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KPD: DWI nets robbery suspect

A Kearny man sought as the suspect in two strong-arm robberies last week — one in Kearny, one in Harrison — did law enforcement a favor by cutting short their hunt for him. That same day, he ended up in custody, getting himself arrested for drunk driving in Montclair, police reported.

KPD Chief John Dowie said the first robbery occurred at 6:30 a.m., Feb. 23, at a gas station at Kearny and Linden Aves.

A man driving a white SUV with Pennsylvania plates engaged the station attendant in conversation and then requested change. When the attendant produced a roll of bills, the customer allegedly attempted to grab it, and a tug-of-war ensued.

The robber managed to get a portion of it, less than $100, and drove off, heading south on Kearny Ave., Dowie said.

Officer Adriano Marques, Sgt. Michael Cardella and Det. John Plaugic responded to the scene, and Plaugic learned that, a short time after the Kearny crime, a Harrison service station was robbed — reportedly by a man driving a white SUV with Pennsylvania plates.

After further investigation, Det. Michael Gonzalez developed as a suspect 44-year-old Kearny resident Anthony Froilan, who had previously been arrested for similar crimes in New York and an armed robbery in Phoenix, Dowie said.

Police launched a search for Froilan, who turned up hours later in cuffs in Montclair on a DWI charge.

Froilan was charged with the Kearny crime and was lodged in the Essex County Jail.

Other recent reports on the KPD blotter included the following: 

Feb. 20

At 9 p.m., Vice detectives had under surveillance two males who appeared to be sharing a marijuana cigar in the area of Johnston and Kearny Aves. After confirming their suspicions, police said, the officers arrested

Kearny residents Efrain Ortiz, 39, and 19-year-old Diosdaldo Reyes, identified as Ortiz’ son. Both were charge with possession and use of a CDS and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Feb. 23

Officer Chris Medina responded to a 2 a.m. report of an individual who appeared to be defacing a car in the area of Schuyler and Arlington Aves. Officer Michael Santucci interviewed the witness, who provided a description of the suspect, and Medina found a man fitting that description on Ivy St. Police said 55-year-old Carlos Sequeira of Kearny, who apparently harbored some resentment against its owner, admitted to damaging the vehicle, a 2013 Mazda that had been “keyed.” Sequeira was charged with criminal mischief.

Feb. 25

At 4 p.m., Office Jay Ward arrested Natalie Rogers, 42, of Kearny near ShopRite on warrants from Kearny and Newark. Police said the Kearny warrant stemmed from a 2012 theft of “a substantial amount” of tools from a local business. Her new bail was set at $2,500.

The Vice Unit took into custody Samuel Cantarinhas, 26, of Kearny at Kearny Ave. and Liberty St. at 9 p.m. after observing him examining what appeared to be marijuana and confirming their suspicions, police said.

He was charged with possession of pot and paraphernalia.

Dets. Scott Traynor and Ray Lopez went to a Maple St. residence at 11:30 p.m. to arrest Vanessa Pagan, 32, of Kearny on an outstanding warrant related to a June 2013 burglary. While at the apartment, the detectives reportedly observed, in plain view, two vials of suspected cocaine and a glassine fold of suspected heroin, labeled Top Gun.” Pagan was arrested on the warrant and drug-possession charges and was remanded to the Hudson County Jail.

Feb. 27

Vice detectives were on patrol on the 500 block of Belgrove Drive at 4:45 p.m. when they reportedly observed 36-year-old Ricardo Santos of Newark, described as a “known drug offender,” enter onto the porch of a private home and peer in the window. Santos then helped himself to a package on the porch, walked around the corner to Oakwood Ave., opened the box and began to remove the contents, police said.

The detectives approached him and determined that the name on the package was not Santos’, and a search pursuant to arrest found him to be in possession of a hypodermic needle and a bag of suspected marijuana, police said.

Santos was charged with theft, criminal trespass, peering into a dwelling (we are assured that is a specific wording of the offense) and possession of the needle, pot and paraphernalia. Police said he was also wanted on a Newark warrant.

The Belgrove Drive homeowner was contacted and confirmed the package was hers. It contained costume jewelry.

