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Category: News

Scorcher in the swamp

Photo by Anthony J. Machcinski/ Kearny Brush Fire


By Anthony J. Machcinski


In what has been an unusually busy month for the Kearny Fire Department, firefighters responded to the Kearny meadows near the 15W exit of the New Jersey Turnpike after about four acres of meadows went up in flames, sending large, black plumes of smoke into the afternoon sky.

The fire started around 4:40 p.m. on March 27, shutting down the northbound and southbound exit ramps of the 15W for over an hour.

“With everything being dry, that was definitely a contributing factor,” said Kearny Fire Chief Steven Dyl, who noted that a windy day and warm conditions favor brushfires. Dyl said that there was no official cause for the fire.

The blaze was under control in about an hour, with fire officials leaving the scene around 7:15 p.m.

Image courtesy of Google Maps/ A satelite photograph of the area where the brush fire took place. The fire destroyed nearly four acres of land near the 15W exit of the Turnpike.


“Usually, there is an increase (of meadow fires) during this time of the year,” Dyl explained, saying that the brush is still dry and getting access to some of these areas is hard given the marsh conditions.

Kearny firefighters had another fire to deal with a day later when at 10:55 a.m. on March 28, an office trailer located near the Hudson County Jail caught fire.

The blaze, which was a 1-alarm fire, was deemed under control by 11:28 a.m. As of the Observer’s press time, no reason had been listed as to the cause of the fire, and the trailer was awaiting inspection from the Hudson County Fire Marshall.

No injuries occurred in either fire.

Unhappy ending for two massage businesses

Photo by Anthony J. Machcinski/ One of the two businesses visited by undercover cops.


They advertised one thing but apparently delivered something else, according to Lyndhurst Police.

On March 29 the Lyndhurst Police Department, assisted by undercover detectives from the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office, conducted two simultaneous investigations focused on two local massage parlors.

Plainclothes cops visited Tranquility Spa, 546 Valley Brook Ave., between Green and Millburn Aves., and First Massage Therapy, 603 Ridge Road, off Kingsland Ave.

At each shop, police said, undercover cops were offered sex in exchange for cash.

At Tranquility Spa, police charged Yun Choi, 48, of Palisades Park, with prostitution. Also, Rano Rakhimova, 25, of Brooklyn, N.Y., and Erika Nazario, 35, of East Hanover, were charged with being unlicensed massage therapists.

And, at First Massage Therapy, police charged Fuzi Hung, 47, of Flushing, N.Y., with prostitution and issued her a summons for a violation of a township ordinance for practicing massage therapy without a license. Cops also charged Meihua Lin, 35, of Flushing, N.Y., with being an unlicensed massage therapist.

All five were released pending a court hearing on April 10.

In other developments logged this past week by Lyndhurst Police:

On the evening of March 26, police investigated the report of a motorist who said that while he was driving along Riverside Ave., someone apparently operating a battery-operated laser pointer shined a red light at his windshield, and, again, after he pulled into a gas station at Riverside and Kingsland Aves. at around 8:30 p.m.

The investigation led officers to a sixth-floor apartment at 601 Riverside Ave. occupied by Javier Cruz, 25, of Lyndhurst.

At first, police said, Cruz denied involvement in the incident but, after officers discovered marijuana in the apartment and charged him with possession of drugs, Cruz changed his story, telling officers that he’d activated the laser diode from his window but didn’t purposely aim the beam at anything but rather, did it randomly.

In addition to the drug violation, police charged Cruz with interfering with traffic and released him on summonses pending a court hearing. Police also confiscated the laser pointer.

One detective estimated that the beam probably traveled between 500 and 600 feet to reach the motorist’s vehicle.

Police said the driver wasn’t harmed but there is always the possibility of someone’s eyesight being affected or being distracted and, therefore, subject to an accident as a result of exposure to the beam.

Although laser pointers are typically used by educators and corporate executives in power point presentations, the equipment is readily available from retailers at relatively low costs and is sometimes used to harm or distract others.

In Feb. 2012 Congress passed a bill prohibiting the aiming of a laser beam at an aircraft or in the flight path of an aircraft and provides for fines of up to $11,000 or imprisonment for up to five years for anyone convicted of the offense.

