KPD: What a lovely bracelet you have! 

If someone gave you an ankle bracelet from, say, Tiffany’s, it would just be an item of adornment. But when it comes from the state, it has a different meaning.  

Or at least it used to.

Read on:

Shortly before noon on Thursday, April 20, members of the Kearny EMS advised KPD headquarters that they had observed a suspicious individual trying to enter a 2014 Honda parked at Liberty St. and Kearny Ave. Officers Alan Stickno, Daniel Esteves, Jay Ward and Jordenson Jean responded and confronted suspect Jemel Coster, 29, of Jersey City.

Police said he was detained at the scene, subsequently identified by the EMS and arrested on a charge of criminal attempted burglary of a vehicle. In a search incident to arrest, police said they found that Coster was wearing a N.J. State-issued parolee ankle bracelet, presumably designed to monitor the whereabouts and activities of such persons.

However, when Coster was brought to HQ and the KPD contacted the district Parole Office, the cops were reportedly told that it would be “okay to release him on a summons.”  [Editor’s note: Although we have no information on why Coster was previously arrested, our reaction to his release was still, “What?!?”]

A more eloquent reaction came from a law enforcement source who has recently been dealing with such matters as the consequences of bail reform and who commented, “It just keeps getting more bizarre.”

•••

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

April 19

At 9 p.m., Officers Dave Bush and Jonathan Dowie pulled over a 2013 Kia for a tinted-window violation at the Belleville Pike and Sellers St. and found it driven by Luis Rivera, 34, of Bayonne, and also occupied by a 29-year-old Bayonne female and the couple’s 7-year-old son. Police said there was an “overpowering odor of marijuana” and on the rear passenger floor they found a black plastic bag with two large bags of suspected pot, amounting to 235 grams.

Rivera was arrested for possession of pot, over 50 grams; possession with intent to distribute; and possession of drug paraphernalia and was issued summonses for possession of a CDS in a MV and the original window violation. The woman was not charged, but a call was made to the N.J. Division of Child Protective Services.

April 20

Bush and Dowie, on patrol at the Pike and Beech St. at 1 a.m., stopped a 1993 Toyota for a lighting violation, detected the odor of raw pot and recovered a metal can containing 12 dime bags and two 1/8 oz. bags of the drug, police said.  

Driver Luis Acevedo, 32, of Newark, was charged with possession with intent to distribute, intent to distribute within 1,000 feet of a school zone, possession over 50 grams, possession of paraphernalia, possession of a CDS in a MV and the lighting violation.

April 21

Det. Ray Lopez and Officer Jose Resua, in the Kmart mall at 10:30 a.m., noticed a man exit the Dollar Tree, wander about somewhat aimlessly, enter BJ’s and exit a short time later, but not from the register section, police said.

When the shopper was stopped at the door by a BJ’s staffer and reportedly could produce no receipt, Lopez entered the store and the staffer asked the man to open his backpack. Inside, police said, were three boxes of All-American Beef & Cheese Jack Links and two containers of Lay’s potato chips.

However, none of it belonged to BJ’s. 

The cops then checked with the Dollar Tree, which reportedly confirmed that the items — worth a total of $49 — had been taken from that store.

Nathan Rhodes, 54, of Newark, was taken into custody, and a search incident to arrest allegedly found him to be concealing a N.Y. Yankees hat and five boxes of gum — worth $60.41 — which had come from BJ’s. 

Rhodes was charged with two counts of shoplifting and on four warrants: from Roselle, $400; Hillside, $226; West Caldwell, $500 and Bloomfield, $708. [Offenses unknown.] He was booked and remanded to the Hudson County Jail. 

* * *

At noon, a Hudson County Sheriff’s officer working a traffic detail at Bergen and Davis Aves. alerted the KPD to a possible intoxicated driver operating a 2017 Jeep with Maryland plates. As Officer Richard Poplaski questioned the motorist, Joseph Melanio, 55, of Abingdon, Md., he reportedly observed  a half-empty bottle of Bacardi in the driver’s-door pocket and an empty bottle of same on the front passenger seat.

Following FSTs and an Alcotest, Melanio was charged with DWI, reckless driving and having open containers of alcohol in a MV.

April 24

At 11:30 p.m., in the area of Halstead St. and Brighton Ave., Officer Bush stopped a 2014 Nissan whose driver was not wearing a seat belt and the officer reportedly detected the odor of pot. When Bush and backup Officer Andre Fernandes had driver Segui Batista, 20, and passenger Omar Hassanein, 21 — both of Kearny — step from the car, the cops reportedly saw a plastic bag filled with the drug under the front seat and three packs of cigars in the center console.

Both men were charged with possession of pot and paraphernalia; Segui additionally was charged with careless driving, having a CDS in a MV and the seat-belt violation.

April 25

With apologies to John Steinbeck, we title this one “Grapes of Wrath at Walmart”:  At 1:30 a.m., Sgt. Chris Levchak and Officers Dowie, Fernandes and Jason Rodrigues were called to the store on a report of a “disruptive group in the produce area, eating fruit (grapes) and drinking squeezy juices.”

Police said the officers first encountered a “completely uncooperative” Nasiar Brydie, 20, of Newark, who became profane and hostile, tried to walk away and was finally detained and arrested for disorderly conduct.  

Walmart security provided a description of one of the other squeezy-juicers who had already left the store and Dowie found him entering a 2005 Chrysler in the lot. Approaching the car to question the man, Dowie reportedly observed a marijuana cigar on the front seat, arrested him for possession and took him back to the store. Police said he gave his name as Willie Barr, but was found to actually be Randi Barr, 19, of Irvington, who had a no-bail burglary warrant out of Plymouth, Pa., and a $500 MV warrant from Newark.

The respective jurisdictions were notified, and Barr was also charged with hindering arrest.

Karen Zautyk

Karen Zautyk | Observer Correspondent