–Karen Zautyk

5 years for Belleville hit-run death

A Nutley man who pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide in a 2011 hit-and-run death of a Belleville pedestrian was sentenced Friday in Union County Superior Court to a five-year prison term. Under the plea agreement reached last month, Luis Cruz, 44, will be eligible for parole after serving slightly more than four years, authorities said.

The victim, Jodi DeSoto, 48, of Belleville, was stuck and killed the night of Sept. 17, 2011, as she crossed Belleville Ave. near Rhode Place.

Cruz fled the scene, leaving DeSoto in the street.

Police said she had been thrown more than 60 feet by the impact. She was pronounced dead at Clara Maass Medical Center.

Cruz was arrested a week later following an investigation by the Essex County Prosecutor’s Homicide Task Force. According to published reports, investigators calculated he had been travelling about 45 mph in the 25-mph zone.

DeSoto was the widow of Essex County Superior Court Judge Hector DeSoto and had worked as a court services supervisor for Essex County. Because of those connections, Cruz’ case was transferred to Union County.

– Karen Zautyk

Logged in the Lyndhurst Police blotter

Feb. 21

Police responded to a report of a motor vehicle accident, at 11:38 p.m., on Orient Way near Valley Brook Ave., where the driver of a 1997 Acura had allegedly struck a 2013 Honda and 2005 BMW while they were parked on Orient Ave. Police said they found the driver, Joanna Santos, 36, of Lyndhurst, at the scene, standing outside her car. After she was charged with DWI and careless driving, Santos was released to a responsible party, police said. The Acura and Honda were towed away.

Feb. 23

At 8:43 p.m., police said they stopped a motor vehicle traveling on Rutherford Ave. after determining the vehicle had an expired registration. Police also charged the driver, Raymond Sokoloff, 27, of Pompton Plains, with possession of suspected marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia (baggies).

While on patrol in Bergen County Park, at 8:52 p.m., police said they came upon a parked, unoccupied 2003 Nissan in the parking lot with its windows down and detected an odor of suspected marijuana from inside the car. Police said they found three individuals nearby in the park and charged one, Al-Fahtir Anthony, 18, of Nutley, with possession of drug paraphernalia (a grinder). The other two were not charged, police said.

Feb. 25

A report of a burglary to a garage brought police to a residence in the 800 block of Pennsylvania Ave., at 4:53 p.m. Police said the resident reported that a snow blower and power washer had been removed from the garage which is attached to the house. Police said they found no sign of forced entry.

Feb. 26

Police responded to 68 Summit Ave., at 8:11 a.m., on a report of theft from a motor vehicle. The owner of a 2009 Toyota parked in a residential driveway told police they found the front driver’s side door open, the interior contents strewn about and an Exxon Mobil credit card missing. Police said the vehicle wasn’t locked.

At 7:05 p.m., police were called to the 200 block of Park Ave. on a report that a vehicle had struck a parked car and left the scene. Police said that, because of the damage sustained by the traveling vehicle, a 2001 Chevrolet pickup, they were able to follow the marks left by a dangling truck part in the road to the 300 block of Watson Ave. where they arrested the driver, Michael Martin, 50, of Ringwood, on charges of DWI, careless driving and leaving the scene of an accident. The pickup was towed from the scene, police said.

–Ron Leir

Around Town


Bloomfield Public Library, 90 Broad St., announces:

• A blood drive is being held March 4 from 4 to 7:30 p.m.

• The Sankofa Genealogy group meets March 15 at 2 p.m. and the third Saturday of every month.

• An Immigration seminar hosted by Bloomfield resident and immigration attorney Dennis Mulligan is slated for March 12 at 6 p.m.

• “Divorce Bootcamp” is set for March 11 at 6 p.m. Registration is required.

• Affordable Care Act enrollment assistance is offered Mondays and Thursdays from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. from Cognosante and Fridays from 2 to 4 p.m. from Health Republic of N.J.

The library screens Midday Movies on Mondays and Thursdays at 12:15 p.m. Here’s this month’s schedule: March 6 – “Captain Phillips” (PG-13) (Tom Hanks), March 10 – “42: The Jackie Robinson Story” (NR) (Harrison Ford), March 13 – “Enough Said” (PG-13) (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), March 17 – “Young Cassidy” (NR) (Rod Taylor), March 20 – “The Great Gatsby” (PG-13) (Toby Maguire), March 24 – “Man of Steel” (PG-13) (Henry Cavil), March 27 – “Admission” (PG- 13) (Tina Fey) and March 31 – “Iron Man 3” (PG-13) (Robert Downey Jr.)


