An employee at the Shell Gas station convenience store on Highway 36 and Middle Road in Hazlet has been charged with allegedly selling vape tobacco to a minor.

(Photo Courtesy: Hazlet Township Police Department)
(Photo Courtesy: Hazlet Township Police Department)

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Hazlet Police issued a statement on Friday announcing the arrest, processing and release of Lakhwinder Singh with Selling Tobacco Products to Someone Under the Age of 21, a petty disorderly persons offense.

Officers went to the store this week after getting a report from a concerned parent that their child has been buying Vapes at the Shell Gas station convenience store and that this particular establishment was "routinely selling Vape tobacco products to underage persons."

Police set up surveillance outside the store to see if the clerks were in fact checking customers for identification before making such a sale and what they saw was several transactions were made without the clerk doing what he should have been doing and instead selling vape to minors.

It was then that Singh was arrested and then released pending a future court date.

It's not the first time Hazlet Police have responded to this store for the same crime either.

"Although this was a different clerk, this is the same business that we found was selling vape products to underage persons less than a year ago," Hazlet Police Chief Ted Wittke said in a statement. "Unfortunately, the penalty for this offense has not been a deterrent so far, so we will continue to look for additional ways to take stronger enforcement action. We thank the concerned citizen for the information provided and we encourage anyone that has information about establishments selling Vapes to underage persons to please contact us at"

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A roundup of 31 men have been accused of sexually exploiting children online, state Attorney General Gurbir Grewal announced on July 14 while detailing "Operation 24/7."

The suspects “possessed and or distributed videos and images of child sexual abuse, including in many cases videos of young children being raped by adults,” Grewal said.

Chat apps and gaming platforms remain favorite hunting grounds for child predators and even as the pandemic winds down, many children have continued to spend more time online.

State Police received 39% more tips in just the first 6 months of 2021 than they received in the entire year in 2019. The following are suspects charged in "Operation 24/7."

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