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This Hour: Latest New Jersey news, sports, business and entertainment

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CRASH-OFFICER HURT

Police officer seriously injured in 2-car crash

LODI, N.J. (AP) - A Bergen County Police Department officer was seriously injured when his cruiser and another vehicle driven by an alleged drunken driver collided on a northern New Jersey highway.

County prosecutors say Daniel Breslin was assisting another officer when the crash occurred around 1:50 a.m. Saturday on Route 46 westbound in Lodi. The other officer was having trouble with the police radio in his county vehicle, and Breslin had pulled his cruiser alongside that vehicle.

Authorities say a vehicle driven by 36-year-old Michael Ettz of Lodi rear-ended Breslin's cruiser. The officer suffered a significant head injury and underwent surgery for a skull fracture and bleeding, while Ettz was treated for minor injuries.

Breslin, a 39-year-old married father of two, was hospitalized in critical condition.

Authorities say Ettz fled the scene on foot after the crash but was soon found by Lodi police.

SEA ISLE CITY FIRE

Officials seek cause of massive Jersey Shore fire

SEA ISLE CITY, N.J. (AP) - Authorities are still trying to determine what caused a massive fire that destroyed three beachfront condominium buildings in a Jersey Shore community and damaged about a dozen surrounding properties.

No injuries were reported in the seven-alarm fire, which broke out shortly before 5 p.m. Friday in the 7800 block of Pleasure Avenue in Sea Isle City. It was brought under control about two hours later.

Multiple fire companies battled the blaze, but their efforts were hampered by strong, gusty winds that fanned the flames and spewed out thick, black smoke that could be seen for miles.

Officials say dozens of people came to the scene Saturday to see the damage and take photos.

NJ CONGRESS-1ST DISTRICT

It's mayor, grad student vs. machine in NJ race

LOGAN TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) - Two of the Democratic candidates for a southern New Jersey congressional seat say they're in the race largely because they feared no one else would take on the favorite.

Logan Township Mayor Frank Minor and first-time candidate Frank Broomell see their candidacies as giving people a choice on whether they want to support what they see as a political machine.

They're running in the June 3 primary against state Sen. Donald Norcross. He is the brother of George Norcross, a major Democratic party powerbroker in New Jersey.

Donald Norcross says that his brother is an important adviser but that he is his own person.

Four Republicans are also running for the open seat to replace Rep. Rob Andrews in the 1st District. Andrews resigned in February.

FIRST DATE-DOG STOLEN

Woman says beau stole her dog, TV on 1st date

(Information in the following story is from: Daily Record (Parsippany, N.J.), http://www.dailyrecord.com)

DOVER, N.J. (AP) - A New Jersey woman says a man she met on a dating website stole her dog and her flat-screen TV.

Dover police tell the Daily Record of Parsippany that the pair went out for the first time Thursday night.

After returning home, the woman said she became occupied in another room, leaving the man alone. When she returned, he was gone - and so were her Yorkshire Terrier named Violet and her TV valued at $3,000. The woman says her dog was worth $4,000.

The woman says she knew her date only as Joel and believes he lives in Elizabeth.

Sgt. Richard Gonzalez says police are searching for the man and dog and are checking other locations the short-lived couple visited.

DOG-FIGHTING RING-DRUG RAID

Authorities: Drug raid uncovers dog-fighting ring

(Information in the following story is from: The Record (Woodland Park, N.J.), http://www.northjersey.com)

PATERSON, N.J. (AP) - A drug raid at a northern New Jersey home unexpectedly uncovered evidence of a large pit bull dog-fighting ring that apparently was being run out of the residence.

Authorities tell The Record that two people face animal cruelty and drug possession charges stemming from Friday's raid in Paterson.

They say officers found dead fighting dogs stuffed into garbage bags and starving puppies crammed into crates. They say 18 puppies and three maimed adults were rescued from the home, though many needed some type of veterinary care.

Besides the dogs, police found a handgun and about $12,000 worth of crack cocaine and marijuana. Authorities also found steroids used for fighting dogs, along with needles and electronic collars to shock the dogs.

