15 people charged in New Jersey after funeral where dozens gathered, violating state order

As many as 60 to 70 people gathered for a funeral and refused to disperse, in violation of Gov. Phil Murphy's order banning social gatherings, authorities said.

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By Janelle Griffith

Fifteen people were charged Wednesday after a funeral in New Jersey where as many as 70 people gathered and refused to disperse, authorities said. A 100-year-old was among those charged.

Police in Lakewood Township, near the Jersey Shore, were called to a residence at approximately 6:30 p.m. on a report of a large gathering, Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer and police Chief Gregory Meyer said in a joint statement.

Officers found 60 to 70 people gathered for a funeral, in violation of Gov. Phil Murphy's stay-at-home order banning social gatherings.

As officers tried to disperse the crowd, people became unruly and argumentative, requiring additional officers to respond, authorities said.

While police collected names from funeral attendees, one man refused to identify himself. He was later identified as Samuel Manheim, 27, of Brooklyn, New York.

Manheim initially gave police a false name and Social Security number, and after several failed attempts to positively identify him, he was arrested, according to the statement.

Manheim was charged with hindering his own apprehension, as well as violating any rule or regulation adopted by the governor during a state of emergency.

More than a dozen others who attended the funeral were also charged with violating any rule or regulation adopted by the governor during a state of emergency. They are: Joel Jakubowitz, 36; Marcus Strulovic, 43; David Kaf, 37; Moshe Friedman, 20; Nossom Strulovic, 100; Solomon Strulovic, 21; Joel Strulovic, 39; Yosef Kohn, 35; Mitchell Strulovic, 24; Alexander Ellison, 64; Mordechi Strulovic, 18; Shimon Cardozo, 25; Shimon Hus, 18 and Bernard Strulovic, 45.

This is at least the third time this week that police broke up a gathering in Lakewood. Ten adults, including a 99-year-old man, were charged Tuesday after police shut down an engagement party that violated the state's order against social gatherings, authorities said.

And on Sunday, a Lakewood couple was charged with one count of child endangerment for each of their five children who attended a gathering at their home with dozens of people, authorities said. The couple was also charged with violating a rule or regulation adopted by the governor.

New Jersey has the second-highest number of coronavirus cases among any state. There were 25,590 cases as of early Thursday afternoon, with 537 deaths.