Belleville UNICO sponsors a bus ride fundraiser to the Taj Mahal in Atlantic City on Sunday, March 9. A pre-paid donation of $30 is requested ($35 at the door). A continental breakfast will be served before the trip at 8 a.m. at the Disabled American Veterans Post, 612 Mill St. The bus will leave at 8:50 a.m. Call 973-759- 9259 to reserve seats (no last minute cancellations). Send checks, payable to IAOVC, to Gene Antonio, 436 Joralemon St., Belleville, N.J. 07109.

Belleville Boy Scout John Greco conducts a blood drive for his Eagle Scout project on Saturday, March 8, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at Fewsmith Presbyterian Church, 444 Union Ave., in the church auditorium. (Use side entrance on Little St.) Refreshments and door prizes will be available for donors. Donors must be age 17 or older; 16-year-olds require consent from a parent or legal guardian.

Belleville Public Library and Information Center, 221 Washington Ave., offers these children’s programs:

• Storytime – on Wednesdays at 11 a.m., beginning March 12.

• St. Patrick’s Day celebration – crafts, games and a musical performance by the Faulkner Sisters on Saturday, March 15, at 2 p.m.

For more information, call the library at 973-450-3434 or visit www.bellepl.org.


Literacy Volunteers-West Hudson, Inc. seeks volunteers to train as tutors for its Basic Literacy and English as a Second Language programs. An orientation session will be held Tuesday, March 11, at 7 p.m. at the Kearny Branch Library, 759 Kearny Ave. Training sessions will be held on Saturdays, March 15, 22, and 29.

It is not necessary to know a foreign language. Tutors are asked to commit to two hours per week for one year.

For more information, email lvwesthudson@verizon. net or call 201-998-3336.

Arlington Woman’s Club meets on Tuesday, March 11, at 1 p.m. at the Arlington Player’s Club, 12 Washington Pl. Irene O’Sullivan will give an Irish reading. Participants are reminded to bring cookies to fill cans for the cookie/candy project. For more information on membership, contact Membership Secretary Teddie Jablonski at 973-248-6500.

Holy Name Society and Men of St. Joseph of St. Stephen’s Church co-sponsor an Ash Wednesday fish and chips supper on March 5 from 4:30 to 7 p.m. in Hedges Hall, 676 Kearny Ave. Tickets are $14 for adults and $8 for children under age 12. Catering is by the Argyle Fish and Chips Restaurant.

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day at Kearny Branch Library, 759 Kearny Ave., with a free screening of the documentary “A Short History of Ireland” on March 13 at 7 p.m. Irishthemed refreshments will be served. For more information, contact the library at 201-998- 2666 or visit www.kearnylibrary.org.

Good Shepherd Church, 780 Kearny Ave., launches an English-speaking service on March 22 at 7:30 p.m. For more information, call 201-997-4369.


The Lyndhurst Public Library Children’s Room, 355 Valley Brook Ave., hosts a St. Patrick’s Day craft program for children in grades 1 to 4 on Monday, March 17, from 3:30 to 4:15 p.m. Advance registration is required. To register, call the library at 201-804-2478.

Mary Lou Mullins’ monthly bus trip to Atlantic City is set for Sunday, March 30, to Resorts Casino. Cost is $25 (with $30 cash return). Reserve early. Call Mary Lou at 201- 933-2186 for information.

Meadowlands Environment Center educator Victoria Madden hosts a program on Albert Einstein on Tuesday, March 11, from 3 to 4 p.m., at the NJMC Science Center, 3 DeKorte Park Plaza. Admission is free. Registration is recommended and appreciated. To register, go to www.njmeadowlands.gov/ec. For more information, call 201-460-8300.

Lyndhurst Emblem Club #72 offers a $1,000 scholarship to a township resident graduating in June and planning to enter the medical or educational field. Deadline to apply is April 1. For an application, contact Pat McPherson at 201- 355-8582 or email trdmome@aol.com.

