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Rt. 46 crash injures woman; 2 arrested

Photos courtesy BCPO Steven Baker Harry Halvorsen

Photos courtesy BCPO
Steven Baker                                                                           Harry Halvorsen


A Lyndhurst woman was seriously injured last week when the car in which she was riding was involved in a fiery head-on collision on Route 46. Police said the other vehicle had been traveling the wrong way on the highway.

Both drivers were charged in connection with the crash, Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli announced.

Authorities said 25-yearold Jessica Wagoner was a passenger in a 1970 Mercury Cougar driven by Harry Halvorsen 3rd, 25, of Wallington, which was heading eastbound shortly before 1:30 a.m. last Wednesday, March 12.

Near the Henry St. intersection in Elmwood Park, Halvorsen’s car was struck by a 2000 Mitsubishi GS, which Elmwood Park police said was traveling westbound in the eastbound lanes.

The Mitsubishi’s driver, Steven Baker, 28, of Newark, has been charged with driving while intoxicated.

Authorities said the Cougar burst into flames and, prior to the arrival of police, two good Samaritans pulled Wagoner from the burning car. She was transported to Hackensack University Medical Center suffering serious injuries, Molinelli’s office said.

Baker and Halvorsen, both of whom suffered minor injuries, were reportedly operating their respective vehicles with suspended driver’s licenses.

Baker was charged criminally with third-degree assault by auto, driving while suspended and being involved in a serious-bodily-injury collision. He was also issued summonses for DWI and reckless driving.

His bail was set by Elmwood Park Municipal Court Judge Anthony Gallina at $10,000, with no 10% option.

Halvorsen has been charged criminally with driving while suspended and involvement in a serious-bodily-injury collision. His bail was set at $2,500, no 10% option.

– Karen Zautyk

‘Green’ infusion for Community Garden


Photo courtesy David Mach At award ceremony, from l., are Jenny and David Mach; PSE&G Service Vice President Richard T. Thigpen, PSE&G Public Relations Director Art Gida, PSE&G Sustainability Manager Angela Ortiz, Sustainable Jersey Board Chair Pam Mount, and Sustainable Jersey Co-Director Randy Solomon.

Photo courtesy David Mach
At award ceremony, from l., are Jenny and David Mach; PSE&G Service Vice President Richard T. Thigpen, PSE&G Public Relations Director Art Gida, PSE&G Sustainability Manager Angela Ortiz, Sustainable Jersey Board Chair Pam Mount, and Sustainable Jersey Co-Director Randy Solomon.

The Kearny Community Garden is getting flush with green … cash, that is. On March 12, the citizen volunteer-town endorsed effort became one of 34 such ventures from around the state to be awarded $2,000 Sustainable Jersey Capacity-Building grants by the Public Service Electric & Gas Foundation. Since 2009, Sustainable Jersey has given out more than $1.3 million in grants to municipalities in the Garden State to help make their communities more environmentally friendly.

Mayor Alberto Santos said: “Year 2 for Kearny’s Community Garden is off to a great start. Last year our green team members worked very hard learning to cultivate our organic, straw bale garden. I am pleased to say that this year, the organizers’ plan is to expand the project and invite more residents to become urban gardeners growing their own vegetables and flowers in our straw bales. We have already had 45 new families sig up to participate this coming year. Thanks to this grant, we will be able to continue the team’s mission of beautifying, educating and nourishing the community.”

David Mach, a co-founder of the garden, located next to the butterfly garden, in Riverbank Park on Passaic Ave., just south of Midland Ave., said: “There was so much interest … that we had to expand to meet all of the demand.”

And that demand, said co-founder and spouse Jenny Mach, meant that, “All of the 250 spaces in this year’s garden sold out in only four days.” Among this year’s new entries, which include “all different ages, including the local Cub Scouts, professions and ethnic groups,” said David, adding: “We anticipate about 200 people working in the garden this coming season. Last year, the group began with a 10-member hard core unit and it was joined by another 10 down the road.

In an effort to accommodate the growing numbers, Jenny said the organizers are “compiling a waiting list for those interested in case space opens up.”

