Burglary/theft suspect nabbed

KEARNY 

A 28-year-old Newark man, on parole after a 2007 conviction for aggravated manslaughter, was back behind bars last week on burglary and theft charges, thanks to the KPD and tips from the public, authorities reported. 

The suspect, Bernard Easterling, was arrested Jan. 23 at an apartment complex in Newark by KPD Det. John Fabula, Det. Sgt. Michael Gonzalez and  N.J. State Parole Division officers in connection with a series of South Kearny car burglaries.

Police said the crimes were committed between Dec. 18 and Jan. 13 and involved the theft of cash and credit cards from four vehicles. 

Fabula, the lead detective on the case, obtained security video footage from the area where the burglaries occurred and also followed the stolen cards’ paper trail, learning that  they had been used to make purchases at Walmart and GameStop in Kearny, police said. The detective then got more security footage from those stores. 

Police said images from the videos were then sent to various law enforcement agencies and were also circulated to the general public via Facebook – including a Jan. 18 posting on the KPD page. It showed the suspect, “a black male with a heavy build and facial hair that was captured on multiple instances of surveillance footage wearing a Cavaliers baseball cap and brown sweater.”

Anyone with information on the thefts or an identification of the suspect was asked to contact the Detective Bureau or to email info to tips@kearnynjpd.org.  

Anonymous tips were welcome. And info began to arrive, focusing on the man subsequently identified as Easterling, police said, and leading to the arrest five days later.

Easterling has been charged in Kearny with burglary, theft and credit card theft and was sent to the Hudson County Jail.

According to N.J. Department of Corrections data, Easterling had been sentenced in October 2007 for aggravated manslaughter, aggravated assault (two counts), receiving stolen property and resisting arrest/eluding. The manslaughter conviction carried a sentence of 8 1/2 to 10 years.  He reportedly was paroled from state prison in May 2015.

Karen Zautyk | Observer Correspondent