By Karen Zautyk
A house-party host got a bit more than he bargained for when he hired a disc jockey for the festivities and an “associate” robbed him at knifepoint, Kearny police reported. Thanks to some determined detective work, the alleged assailant was tracked (pun intended) down and arrested last week.
Kearny Police Chief John Dowie said the incident occurred in late July at a party in a home on the 500 block of Devon St. During the bash, the 20-year-old host reportedly was confronted by a man who said he had supplied the speakers for the music and demanded money above and beyond the agreed-to DJ’s fee.
When the self-proclaimed “associate” was advised that no such separate payment had been arranged, he pulled a knife, police said. After the host still refused to pay, the man allegedly began slashing the air, nearly cutting a female partygoer across the face.
“To appease the assailant, the victim gave him his cell phone, and the assailant fled,” Dowie said. The party broke up shortly afterwards.
The crime was not immediately reported, police said, but when it was a couple of days later, Det. Ray Lopez interviewed the victim, got the suspect’s description and gathered basic information about the DJ who had been hired.
Lopez then conducted a foot canvas of the area, noting the location of private security cameras. He requested and received permission to view the videotapes and saw images of the alleged robber walking down the street, Dowie reported.
Presuming that the party might have engendered some noise complaints, Lopez checked the records (no pun intended) at headquarters and discovered there had indeed been such calls to the KPD that night. The detective contacted the responding officer, P.O. Ben Wuelfing, who, as luck and good police work would have it, had noted the descriptions of vehicles in the area. Lopez then identified the one the robber might have used.
The detective developed a suspect, drew up complaints and on Aug. 12 took into custody 20-year-old Springfield resident Tarik Gourdine.
Gourdine has been charged with conspiracy, robbery, unlawful possession of a weapon and possession of a weapon for unlawful purposes.
He was released on $30,000 bail, which had a 10% option.