David Mach said the grant money would help offset the cost of acquiring “more straw bales, potting soils and organic fertilizer than we needed our first season” and “will ensure this growing season is even more prosperous.”

Additionally, some of the money will be used “for advertising” to help promote the garden, said Davis. The hope is that the grant can be stretched to get two years’ use out of it, he added.

How does the Kearny garden grow? Under the rules, “Every family or group that signs up gets at least five bales for $20 to grow what they want,” said David, so long as they agree to use “no chemical fertilizers or pesticides.” A big group like the scouts may get additional bales, he said.

To help keep the garden self-sustaining, without it becoming a drain on local government resources, David said, “We plan to have one or two cash crops. We’ve been thinking of Indian beans, for example, or pumpkins.”

One new wrinkle planned for this growing season is the placement of landscape fabric mats under the straw bales to prevent the spread of plant roots, David said.

So far, about 400 municipalities spread among the state’s 21 counties have registered to become Sustainable Jersey grant recipients.

“The impact that these projects will make in New Jersey is incredible,” said Pam Mount, who chairs Sustainable Jersey’s board of trustees. “Aiding towns and Green Teams to achieve their sustainability goals by funding green initiatives will have a ripple effect that will benefit us all.”

Kearny residents interested in learning more about the garden or who want to join the waiting list are invited to contact the organizing committee at KearnyCommunityGarden@ gmail.com and/or “like’’ the enterprise by visiting www. facebook.com/KearnyCommunityGarden.

– Ron Leir

9/11 steel destined for Schuyler firehouse

Photo courtesy Borough of North Arlington

Photo courtesy Borough of North Arlington



It wasn’t unanimous but at least North Arlington now has selected a place to put its 9/11 memorial steel but is still unsure how much money it will need to do that.

Democrats Al Granell, Tom Zammatore and Mark Yampaglia were joined by Republican Dan Pronti in voting for the Schuyler Ave. firehouse site. Republicans Rich Hughes and Joseph Bianchi favored Zadroga Field, further south on Schuyler where there is an existing 9/11 memorial along a cyclone fence at the entrance to the property.

The council directed borough engineer Tom Lemanowicz to report back at the April 10 meeting with a cost estimate for installing the 12.5-foot-long section of steel recovered from the WTC ruins and gifted by the Port Authority of N.Y. & N.J. to the borough’s Volunteer Fire Department, which applied for it as a tribute to firefighters who lost their lives responding to the disaster.

Granell, the council president, told The Observer, “I’m happy that a location that serves to respect the first responders as well as the residents of North Arlington has been chosen. The 9/11 beam has been in the DPW [garage] for four years since it was first received. It will finally have a resting place viewing its original home and skyline. [It is] a location that does not put the residents at risk and one that will allow those who wish to visit the memorial unfettered access to the memorial.”

For Zammatore, the notion of putting the beam at Zadroga Field creates too many logistical problems: “the traffic, we’d have to reposition the fence, build a retaining wall, add room for parking. The fence should be left as it is.” At the Schuyler firehouse, he said, “there’s a beautiful plot of land on the east side of the parking lot where there’s room for people to park and congregate. There may be some landscaping added.”

A final design for the firefighters memorial has yet to be worked out, he added.

Granell said that since there is no money budgeted to pay for the installation, the borough would consider the possibility of applying to Home Depot for a “grant” program that provides a credit card entitling the cardholder to $5,000 worth of purchases that could be applied toward the installation.

In other business, the council:

• Heard tenants of the Canterbury Gardens apartments on Ridge Road gripe about issues involving plumbing, heating, vacant apartments, questionable work being done. Council instructed the borough administrator to coordinate a visit to the complex by the borough’s construction official and health officer to investigate and take appropriate action.

• Referred to Police Chief Louis Ghione a request by Richard Tarantula, leader of the 60-member Citizens Emergency Response Team, for a $10,000 stipend to help pay for items like reflective vests, coats, rain gear.

• Got a report from the borough engineer complaining about the allegedly poor quality of work by a contractor hired by the Passaic Valley Water Commission to patch up roadways after utility repairs that, he said, can hasten deterioration of the streets involved.

