New Jersey Man Charged in Bank-Robbing Spree

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A new Jersey man was charged in bank robberies in a yearlong spree throughout central and southeastern Pennsylvania.

Patch.com reported on Monday that the FBI caught and charged 41-year-old Francis Simmons of Warren, New Jersey, with 16 counts of robbery, stretching from incidents in Hellertown, Fogelsville and Allentown in the northeastern part of the region all the way to Wyomissing, Lancaster and even further to Lewisburg, near I-80 north of Harrisburg. He also allegedly raided banks and businesses in New York, New Jersey, Maryland and North Carolina. Read more »

Black Bear Crashed Lehigh University Party

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College parties have a tendency to get crazy, but things escalated Saturday evening when a 300- 400-pound black bear showed up.

The Associated Press reported yesterday evening via NJ.com that the black bear was spotted in south Bethlehem, Pennsylvania in the wee hours of Sunday morning near Lehigh University’s campus. The bear scared many of the surprised students, prompting tons of emergency calls to area police.

The bear “lumbered close to the party and scared the living daylights out of people,”  Bethlehem police Chief Mark DiLuzio told AP. Read more »

Gloucester County Residents Still Without Power

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All across Gloucester County, power is still out from last Tuesday’s massive thunderstorm. And Gloucester County’s local politicians are angered by the lack of help coming from the state.

According to CBS Philly and NBC Philadelphia, 4,400 customers of Atlantic City Electric remain without power almost an entire week after the large storm that swept across Philadelphia and southern New Jersey. Mayor George Shivery of Greenwich Township called upon Governor Chris Christie to declare a state of emergency for the area and help out with the restoration efforts. Meanwhile, Atlantic City Electric, for their part, has pledged that 99 percent of customers will get power back. Read more »

Christie Accused of Revealing Grand Jury Info

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N.J. Chris Christie is still mulling a presidential run, but he’s still plagued by fallout from the Bridgegate scandal. The latest problem? An accusation he violated grand jury secrecy rules.

The accusation comes from David Wildstein, a central figure in the Bridgegate scandal. The New York Times reports: “Mr. Wildstein’s statement, in a civil case separate from the federal prosecution in the bridge case, offers the first insider confirmation of a long-rumored tale of New Jersey political corruption, and places Mr. Christie at the center of it. It also portrays the governor, a former United States attorney, casually revealing information about a grand jury proceeding he had overseen, which violates federal law.” Read more »

WATCH: Cops Chase Cow on New Jersey Highway

Philly highways may be a mess, but at least they’re generally free of livestock. New Jersey commuters have it tougher: Around 8:30 this morning, motorists on I-295 in Hamilton had to contend with a cow.

The cow was on the northbound side of I-295 in Hamilton near exit 60B, said Arcadio Rivera (who captured the video above). The cow on the highway also led to this tremendous sentence from Action News: “Moments later, video from Chopper 6 showed the cow surrounded by nearly a dozen police vehicles.” Read more »

New Jersey Man Tried to Sneak Gun Between Cheeks

Any day that the Philadelphia Daily News has a chance to make a gross joke on its cover is a really, really good day for the Daily News, and for all of us, really. Let us all bow our heads and give thanks for how a great tabloid headline can enrich city life:

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So yes, this is the story about how Darquan Lee, 21, attempted to hide a small firearm in his butt — only to be caught by observant jail personnel. Let’s let the Bridgeton (N.J.) Police Department tell their own story, via Facebook: Read more »

(UPDATE) Former Christie Ally Pleads Guilty in Bridgegate

In this Jan. 9, 2014 file photo, David Wildstein, who was Christie's No. 2 man at the Port Authority, speaks during a hearing at the Statehouse in Trenton. The Christie administration stands accused of closing lanes on the George Washington Bridge, linking New York and New Jersey, in order to create a huge traffic backup as retribution against a local mayor for not endorsing the governor's reelection. Documents released Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014, by a New Jersey legislative committee looking into the scandal surrounding Gov. Chris Christie show two figures, Wildstein and Bridget Anne Kelly, Christie's Deputy Chief of Staff, at the heart of the case making running jokes about the idea of creating traffic jams as a way to strike at enemies. (AP Photo/Mel Evans, File)

In this Jan. 9, 2014 file photo, David Wildstein, who was Christie’s No. 2 man at the Port Authority, speaks during a hearing at the Statehouse in Trenton.

[Update 4:15 p.m.] Christie responds. The Asbury Park Press:

“Today’s charges make clear that what I’ve said from day one is true,” Christie said, via Twitter. “I had no knowledge or involvement in the planning or execution of this act. The moment I first learned of this unacceptable behavior I took action, firing staff believed to be accountable, calling for an outside investigation and agreeing to fully cooperation with all appropriate investigations, which I have done. Now 15 months later is it time to let the justice system do its job.”

[Update 2 p.m.] Vox has some additional details, including news that two other officials have been indicted in the case:

David Wildstein, a former Port Authority official, pled guilty to two counts of conspiracy — for having intentionally misapplied the agency’s property, and for violating the rights of the town’s residents to travel.

Two other former members of the administration, Bridget Kelly (Christie’s ex-deputy chief of staff) and Bill Baroni (the top operational Port Authority official appointed by Christie), were charged on multiple similar counts.

In addition, Vox reports, there are other, as-yet-unindicted co-conspirators referred to by prosecutors.

[Original] The New York Times has the breaking news:

David Wildstein, another former Port Authority official and ally of Mr. Christie, pleaded guilty for his role in the lane closings.

Read more »

Former Christie Ally Expected to Plea in Bridgegate Controversy

In this Jan. 9, 2014 file photo, David Wildstein, who was Christie's No. 2 man at the Port Authority, speaks during a hearing at the Statehouse in Trenton. The Christie administration stands accused of closing lanes on the George Washington Bridge, linking New York and New Jersey, in order to create a huge traffic backup as retribution against a local mayor for not endorsing the governor's reelection. Documents released Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014, by a New Jersey legislative committee looking into the scandal surrounding Gov. Chris Christie show two figures, Wildstein and Bridget Anne Kelly, Christie's Deputy Chief of Staff, at the heart of the case making running jokes about the idea of creating traffic jams as a way to strike at enemies. (AP Photo/Mel Evans, File)

In this Jan. 9, 2014 file photo, David Wildstein, who was Christie’s No. 2 man at the Port Authority, speaks during a hearing at the Statehouse in Trenton. The Christie administration stands accused of closing lanes on the George Washington Bridge, linking New York and New Jersey, in order to create a huge traffic backup as retribution against a local mayor for not endorsing the governor’s reelection. (AP Photo/Mel Evans, File)

David Wildstein, a former ally of N.J. Gov. Chris Christie, is expected to plead to charges related to the “Bridgegate” scandal, according to reports.

Bloomberg reports: Read more »

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