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Prosecutor: Lakewood Mourners Charged for Violating Murphy Ban on Large Gatherings During Coronavirus Pandemic

LAKEWOOD-Over 60 individuals gathered on Wednesday in Lakewood Township, where COVID-19 infections have spiked in recent days to attend a funeral.  Police in Lakewood said  the gathering was in violation of Governor Phil Murphy’s state of emergency executive order banning large gatherings.   In all, 14 were charged, including a 100 year old man.   Most of the mourners were from Lakewood and Brooklyn, according to the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office.

Those in attendance were grandchildren of the deceased.

  • Correction: Photo removed. The initial photo used was of a Rockland County funeral. We apologize for the error.

The prosecutor’s office reports:

Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer and Lakewood Township Police Chief Gregory Meyer announced that on April 1, 2020, at approximately 6:30 p.m., members of the Lakewood Township Police Department were dispatched for a report of a large gathering on the corner of 8th Street and Madison Avenue. Responding Officers found a group of about 60 to 70 individuals gathered for a funeral. This gathering was in violation of Executive Order No. 107 signed by Governor Phil Murphy on March 21, 2020, which bans gatherings of individuals, whether they be at weddings, parties, celebrations, or other social events including funerals. As Officers tried to disperse the crowd, the crowd became unruly and argumentative. Additional Officers from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office and the Ocean County Sheriff’s Office arrived to assist with dispersing the crowd. As the Officers were collecting names from funeral attendees, one individual refused to identify himself. This individual was later identified as Samuel Manheim, 27, of Brooklyn, New York. Manheim originally gave Officers a false name and social security number. After several attempts to positively identify Manheim were unsuccessful, he was placed under arrest. Manheim was charged with Hindering His Own Apprehension in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:29-3a(7), as well as Violating Any Rule or Regulation Adopted by the Governor During a State of Emergency in violation of APP.A: 9-49h.

The following individuals were also charged with Violating Any Rule or Regulation Adopted by the Governor During a State of Emergency in violation of APP.A: 9-49h for their attendance at the funeral:
Joel Jakubowitz, 36, of Brooklyn, New York; Marcus Strulovic, 43, of Lakewood; David Kaf, 37, of Lakewood; Moshe Friedman, 20, of Lakewood; Nossom Strulovic, 100, of Lakewood; Solomon Strulovic, 21, of Lakewood; Joel Strulovic, 39, of Lakewood; Yosef Kohn, 35, of Lakewood; Mitchell Strulovic, 24, of Lakewood; Alexander Ellison, 64, of Lakewood; Mordechi Strulovic, 18, of Lakewood; Shimon Cardozo, 25 of Lakewood; Shimon Hus, 18, of Brooklyn, New York; and Bernard Strulovic, 45, of Lakewood.

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“The Governor has banned all public gatherings during this state and national public health emergency. This ban applies to everyone,” stated Prosecutor Billhimer. “To be blunt, ignoring the Governor’s Order places lives at risk – not just the lives of everyday citizens, but the lives of our brave men and women in Law Enforcement who are required to respond in order to break up these unlawful gatherings. I am imploring everyone to abide by the Governor’s Order and stay at home, so that we might all get through this very difficult time together — as painlessly as possible,” Prosecutor Billhimer concluded.

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