And Mayor Peter Massa swore in Michele Stirone as the new borough recreation director.

Stirone, a controller/property manager for an Elmwood Park consulting firm, is a cofounder/ director of the North Arlington Starz Cheerleading Competition Team. She has also served as advisor to the local girls’ cheerleading squad for five years and as Team Mother for the Junior Vikings football league for six years. Her son Christopher, 12, plays on local football, wrestling and baseball teams and her daughter Gianna, 9, plays softball and is a member of the borough’s recreational and competitive cheerleading teams.

– Ron Leir

Convicted of impersonating a cop

Photo courtesy ECPO Peter Repoli

Photo courtesy ECPO
Peter Repoli


So, a guy walks into a pizzeria and says to the staff, “I’m a sheriff’s officer . . .” It sounds like the start of a bad joke, except it’s real life and the unfunny joke is on the guy, Peter Repoli, 54, of Nutley.

Last week, after a twoday trial in Newark, a jury convicted Repoli of impersonating an Essex County Sheriff’s officer, and he now faces up to 18 months in state prison, Acting County Prosecutor Carolyn A. Murray announced.

According to Murray’s office, Repoli went to Santini’s Pizzeria on Franklin Ave. in Nutley on Jan. 26, 2013, flashed a badge and told the workers he needed the address of someone he believed they knew. He threatened to arrest them if they did not provide it, and they said they would try to get the information by the next day.

Repoli returned the following day for the address. But when he left, the workers watched, and they saw him board a bus, not drive away in a sheriff’s car. They thought this a bit strange, so they Googled his name and discovered he had prior convictions.

Rightly believing that this, too, was strange, they alerted Nutley police, who subsequently arrested the “officer.”

On March 12, following the trial before Judge Martin G. Cronin in Superior Court, Newark, the jury found Repoli guilty of the impersonation.

“When someone flashes a badge and indicates he is an officer of the law, members of the public should able to rely on that representation,” said Assistant Prosecutor Matthew Pustay, who tried the case.

“Falsely presenting yourself as an officer is a serious offense and it is a crime taken seriously by this office.

For that reason, we will be seeking an 18-month sentence in New Jersey State prison, the maximum penalty,’’ Pustay said.

Sentencing is scheduled April 25 before Judge Cronin.

Murray’s office said Repoli has 10 prior convictions including robbery, terroristic threats, possession of a weapon and false imprisonment.

– Karen Zautyk

Nicosia drops out of municipal race

By Ron Leir

Observer Correspondent


A bombshell has shaken up the Belleville municipal campaign and has left a glaring hole in the Working for Belleville/ Working for You ticket headed by Mayor Ray Kimble.

Councilman Michael Nicosia, one of the two at-large council candidates running on that slate, has abruptly dropped out of the race.

Nicosia, who is completing his second 4-year term on the council, submitted a letter to the Township Clerk’s Office Friday announcing that he was withdrawing from the campaign.

And it is too late for the campaign team to replace Nicosia on the ballot for the May 13 municipal election. A drawing for ballot positions was scheduled for this week. Aside from Kimble, Nicosia was also running with at-large Councilman Kevin G. Kennedy.

They’re opposed by the Belleville United! ticket, led by Marie Strumolo Burke, the current First Ward councilwoman now seeking the mayoralty, and at-large council aspirants Joseph V. Longo and William J. Freda, both of whom currently sit on the Belleville Board of Education.

In a phone interview with The Observer, Nicosia said that he felt badly for having abandoned his running mates at the 11th hour but, at the same time, he felt he had no choice.

“Four years ago, when I ran in the previous election for council, I felt like backing out because [government service] was consuming too much of my life,” Nicosia said.

This time around, Nicosia said, he thought it would be different. “I was really energized about revitalizing Washington Ave. and other things and the [campaign] battle started early, I got wrapped up in it and I convinced myself I can do this again.”

But during Thursday night’s meeting of the township Planning Board, of which he’s a member, he said he realized he was only fooling himself.