Sacred Heart Home School hosts a spring auction Tricky Tray fundraiser to benefit the school’s Margaret Engel Endowment Trust on Friday, March 14, at the school, 620 Valley Brook Ave. Doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets are $10 and non-refundable. Ticket includes one sheet for first level prizes, coffee, tea and dessert. For tickets, call Patty at 201-803-9580 or the school at 201-939-4277. Ticket deadline is March 9.


A blood drive will be held at the Harrison Recreation Center gymnasium, 401 Warren St., on Wednesday, March 12, from 3 to 7 p.m. Donors must know their social security number, have signed photo ID, weigh at least 120 pounds, eat a meal and drink plenty of water one hour before donating. Parental consent forms for 16-year-olds will be available at the blood drive. For more information, call 973-676-4700, ext. 144 or email bmcentyre@bloodnj.org.

North Arlington

North Arlington Public Library, 210 Ridge Rd., hosts Lego Club for grades 1 and up on Tuesday, March 11, at 6:30 p.m.

For adults, the library is sponsoring these programs:

• Computer Basics begins Monday, March 10, and runs through April 14. Call the library at 201-955-5640 to register. Space is limited.

• Knitting Group meets Thursday, March 13, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. No registration is necessary.

American Legion Alexander Stover Post 37 meets Tuesday, March 4, at 8 p.m. at the NAFD Engine Co. 2, 550 Schuyler Ave. All veterans are invited. For more information, call 201-214-8253.

North Arlington Elks, 129 Ridge Rd., hosts a fish fry on Wednesday, March 5, from 5 to 8 p.m. Price is $12 per dinner and includes fried or broiled fish or fried shrimp, French fries, clam chowder, baked clam and cole slaw. Shrimp cocktails and clams on the half shell are also available for $5 for half and $8 for a dozen. T

he Senior Harmony Club sponsors a trip to the Taj Mahal on Tuesday, March 18, and a trip to the Sands on Thursday, April 14. For reservations or information, call Florence at 201-991-3173.

North Arlington Senior Activity Center, 11 York Rd., hosts a St. Patrick’s Day luncheon on Monday, March 17. Bingo starts at 10:30 a.m., lunch is served at noon and dancing will be from 1 to 3 p.m. For more information and reservation, call 201-998-5636.


Nutley Public Library, 93 Booth Dr., announces:

• Story Time with therapy dog Rodney, open to ages 18 and under, a one-hour program that includes a discussion with Rodney’s guardian Carol Schinski, plus a craft, is set for Saturday, March 15, at 11 a.m. Registration is required for children only. Adults do not need a ticket.

Register online at the children’s room website at http://nutleypubliclibrary. org/youthservices/, or call the library at 973-667-0405, ext. 2623.

• Independent readers, ages 5 to 12, can improve their literacy skills by reading to a certified therapy dog. Registration is required. Due to space limitations, Nutley Library cardholders will receive priority registration. The program is held in the children’s room from 2 to 3:30 p.m., on the following Saturdays: March 5 and 19, April 17 and 31.

Register online at the children’s room website at http:// http://nutleypubliclibrary. org/youthservices/reading-to-dogs- nutley-public-library/, e-mail Michelle Albert at michelle.albert bccls.org, or call the library at 973-667- 0405, ext. 2623.

New doctor joins dental office

Dr. Harry Harcsztark, of The Smile and Implant Center, Kearny, has welcomed Dr. Jeffrey Poirier to his practice.

A graduate of Temple University, Philadelphia, Poirier owned and managed his own dental practice in Massachusetts for 10 years before relocating to New Jersey. “We are excited about having such a talented professional join our practice,” Harcsztark said. “I am confident his dental experience, dedication and excellent interpersonal skills will complement the quality dentistry and exceptional customer service The Smile and Implant Center has provided their patients for the last few decades.”

Anyone interested in meeting Poirier or any of the doctors of The Smile and Implant Center for a complimentary consultation or second opinion are invited to call Alexis at 201-991-1055 or e-mail alexis@thesmileandimplantcenter.com.

The Smile and Implant Center offers early, late, Saturday and select Sunday hours. It provides a variety of multi-specialty dental services including general and cosmetic dentistry, cosmetic makeovers, oral surgery, dental implants, Invisalign, Cosmetic Contouring, Zoom Teeth Whitening, Dentistry While Asleep and facial cosmetics such as Botox® and a variety of facial fillers.

