In recent months, Walmart stores across the nation have been the targets of hoax bomb threats. It happened last week in Kearny, but in that particular instance, police were able to identify the culprits, KPD Chief John Dowie reported.
At 6:20 p.m., Monday, June 2, Sgt. Peter Gleason and Officer John Travelino responded to the Harrison Ave. store after an employee reported receiving a call warning that a bomb had been placed in a “Black Ops 2” game box in the video department.
Police and the Kearny Fire Department evacuated the premises. A search revealed that the games were secure in a locked case, which had not been tampered with, and management reopened the store, Dowie said.
The investigation was turned over to Det. John Telle and Det. Sgt. John View, who reportedly were able to trace the call to an address in Loxley, Ala. They contacted police in that town (pop. 1,632) and were later notified that authorities had identified the suspects as two juveniles. “They apparently got bored while home alone, Googled Walmart, got the Kearny number and made the threat,” Dowie said.
Loxley police said the youths’ parents had been notified.
According to published reports, bomb threats, by numerous culprits, have been made against stores in at least 13 states.
Other recent reports from the Kearny police blotter included the following:
At 11:30 a.m., Officer Chris Levchak spotted an eastbound Ford pickup being operated “in a careless manner” on Harrison Ave. Police said the driver, Froylan Lopez, 27, of Newark, was found to have four warrants — three from Jersey City, one from Vineland – and a fraudulent resident I.D. card. Lopez was charged criminally with possession of a simulated document, and U.S. Immigration was notified.
At 5:30 p.m., police were notified by Kmart that a shoplifter, last seen running toward Bergen Ave., had fled the store with a quantity of creatine pills. Officer Sean Kelly found the suspect, later identified by store personnel, at Bergen and Belgrove Drive. Marcelo Costa, 44, of Kearny, was charged with shoplifting.
Police said he also had five outstanding warrants — two from Lyndhurst and one each from North Arlington, Montclair and Montville.
At 8 p.m., Officer Levchak was notified by a concerned citizen that a group of people were apparently smoking marijuana on the front steps of a residence on Davis Ave., near Franklin School.
Approaching the three, he reportedly saw one attempting to secrete an object in a backpack. After the officer ascertained that none of the individuals lived at the address or had permission to be there, one of them — Xavier Guridi, 19, of Kearny — offered to remove objects from the bag, police said. While he was taking out a pair of pants, a marijuana grinder reportedly fell from a pocket. Guridi was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia.
Officer Kelly, advised at 8:30 p.m. that a shoplifter had fled the Rite Aid store on Kearny Ave., found a man fitting the suspect’s description at Chestnut and Hoyt Sts. Store personnel were brought to the scene and I.D.’d him, and a bag he had discarded was found to contain two hair dryers with the anti-theft tags still attached, police said. The suspect reportedly gave his name as Terry Page, but a fingerprint check showed he was Wendell Pittman, 56, of Newark. He was charged with shoplifting and hindering apprehension and on warrants out of Newark, East Orange and Dillon, S.C.
– Karen Zautyk