During a hearing on a subdivision application by the developer of a residential complex planned at Franklin Ave. and Mill St., Nicosia said he found himself drawn into a lengthy discussion about “agerestricted” (ages 55 and older) – which is what this developer will be building – versus “senior citizen” housing, “which had no bearing on the application,” and, then, arguing about the pros and cons of amending the plan to allow the developer to give back a piece of land to the township to make it easier for the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission to access the adjoining Second River for maintenance purposes. “And still, three [board members] voted against it,” he said. However, a majority carried the amendment forward.

“The night totally consumed me,” Nicosia said. “I said to myself, ‘What am I doing?’ It was an absolute awakening for me that I need to focus on my family.”

Nicosia, who will finish out his current term June 30, said he’s “most proud of having had a big impact on the [Belleville Municipal] football stadium, the fact that I got the price reduced by $200,000. And, on the new Friendly House, which is still unfinished, because of my negotiations with the contractor, I got us the air-conditioning and the water heater at no extra cost.”

In addition to his four terms on the Planning Board, Nicosia said he also put in time on the council’s development, recreation, public works and IT committees.

Asked would he’d miss most about the job, Nicosia said: “Definitely helping people solve their problems. That’s very gratifying.”

But he remains adamant about bidding farewell to the political arena. “I love this town but I love my family more,” he said.

KPD: He ran, but couldn’t hide

Just before midnight on March 11, security at Walmart reported to Kearny police that they were hunting for a shoplifter in the store’s parking lot. KPD headquarters notified patrol units. First to arrive at the scene was Sgt. Michael O’Neill, who saw a man attempting to conceal himself underneath a parked vehicle, police said.

After being ordered from his hiding place, the suspect stood up and, right in front of the officer, tried to discard a clear plastic bag containing suspected marijuana, Chief John Dowie reported.

Issack Perez, 32, of Newark, was subsequently charged with possession of the drug and drug paraphernalia — and also with shoplifting. According to security, he had tried to steal two television sets and some coffee, worth a total of $745.

Other recent reports from the KPD blotter included the following:

March 8

At 3:45 a.m., Officer Chris Medina came upon a car, its engine running, stopped in the middle of Beech St. near Midland Ave. The driver, police said, was sound asleep behind the wheel. After field sobriety tests, and an Alcotest at HQ , 42-year-old Jorge Nobre of Kearny was charged with DWI, DWI in a school zone, and obstructing other vehicles.

March 9

Officer Ben Wuelfing was on patrol on Bergen Ave. near Kearny Ave. at 5:30 a.m. when an eastbound car with Illinois plates reportedly passed him at a high rate of speed, with its headlights off. When Wuelfing stopped the vehicle, the driver produced a New Jersey license that turned out to be suspended, police said, and was allegedly found to be in possession of a small plastic bag of suspected cocaine. Pedro Carmenate, 21, of Hillside was charged criminally with possession of coke and drug paraphernalia and with being under the influence of a CDS. He was also given motor vehicle summonses for: careless driving; DWI; possession of a CDS in a motor vehicle; driving while suspended; driving an unregistered vehicle, and having fictitious plates.

March 10

At 10:20 p.m., Vice Unit detectives were at Kearny and Johnston Aves. when they spotted Frank Sullivan, 38, of Harrison, whom they confirmed to be the subject of an outstanding warrant from the Ocean County Sheriff’s Office, police said. Sullivan was also reportedly in possession of a small bottle of liquid that proved to be ketamine. He was charged on the warrant and with possession of the drug and drug paraphernalia.

March 11

At 2:40 p.m, Officer Brian Wisely was on the 500 block of Elm St. when he saw Michael Boguszewski, 21, of Kearny, whom he confirmed to be the subject of an outstanding Kearny warrant, police said. Boguszewski was also allegedly found to be in possession of a pen apparently altered for the ingestion of a CDS. He was charged on the warrant and with possession of drug paraphernalia.

Vice detectives, on the 100 block of Tappan St. at 6:15 p.m., observed a pedestrian, Luis Vargas, 28, of Kearny, with whom they were familiar and who appeared to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs, police said. After they approached him, he allegedly gave them a fictitious name, but they knew it to be false, and a check revealed he was wanted by Orange on a $50,000 warrant for terroristic threats, police said. Vargas was charged on that warrant and with hindering apprehension.