On March 24, at 1:18 a.m., police stopped Krystina Bijak, 35, of Elmwood Park, after noticing that she was driving a 2004 Honda erratically on Valley Brook Ave., traveling eastbound but crossing into the westbound lane.

After she was pulled over at Ridge Road, Bijak was issued summonses for refusal to submit to a breath test and for DWI. She was released to a responsible party and her vehicle was impounded.

-Ron Leir

Woman loses her fight for right to party

On Saturday, March 24, Officer Dean Gasser was sent to the 100 block at Devon St. on a loud noise complaint. Before he could even enter, Gasser was able to hear the music from the street. When he encountered a female at the apartment, she yelled at him over the music, saying, “she has a right to listen to music at any level.”

Gasser then issued her a town ordinance violation for playing music too loudly and the music was then shut down.

Here are other items from the Kearny Police Blotter.

On Friday, March 23, Officer Mike Andrews was in the area of Kearny Ave. and Beech St. and observed a male known to him to have outstanding warrants. Andrews called into headquarters and confirmed the man still had warrants out for his arrest. Detectives Mike Gonzalez and John Plaugic, along with Officer Neil Nelson were alerted to the situation and responded as backup..

Before Andrews was able to stop the subject, the individual attempted to get into a car occupied by two individuals. In plain view, the officers saw a marijuana-like substance on the backseat. Upon sight, the officers took the individuals from the car and continued the search. The search turned up more than 50 grams of marijuana, confirming their initial thoughts. Also in the search, the officers found $800 that they believe was from previous drug transactions. A search of the persons also found a balled up paper towel with even more marijuana.

Clarence McCoy, a 41-yearold from Lodi and Elliot Morgan, a 34-year-old Patterson resident were charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, intent to distribute in a school zone, intent to distribute in a park zone, possession of over 50 grams of marijuana, possession of paraphernalia. Bail was set at $25,000 for both men with no 10% option.

Early on Saturday, March 24, Officers Tom Pontrella and Kevin Canaley were patrolling in the 2nd precinct and recieved a report of a one-car accident in the area of the Whitpenn Bridge. Finding nothing, the two officers traveled down Belleville Turnpike westbound and eventually found a vehicle that was involved in an accident. When the officers approached the vehicle, they noticed smoke from an airbag deployment still lingering in the vehicle and the driver in the vehicle, still dazed. North Arlington Ambulance and Police Department responded to the scene. During an interview with the driver, he admitted that he was the vehicle involved and claims that he was cut off by another driver. The officers could tell that the individual had been drinking and since he carried the odor of alcoholic beverage. The man, 26-year-old North Arlington resident Joseph Parker, was arrested and charged with Driving While Intoxicated and Careless Driving.

On March 25, Officer John Fabula was patrolling Gunnel Oval about 7:30 p.m. when he saw an individual in the Northeast corner that he recognized from prior encounters. The man was acting very strangely to the point of convulsion. When Fabula questioned him, the man said, “I just smoked some of that stuff that used to be legal.”

Fabula arrested the man and charged him with possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of a synthetic schedule 1 controlled substance. During processing, the individual was not showing any indication that it was wearing off so out of concern, Kearny EMS checked out 20-year-old Kearny resident Tristen Sanchez. Sanchez was then transported to Clara Maass Hospitial.

On March 27, Andrews saw a group of individuals blocking the sidewalk in the 300 block of Kearny Ave. As he lit the lights on his vehicle, two of the individuals turned and rapidly walked away. Andrews stopped one of the individuals who appeared to be concealing a pill bottle. The bottle was turned over and found to not have a label on it. A further investigation of the individual found that he, 19-year-old James Hems from Bayonne, had four Ziploc bags of marijuana in the pill bottle. He was then placed under arrest for possession of marijuana and possession of paraphernalia.

The next day, Officers Jack Grimm and Jack Corbit observed a female at the intersection of Schuyler and Stewart Aves. The woman was sitting on the curb nodding in and out of consciousness. The officers approached her and felt that she was under the influence. A warrant check of the individual, 48-year-old Sherri Fatrik of New Hope, PA, found that she had three active warrants out for her arrest from Atlantic City, Shamong, and Bedminster. A search of Fatrik found one amphetamine tablet, one famotidine tablet, and nine hydrochloride tablets in a clear fuse container. She was taken to headquarters and charged with possession of CDS, possession of paraphernalia, and an additional $5,000 bail was set.

