It failed for lack of a key.
Police said a man hoping to rob the AutoZone store on Washington Ave. in Belleville on Dec. 27 gave up when the store manager told him he didn’t have the key needed to open the store safe.
The incident unfolded shortly after 6:30 a.m., police said, when the 26-year-old store manager parked his car on the side of the AutoZone and popped into a nearby shop for a coffee, then began walking back to his car to get something he’d forgotten.
As he was going to his car, police said the manager was approached by a man who told him he was having trouble with his car battery and wanted to know when the auto supply store opened.
After the manager said he was about to open the shop, police said the man pulled out some type of “metal object,” pointed it at his head and demanded that he open the store safe.
When the manager said he couldn’t do that because he didn’t have the “secondary key” required, police said the man threw him to the ground and ran away.
Police said the manager was taken to Clara Maass Hospital, Belleville, for observation and treatment.
Police described the robber as black, about 5-feet-9, with a short haircut and a mole on the right side of his face, wearing a black jacket. He was believed to have fled in a mint green Ford Taurus wagon.
Here are other incidents that the Belleville Police Department logged during the past week:
Officers patrolling in the area of Union Ave. and Mill St. at 10:47 p.m. did a license plate check on a red Jeep Cherokee traveling on Mill St. and discovered that the vehicle had been reported stolen out of Newark on Sept. 28.
They pursued the car west on Mill St. to Willet St. where they pulled over the car and placed the driver, Raymundo Nazario, 35, of Newark, under arrest on the charge of receiving stolen property.
A local pizza delivery man’s vehicle was vandalized Dec. 23 in what police characterized as an apparent case of road rage.
The victim told police he was en route to make a delivery, at 10:25 p.m., when the driver of a green pickup truck began yelling at him and followed him to his delivery destination on Stephens St.
There, the victim said, the driver of the truck exited his vehicle and smashed the side rear window of his Toyota Corola.
Someone removed a GPS unit, a $100 bill and a prescription bottle from a 2-door gray 2007 Honda Civic while it was parked in the 100 block of Heckel St., sometime between 1:00 a.m. on Dec. 19 and 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 22. Police said the owner left the car unlocked due to a faulty alarm system.
A Fairway Ave. home was burglarized in the early morning hours. The resident reported hearing a noise like boxes falling over at 3:00 a.m. and then, upon awakening, shortly after 9:00 a.m., discovered a side door window broken and two boxes of cosmetics and perfumes missing from the basement.
A student at Belleville High School was arrested at 9:00 a.m. in a drug-related incident. The principal called police after a teacher reportedly spotted a male student at the top of a stairwell inside the school holding a small bag of suspected marijuana and a pipe typically used for inhaling the substance. The student, 16, was charged with possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia and released to his father, pending court action.
Police are investigating two criminal incidents that occurred near the Rutgers Court Apartments shortly before midnight.
In the first incident, a witness reported hearing a man screaming, “Someone took my cell phone!”, and seeing a black man wearing a hooded sweatshirt running east on Rutgers St., entering a gate leading to the apartment complex before losing sight of him. Police later found a cell phone in the street.
A short time later, a man walking out of a nearby food mart was approached by a male who asked if he could use his cell phone. After handing over his phone, the male then punched him, knocking him to the ground and repeatedly punched and kicked him in the face before fleeing through a Rutgers Court driveway.
Police described the attacker as a skinny black man, between 25 and 30, about 6-feet-2, with a long scruffy beard and wearing a hooded sweatshirt.
One man has been collared and others are being sought in connection with what police described as a strong-arm robbery at 11:36 p.m. in the area of Cortlandt and Holmes Sts.
The victim was walking west on Holmes St. when he was met by a man who was then joined by two other males armed with black baseball bats and wooden sticks who hit him in the back and ordered him to empty his pockets and give them everything he had. The victim surrendered his cell phone and $200 and his attackers fled. Police, however, managed to detain one man – Osvaldo Guzman, 18, of Belleville – who fit a description given by the victim and arrested him on charges of obstruction, resisting arrest, robbery, possession of a weapon (a bat and a stick) for unlawful purpose.
A man who reportedly confessed to the deed was arrested on a shoplifting charge at 7:35 p.m. at Rutgers St. and Washington Ave. Police said they spotted two men walking near the intersection and one of them appeared to be hiding something under his jacket. When asked what was under the jacket, police said the man unzipped the jacket where police found two Pro Con Air Spin Air brushes valued at $107. The man told police he’d just taken them from Walgreens on Washington Ave. without having paid for the items. After confirming the merchandise was from Walgreens, police arrested Jose Acosta-Diaz, 40, of Newark, on charges of shoplifting and possession of a hypodermic syringe, which they said they found in his pocket. Police said Acosta-Diaz was also wanted on warrants from Newark and Florida. He was taken to the county jail pending court action. The other man was released.
A store owner in the 300 block of Wayne St. reported the theft of a bundle of Star Ledger newspapers from outside his store at around 6:00 a.m. The owner told police that the paper thefts had been “ongoing” since Dec. 19 and that another bundle had been taken two weeks previously.
Police are investigating a burglary in the 100 block of Stephens St. that happened sometime between 9:30 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. Upon returning to the apartment, the tenant found the door to the apartment forced open, the apartment ransacked and a lockbox containing bills missing.