March 12

At 5:40 p.m., a merchant on the 700 block of Kearny Ave. reported that a man had entered her establishment and asked to use the restroom, and when told it was not for public use, walked outside and smashed the front window. Officer Brian Wisely and Sgt. Anthony Limite searched the area and found 35-yearold Newark resident Sterling Crawford, who was police said was identified as the culprit. Crawford was charged with criminal mischief.

–Karen Zautyk

Around Town


Belleville Irish American Association sponsors a trip to Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, Boston and Mohegan Sun Casino, June 2-6. Cost is $485 double occupancy and includes transportation, sightseeing, four dinners, four breakfasts and one lunch. For an itinerary or additional information, call Pat at 973- 751-5308 or email patn139@aol. com.


Bloomfield Public Library, 90 Broad St., announces the following: Children’s programs:

• Bedtime Storytime, for ages 2 and up, on March 24 at 6:30 p.m.

• Toddler Time, for ages 19 to 36 months, at 11 a.m. on Tuesdays and Fridays

• PreK Story & Craft, for ages 3 to 5, at 11 a.m. on Wednesdays

• Baby & Me, for ages 0-18 months, at 11 a.m. on Thursdays

• Science Friday, for ages 5 and up, on March 21 at 4 p.m.

• The library has added 16 new foreign language courses to its Mango online learning course including Armenian, Scottish Gaelic and Yiddish and English as a Second Language for speakers of modern Arabic and Armenian.


Registration is open until March 28 for Harrison Recreation T-Ball, Minor and Little League at the Community Center, 401 Warren St. Ages: T-Ball, 5 to 6; Minors, 7 to 8; and Little League, 9 to 12 (cannot turn 13 before May 1). For more information, contact the center at 973-268-2469.

Holy Cross Church sponsors a fundraising bus trip to the Taj Mahal, Atlantic City, plus outlet shopping, set for Sunday, March 23, leaving Holy Cross School, 15 Frank E. Rodgers Blvd., at 10 a.m. Refreshments will be served in the school basement starting at 9:15 a.m. A donation of $30 is requested (return of $25 in slot play). For reservations, call Joan at 973-481-2434 or Marie (Spanish) at 973-481-1799. Leave name, phone number and number attending.


Kearny Public Library, 318 Kearny Ave., hosts two free screenings of the Disney film “Frozen” (PG) on March 21 and 28 at 4 p.m. on both dates. Popcorn and light refreshments will be served.

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.

Presbyterian Boys-Girls Club, 663 Kearny Ave., is conducting a canned food drive this month on behalf of the First Presbyterian Church of Arlington. Children are invited to donate two canned foods as their admission to the club. Club hours: 7 to 9 p.m. on Monday through Friday and noon to 4 p.m. on Saturdays.

A pancake breakfast fundraiser to benefit the American Diabetes Association will be held at Applebees, 175 Passaic Ave., on Sunday, April 6, from 8 to 10 a.m. Admission for adults is $10 and $5 for children age 2 to 9. Door prizes will be included. For tickets, contact Janice at 201-362-2958 or by email at shnanny@aol.com.

Kearny High School’s annual Project Graduation Volleyball Tournament will be Friday, April 25 in the school’s gymnasium, 336 Devon St. Contact Melissa Dyl for information at 201-978-8257.

Tickets are being sold for Project Graduation’s 50/50 raffle and the drawing is scheduled for Friday, June 20, following graduation ceremonies. The winner need not be present. Tickets are $10 each. To purchase or sell tickets, contact Sandy Hyde at 551-265- 8969.

Project Graduation meets the last Thursday of each month in the school’s faculty lounge and next meets March 27 at 7:30 p.m. For more information, contact President Steve Dyl at 201-991-7467.


Join the Lyndhurst Health Department, 601 Riverside Ave., for the following:

• Free arthritis and joint pain management forum hosted by Clara Maass Medical Center on Friday, March 21, at 10 a.m. A light breakfast will be served. Call the Lyndhurst Health Department at 201-804- 2500 to reserve a seat.

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.

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.

