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Category: Police & Fire News

Cops thwart jewelry robber



Last Tuesday, Oct. 14, happened to be the birthday of a woman visiting Harrison but it was marred by an unfortunate incident.

Police said the 61-year-old woman and her husband were walking west on Harrison Ave., at 2:53 p.m., when a man riding a bicycle passed the couple, then circled back and grabbed a gold chain from her neck while pushing the woman to the ground.

Police said the robber then ditched the bike and fled on foot on Harrison Ave.

Police said the robber, who was being chased by several men who had reportedly witnessed the incident, was described as an African-American, with long black dreadlocks, wearing a white T-shirt and blue jeans.

As the civilians pursued the suspect onto William St., Harrison Police Dets. Corey Karas and Dave Doyle – after getting a call about a theft from a female victim – ran from headquarters on Cleveland Ave. to Third St., anticipating they’d head off the suspect, who, they reasoned, would be aiming to find the quickest route out of town, possibly to Newark.

And this they did, spotting a man with a black knapsack running on the north side of William St. approaching Third, Doyle said. “We cut him off and ordered him to the ground.”

After the victim and two witnesses positively identified the man as the individual involved in the episode, police placed him under arrest and a search of the suspect yielded the stolen piece of jewelry in his pocket, Doyle said.

The victim, who told police the 30-inch-long chain was a wedding necklace valued at $300, was treated by emergency medical personnel from MONOC (Monmouth Ocean Hospital Service Corp.) for injuries to her neck and hands that she sustained from the suspect pushing her to the ground.

A bicycle, which police believe was the bike the suspect was pedaling at the time of the crime, was recovered at the scene, police said.

The suspect, identified as Curtis Rowe-Williams, 24, of Newark, was charged with robbery, a first degree crime.

Police said that Rowe- Williams, who has a history of prior arrests, was wanted on an active drug-related warrant from Newark. He was taken to Hudson County Jail in Kearny on $75,000 bail with no 10% option.

Harrison Police Chief Derek Kearns commended the two detectives for anticipating the suspect’s potential flight route and for proceeding on that basis, rather than going to the crime scene itself. “It was a good call,” he said.

Police said the victim told them she was planning to return to her native country India the day after the crime.

– Ron Leir 

2 adults found dead


Police are investigating what they characterized as a murder-suicide in Belleville.

Katherine Carter, spokeswoman for the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, said that the Belleville PD responded to a residential location on New St. on Friday, Oct. 17, at 6 p.m., to check on the status of resident John Sykes, 47, after Sykes hadn’t shown up for work.

Inside, police discovered the lifeless bodies of Sykes and Felicia Hunt, 23, Carter said.

“It appears to be a murder-suicide,” Carter said.

Police believe there was some type of relationship between Sykes and Hunt, Carter said.

The bodies were removed to the offices of the Essex County Medical Examiner where an autopsy was to be conducted, according to Carter.

Carter said the incident remains under investigation. No further details were readily available at The Observer’s press time.

– Ron Leir 

Arrest in sex case & more: NPD blotter


A local man has been arrested on charges of sexual assault and endangering the welfare of a minor.

Members of the Nutley Police Department and the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office said the arrest stemmed from an investigation of claims of a sexual relationship between Jonathan Matos, 23, and a 14-year-old Nutley girl over the past year, police said.

Police said the prosecutor’s office authorized charges to be brought on Oct. 10, at which time Nutley PD drafted warrants for Matos’s arrest.

Matos was apprehended on Spring St. in Nutley and is now being held at Essex County Jail on $250,000 bail pending court action.


Nutley PD and the Essex County Sheriff’s Department conducted joint surveillance behind Nutley School on Friday, Oct. 17, and arrested Neil Allarey, 19, of Nutley, and Antonio Reyes, 19, of Passaic Park, for allegedly selling CDS to a 13-year-old middle school student.

Detectives recovered marijuana, Schedule II narcotics and paraphernalia.

Allarey and Reyes face various drug charges. Allarey was released after posting a portion of his $75,000 bail, pending court action, and Reyes ws freed pending a court date. The student was charged with possession of CDS and released pending a juvenile hearing.


Between Oct. 11 and 17, Nutley PD responded to 15 motor vehicle accidents, 10 disputes, 34 medical calls and the following incidents:

Oct. 11 

A motor vehicle stop on Clover St. resulted in the arrest of Eric Abreu, 22, of Nutley, for outstanding warrants from Lyndhurst and Edgewater, police said. He was also ticketed for driving with a suspended license. Abreu posted bail for the Edgewater warrant and was released by Lyndhurst PD pending court dates.


A Passaic Ave. resident reported a series of suspicious calls from an unknown number. The resident told police it sounded like someone was on the line but then hung up after a few minutes. Police said the resident’s ID was previously stolen.

Oct. 12 

Police responded to a Washington Ave. gas station on a report of theft of services. The attendant told officers that after he’d finished pumping $40 worth of fuel for a silver Dodge Charger, the driver, a black woman with two children in the back seat, drove off south on Washington Ave. into Belleville without paying. Police said the car was registered to an East Orange resident.


Police were called to a Stanley Ave. location on a report of criminal mischief to a vehicle. The owner told police someone had poured some type of liquid on top of, and next to, the vehicle, causing the car’s paint to peel.

Oct. 14

Police were alerted to illegal dumping on Prospect St. near Hawthorne Ave. where, a resident reported, someone drives by regularly and leaves empty bottles of beer and liquor on the sidewalk. Police found a broken bottle near the curb. The resident said they’d already cleared away up two other bottles. No description of the vehicle was provided to police.

