EDITOR'S NOTE: The original version of this article indicated that Deco Tile was the source of the raid. This article has been edited to indicate the industrial park was raided. The park includes a tile company, mattress company and several other businesses.
Lakewood New Jersey lands in the national news media as boxes taken from an industrial park were reported to be labeled 'Respirators' which are in short supply nationwide during the pandemic.
If there was hoarding, US Attorney General Barr has forewarned what actions will be taken: “If you have a big supply of toilet paper in your house, this is not something you have to worry about. But, if you are sitting on a warehouse with masks, surgical masks, you will be hearing a knock on your door.”
LAKEWOOD, NJ - Multiple unrelated investigations and charges are causing havoc in Lakewood this week. They include an FBI raid with approximately two dozen agents swarming the Lakewood Industrial Park (video below).
Additional unrelated issues resulted in still more charges against nearly 20 people. One set of charges involved a disappointed wedding party who participated in Rabbi Aaron Kotler's 'approved' wedding plans. The plans were hatched with Mayor Ray Coles without any state authority.
The remainder of the charges were against individuals who opened a school for activities in violation of Executive Orders. According to updates from Office of the Attorney General:
Shmuel Hirth, 49, Asher Jacobs, 23, Shmuel Weneintraub, 21, Pinchos Sinsky, 19, Shcomo Rosenfeld, 18, Arych Penstien, 22, Yuhuda Bronspigez, 25, and Rivka Jacobs, 47,were charged by the Lakewood Police and Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office with violating the emergency orders. Police responded to a report of a school that was open in the first block of Drake Road. Police found a group of male students at the school who had been given permission to study there by the head of the school, Shmuel Hirth. (Rivka Jacobs is the mother of one of the students, who is a juvenile.)
Yakov Makukha, 40, Pinchos Aron, 25, Miriam Aron, 33, Yehudah Aron, 36, Tziporah Aron, 33, Yaakov Wiesner, Peninah Wiesner, 30, Ephraim Aron, 34, and Shmarya Aron, 20, were charged April 21, by the Lakewood Police and Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office with violating the emergency orders. Police responded to Read Place on a report of a backyard wedding. Officers found a van in the driveway occupied by two adults and three children. The driver advised that she was there for family photos for a wedding. In the back yard, there was a photographer, Yakov Makukha, photographing a family of six. Summonses were issued to all the adults who were present.
Alexander Ellinson, 64, of Lakewood, was charged April 21, with disorderly conduct. As the Lakewood Police and Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office were investigating a report of a large gathering at a home on 8th Street, Ellinson, a neighbor, pulled up in his SUV and began yelling at police about their actions at his neighbor’s house. He continued to yell and nearly struck an officer as he drove away. Police stopped him and issued a summons.
Tragically, Lakewood Township is in the middle of a cluster triangle of COVID-19 infection. Lakewood has 1,403 infections, Toms River has 901 infections, and Brick has 677 infections. This infection cluster now totals 2,981 as of Wednesday, April 22.
'Aiva', a word for Antisemitism, is commonly invoked by religious leaders like Rabbi Kotler and others in Lakewood as the reason for the attention. Thousands of posts on various social media groups indicate otherwise and lament the violations of law, instead.
Law enforcement continues to have resources stretched by violations in Lakewood due to the continued pattern of violations of Governor Murphy's Executive orders.
Now, according to a video released today by a local activist, the FBI descended on a location in Lakewood.
While the cause of the raid is unknown at this time, boxes containing critically needed respirators are reported to be confiscated from the site. More details are expected from the FBI on what appears to be a major raid in town.
The Asbury Park Press has also reported on the raid with photos. The FBI agents were donned with masks and gloves during the raid. Separately, during the Governor's news conference, it was reported that over a dozen people in Lakewood were charged with violating emergency orders. Some were charged trying to get married under the plan announced by Lakewood Rabbi Aaron Kotler. Others were charged for violating Executive Orders by trying to open a school.
More detail is expected on the raid by the FBI which will be reported in the Law and Justice section of this publication.