessing given to her by Pope Francis in December 2014 that brought Gracie the greatest sense of healing. “I felt calm and peaceful, like everything was going to be fine after (the papal blessing),” the youngster said. Gracie’s trip to see Pope Francis at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome was the result of a wish granted to Gracie and her family by the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Pope Francis hugged and kissed Gracie and gave her a benediction. The pope also shook hands with her brother, Joey.

“It was just the most amazing thing,” Gracie said.

The most difficult part of her battle against cancer, Gracie said, has been “not being able to do the stuff I normally do,” like swimming and playing with her French bulldog Topy, who is named after her first chemotherapy drug, Topotecan.

Gracie’s approach to life can be summed up in the mantra that guides her: you have no choice but to be strong, but you can choose to be happy and positive. Whether facing cancer or a just bad day, Gracie lives by these words.

Sharon West said the support of family members, friends and the community has been critical throughout her daughter’s fight against illness.

The West family established the Cookie’s Crumblers Foundation with a goal to not only help Gracie crumble her cancer, but also to help other children fight cancer.

A portion of the foundation’s proceeds will be contributed to research aimed at curing and eliminating childhood cancers.

The Cookie’s Crumblers 2016 Inaugural Gala of Gratitude will take place on June 4 at the Battleground County Club, Manalapan. For more information, visit Cookie-



 Annmarie Schaller and Luis Manuel Dahl Annmarie Schaller and Luis Manuel Dahl Annmarie Schaller of Keyport, daughter of the late Martin Schaller and the late Rita Marie Schaller of Laurence Harbor, and Luis Manuel Dahl, son of the late George Dahl and Lucy Dahl of Old Bridge and son of the late Enrique Gonzalez and Carmen Cruz of Utuado, Puerto Rico, were married by Deacon Donald Policastro at St. Joseph Parish, Keyport, on June 6, 2015.

Annmarie, a graduate of Cedar Ridge High School, Old Bridge, has an associate’s degree in business management from Middlesex County College, Edison. She is employed as an administrative assistant at Rue Insurance, Hazlet.

Luis, a graduate of Sayreville War Memorial High School, Parlin, is employed as a trackman with Amtrak, New York.

The bride was given in marriage by Arthur Campbell.

The matron of honor was Wanda Shirley. Bridesmaids were Roberta Yanko, Lilly Lambert and Lynda Bronzellino.

The best man was Russ Shirley. Groomsmen were Arthur Campbell, Brent Lambert and Richard Bronzellino. A reception was held at Ria Mar, South River. The couple spent their honeymoon on a cruise to Bermuda and now reside in Keyport.

Local families receive holiday meals

NEPTUNE — Children in the Kids Café program receive a hot meal each day during their after-school programs. However, when schools are closed, many families struggle.

The grocery chain, Wegmans, wanted to help those families.

So Wegmans teamed up with The Food- Bank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties to distribute a frozen turkey and bag of groceries to each child’s family.

“We are big supporters of the work being done at the local Boys and Girls Clubs. The way in which their teams engage children is rooted in enhancing the future of our community through foundational instruction. It is a mission that holds a place in our hearts; one that resonates with our people. As we looked at the needs for the holiday season, we thought of no better way than to work through the FoodBank to provide a turkey and holiday bag for the members of the Boys and Girls Clubs in Asbury Park and Red Bank, as well as wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season,” said John Zammetti, store manager of Ocean Wegmans, in a press release.

“There are 40,000 children in our serving area that are in food insecure households,” said FoodBank Executive Director Carlos Rodriguez in the press release. “For some of the children in the Kids Café program, it’s the only hot meal they receive all day and it truly makes a difference in their ability to thrive so they can focus on their school work. Kids cannot concentrate when their stomachs are empty. When the program is closed, some families have to go without or stretch their meals so everyone can eat. This donated meal allows them to enjoy the holiday with less stress over food.”

“I know for a fact that this extra meal is a great help to our families, so we are very grateful to Wegmans and The FoodBank for working together to make this happen,” said Stephanie D’Alessio, Boys & Girls Clubs of Monmouth County’s director of education and programs. “This is what community is all about.”

Middletown man charged with making threats at mall theater

Investigators have arrested a Middletown man and charged him with making a pair of bomb threats at the Freehold AMC movie theaters at Freehold Raceway Mall, Freehold Township, Monmouth County Acting Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni announced.

The prosecutor said Jesse Carroll, 22, of Middletown, who is an employee of the Freehold AMC theaters, was arrested on Dec. 18 and charged with two counts of second degree public false alarm. He was initially placed in the Monmouth County jail, Freehold Township, on $200,000 bail with no 10 percent option, as set by state Superior Court Judge Honora O’Brien Kilgallen.

The judge ordered Carroll not to return to the scene of the crimes and told him he may not have any contact with any movie theaters.

The theaters were evacuated twice last week after a series of threatening notes were discovered in the men’s room at the complex, according to the prosecutor’s office. On the evening of Dec. 14 and on the afternoon of Dec. 18, notes were found in the men’s room of the movie complex containing threats to either the theater management or specific threats of bombs inside the theater. One note that was found on Dec. 18 afternoon read: “I’m coming for blood; 4 p.m. bomb, 6 p.m. empty mag in guests.”

After each discovery the movie complex was safely evacuated while law enforcement departments were called to the scene. A thorough check of the movie complex yielded no threats to the safety of patrons, employees or management and business was returned to normal, according to the prosecutor. “Making bomb threats in a movie theater is nothing short of domestic terrorism. Thankfully for everyone involved this was a hoax. We have wasted too much time, money and resources with these dangerous and disruptive threats. We will continue to fully respond to every threat to protect our citizens, but we are also going to react with the full force of the law every time threats turn out to be hoaxes,” Gramiccioni said.

If convicted of public false alarm, Carroll faces a sentence of five to 10 years in a New Jersey state prison for each count, which also comes with a fine of no less than $2,000 and up to the actual costs incurred by any first responder agencies.

“Our office fully intends to seek full restitution for the collective costs of all the responding agencies,” Gramiccioni said.

On Dec. 14, the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, the Freehold Township Police Department, K-9 units from the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office, the Middletown and Wall Township police departments, New Jersey Homeland Security, the Freehold Township Independent Fire Company No. 1 and the Freehold First Aid and Emergency Squad all responded to the movie complex.

On Dec. 18, the response included the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, K-9 units from the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office and the Freehold Township Police Department.

Anyone with additional information about this case is asked to contact Detective John Catrone of the Freehold Township Police Department at 732-462-7500, or Detective Patrick Petruziello of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office at 800-533-7443.