By Karen Zautyk
Kearny police reported last week that they have closed two cases dating to 2012, “one crime solved through DNA, the other, the old-fashioned way,” said KPD Chief John Dowie.
The latter involved the Sept. 30, 2012, armed hold-up of a liquor store at Seeley and Kearny Aves. At about 8 p.m. on that date, a lone bandit, wielding an automatic handgun, robbed the shop and then fled on foot, running east on Seeley.
The investigating officer, Det. Scott Traynor, reviewed surveillance tapes, noting the type of weapon used and the gunman’s clothing — a dark-colored, hooded sweatshirt and a black ski mask — and later linked these details to a similar crime in Bayonne, Dowie said. Traynor kept up with the case, working with police in that city and developing information from his street sources. He subsequently identified a possible suspect — 25-year-old Bayonne resident Jonathan Jeffery.
Last month, after evidence was presented to the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office, warrants were issued for Jeffery’s arrest on weapons and armed robbery charges in Kearny.
The alleged perp, already lodged in the Hudson County Jail in connection with his Bayonne arrest, was brought to KPD headquarters on April 4 for formal processing and was then returned to his secure habitat.
The second case concerned the Nov. 1, 2012, burglary of a gas station at Belgrove Drive and Passaic Ave. The culprit, Dowie noted, had taken advantage of the fact that the station had no electrical power in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, broke in through a garage window and absconded with cigarettes, lottery tickets and cash.
Responding to the scene were Det. Michael Gonzalez and Det. Stephen Podolski, who recovered probable DNA evidence. This was sent to the State Police lab for processing, and last month a probable suspect was ID’d, Dowie said.
That suspect, Brian Kinney, 30, of Kearny, had also been linked to a series of robberies at Payless shoe stores in Kearny and Newark, police said, and was incarcerated at the Essex County Jail. On April 4, he was processed there on the additional Kearny charges of burglary and theft.