Water Department employee? Ask for photo ID

Nutley Public Works Commissioner Joseph Scarpelli cautioned residents to be wary of phony repair people looking to steal items from their homes. Scarpelli said that a female resident reported earlier this month that someone came to her door and identified himself as a township Water Department employee.

Once allowed inside her home, the phony employee then asked her to go down to the basement, where he locked her in and committed a burglary.

No further information about the incident was available from police at The Observer’s press time.

Residents are advised that all Nutley Water Department employees carry photo ID with them at all times, Scarpelli said, so residents shouldn’t hesitate to ask people who say they’re township water repair crews to ask for those photo IDs.

“I read recently about a similar [scam] in Long Island,” Scarpelli said. “It must be the crime of the day.”

In other developments logged by Nutley P.D. during the past week:

Jan. 18

A Nutley resident alerted police to a suspected consumer scam. Here’s what the victim told police: After getting a dunning notice from a collection agency for a past due balance of more than $2,000, the resident contacted the agency and was advised that the bill was from an electric company. But the resident told police they never had an account that with company. Police are investigating.

Jan. 17

Detectives are checking into a report of a Brittany Circle home burglary. The owner reported that an intruder came into the house and took six watches valued at more than $20,000. Police said they found no sign of forced entry.

Jan. 16

At 4:11 p.m. police pulled over a vehicle for a traffic stop and discovered that the car had an expired registration. Police arrested the driver, Saaiq Ponder, 32, of Jersey City, after learning that he had an active warrant from Newark for $125. Police also ticketed Ponder for uninsured and unregistered vehicle.

Jan. 15

At 4:17 p.m. police pulled over Steven G. Lewis for a motor vehicle stop and learned he had a suspended license. Police said Lewis also had an active warrant from Paterson. After issuing him a summons, police turned Lewis over to Paterson PD who released him pending a new court date.

At 11:29 a.m. a Hillside Ave. resident reported to police that someone kicked in the door of their house and stole approximately $2,000 worth of jewelry, $385 in cash, two Blackberry cellular phones valued at $250 each and a GPS unit priced at $100. The resident told police that the same thief is believed to have taken his business truck, driven it to a metal scrap yard and sold 80 steel drums valued at $400 as scrap and then returned the truck to the resident’s home. The truck’s motor was still warm and one of the rear tires was punctured, the resident told police. The resident told police that their Chevrolet Trailblazer was missing and that the keys to the truck and Trailblazer were also gone.

Jan. 14

A motorist traveling in a white Chevrolet on Rt. 21 North near Exit 8 was clocked doing 84 mph in a 55 mph zone at 12:11 p.m., police said. The driver told police he had no license and was driving a rental vehicle rented by his passenger, who, he said, was his aunt. Police said the passenger told them that she had no license so her nephew, identified by police only as “Mr. Nance,” was driving her to work in Clifton. Police said the driver had a suspended license and had two outstanding warrants for $500 from Irvington and for $250 from Cranford. He was ticketed for driving while suspended, speeding and unlicensed driver. His passenger was ticketed for allowing an unlicensed driver to operate a motor vehicle. The driver was released after posting cash bail for the warrants.

A Satterthwaite Ave. resident called police to report that someone removed a trim panel from their 2002 Toyota from the outside bottom of the driver door, sometime between 5 p.m. on Jan. 13 and 9:58 a.m. Jan. 14.

Jan. 12

The owner of a Park Ave. business called police at 11:29 a.m. to report that someone removed from the rear yard a front loading bucket valued at $750, another set of loading forks priced at $450 and a $300 Garmin GPS unit taken from a vehicle.

The Observer Staff