Concern over falling ice: NPD

Nutley public school officials are following up an incident involving ice falling from schools in the wake of an incident at the John Walker Middle School on Feb. 21.

Police responded to the Franklin Ave. school on a report of a section of ice blocking the sidewalk. Upon arrival, police observed a large piece of ice that had rolled off the school’s roof and damaged part of the retaining wall in front of the school.

Police said a Board of Education employee was dispatched to remove the ice from the walkway.

No individuals were hurt and no parked vehicles were hit by the ice, police said.

School board President Charles Kucinski told The Observer last week that he had been made aware of the incident and that he has asked the board’s maintenance crew to check on the conditions at all of the district’s schools.

Kucinski said there’s likely going to be more such reports, given that the cold weather is continuing “and there’s quite a lot of snow packed on our schools’ roofs.”

“Most of our roofs are flat,” he said, “but the Walker School and our high school have sloped roofs and Walker has the dome,” so those two schools will get more focused attention.

Asked if any type of shelf construction could be affixed to those roofs to prevent ice slippage, Kucsinki said that possibility could be explored. “We expect to have more information by Monday,” he added.

Another school-related episode occurred Feb. 22 when police responded to a report of a burglary to two school buses parked at Monsignor DiLuca Plaza.

A driver told police that an unknown person entered one bus, removed the fire extinguisher and left the roof escape hatch open, allowing snow to accumulate in the interior.

Then, the driver said, someone entered another school bus and sprayed the inside with the fire extinguisher taken from the first bus.

Detectives are investigating.

• • •

Between Feb. 21 and 27, Nutley PD responded to 10 suspicious incidents, 26 motor vehicle accidents, 10 disputes, 37 medical calls and these incidents: Feb. 21  A motor vehicle stop on Passaic Ave. resulted in the arrest of Erica Smith, 31, of South Orange, on charges of DWI, driving while suspended and failure to signal turn.

• • •

A Brookline Ave. resident reported the theft of a package that was ordered and shown to be delivered to the residence but never received.

• • •

A patron got away with shoplifted items from a Harrison St. business, police said. The store manager told police that after hearing a commotion in the deodorant aisle, he went to check and found a man kneeling on the floor rummaging through a backpack, secured on his chest. The man then left the store. Police said the store’s surveillance footage showed the man grabbing several deodorants and other items and stuffing them into his backpack. Police described the suspect as Latino with a heavy accent, 5-feet-5 to 5-feet-9, wearing black pants, a black vest, a beige turtleneck sweater, black watch cap and carrying a black backpack with a red object on its side

• • •

A snow plow operator working on Quarry St. told police someone reportedly twice shot BB pellets at them. On the first pass, the plow was hit on the passenger side of the truck and, on the second pass, the driver’s window was struck, the driver said. Police said they noticed a small circular mark on the passenger front door. Detectives are investigating.

Feb. 22 

Police pulled over the driver of a vehicle whose plate and description matched that of a vehicle that was reported to have left the scene of an accident in Clifton as the vehicle was traveling erratically on River Road. David Camero, 23, of East Orange, was arrested and charged with DWI and was ticketed for failure to notify DMV of change of address. He was released with a mandatory court date.

• • •

Cheryl Niemira, 46, of Nutley, was arrested following an accident on Harrison St. Police issued Niemira a summons charging her with DWI and released her to a family member pending a mandatory court date.

Feb. 23 

Police responded to a call about a vehicle that had crashed into a snow bank on the Rt. 21 exit ramp to Nutley. The vehicle’s occupants told police that the driver lost control of the vehicle on the ice as he was turning onto the exit ramp but police said they saw no ice in that area. One of the car’s occupants, Jaquan Ruffin, 24, of Hoboken, was arrested after police said they learned he had an active warrant from Jersey City. He was released with a mandatory court date and taken to the bus station.

• • •

A River Road resident reported that upon returning to their apartment, they found the front door and dead bolt unlocked. Police said there were no signs of forced entry but the tenant told them that two packs of cigarettes and a piece of jewelry were missing from the apartment.

Feb. 24 

Police responded to a Centre St. location where residents had reported a male running through yards. Police found Timothy Moran 27, of Belleville, who reportedly had cheated a cabbie out of his fare. Police said Moran was wanted on warrants from Garwood and Roseland. He was arrested on the warrants and on a charge of theft of services. After posting bail on the Nutley charge, Moran was turned over to Garwood PD.

Feb. 25 

Police issued summonses to property owners on Darling and Union Aves. and Harrison St. on the charge of failing to clear their sidwalks of snow in the allotted 36-hour time frame.

• • •

A township resident told police that while stopped in traffic on Park Ave. near River Road, an Hispanic man driving a black GMC Suburban rolled down his window and punched and shattered their vehicle’s passenger side rear view mirror, causing $200 in damage. The driver then sped away, north on Rt. 21. The resident characterized the action as a road rage matter.

Feb. 27 

Responding to a call about a “suspicious” individual on Franklin Ave., police found Pedro Rivera, 35, of Newark, who reportedly gave them two fictitious names and then gave officers consent to search his backpack. Inside, police said they found six syringes, two Similac infant formulas, one Enfamil infant formula, a screwdriver, a scissors and eight empty suspected heroin folds. Rivera was charged with providing police a false name and possession of drug paraphernalia. At HQ , after Rivera provided an accurate date of birth and social security number, police said they learned that he had two active warrants from Belleville and one apiece from Bloomfield, Newark and Clifton and that he had allegedly shoplifted the baby formula from a CVS in Clifton. Rivera was then additionally charged with hindering apprehension and turned over to Clifton PD.

– Ron Leir 

The Observer Staff