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Lakewood: Charges After 50-Person Gathering Outside Toy Store; Large Catered Party in Backyard

Lakewood, N.J. police vehicles. (Photo: Lakewood Police Department/Facebook)

Lakewood, N.J. police vehicles. (Photo: Lakewood Police Department/Facebook)

Charges continue to roll in from Lakewood, the epicenter of Ocean County’s coronavirus breakout, as groups of residents continue to gather despite orders from Gov. Phil Murphy to maintain social distancing practices.

Yossi Itzkowitz, the owner of the Toys4U toy store, and Tzvi Blau, 29, the manager, were charged with violating the emergency orders for operating the store on Monday, according to the office of the state attorney general.

According to a statement, police found an estimated 50 or more people outside the store, with an employee taking orders at the door. The parking lot “was completely filled and there were 10 cars in the fire lane in front of the store.” Customers were not social distancing or wearing masks, the statement noted, and there were 10 employees in the store who were not social distancing. Just three wore masks, police said.

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A separate group of people in Lakewood were charged following a large outdoor party that was being held in alleged violation of the governor’s order.

Mendel Steiner, 27, Dina Endzweig, 26, Johnathan Schick, 31, Hindy Schick, 32, Ephraim Weiss, 31, and Chaya Weiss, 29, all of Brooklyn, N.Y., were charged following the gathering, which took place Sunday, April 12. All are facing charges of violating the social distancing order and child neglect.

Israel Goldenberg, 23, of Monsey, N.Y., was charged with violating the emergency orders.

According to the statement from the Attorney General’s office, police found a large gathering of adults and children in the backyard of a house, with children playing in a bouncy castle and a long table set up with a tablecloth, plates, utensils, and chairs. A chef and two waiters were catering the event.



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