New Jersey Meadowlands Commission hosts “Watercolor Pencils for Kids: Signs of Spring” for ages 5 to 12 (accompanied by an adult) on Saturday, March 22, 10 a.m. to noon, at the Science Center, 3 DeKorte Park Plaza. Children will learn how to create a colorful seasonal drawing and then turn it into a painting, all with the same pencil. Supplies provided for the session. Admission is $12 per child; $10/MEC members (no fee for adults). Registration is recommended and appreciated. To register, go to www.njmeadowlands.gov/ec.

The Woman’s Club of Lyndhurst hosts a children’s Tricky Tray on Saturday, March 29, at the Senior Center on Cleveland Ave. Doors open at noon. Admission is $5. Lunch is available at a nominal cost. No outside food allowed. Numbers will be called starting at 1 p.m. For tickets, call Janet at 201-935-1208.

North Arlington

North Arlington Public Library, 210 Ridge Rd., offers the following programs:

For children and teens:

• Comics Club, for grades 6 and up, meets on Wednesday, March 26, at 3:30 p.m.

• Origami, for grades 4 and up, is offered on Friday, March 28, at 3:30 p.m. For adults:

• Historical Fact and Fiction Book Club meets on Thursday, March 27, at 10 a.m.

• Friends of the Library Book Club meets Friday, March 28, at 10 a.m.

In celebration of World Down Syndrome Day, Garden State Rollergirls welcomes Bergen County United Way residents to enjoy its home opening bout on April 12 at the Inline Skating Club of America (ISCA), 170 Schuyler Ave. The event includes a 50/50 raffle to benefit the Bergen County United Way. Doors open at 7:15 p.m. and the first whistle blows at 8 p.m. This event is open to all ages. Tickets can be purchased at the door ($15 for adults, $10 for kids under 12) or online at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/ event/601006 ($10 for adults, $5 for kids under 12).


Nutley Public Library, 93 Booth Dr., announces: • The Jane Stuart Jazz Quartet performs on Saturday, March 22, at 2 p.m. This event is free and open to the public.

• A Women’s history panel discussion is set for Thursday, March 27, at 7 p.m. A panel of notable Nutley women will reflect on gender issues and discuss topics relevant to women in the 21st century.

• “Library Catalog 101” explains the latest tips and strategies to effectively search for and request items, how to share what you are reading on Facebook and manage your online library account on Friday, March 28, at 10 a.m. Call the library at 973-667-0405, ext. 2604, to register no later than one week before presentation.

Nutley Elks Lodge, 242 Chestnut St., presents The Cameos on April 26 at the lodge, 7:30 to 11:30 p.m. The $45 admission includes a hot buffet and open bar. Proceeds benefit veterans’ programs. For tickets, call Frank Zatorski at 201-207-2743. R.S.V.P. by April 15.

The Women’s Auxiliary of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church sponsors a bus trip to Hunterdon Hills Playhouse on Wednesday, May 7 to see the comedy-mystery play “Busybody.” The $60 cost includes transportation, lunch and play. The bus will leave from the church, 120 Prospect St. at 9:45 a.m. and return approximately at 4:45 p.m. For more information or reservations, contact Linda at 973-661-0090.

News from the Nutley Police blotter

March 10

Police received a report of theft of services from a Centre St. gas station at 4:06 p.m. Police said the attendant told them a customer received $82 worth of fuel for their vehicle and their credit card was declined. The customer then left their license with the attendant and promised to return with the money but never did so. Police said they went to the address listed on the license and were told by the customer they would satisfy the debt before the end of the day.

After being asked for help, at 11:39 p.m., in finding a stolen i-Pad, police obliged. Police said the victim, who had flown into Newark Airport, was missing their i-Pad from their luggage but was able to pinpoint its location in the area of River Road and Grant Ave. Police said they could detect a beeping sound on the west side of River Road, about 150 feet south of Grant Ave., coming from inside a sewer, from which they managed to retrieve the i-Pad, which was found in two blue bags.

