Two grinches who thought they were going to steal Christmas from an unsuspecting Nutley resident didn’t quite get what they had hoped for, thanks to the quick thinking of Nutley detectives on directed patrol.
Nutley police said they received a call from a township resident at 2 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 14, reporting that one of his packages had just been stolen.
Undercover detectives in the area stopped a silver 2010 Mazda SUV shortly thereafter near Hopper Ave. and discovered the vehicle was filled with more than 30 shipped packages belonging to several Nutley residents.
Officer Sean Swift and Det. James Baunhuber placed Mauricio Guaman, 33, of Newark and Grace Cardenas, 33, also of Newark, under arrest for possession the packages. Both were charged with third-degree theft and were later released on their own recognizance, pending court hearings.
Police Director Alphonse Petracco said the NPD has implemented a program that identifies crime trends and directs manpower to the projected areas.
“This was a classic example of deploying officers at a time and place where crime was occurring, and yielded two arrests today,” Petracco said. “Last week, we deployed undercover officers to area locations identified as probable targets, which resulted in four arrests with actors possessing over $6,000 worth of goods from a shoplifting spree. Our department is working smarter – and these arrests are the result.”
Chief Thomas Strumolo, meanwhile, commended the arresting officers, and warns that this is the time of year burglaries, thefts and frauds tend to escalate.
“By utilizing the public as the department’s ears and eyes, combined with Intelligence LED policing, and increased patrols, we intend to send a message that Nutley is not the town to commit crimes in,” Strumolo said.