Later on March 28, Officers Nelson and Andrews were patrolling the area of Belgrove and Passaic Ave. and found an individual known to them to have his driving rights revoked. When they approached the vehicle, they found he was clutching two glassine folds of suspected heroine in plain view. The bags, stamped “Slow Sucks”, allowed the officers to continue a search of the vehicle which turned up five more bags of suspected heroine, stamped, “Star Ledger”. The man, 21-year-old Shane Conklin of Malta, NY, was arrested and charged with driving while revoked, possession of CDS, possession of CDS in a motor vehicle, and possession of paraphernalia.

-Anthony J. Machcinski

Around Town


If your ability to read is affected by a visual impairment, a physical impairment, or a reading disability, the Bloomfield Public Library can help. You may qualify for free library services sponsored by the N.J. State Library Talking Book and Braille Center. Call the Bloomfield Library at 973-566-6200, ext. 213 and find out about applying for services such as the new Digital Audiobook Reader, Braille books, and news programming from Audiovision.


CANstruction at Kearny High School. Kearny students help fight against hunger. All proceeds will be donated to the local food pantries and soup kitchens. Drop off donated cans to: Mid Realty, Lee’s Florist, The Observer, Bloomfield BMW, Bower Roofing, Moran Towing and First Presbyterian Church. For more information, visit www.canstruction.org.

The Salvation Army, 28 Beech St., Kearny, is offering computer classes on Monday and Tuesday mornings from 10 a.m. to noon. A $30 fee is charged per 12 hours of instruction. The classes cover basic computer skills (mouse, keyboard, Internet), email, as well as Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint. The Ancient Order of

Hibernians, Division 7, Hudson County, meets on the second Wednesday of every month at 7:30 p.m. at the Irish American Association, 95 Kearny Ave., Kearny. New members are encouraged to attend.

Kearny UNICO will be holding its next monthly membership meeting on Thursday, April 12, at 7:30 p.m. Anyone interested in attending the meeting and/ or learning more about Kearny UNICO should contact Chapter President Lou Pandolfi at 201-368-2409. New members are always welcome.

The Kearny Public Library will be offering free computer classes for beginners. Classes are two-hour sessions every Friday for six weeks. Sessions start on April 13 and end on May 18. The classes cover use of the mouse, keyboard and an introduction to the Internet. There is no charge, but space is limited. To sign up for the course, please call the library at 201-998-2666 ext. 4203, or come into the library at 318 Kearny Ave. For more information, visit www.kearnylibrary.org.

The library will have a free screening of “War Horse” (PG-13/146 minutes) at 4 p.m. on Monday, April 16, downstairs at the Main Library, 318 Kearny Ave. Popcorn and light refreshments will be served. Those attending are asked to please note the rating of the film. For more information on our programs, please call the library at (201) 998- 2666 or visit www.kearnylibrary.org.

Library patrons can now arrange a one-on-one, halfhour session with professional librarians for help with putting together and typing a resume and applying for a job online. The sessions will be held at the main library. To sign up, call (201) 998-2666.

The Kearny Rotary Club meets every Wednesday afternoon at 12:15 at La Fiamma Restaurant, 440 Harrison Ave., in Harrison. Business leaders from Harrison are invited to attend to learn about the work that Rotary International accomplishes around the world and in local communities. For more information about the Kearny Rotary Club or to join them for a meeting, call Joe D’Arco at 201-955- 7400 or Jose Fernandez at 201-991-1040.

The West Hudson Detachment of the Marine Corps League invites all former and active duty Marines and FMF Corpsmen to attend an open house, which will be held every Friday from 7 to 10 p.m. at 286 Belgrove Dr., Kearny. Guests are welcome.

The Presbyterian Boys- Girls Club, 663 Kearny Ave., will hold a Tricky Tray on Saturday, April 14. Doors will open at 6 p.m. and admission is $10. Please purchase tickets in advance, by calling Vanessa Vieira at 201-334-8336 or email v_vieira@yahoo.com.


The library is collecting nonperishable food items for the Lyndhurst Health Department’s Food Pantry. The drop-off box is located inside the library’s back entrance and it will remain there year-round. For questions regarding the Food Pantry, call the Lyndhurst Health Department at 201- 804-2500.