The rescued dogs will be put up for adoption.

TRENTON VIOLENCE

Trenton shootings leave man dead, 3 others wounded

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - Three separate shootings in New Jersey's capital city have left one man dead and three other people wounded.

It doesn't appear that the shootings in Trenton are connected, but authorities are still seeking motives for each incident. No arrests have been made.

Few details were disclosed about the fatal shooting, which occurred around 12:25 a.m. Saturday in the 800 block of Quinton Avenue. The other two shootings both occurred Friday.

The first happened shortly before 2 p.m., when a 22-year-old city woman was shot in the head while her boyfriend drove in the area of Brunswick Avenue and Vine Street. Authorities say someone pulled up alongside their vehicle and opened fire.

The second occurred around 9:15 p.m., when two men were wounded by someone using a shotgun loaded with birdshot.

ROBBERY-SHOTS FIRED

4 men charged in scrap metal heist, police pursuit

ELIZABETH, N.J. (AP) - Four men face numerous charges stemming from an armed robbery that led to a police pursuit in which the defendants allegedly exchanged gunfire with officers.

Acting Union County Prosecutor Grace Park announced the charges Saturday, one day after the robbery occurred at a scrap metal yard in Elizabeth. Park said a fifth suspect was also being sought, but did not provide further details.

Bail was set at $1 million each for 22-year-old Michael Howard and 27-year-old Rafael Clemons, both of Irvington, and 30-year-old Sharod Saunders and 47-year-old Steven Chambers, both of Newark. All four are charged with robbery, kidnapping, carjacking, aggravated assault and multiple weapons offenses.

No serious injuries were reported during the robbery, pursuit, and subsequent arrests. It wasn't known if any of the suspects had retained an attorney.

SMALL PLANE OVERTURNS

No injuries when small plane overturns at airport

BEDMINSTER, N.J. (AP) - Authorities say a New York couple escaped injury when their small plane overturned while landing at a northern New Jersey airport.

Bedminster police tell NJ.com that the accident occurred around 11:30 a.m. Saturday at the Somerset Airport.

The pilot, Richard Skevington of Saratoga Springs, and his wife, Mary Skevington, had exited the plane before officers arrived on scene.

Richard Skevington told police that a strong gust of wind caused the Cessna 185 to veer off the runway while it was touching down. The plane then ran off the left side of the runway into the soft grass, causing it to overturn.

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the accident.

EASTER BUNNY-BRUSH FIRES

Easter Bunny train sparks New Jersey brush fires

(Information in the following story is from: The (Easton, Pa.) Express-Times, http://www.lehighvalleylive.com)

POHATCONG TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) - A train carrying the Easter Bunny in northwestern New Jersey has ignited several small brush fires.

The Express-Times newspaper reports the fires occurred Saturday in Pohatcong Township and Phillipsburg. No major property damage is reported. A firefighter from the New Jersey state forest fire service fell and dislocated his hip.

Huntington Volunteer Fire Company Chief Peter Pursell tells the newspaper the diesel engine-pulled train was carrying hundreds of people and had dead leaves in its smokestack.

The leaves caught on fire and blew onto brush along the tracks. They ignited eight fires along a 2-mile stretch of tracks in Pohatcong. It's unknown how many fires occurred in Phillipsburg.

The train was temporarily shut down while the fires were brought under control.

MISSING WOMAN

Missing woman with Alzheimer's found unharmed

LEBANON TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) - Authorities in Hunterdon County say a missing woman with Alzheimer's disease has been found unharmed.

County Prosecutor Anthony Kearns III says 71-year-old Nancy Hogan was found shortly before 8 a.m. Saturday, about a half-mile away from her home on Kubin Court in Lebanon Township. She was hospitalized in stable condition, but further details were not disclosed.

Kearns said Hogan had walked away from her home around 8 p.m. Friday. She's described as being in the advanced stages of Alzheimer's and unable to communicate.

Several agencies were involved in the extensive search, and the county utilized its automated phone calling system to notify residents about Hogan's disappearance and seek their help in locating her.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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