Don’t be fooled by tricksters, mayor warns

Alphonse Petracco is cautioning residents to be on the watch for phone and internet scam attempts, of which Nutley PD has received numerous reports.

Petracco urges anyone who receives such contacts to refrain from providing personal information or sending any form of payment unless and until the caller is independently authenticated.

Petracco reminded residents that that people claiming to be from the PSE&G, cable companies and many organizations that call or email asking for money or identifiable information are often perpetrators of fraud.

If residents have any doubt about the caller/emailer, they should ask questions, write down names, contact numbers, company information and then advise the individual they will verify what they’ve been told and get back to them.

Should a person contacting a resident refuse to provide the information being requested, it’s likely they are scammers, Petracco said.

Residents are encouraged to report such incidents through Nutley’s On Line Reporting System by visiting www.nutleynj. org, finding the triangular Police Shield in the center of the left side of the page and click on Citizens on line reporting for frauds and non-threatening contacts.

Police are urging anyone with knowledge of criminal activity or relevant information to contact Nutley PD at 973-284-4940 or use the new anonymous Tip Hotline by texting information to “CRIMES” (274637), using keyword “NPDTIPS” or log onto Tipsoft.com.

As an example of one scam, police cited a case reported April 13 by a Franklin Ave. resident who told police they had received several calls from someone claiming to be a PSE&G employee who told them that if payment was not made that day, their electrical service would be shut off. Even after the resident informed the caller that their account was current, the caller insisted there was a past due amount of $246.42. The resident independently verified with the utility their account was up to date and, after sharing that with the alleged utility representative, the calls stopped, police said. Following up, police contacted the caller and a man who identified himself as “Sam Wagner” of the PSE&G disconnect department answered. After police asked to speak to his superior, the call was disconnected. Callbacks went straight to a non-PSE&G voice mail, police said.

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Between April 11 and 17, Nutley PD responded to 20 motor vehicle accidents, 32 medical calls, 12 disputes and these incidents:

April 11 

Someone slashed the tires of four cars parked in the driveway of an Oakridge Ave. resident, police said. The tires were valued at $225.

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An attendant at a Bloomfield Ave. gas station was stiffed for $21 worth of fuel. He told police that after pumping the gas and removing the nozzle, the driver sped away without paying. His vehicle, described as a black 4-door sedan with a loud muffler, was last seen heading east on DeVausney Place. Police checked the area but came up empty.

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A burglar entered a Terrace Ave. garage and took a GT tangerine mountain bike valued at $5,000, a $500 Husky backpack leaf blower, a $200 Sawzall and various Snap-On tools worth $500. Police said the garage’s side door had been left unsecured.

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A group of juveniles ran up to a Coeyman Ave. residence and began ringing the doorbell, then kicked over two landscaping lights, causing one to separate from its underground wiring and knocking the top off another light in the process, police said.

April 12 

Police responded to a Warren St. residential building on a report that a tall man wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt and gray sweatpants had just broken the small door frame window, reached in and opened the door to the common hallway leading to individual apartments. Investigation determined that a resident who forgot their keys and was locked out, broke the window to get into their apartment. Police mailed a summons charging criminal mischief to the resident and the building superintendent fixed the window.

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A report of a man carrying a cellular phone ringing the doorbell of a Linn Road residence and leaving brought police to the location. Police said they found no one but a review of surveillance footage showed a young man wearing blue checkered pants, a maroon hooded sweatshirt with what appeared to be Nutley Raiders on the front and holding a cell phone, running up the front steps, ringing the bell and running away.

April 14 

Police conducted a motor vehicle stop on Kingsland St. and arrested a suspended driver, Jonathan Guerrerro, 28, of Nutley, who was also found to have an outstanding warrant from Belleville. Guerrerro was released after paying the required fee and receiving a traffic summons for the license violation.

April 15 

A Pake St. homeowner reported that someone threw a rock through their bay window, causing about $1,000 in damage.

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Police and fire units responded to a report of a fire at Kingsland and Cathedral Aves. near the Norfolk-Southern railroad tracks and found a male juvenile wearing a red sweatshirt smeared with black soot and filming the incident. After determining that the juvenile was responsible for igniting the fire, police charged the boy with criminal mischief and released him to his parents. April 16  Someone broke the rear passenger side tail light of a Cadillac parked on Passaic Ave., the owner told police.

April 17 

Jhad Meadows, 24, of Nutley, who was known to be wanted by Parsippany Troy Hills Municipal Court, was stopped by police along Bloomfield Ave. and arrested. He was freed after posting bail pending a court date.

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Someone damaged two large tiles attached to the front of a business on Baltimore St., causing an estimated $1,000 to $1,500 in damages, police said.

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Police received a walk-in report that a baseball had struck the top left corner of the windshield of a vehicle traveling on Chestnut St. while a baseball team was practicing on the high school field.

– Ron Leir 

The Observer Staff