A middle-aged man wearing two ponytails and a long black trench coat might well arouse suspicions in any case, but when he’s also reportedly making inquiries of strangers about a teenage girl, the suspicion meter goes off the chart.
Around 3 p.m. on Oct. 10, just as Kearny High School was letting out, Officer Melinda Esposito was on Kearny Ave. traffic duty when she was told about the person described above. The man allegedly had been stopping passersby and asking about a specific high school female, KPD Chief John Dowie said.
Esposito got a complete description and issued a BOLO. At about 6:45 p.m., Officer John Fabula spotted the man at Kearny Ave. and Afton St., detained him, got his ID and found he was wanted by Branchburg authorities, Dowie said. Arrested on that warrant, 36-year-old Christopher Celusak of Montclair was brought to headquarters and questioned by detectives.
Celusak reportedly told them he was looking for a girl he had met on another day in Montclair. He was advised that his advances were not welcome and he should cease and desist, Dowie noted.
The Kearny COP unit and Juvenile Aid Bureau alerted local schools to the incident.
“He had done did nothing overt,” the chief said. “We headed it off.”
Other recent reports from the KPD blotter included the following:
At 9 p.m., the Vice Squad, advised that the subject of an ongoing investigation was believed to be bringing drugs from Newark to Kearny, set up surveillance and observed the suspect exit a car at Oakwood Ave. and Chestnut St. and apparently attempt to hide a plastic bag. A search reportedly revealed five additional bags of suspected marijuana in his backpack. Justin Paz, 22, of Kearny, was charged with possession of pot and paraphernalia and possession with intent to distribute.
At 7:30 p.m., a juvenile advised Officer Luis Moran that his bicycle had just been stolen from the Burger King parking lot on Passaic Ave. A short time later, Det. Michael Gonzalez saw it in the possession of another juvenile in the ShopRite lot, police said. Moran brought the victim there to ID the suspect, and a 15-year-old Newark male was charged with theft. His parents were notified and summoned to pick him up.
Pursuant to an ongoing investigation, Vice had 22-yearold Kearny resident James Hamilton under surveillance at 5:15 p.m. when they saw him engage in an apparent drug transaction at Devon St. and Midland Ave., police said. Six bags of suspected marijuana were allegedly stashed in his waistband. Hamilton was charged with distribution of pot, distribution in a school zone and a park zone, and use of a paging device (a cellphone) to facilitate the commission of a crime.
At 6 p.m., police were alerted to a suspicious individual in a garage on Devon Terrace. Officers Melinda Esposito and Luis Moran and Sgt. Anthony Limite responded and detained Antonio Dematos, 44, of Pittstown, who was found to have an outstanding Kearny warrant for robbery and harassment, police said. He was taken to HQ and charged.
Officer Brian Wisely and Sgt. Peter Gleason responded to the 590 industrial tract east of Schuyler Ave. at 6:45 p.m. on the report of a suspicious tractor-trailer cab. There have been several thefts of trailers from that area, police said.
The cops found the cab, without license plates, in a private lot and Wisely was told by its occupant that he was just trying to make a U-turn. Which still did not explain the lack of plates. Inside the cab, police said, Wisely spotted one plate – and a large machete on the driver’s-side floor.
Daniel Diaz, 36, of North Bergen, was charged with unlawful possession of a weapon, defiant trespass and criminal attempted theft. His bail was set at $2,500 and the trailer cab was impounded.
Responding to a report of a 3:20 a.m. accident at Woodland and Highland Aves., Officers Tom Pontrella and Tom Sumowski arrived to find a 2003 Acura, which had apparently hit several parked cars, overturned in the intersection. The driver, Luis Familia, 25, of Kearny, was standing next to the vehicle, and police reportedly detected the odor of alcohol. The officers summoned Kearny EMS, which treated Familia at the scene and then took him to St. Michael’s Medical Center in Newark, where blood was drawn. He was subsequently charged with DWI and careless driving.
– Karen Zautyk