A suspicious package on Franklin Ave., Nov. 17, led an alert resident to call the FBI to investigate along with the Nutley Police Department, the Nutley Fire Department and the Essex County Sheriff’s Office’s bomb squad, but the package was only a homemade car battery charger, according to the NPD.
Upon arrival, the bomb squad and FBI quickly determined the “package” wasn’t a danger at all, but during the incident, two local elementary schools were placed on lockdown as police cordoned off a substantial perimeter.
Police Director Alphonse Petracco praised the caller who alerted the FBI, and took assertive measures to protect the community in the event the package posed an actual threat.
“We as the Public Safety Department first secure the area, investigate as necessary, and then notify the public in an effort to alleviate concerns that may fester from not knowing what is occurring,” Petracco said. “The chief (Thomas Strumolo) and I were in constant communication with the Board of Education and alerted the township through C-3 at our earliest opportunity.”
Strumolo said Franklin Ave. and surrounding streets were shut down from 11:15 a.m. to 1:15 p.m., and said at no time were children or residents in harm’s way.
“We take every incident like this very seriously and move and secure people from the area as a precaution,” Strumolo said. “The device was unusual and (we) can see why someone would be concerned. However, after a brief investigation and interview with the resident who made the device, it was determined to be no threat at all.”
Lock your car doors, NPD chief says (again)
Police Chief Thomas Strumolo continues to warn residents to secure and lock their vehicles at all times.
Unlocked vehicles have contributed to many thefts over the last few months, all of which could have been prevented if doors were locked, the chief said.
The most recent incident was on Alexander Ave. Nov. 17.
The chief also warned residents to never leave valuables in a car where they can be seen by a potential criminal.
Strumolo advised residents not to touch anything and to call police if they believe anything was taken from their car. He said it’s important the vehicle remain undisturbed for detectives to investigate. Evidence left by suspects may lead to prosecution.
Strumolo said burglary to auto has been one of the township’s leading offenses in 2016. He said several C-3 alerts, newspaper and Internet warnings to lock doors have failed to stop these criminals from committing crimes.
“With assertiveness and proactive policing, we were able to identify most of the actors responsible for the thefts,” Strumolo said. “I continue to urge residents to lock their vehicles doors and remove valuables.”
Additionally, if a credit card, cell phone, laptop, iPad, etc., is stolen, do not turn service off until directed to do so by police. Calls placed and tracking devices can help with investigations. Some devices have a service that could track find its precise location.
Any charges placed on a credit card can assist law enforcement with identifying suspects at the place the attempt was made. Typically, charge cards can be flagged, and the owner will not responsible for charges after a police report has been filed.
– Kevin Canessa Jr.