By Karen Zautyk
Kearny police, investigating a Dec. 1 robbery at a local Payless shoe store, solved not only that case but a holdup at yet another Payless, that one in Newark, KPD Chief John Dowie reported. The initial crime took place at 8:30 p.m. Dec. 1 at the store on Passaic Ave. where a holdup man reportedly threatened the cashier and then fled, on foot, with a “couple of hundred dollars” in cash.
Dets. Ray Lopez and Scott Traynor launched the investigation, with Traynor ultimately making the Feb. 5 arrest, thanks in part to “street information” gathered by Sgt. Charles Smith.
After connecting the Kearny heist to a Jan. 16 robbery at a Payless on Broad St. in Newark, Traynor viewed security video from both stores then brought a prime suspect in for a lineup, during which the arrestee was positively identified, Dowie said.
Charged with armed robbery in both Kearny and Newark was 30-year-old Brian Kinney of Kearny, who was remanded to the Essex County Jail.
Other reports from the Kearny Police blotter included the following:
P.O. Brian Wuelfing, on patrol at 4 a.m. at Kearny and Quincy Aves., observed a car stopped at a traffic light. When the light turned green, the car failed to move and the cop reportedly found the driver sound asleep at the wheel. Awakening said driver, the officer asked to see his license and was instead initially handed a business card from a Newark cocktail lounge. After reportedly failing field sobriety tests and an Alcotest at headquarters, the motorist, Johnny Mendez, 24, of Kearny, was charged with DWI.
At 7 p.m., P.O. Charles Smith observed a man at Kearny and Seeley Aves. who he knew to be wanted on a Kearny warrant. A search of the individual led to the discovery in his waistband of a large plastic bag containing 38 grams of marijuana, police said. Charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and possession of drug paraphernalia was James Hamilton, 22, of Kearny. He was held on $10,000 bail.
Sgt. Charles Smith, traveling on Halstead St. at 3:30 p.m., came upon a double-parked car, its passenger side door open, and no one in the front seat. There was, however, an individual in the rear seat, who got out and tried to walk away. When the passenger was stopped by Smith, another individual approached but denied he was the driver. Smith called for a tow truck, since the license plates were not on file and there were no driver’s documents in the vehicle.
That second individual, a 17-year-old Kearny resident, allegedly became disorderly and was arrested and put in P.O. John Travelino’s patrol car for a ride to HQ. En route, the teen tried to hide a red glove filled with marijuana behind the rear seat, police said. He also neglected to remove the other red glove, which he was wearing.
The youth was charged with possession of marijuana and paraphernalia, double parking, and operating unregistered, uninsured vehicle with fictitious plates. As part of an ongoing drug distribution investigation, vice squad members had under surveillance a car parked on the 200 block of Maple St. at 10:30 p.m. In plain view in the auto, police said, they found several plastic bags of suspected pot along with a digital scale. Arrest for drug possession, intent to distribute and possession of paraphernalia was Michael Pavone, 18, of Kearny.
At 11:30 p.m. P.O. Mike Santucci, responding to a report of a fight in the street near Dukes and Devon Sts. , came upon three “very uncooperative” individuals, two of whom had signs of “fresh injury.” They, however, declined medical attention, police said. One of the men, 21-year-old Kevin Rejas of Kearny, was recognized by P.O. Derek Hemphill as the subject of a Kearny warrant, was arrested and held on $1,000 bail.
Officer Santucci responded at 1 a.m. to a complaint that someone had shattered a window in a home on the 200 block of Kearny Ave. Checking the area, he found 18-year-old Kearny resident Brandon Tice reportedly sporting a fresh cut on his hand. The “combative” suspect reportedly fit the description of the culprit and was arrested on charges of criminal mischief, disorderly conduct and underage possession of alcohol.
In response to a dispute in the area, P.O. Santucci went to Liberty St. near Kearny Ave. at 1:30 a.m., where he attempted to interview one Sean Kilcullen, 32, of Kearny. Kilcullen received a warning after spouting profanities at what he called the “Barney Fife” cops, but became more aggressive, kicking snow at Santucci and then lunging at him and Officer Chris Miller and Sgt. Rich Poplaski, Dowie said.
Kilcullen reportedly resisted attempts to cuff him, had to be carried to the patrol car and then tried to kick out a window. He was taken to HQ, where, the chief said, he began calling the officers “(blank)ing (blank)gots.” “To the serenade of this chant,” charges were filled out and filed against him for aggravated assault on a police officer, resisting arrest, criminal mischief and disorderly conduct.
P.O. Jose Resua responded to the 100 block of Windsor St. on the report of the theft of a package from a front porch. A witness described a suspect, and an individual fitting that description was detained by Lt. Anthony Gouveia at Patterson St. and Belgrove Drive. The suspect, Michael Ramos, 28, of Newark, reportedly admitted the theft (the package contained an iPhone and T-shirts) and also was found to be wanted on a Newark warrant. He was charged and sent to the county jail.