The Humane Society of Bergen County, 221-223 Stuyvesant Ave., Lyndhurst, has a supply of both canned and dry dog food, free of charge, available to anyone due to unemployment, disability or any other financial situation who cannot afford to feed their dog, Many brands are available, plus treats. Just stop by or call 201- 896-9300. Open seven days a week.

The Lyndhurst Health Department will hold a free hearing-loss seminar and free hearing screening on Friday, April 13, at 10 a.m., hosted by Audiology and Hearing Aid Solutions. Please call 201-804-2500 to reserve a seat. Light refreshments will be served.

Lyndhurst Historical Society proudly presents “Conversation Upon the Death of a Daughter,” a short one-woman play by Roseann Pellegrino, based on historical and personal facts about Varina Davis. The event will be held at the American Legion Post 139, 217 Webster Ave., Lyndhurst (upstairs hall) on Wednesday, April 18, at 7 p.m. School teachers and students are also invited. Admission is free. For more information, please call 201- 939-7972.

Meadowlands Environment Center, 2 DeKorte Park Plaza, Lyndhurst, will host Fresh-Water Fishing in New Jersey’s Waters on Wednesday, April 11, at 2 p.m. The fresh-water fishing season opens in April, and Principal Fisheries Biologist Mark Boriek of the N.J. Division of Fish and Wildlife will give you tips to get you hooked on the sport. Admission is $5/person; $4/ MEC members. For more information, call 201-460-8300 or visit njmeadowlands.gov/ec.

The Woman’s Club of Lyndhurst will host “Spring Into Fashion” Sunday Brunch and Fashion Show fundraiser on Sunday, April 15, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at The Graycliff, 122 Moonachie Ave., Moonachie. There will also be a tricky tray with great prizes and a 50/50 raffle. A full brunch will be served. Tickets are $35. For tickets, please call Rosemary at 201-935-4836 or Marge at 201-694-5976. No tickets will be sold at the door.

North Arlington

The North Arlington Woman’s Club holds monthly meetings on the second Tuesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. in the North Arlington Senior Center, behind Borough Hall. Guests are welcome.


Adult Scrabble Night will be held at Nutley Public Library on Thursday, April 5, at 7 p.m. Prizes awarded for first and second place scores. Saturday Story Time is held weekly at the library at 10 a.m. The program includes stories and crafts for children of all ages. Registration is not required.

Two Year Old Story Time, for children 24 to 36 months, and their caregivers will be held at the library on Fridays: April 13, 20 and 27 at 10 a.m. The program includes old and new picture books and arts and crafts. Registration is required.

Dollar cost averaging

 Does it work in a down market?


Here’s a novel idea, buy low and sell high. This is perhaps the oldest saw in the stock market. However, in the wake of the recent sell-off, dollar cost averaging may provide you with the opportunity to capture lower prices today. Although dollar cost averaging can’t protect you against market loss or guarantee investment gain, it does eliminate the need to time the market.

How does it work? Dollar cost averaging (DCA) is a long-term investment strategy. It means investing in small increments. Through scheduled investments of as little as $50 or $100 per month, you buy investment shares over time, as opposed to pouring a big lump sum into the market. This method of investing is often recommended to younger investors with longer time horizons, and investors who don’t yet have great wealth.

But it can work for everyone. Also, some investments have a minimum requirement of $1,000 or more but will allow a small purchase if you invest on a periodic basis.

Why is it worthwhile in a bear market? First of all, when the market drops, the investor practicing dollar cost averaging may not experience as big of a decline as the lump sum investor – as the lump sum investor holds many more shares of the declining fund or stock. The volatility that drives investors crazy, as they see the value of their portfolios plummet, is a friend of the DCA investor.

Second, a stock market downturn produces a kind of “clearance sale” environment. Picture Wall Street as a department store, with signs everywhere announcing 20 percent or 30 percent off. You have a chance to buy into some top-quality companies “on sale.” As a result of dollar cost averaging, you can now buy in at a lower price – and buy more shares for your money.

Another advantage of DCA is that by buying shares at different prices over time, your purchase price is below the average share price.