March 12

At 9:07 p.m., police responded to an E. Centre St. location on a noise complaint which resulted in the arrest of Arthur Karapetyan, 35, of Nutley, on a charge of possession of drugs, which, police said, tested positive for methamphetamine, and drug paraphernalia. Police said Karapetyan was released, pending a court date, after posting bail, which was set at $5,000 with a 10% cash option.

March 14

Police received a report of fraud from a victim who told them they’d been contacted by someone claiming to be from the IRS who told them they’d be contacted by an IRS investigator to avoid a criminal procedure for violating tax law. A man identifying himself as “Mr. Crouz” told the victim that the IRS would be freezing their bank accounts, credit cards and passports if the victim didn’t resolve the issue in the next half hour. The victim was told to go to a Clifton CVS and buy eight Green Point money pack cards, with seven in the denomination of $500 and the eighth for $186. After complying with this request, the victim was then advised to scratch off the cards and read the account numbers over the phone. After doing so, the victim was called back and told that a supervisor identified as “John Brooks” had refused to accept the money and wanted an additional $6,292.73. At this point, police said, the victim became suspicious and refused to send more money.

– Ron Leir

Highlights from the Harrison Police blotter

March 13

At 7 p.m., a couple came into headquarters to file a theft report. The husband told police that they’d parked their 2001 Ford Explorer in the Bergen St. mall parking lot and entered the Radio Shack to shop. When they returned to the lot, about 25 minutes later, they discovered that someone had gotten inside their vehicle and removed some prescription medication, one Garmin GPS and an I-pad tablet from the glove compartment, the husband told police. They found the empty medication bottles on the seat of the car, he said.

Three Wabash trailers were reported stolen from a business on Cape May St., police said.

March 14

At about 3 a.m., police responded to a location in the 400 block of Cleveland Ave. on a report of an individual who was described as standing in front of a residence and yelling and throwing garbage. When they got there, police said they observed a man acting in the manner described by the caller. Police said the man, identified as Luciano Yuelling, 30, of East Newark, continued his disruptive behavior and ignored the officers’ order to stop. He was arrested on a charge of disorderly conduct.

– Ron Leir

Armed robbery suspect caught

Photo courtesy North Arlington PD Ahmed N. Alaidy

Photo courtesy North Arlington PD
Ahmed N. Alaidy



An out-of-state man was taken into custody soon after he allegedly held up and robbed two young borough residents in the early hours of Sunday, March 9, police said.

North Arlington Police Chief Louis Ghione credited Kearny PD’s quick response to an alarm broadcast after the incident as leading to the apprehension of the suspect.

According to NAPD Capt. James Hearn, headquarters received a 9-1-1 emergency call at 3:41 a.m. that two 20-year-old North Arlington males had been robbed at gunpoint on the street on Harding Ave. near Morgan Place.

The victims told police that the suspect pointed what appeared to be a silver revolver at them and demanded cash. The robber got away with $15 from one victim and $26 from the other, they told police. The victims weren’t harmed, police said.

North Arlington PD then put out a radio broadcast of the robbery, along with a description of the suspect, and, soon after, Kearny PD had located a man matching the description on the Belleville Turnpike a couple of blocks from the bridge, seemingly trying to hide.

Picking up the story, KPD Police Chief John Dowie said that Police Officer Derek Hemphill was on patrol along the Pike observed the suspect acting suspiciously and asked him what he was doing there. The suspect replied that he was looking for a particular store and, when asked his identify, gave Hemphill a fake name, leading the officers to charge the man with hindering apprehension, Dowie said.

A search of the suspect yielded the proceeds of the robbery, Hearn said.

Police called in the Bergen County Sheriff BCI’s canine unit for an assist and, at around the same time, according to Dowie, KPD Officer Glen Reed found a weapon, believed to have been used in the robbery, which, Hearn said, turned out to be a starter’s pistol – in the bushes near a medical office at 12 Belleville Turnpike.

The suspect, Ahmed N. Alaidy, 21, of Brooklyn, N.Y., was charged by NAPD with two counts of robbery, unlawful possession of a weapon, possession of a weapon for unlawful purpose and terroristic threats.

Ghione said that Alaidy was ordered held at Bergen County Jail, Hackensack, on bail of $100,000, with no 10% cash option, pending court action.

– Ron Leir