Hudson County Man Accused of Making More Than Two Dozen Threatening Phone Calls
A Union City (Hudson County) man accused of anonymously making threatening phone calls to about two dozen people faces multiple charges, the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office said on March 13. Steve Ortiz (pictured), 45, is charged with bias intimidation, terroristic threats, false public alarm, and stalking. Prosecutors said its Cyber Crimes Unit identified Ortiz as the individual behind 25 phone calls to government officials and a private business in Edgewater (Bergen County) between December and February. Ortiz used technology to conceal his identity and referenced people of Jewish and African-American descent, according to prosecutors. Detectives determined Ortiz traveled across the country while calling victims in and around Bergen County. Calls to River Edge (Bergen County) and West New York (Hudson County), as well as North Carolina, New Mexico, and New York, were also traced to Ortiz. Police in Hicksville, New York, arrested Ortiz on February 27, and he is at Bergen County Jail after being extradited there on March 12.
Student Charged in Bomb Threat at Gloucester County Middle School
A 14-year-old student accused of leaving a threatening note inside a restroom at a Gloucester County middle school faces multiple charges. The teen from Mantua Township (Gloucester County), whose identity has not been released, is accused of writing, “IM Bringing a bomb Tommorow [sic],” on the note found inside a lobby bathroom at Clearview Regional Middle School in Harrison Township on March 11. An off-duty police officer, who volunteers as a basketball coach at the school, discovered the note that evening and promptly contacted the Harrison Township Police Department. Officers responded and evacuated the school while it hosted a youth basketball game. Bomb-detecting K-9s from Gloucester and Camden counties did not locate any explosives during a search of the building. Authorities and school officials opted to hold a “controlled opening” with increased security the following day, checking everyone as they entered the building. Investigators were able to identify the student responsible for leaving the note after reviewing video from the school’s security cameras. The teen is charged with terroristic threats and creating false public alarm.
Dog Protecting Students at High School in Cumberland County Earns K-9 Degree
On the job since September, Meadow now has a graduation to her credit, something the 800 students she helps protect at Cumberland County Technical Education Center in Vineland are still working toward. The 2-year-old Dutch shepherd completed additional training March 8 at Atlantic County’s John “Sonny” Burke Police K-9 Academy. She is named for Meadow Pollack, an 18-year-old senior who was among the 17 people killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on February 14, 2018. “When you think about it, my daughter would have wanted it,” her father, Andrew Pollack, told The Press of Atlantic City. “She was a fighter and tried to save other students before she was murdered. If that school had (a dog), it would have saved lives.” Meadow is believed to be the first K-9 working in a South Jersey high school trained to find guns and ammo, and to identify and attack an active shooter. She is handled by Stephen Manera, who retired from the state Department of Corrections. They are part of a security force of 14 armed, retired law enforcement officers.