3 sought in robbery of couple: HPD

HARRISON – Police are investigating the robbery of a Harrison couple early Sunday, April 16, near Sussex and S. Fifth Sts.

According to Harrison Police Department Det. Lt. Dave Doyle, at about 1 a.m. Sunday, a grey GMC Envoy sped past a marked HPD patrol unit on Harrison Ave. on the wrong side of the road.

Doyle said the patrol officer tried to execute a motor vehicle stop but the driver reportedly refused to stop and a brief pursuit into Kearny ensued.

There, Doyle said, “the pursuit was terminated due to safety concerns and Kearny [PD] was notified.”

Shortly afterward, Doyle said, another HPD officer was flagged down near the Sussex and S. Fifth Sts. intersection by two residents who reported having just been robbed by two males exiting a grey GMC Envoy.

They told the officer that the attackers pushed the female to the ground and took her purse containing mostly IDs and credit cards.

“No weapons were shown as the two suspects quickly returned to the vehicle and sped off,” Doyle said.

The HPD notified surrounding police jurisdictions and, in the process, Doyle said, learned that Kearny, Belleville, Jersey City and the N.J. State Police had all pursued the vehicle at some point since the robbery.

At 2:30 a.m., the HPD discovered the suspects’ vehicle had been abandoned in a parking lot near the south end of town. Police took possession of the vehicle to process for evidence, Doyle said.

Doyle said three suspects are being sought: the driver, described as black, with facial hair and wearing a black hoodie; and two passengers, both black and wearing grey hoodies.

The investigation is ongoing, he added.

***

In other developments, weapons, drugs and cash were seized by the HPD in separate incidents in the same part of town during the week of April 9-16.

On Sunday, April 9, at 7 p.m., police said Officer Marc Silva spotted a red BMW with tinted windows traveling at a high rate of speed on Harrison Ave. near First St. After pulling over the car, police said Silva detected an odor of suspected raw marijuana coming from the BMW.

Confirming the driver’s ID as Anderson Cespades, 20, of Newark, Silva learned that the driver was wanted on a warrant from Brick City, placed him under arrest and called for backup.

Officers Vincent Doffont and Albert Pearson arrived to assist Silva with a search of the vehicle where, in the passenger area, they reportedly found a loaded 9-mm Sig Sauer (hollow point bullets) handgun, substances believed to be cocaine, marijuana and heroin, wax folds and scales – commonly used in the distribution of drugs – and canisters used to mask drug odors, along with more than $30,000 in cash.

Police said the suspect was additionally found to have marijuana on him.

Cespades was charged with possession of a weapon, possession of prohibited weapons (hollow point bullets), possession of CDS and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was taken to the Hudson County Jail to await court action.

The BMW was seized and police said they successfully applied for a search warrant to check the rest of the vehicle.

***

On April 11, at 1:30 a.m., police said Officer Joseph Sloan observed a silver Honda with dark tinted windows heading west on Harrison Ave. near First St.

Sloan ordered the driver, Andy Simmonds, 22, of Maplewood, to pull over and noticed a male passenger in the front and two females in the rear.

Sloan, who police said smelled what he believed to be a strong odor of marijuana inside called for backup and Officer Frank Narvaez arrived soon after. The officers ordered the four occupants out of the car and searched the Honda’s interior.

In doing so, Sloan noticed the grip of a gun reportedly wedged between the driver’s seat and center console, police said.

As the car’s occupants were secured by Narvaez, Sgt. Stan Titterington also arrived to assist.

Further search of the vehicle revealed 18 wax folds containing suspected heroin, a glass vial with suspected cocaine, 20 Ziploc bags containing suspected heroin, a glass vial with suspected cocaine, 20 Ziploc bags with suspected marijuana, $150 and a .40-caliber Glock 27 loaded with hollow-point ammunition, police said.

Reportedly of his own volition, Simmonds claimed possession of the weapon and drugs and told the officers that his passengers had no prior knowledge of them.

Police said the passengers, all of whom came up clean on a warrant check, were released.

Simmonds was charged with possession of a weapon, possession of a prohibited weapon (hollow point bullets) and possession of CDS. His vehicle was confiscated and he was remanded to Hudson County Jail, pending possible prosecution.

 

Ron Leir | Observer Correspondent

Ron Leir has been a newspaperman since the late ’60s, starting his career with The Jersey Journal, having served as a summer reporter during college. He became a full-time scribe in February 1972, working mostly as a general assignment reporter in all areas except sports, including a 3-year stint as an assistant editor for entertainment, features, religion, etc. He retired from the JJ in May 2009 and came to The Observer shortly thereafter. He is also a part-time actor, mostly on stage, having worked most recently with the Kearny-based W.H.A.T. Co. and plays Sunday softball in Central Park, N.Y.