KPD:  Get the drift? You’re under arrest

By 9 p.m. last Thursday, Feb. 9, the snow had stopped falling, but Kearny police reportedly had to deal with one more flake.

It was at that hour that Sgt. Jack Corbett and Officers Chris Manolis and Andre Fernandes were called to a motor vehicle accident at Bergen and Schuyler Aves., where a 2016 Dodge van had been rear-ended by a 2012 Mercedes, whose driver then parked and locked the car in the Seabra’s lot and fled on foot, police said.

The van’s three occupants provided officers with the Mercedes driver’s description, and Corbett soon located the suspect — Mateusz Palka, 28, of Kearny — in the area of Schuyler and Wilson Aves.

Palka, police said, was “defiant and uncooperative” — and swaying — and refused to take field sobriety tests. He reportedly resisted the sergeant’s attempts to detain him and, after a struggle on the ice-coated sidewalk, had to be forced to the hood of the patrol car.

Police said he continued to fight being cuffed, until he was advised that OC spray would be used.

At headquarters, Palka was charged with: DWI, refusing to take an Alcotest, leaving the scene of an accident, assault by auto, resisting arrest and obstructing the administration of law.

After he was put in a holding cell, police said, Palka removed his socks and tried to flush them down the toilet, flooding the cell.

He was eventually transferred to the Hudson County Jail (where he may or may not have been provided with another pair of socks.)

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Other recent reports from the Kearny police blotter included the following:

Feb. 2

Officer Jose Resua, on patrol in the Modell’s lot at 3 p.m., was alerted by management to a suspected shoplifter in the store, later identified as Michael Williams, 28, of Newark, who allegedly had tried to steal three pairs of sneakers, worth a total of $150. Stopped by Resua and Officer Malinda Esposito as he was exiting the premises, Williams reportedly claimed he was there to return the items (but he had no receipts). What he did have, police said, were three $1,000 criminal warrants – one from Livingston and two from East Orange. He was charged in Kearny with shoplifting and was shipped to the county jail.

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At 10 p.m., Officer Mina Ekladious stopped a 2009 Mitsubishi for a lighting violation at Belgrove Drive and New Lawn Ave. and reportedly detected the “overpowering” odor or burnt marijuana. Passenger Gina Coleman, 23, of Roselle was charged with possession of pot and paraphernalia (a weed grinder); driver Nathaniel Watts, 22, of Linden, with driving while suspended.

Feb. 3

Officers Manolis and Michael Gontarczuk responded to a 10:45 p.m. report of a man possibly passed out in a white van at Kearny and Wilson Aves., and there, did indeed find Vitor Jose Rodrigues-Lopes, 32, of Kearny, slumped over the wheel, police said. After FSTs and an Alcotest, he was charged with DWI and DWI in a school zone.

Feb. 4

Just after midnight,  Officers Jonathan Dowie and David Bush stopped a 2001 Honda with no tail-lights at Hackensack Ave./Rts. 1/9. Police said driver Brett Rogers, 26 of Lumberton, N.C., ended up under arrest for possession of pot/paraphernalia, driving while suspended and operating a MV while in possession of a CDS.

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Dowie and Bush, back in South Kearny at 10:45 p.m., issued a summons to a 23-year-old Newark man driving a 2002 Honda with only one headlight. In deeper trouble was his passenger, Richie Villar, 22, of Newark, charged with possession of pot/paraphernalia.

Feb. 6

Officer Jordenson Jean, on off-duty detail at ShopRite at 4:20 p.m., spotted Anthony Torres, 50, of Kearny, who police said was a suspect in a recent shoplifting there. A warrant query reportedly revealed three: Clifton, $885, driving while suspended; Palisades Park, $521, DWS; Irvington, $600. MV offense. Officer Sean Wilson responded to the store to take Torres into custody. The arrestee was processed at HQ and later turned over to the Clifton PD.

Feb. 7

At 6:10 p.m, Officers Jose Castillo and Jose Perez-Fonseca responded to a restaurant on the 100 block of Kearny Ave., where they were advised by management that Joel Esquijarosa, 39, of Kearny, had consumed $40.66 worth of menu items and refused to pay. Questioned by Castillo, the diner reportedly responded, “Yup. I ate the food and I do not have any money to pay for it.” He was arrested for theft of services, processed at HQ and  released on a summons.

Feb. 8

At 2:30 a.m., Officer Ekladious stopped a 2003 Chrysler with an obstructed view at Kearny and Midland Aves. and ended up arresting driver Rahsheen Matthews, 23, of the Bronx, on a $250 MV warrant out of Woodbridge. Matthews, was also charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, and Woodbridge PD was notified that he was in custody.

Feb. 9

Officers Gontarczuk and Dowie, patrolling at Belgrove Drive and Woodland Ave. at 1 a.m., pulled over a 2015 Honda with heavily tinted windows, detected a familiar scent, and arrested passenger Alfonso Vargas, 24, of Kearny, on charges of possession of pot and paraphernalia (a bong and a grinder, allegedly with a “considerable amount” of the drug). Vargas also got a summons for having an open bottle of alcohol (Hennessy cognac) in the car. The driver, a Kearny male, was summonsed for the windows violation.

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Shortly before midnight,  Officers Andre Fernandes and Sean Podolski were called to Walmart where store security pointed out shoplifting suspect Brielle Alston, 23, of Newark, in the parking lot. Police said she would not comply with Fernandes’ attempts to stop her but was caught and escorted back into the store, where security ID’d her as the person who had tried to steal a 55-inch LED TV, valued at $555.

At one point, police said, Alston managed to slip out of her handcuffs but was recuffed and taken to KPD HQ where she was charged not only with shoplifting but also obstructing the administration of law and criminal attempted escape.

She reportedly also had a $150 MV warrant from Elizabeth.

At 10:53 a.m. Friday, she was en route to the Hudson County Jail.

 – Karen Zautyk

Karen Zautyk | Observer Correspondent