So what happens when the market recovers? As the market rebounds, you can pat yourself on the back. You were able to buy big at the bottom of the market, and as the market rises, you will have a lower cost basis. All the while, you continue contributing to a winning fund or stock. (Of course, the fact is that a lump sum investor may profit even more from a market rebound, as he or she may hold comparatively more shares than you.)

Perhaps most importantly, you stay invested. Dollar cost averaging gives you a regular, passive investment strategy as opposed to market timing. In a volatile market, the active investor can quickly become a frustrated casualty of his or her impulses – and foolishly “abandon ship.”

Think of a tortoise-and–hare analogy. The active investor sprinting all over the place for spectacular gains is the hare: You, through dollar cost averaging, emulate the tortoise. It may not be the “sexiest” way to invest, but in a down market, it is a long-term approach well worth considering.

We have witnessed huge downturns in stocks. The question is, “How are you positioning yourself to potentially take advantage of the markets when things rebound?” This is a good time to review or rebalance your portfolio, to look past the headlines of the moment and toward your long-term objectives. If you’re not currently practicing dollar cost averaging, you may want to consider the concept. (Dollar cost averaging does not assure a profit or protect against loss in declining markets.)

Declining prices do not assure that they will recover and increase. Dollar cost averaging involves continuous investment in securities regardless of fluctuation in price levels of such securities. An investor should consider their ability to continue purchasing through fluctuating price levels. Such a plan does not assure a profit and does not protect against loss in declining markets.

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for the individual. Randy Neumann, CFP® is a registered representative with and securities and insurance offered through LPL Financial. Member FINRA/SIPC. He can be reached at 600 East Crescent Avenue, Suite 104, Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458, 201-291-9000.

Humor blossoming at N. Arlington nursery

Photo by Anthony J. Machcinski/ Joe (l.) and Nick DiDonna in front of Charlie’s.


By Anthony J. Machcinski

After nearly four decades of existence, Charlie’s Nursery & Garden Center in North Arlington, will finally get its chance to shine.

Charlie’s will host an episode of TruTV’s hit show “Impractical Jokers,” a TV show in which a team of comedians pulls pranks on unsuspecting customers. The episode featuring Charlie’s will debut on April 5 at 10 p.m.

“We were on the road doing a delivery and they just randomly called the store and asked us if we wanted to be a part of it,” said Charlie’s co-manager Nick DiDonna. “My dad thought it was a joke or that it was a prank call, but we said yes and a week or two later a producer and a field scout came to eye the area.”

Once committed, shooting took place during late October and early November for the show, which made its TV debut on Dec. 15.

“(The TV crew) came the first morning at like 6 a.m. to set up,” recalled Joe DiDonna, Nick’s older brother and co-manager of Charlie’s.

For the elder DiDonna, however, it was the life behind the camera lens that got him really interested in the show.

“I was more excited to see the back part of it,” said Joe, who, like his younger brother, attended William Patterson University pursuing a communications degree. “It was amazing to see the preparation they put in to each show. It wasn’t just setting up five cameras. It was everything else, from audio guys and technicians that really showed how hard the crew worked.”

The brothers got into the floral business after attempting to get into the construction business.

“We went into (the floral business) with our father to build townhouses,” said Joe. “That one year plan turned into a couple of years and then this opportunity (to buy Charlie’s nursery from its original owner) occurred and we turned it into a career.”

“It was just a job to get us through college,” Nick added. “At one point, we really started to like it and the more we began to know about it, the more we liked it.”

With nearly five years of experience under their belts, Nick and Joe DiDonna have been able to keep up the tradition that has been associated with Charlie’s.

Charlie’s Nursery & Garden Center, located at 275 River Road in North Arlington, is open seven days a week, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and opens at 8 a.m. on the weekend. For more information, visit www.charliesnurserynj.com.


She and her patients see eye to eye

Photo by Anthony J. Machcinski/ Dr. Maria Domingues


By Anthony J. Machcinski

With a kind heart and a jovial personality, Dr. Maria Domingues can be seen moving about her office caring for patients of all ages, making what could be a nuisance of a visit to the eye doctor into a pleasant experience.

However, her journey into the world of optometry wasn’t along a conventional path. She enrolled at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), intending to pursue engineering, but the young woman realized that her choice of major had lost its luster and looked for something different.

“I had a friend that suggested that I would be good with patients,” Domingues explained. “I was looking for different graduate programs and optometry just caught my eye.”