Nutley PD: 5 cases of ID theft/consumer fraud reported in last week


Five cases of consumer fraud and/or identity theft were reported to the Nutley P.D. during the past week, police said.

The first incident was logged on Feb. 26 when police said the victim of a credit card fraud came to headquarters to report they noted a fraudulent charge had been made to their Visa debit card from the Bissell Co. for about $181. The victim subsequently canceled the card, police said.

Three other incidents were reported on Feb. 27:

In one, a resident told police their bank contacted them about suspicious activity on their accounts involving a credit card linked between their checking and savings accounts. Police said someone who had the resident’s Social Security number and another personal identifier managed to transfer $220 from the resident’s savings to the checking account and then attempted to wire $900 through Western Union. The resident canceled all credit cards and the account link. Also, after getting a credit check, the resident learned that someone had tried to open Best Buy and Discover card accounts in their name but had been rejected. Police said the resident told them they’d used their Master card at Target and suspects that these fraud attempts may be connected to the recent credit hacking incident involving that store. Read more »

Nutley police: Terminator wanna be cracks neighbor’s windshield


Feb. 15

At 8:40 a.m., police responded to a report of criminal mischief at a Harrison St. location. The victim told police they’d parked their vehicle in a lot and, upon returning, found on the windshield a piece of cardboard on which someone had written, “I will be back, do not park here.” There was a crack in the windshield and in the covering to the driver’s side window. Spaces in the lot are not assigned, the victim said.

Feb. 17
At 6:18 p.m., police were sent to a Warren St. location on a report of an animal complaint. Police said a resident was walking their leashed dog when they were approached by two unleashed dogs, one of which attacked, causing injuries to the leashed dog’s left eye and snout. The aggressor dog’s owner was issued a summons for dog at large, police said.

Police received separate reports of suspected fraud:

In one incident, police said a $9,000 check, purportedly from the IRS, was sent to a resident’s home but addressed to someone who has never lived and numerous taxslayer.com advertisements have also been sent to that location. Police said the resident’s credit report is being checked for any accounts that may have been compromised.

In the other matter, police said a Washington Ave. resident reported receiving phone calls on their cellular phone from an 876 exchange with a Jamaica caller ID for several months. The male caller tells the resident, either that he has a package for them or that they won money. Police said the resident tells the caller this is a scam, only to be threatened. Read more »

Nutley police need help finding missing girl, 17

Judith Hicswa

Nutley Police are investigating the disappearance of 17-year-old Judith Hicswa.

She was last seen Monday, Feb. 17 between 8 and 9 p.m.,  leaving her Centre Street residence, with possibly an older Asian man.

She was wearing a red sweatshirt, with white letters, blue jeans and burgundy Converse sneakers.

She is 5 feet, 3 inches tall, weighs 130 pounds,has  brown eyes and brown hair.

Anyone with information regarding Judith’s whereabouts is asked to contact the Nutley Police Department at 973-284-4940

Still seeking consensus on 9/11 steel


By Ron Leir
Observer Correspondent


Some three years after the North Arlington Volunteer Fire Department secured one of the beams recovered from the World Trade Center site after 9/11, the corroded, twisted steel still sits in the borough DPW garage because officials haven’t agreed where to install it.

But now, according to Mayor Peter Massa, “We’re shooting for Memorial Day for a dedication.”

Where that will happen, though, was still undecided, as of last week, although reportedly, there was to be a meeting this week of NAFD and borough representatives to hash over that issue.

“We should have a determination at our next [March 13] council meeting,” Massa said. Read more »

Tainted firm sues Kearny


By Ron Leir
Observer Correspondent


The law firm founded by Port Authority of New York & New Jersey Chairman David Samson – one of several P.A. figures linked to the controversial closing of access lanes to the GWB in Fort Lee – is suing Kearny in connection with another quasi-traffic-related matter.

The firm says Kearny unfairly and improperly denied its client, Interstate Outdoor Advertising, a town contract for constructing and marketing advertising billboards in the Kearny meadows targeted to motorists using Rt. 7 and/or the N.J. Turnpike.

That contract, which Kearny awarded to a rival firm which the town originally used as a consultant on the deal, is designed to give the town a windfall in new municipal revenues. Read more »