NJ beauty shop owner among those charged this week with defying orders
State officials on Friday announced the latest charges against people and businesses accused of violating the emergency orders or threatening officers.
One of the people charged was the owner of a beauty supply store in Roselle who was letting in customers through the back door.
Small business owners across the country have been itching to get back to work after weeks of being shuttered by pandemic orders issued by governors. On Friday, Gov. Phil Murphy said a committee of business and religious officials would begin meeting to provide a comprehensive reopening plan. Murphy also said he expects to provide the public with more guidance next week regarding summer recreation and non-essential businesses that have been closed for seven weeks. Republican lawmakers this week also began calling for more restrictions to be lifted.
In Texas, a Houston salon owner made national news after she was jailed for violating the Republican governor's shutdown orders. Afterward, Gov. Greg Abbott stripped his order of the jail punishment. Houston's police chief called Abbott hypocritical for criticizing local officials for enforcing his own order.
Since March 9, at least 29 people in New Jersey have been charged with second-degree terroristic threats during an emergency for spitting, coughing or threatening emergency responders.
Charged in New Jersey this week
Julio Pineda, 41, of West New York, was arrested in Secaucus on May 2 on charges of shoplifting from Home Depot. He also was charged with second-degree terroristic threats during an emergency and fourth-degree throwing bodily fluid at a law enforcement officer after police said that he coughed on a cop at the police station and said, “I have coronavirus, you are all going to [expletive] die.”
Shakiya J. Duncan, 28, was charged on May 6 by Somers Point police with disorderly conduct and violating the emergency orders after police said she repeatedly refused to wear a mask at Big Lots and then screamed and coughed into the face of another customer who had asked her to step back when they were on the checkout line.
Nickolas Suk, 23, of Flemington, was arrested on May 7 by Parsippany police who said he coughed and spit at officers, saying "I hope you get corona." Police had responded to a report of a person causing property damage and said they found Suk holding a hammer and "acting irrationally." He was charged with fourth-degree throwing bodily fluid at an officer, fourth-degree endangering and violating emergency orders.
Mary E. Stewart, 63, of Bridgewater, was charged on May 2 with fourth-degree aggravated assault, endangering and violating emergency orders after police said she spit on workers and equipment at a medical facility.
Travis Mann, 38, of Haskel, was arrested on May 2 after Paterson police said Mann walked into a 7-Eleven without a mask and began yelling at employees, alarming customers and shoplifting. Police said they later learned that he had failed to register as a sex offender since 2016.
Shawnte M. Gastelo, 42, and Tayana M. Gastello, 25, of Rahway, were charged on May 2 with hosting a large party with 40 people on Fulton Street after having been previously warned.
Sharda Ramjug, 61, of Jersey City, was charged on May 2 by Roselle police with sneaking in customers through the rear door of Michelle's Beauty Supply after having been previously warned.
Thong Q. Tran, 45, of Fairless Hills, Pennsylvania, was charged on May 4 by Hamilton police in Mercer County with opening his Diamond Nail Salon on South Broad Street despite having been previously warned.
Dragan Dinic, 50, of Emerson, was charged on May 5 by Teaneck police for operating the Teaneck Hand Car Wash despite police having been to the business five previous times.
Anthony Monte, 50, of Jackson, was charged by Point Pleasant police with opening his E-Cig Outpost vape shop and advertising curbside pick-up despite having been previously warned.
Price gouging and liquor-law violations
The Division of Consumer affairs has filed 4,554 complaints related to the COVID-19 emergency against 2,476 businesses.
The division also is looking into complaints of unlawful refund practices. Regulators have received 236 reports of health clubs, hotels, ticket agents and other businesses refusing to issue refunds after they closed or suspended services.
Examples of alleged price hikes that consumers have reported to the Division:
- A supermarket allegedly selling a gallon of bleach for $8.99.
- A grocery store allegedly charging $6 for eggs, $5 for a gallon of milk, and $7.99 for a case of water.
- A drug store allegedly selling small bottles of alcohol for more than $10 each.
- An auto repair shop allegedly charging $65 for an oil change that typically costs $35.
- A supermarket allegedly charging $8.49 for a pound of beef chuck that usually sells for $4.99 per pound or less.
- A pharmacy allegedly charging $15 for a single N95 mask.
- A food market allegedly raising the price of a can of disinfectant spray from $4.50 to $9.
Mt. Royal Inn in East Greenwich was charged with twice violating executive orders by allowing people to drink on premises on March 21 and April 4. The Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control is seeking to revoke the businesses' license.
Shakey Jake’s Café in Stanhope and Tequila Club in Plainfield are facing at least 10-day suspensions for allowing customers to drink on their premises.
Driftwood Liquor and Bar in Highlands was fined $750 for allowing employees to drink on premises.
Madd Hatter in Hoboken was fined $500 for employees not wearing face masks.
Tomar’s Discount Liquor in Buena Vista was fined $500 for allowing customers without face masks.
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Sergio Bichao is deputy digital editor at New Jersey 101.5. Send him news tips: Call 609-359-5348 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.