After receiving her optometry degree from NJIT, Domingues took her revitalized passion to Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., where she would receive her doctor of optometry degree in 2009 from Nova Southeastern College of Optometry.

About a year ago, the Kearny native returned to New Jersey, seeing patients in Irvington. It was during her time in Irvington that Domingues was able to see some of her hard work pay off.

“When I opened my first practice in Irvington, the patients had many (eye-disease related) problems,” Domingues explained. “I was finally able to see why I did the things I did during optometry school. It was a really good preparation for what was to come.”

From Irvington, Domingues was able to partner with her brother-in-law and open a second office in Lyndhurst, allowing her to practice even closer to her hometown.

“Dr. (Matthew) Zeiler was retiring,” Domingues said, when asked about how she arrived in Lyndhurst. “When he retired, it just happened to be a good fit. I had a few days off and this just fit right in.”

In the near future, Domingues hopes to enlarge her business by bringing in her sister, who is currently in optometry school herself.

“When my sister graduates, we can try to expand,” Domingues explained. “Maybe, we can build up a chain one day. I’m just really fortunate.”

Regardless of how many offices she has, Domingues’ focus is on one aspect of the business she loves more than anything.

“The interaction with the people that I meet day-to-day,” Domingues said. “Everyone has a different story. You really can make an impact on people’s lives.”

Dr. Maria Domingues and Pink Vision Associates are located at 348 Ridge Road in Lyndhurst and at 1068 Clinton Ave. in Irvington.

Message for the Soul: Value Your Relationships

How many of us are always running behind time? Even though we may wish to plan ahead and make time for everything that is on our mind, very few succeed in accomplishing all their tasks. As we continue to live in stressful times, we often tend to neglect delicate relationships. As much as we all hate to accept the fact that over a period of time we start taking our loved ones for granted; many will agree that it is true. We hear many wise men say that one must live their life as if it were their last day and even though we agree with that; not many of us are able to live by that principle and hence continue to hold grudges against people who shouldn’t matter. Instead we must appreciate the beauty in loving relationships and count our blessings for having them in our lives. Take time out to spend a quiet evening with your parents who probably sacrificed a lot for you, or bring some simple joys to your siblings and children by coming home in a nice mood and greeting them with a smile. It isn’t important to spend a fortune time and again to express how much you value those in your life, but just a good positive vibration exuberating from you is a gift enough. Put your thoughts into words. Don’t just assume your partner knows how much you love them; expressing it verbally occasionally will do no harm and in fact it will only help blossom the love you both share. I am sure this is common knowledge for everyone, but the reason I bring it up again is because even though we know it, not many of us apply it. I suggest you take a token of love; which can be anything that symbolizes love for you, such as a poster or a wall hanging and hang it in the most prominent and visible part of your home where you can see it every day as a reminder. Take a moment and hug someone. Comfort others when you see them in pain. A kind word, a helping hand and an encouraging word can go a long way in spreading happiness amongst people who we love dearly. They deserve it and you do too. You deserve to be nurtured, loved and respected. In the end all that really matters is how well you have lived your life. Remember, it is our family and friends that make our lives beautiful. So let’s hold these people close to our hearts now and forever.


Visit Shweta Punjabi at her website solutionsbyshweta.com for more information or email her at magictaara@yahoo.com

Nutley Police Blotter

March 23

After getting off a bus, a Nutley resident was walking on Park Ave. near River Road at 12:39 a.m. when he was assaulted by three people and robbed of money and a cellular phone.

March 22

A burglar got into a Coyeman Ave. residence, sometime between 5 and 8:23 p.m., by shattering a rear glass door and removed undisclosed items from the house. Detectives are also investigating an attempted burglary, reported at the same time, at a Margaret Ave. home where someone broke the glass in the rear door while muffling the sound with a drop cloth. Nutley Police and the Essex County Sheriff’s K-9 unit attempted to track a scent detected at the Margaret Ave. location.

A teen attending track practice at DeMuro Park reported that someone stole his cellular phone, valued at more than $400, from an unsecured locker at that location. The theft was reported at 5:42 p.m.

Rhett Ellis, 47, of East Orange, was arrested at 4:40 p.m. at a Harrison St. business where Ellis was found to be concealing hair products without paying for them. Ellis was ticketed for shoplifting and possession of drugs and released pending a court appearance.

Police pulled over a vehicle operated by Angel Mendez, 39 of East Orange for a traffic stop on E. Passaic Ave. at 11:25 a.m. and discovered he had outstanding warrants totaling more than $1,500  from Union City, Bloomfield and Newark. Police said Mendez tried to avoid arresting officers. He was charged with resisting arrest and eluding and was detained on $500 Nutley bail pending payment.

March 21

A mother got separated from her 9-year-old child at a Passaic Ave. convenience store at 7:49 p.m. but officers managed to find the missing youngster walking a block away. Police said the child, who was confused and frightened, was reunited with the mother.

Aika Chaudhary, 35, of Nutley, was in Nutley Municipal Court at 11:32 a.m. when an alert police officer recognized her as someone who was wanted by the Morris County Sheriff’s Department. She was taken into custody and turned over to Morris County authorities.

March 20

At 8:37 p.m. police arrested Robert Christian, 45, of Belleville, on a theft charge as he was about to get into a car outside a Franklin Ave. business. Management identified Christian as the individual who took items from the shop without paying. Police recovered all the merchandise. After giving officers a false identity, Christian was also charged with hindering apprehension. Police learned that Christian had several outstanding warrants: $325 from Newark, $500 from Linden and $658 from Springfield. He was turned over to Linden Police.

Police were called to a private school on Park Ave. at 7:03 p.m. to mediate a dispute. Police calmed the people quarreling and advised them of their right to sign complaints.

March 19

A Milton Ave. resident called police at 3:09 p.m. to report that someone had entered the resident’s vehicle and removed a number of items.

A vandal slashed the front tire of a Harrison St. resident’s vehicle while it was parked on Monsignor Deluca Place. The incident was logged in at 11:03 a.m.

A frantic Linn Road resident called police at 10:55 a.m. to report her two-year-old child missing. When officers arrived, they found the mother running down Craig Place in search of the toddler who, police quickly discovered, was hiding inside the resident’s home.

Someone damaged cement bags and discharged three fire extinguishers inside a Washington Ave. business, the owner told police at 7:30 a.m.

March 18

An arrest resulted from a motor vehicle accident on Rt. 21 at 6:15 a.m. in which one car was spun around. A bystander told police that a man involved in the accident claimed he didn’t have a driver’s license and was trying to flee. Disregarding a police order to halt, that man leaped over a barrier and continued running. But police managed to track down the man, identified as Todd Goodwin, 23, of Paterson, bleeding from the nose and lip, walking along River Road. He denied being in the accident but officers found that he had keys that fit the vehicle left behind at the accident scene. He was a relative of the car’s registered owner, police said. Goodwin was provided medical treatment and was charged with obstruction, leaving the scene of an accident and other charges.

A speeding motorist was stopped on Rt. 21 at 4 a.m. and ticketed for the violation. Police didn’t release the driver’s name.

March 17

An out-of-state motorist with a suspended license was traveling in excess of 100 mph on Rt. 21 at 1:09 a.m. when stopped by police. Randy Debblay, 22, of Norristown, Pa., was charged with driving with suspended licenses issued by Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Debblay also had an outstanding warrant for $1,000 from Burlington City. He was released after posting the required bail.

March 16

A juvenile on Franklin Ave. was taken into custody at 10:41 p.m. after Manalapan Police alerted Nutley authorities that the girl was in Nutley without parental consent. The girl was turned over to her parents’ custody without incident.

Police were called to a Kingsland Ave. gas station at 3:49 p.m. to intervene in a dispute between an attendant and a customer who said he asked for only $15 worth of gas but was given $25.

Police are investigating a burglary of a maintenance room at a Hillside Ave. apartment complex, reported at 9:25 a.m., resulting in the disappearance of power tools. It was the second burglary reported over the past few weeks.

Ridge Road resident Steven Cappiello, 41, was informed by police of several outstanding warrants pending against him. He was taken to headquarters where he posted the required $1,725 and was released pending court hearings in Livingston, Kinnelon and Lyndhurst.

Bloomfield Man’s a fool to do woman’s dirty work

Belleville Police responded to a forged check call at The Bank of America, 321 Franklin Ave., at 12:19 p.m. on March 20.  Upon arrival, the bank manger told police that a man had entered the bank with a check made out in his name in the amount of $3500. The man, who seemed quite nervous, piqued the teller’s suspicions and the bank manager was then notified. Upon closer examination, the manager noticed a “discrepancy in the ink” on the check. When the bank called the listed account holder, they were told that he didn’t know the man and had never made out a check for $3500.  He also said that a cleaning service had been inside his home in Brielle, N.J. the previous day, and that someone might have stolen one of his checks at that time.  Police asked the suspect where he had gotten the check.  He finally cracked and stated, “Some girl (named) Angela was going to give him $500 dollars if he cashed that check” and added, “She left in a cab outside.” The suspect also mentioned that the woman “worked for a cleaning service.” The man, Selionel Orama, 19, of Bloomfield was charged with forgery and receiving stolen property. He posted bond on a $5000 bail and was released.



In other Belleville police happenings:


March 23


At 3:33 a.m., officers on patrol observed two males standing on the side of a used car dealership at 79 Washington Ave.  When they asked the men their reason for being there, they became agitated, defensive and loud toward the officers. After they calmed down they told police they were headed for McDonalds, which sounded suspicious since it’s located at the other end of the avenue. As police continued to question the two, one of the men became irate and started screaming and yelling while walking away. The other began to videotape the stop on his IPod. At this point, one of the officers noticed a large bulge near the right pocket of one of the men. He asked the men to place their hands on the vehicle. Neither complied and their disorderly demeanor continued. The pair, Fabio Fabian Laguer, 18, and Elio S. Valentine, 18, both from Belleville were arrested for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest and transported to headquarters.  They were later released on their own recognizance.


March 22


Officers were patrolling the area around Belleville Ave. and Union Ave.  at 10:55 when they spotted an individual walking along Belleville Ave. near Williams St. whom they had first encountered on March 19.  During their original meeting, the individual had used an alias. Afterwards, police discovered the man’s real name and learned that he had several outstanding warrants. When the man was stopped this time, he was also found to be in possession of a metal dagger. James Lios, 45, of Belleville was arrested and charged with unlawful possession of a weapon. His warrants included the following: Irvington $1,058, Rahway $780, South Bound Brook $285, and Newark $145.


March 21


During a patrol of Washington Ave. at 11:46 a.m., officers noticed a man and a woman arguing. The woman was then seen peering into vehicles parked along the avenue as the man stood behind her. Police stopped the two near 196 Washington Ave. and asked them for identification. They noticed that both began shaking and were hesitant to make eye contact. When police spoke with the female, her nervousness escalated and she appeared to hide something in her handbag. When officers asked what she had placed inside, the woman said, “Oh nothing, I just have a few things.” When she again reached into her purse, police stopped her. They uncovered eighteen wax folds commonly used to distribute controlled dangerous substances (C.D.S.). The woman was placed under arrest for possession of C.D.S. The man checked out clean and was released. While processing the woman at headquarters, 20 more wax folds were found on her person, along with four glass vials filled with a white rocky substance believed to be crack cocaine.  The woman also carried a warrant out of Hackensack for $1500.  Kimberly Ann Elcheikhali, 29, of Lyndhurst was charged with possession of C.D.S. (heroin) and possession of C.D.S. (crack cocaine) and possession of drug paraphernalia. Her bail was set at $5000.


Police were sent to 75 Mt. Prospect Ave. at 5:51 p.m. on a burglary and theft call. Upon arrival the woman told them that sometime between Saturday March 17 and Sunday March 18 her apartment had been burglarized. Police couldn’t find any signs of forced entry.  A Bank of American envelope containing $2300 was found missing from the woman’s dresser. She later noticed that two gold rings were missing from her nightstand. Police are investigating.


March 20

A stolen 2001 green Honda Civic was recovered at 10 Cuozzo St. at 12:47 p.m. The car had been reported stolen from Belleville.


March 19


A woman admitted to Clara Maass Hospital at 8:19 p.m. as an overdose patient was found to be in possession of C.D.S. when a nurse discovered a “clear plastic bag protruding from her vagina.” Upon further investigation, the bag was found to contain a chalky powder residue and loose pills believed to be Xanax. The woman, Evette Mercado, 35, of Newark was charged with possession of C.D.S. and released on her own recognizance.


Jeff Bahr