Oct. 15 

The theft of a large amount of money from a vehicle parked on Washington Ave. was reported to police. The victim told police they’d withdrawn $7,063 from a company account at the bank and placed a folder with the cash in their vehicle. After driving to a local store, the victim said they locked the car and, after a 15-minute stay, returned to find the cash gone. Police said they found no sign of forced entry.

Oct. 16 

A Pake St. resident told police they’d returned to their home after having been gone 2 ó hours to find the rear door forced open. Police said they found damage to a door jam and pry marks to an interior door that provided access to the main floor. Detectives are investigating.

– Ron Leir 

3rd swastika suspect charged



The third member of a Belleville trio suspected in the vandalism of vehicles at a Kearny trucking company was arrested last week on charges of bias intimidation, criminal mischief and conspiracy, Kearny Police Chief John Dowie reported.

Adonis Giron, 20, turned himself in at KPD headquarters Oct. 15 after being contacted by Det. Michael Gonzalez, chief investigator on the case, Dowie said.

His bail was set at $25,000, and he was subsequently released after posting 10%, authorities reported,

The previous week, Gonzalez and Det. John Plaugic had arrested Frederick Vangeldren, 26, and Akim Dolor, 24, both also of Belleville, in connection with the incident at Star City trucking on Third St. in Kearny.

On the morning of Oct. 3, a company manager had discovered four trucks vandalized, two of them spray-painted with swastikas. Police said Star City’s owner is Jewish.

Vangeldren and Dolor face the same charges as Giron.

Dowie noted that Gonzalez had developed the suspects after viewing security videos in the neighborhood.

All reports connected with the case have been forwarded to the state Bias Crimes Unit

– Karen Zautyk 

Assault suspect



A 44-year-old North Arlington man has been arrested for child endangerment after “repeatedly striking” a borough 6-yearold, Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli reported last week.

The suspect, Alex Shenouda of Rutherford Place, was remanded to the Bergen County Jail on $100,000 bail, with no 10% option.

Authorities said the assault was reported by the principal of the victim’s school after the school nurse observed bruising on the child’s leg and back. The principal contacted North Arlington police, who notified the prosecutor’s Special Victims Unit and the Division of Child Protection.

Molinelli’s office would reveal neither the gender of the victim nor what relationship, if any, there is between the child and the alleged assailant.

Shenouda, who reportedly is married and employed as a delivery man, was arrested Oct. 10 by borough police and officers from the SVU.

Arrangements were made for the victim to be interviewed by an SVU detective at the Audrey Hepburn Children’s House in Hackensack. According to the prosecutor, the child “provided specific details” about being struck by Shenouda several times, causing the bruising.

Shenouda was charged with one count of endangering the welfare of a child.

He was ordered to have no contact with the victim or the victim’s family and also to surrender his passport.

– Karen Zautyk 

Another wake-up call by KPD

Readers of the Kearny police blotter will recall that last week’s reports included that of a township man taken into custody after he was found sleeping on the lawn at St. Cecilia’s Church on Kearny Ave. That was on Oct. 7 at 4:30 p.m.

On Oct. 15, at 2:30 p.m., Officers Brian Wisely and Kevin Arnesman found the same individual, 50-year-old Arthur Smith, in the same place doing the same thing, police said. When they awoke him, he allegedly became confrontational and told the cops, “I’ll worship God wherever I choose.”

According to police, Smith has been advised on multiple occasions that he is not allowed on the property. Wisely and Arnesman confirmed this with parish administrators, warned Smith yet again that he was not welcome and issued him a summons for defiant trespassing.

Stay tuned.


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

Oct. 8 

At 2 p.m., Officer Chris Levchak observed an SUV blocking traffic on Kearny Ave. at Halstead St. while the driver engaged in a conversation. The motorist, Gabriel Rubino, 42, of Kearny, was found to have a suspended license, police said, and was charged with that offense, delaying traffic and failure to wear a seatbelt.

Oct. 13 

Officer Tom Floyd, responding to a 4:30 a.m. accident at Central and Pennsylvania Aves. in South Kearny, arrived to find a 2010 Honda Accord impaled on a guardrail. When Floyd approached, occupant Franklin Garcia, 32, of Union City, reportedly inquired, “Officer, why did you stop me?”

Garcia was able to exit the vehicle, but the Kearny Fire Department had to cut the Honda off the rail.

He was charged with DWI, driving while suspended [no pun intended], careless driving and refusal to submit to an Alcotest.

Oct. 15 

A concerned citizen came to headquarters at 10 a.m. to advise police of a “heated dispute” between a man and a woman on Forest St. Det. Marc McCaffrey and Officer Rich Carbone responded and were told that the couple had entered a residence there. Upon investigation, the were able to determine that no domestic violence had occurred and that the female showed no evidence of an assault, police said.

However, in the hallway, McCaffrey and Carbone encountered Jamal Coote, 27, of Kearny, who reportedly had a strong odor of marijuana about his person and appeared to be clutching some weed. He was charged with possession of the drug and drug paraphernalia after six small bags of pot were found in his pocket, police said.


At 6:30 p.m., Officer Jordenson Jean’s mobile computer alerted him to a Honda Civic with an expired registration parked near Highland and Bergen Aves. The owner, Jonathan Quevedo, 27, of Morristown, was located nearby and was found to have an outstanding warrant from Englewood, police said. He was arrested and the Englewood PD was notified.

Oct. 16 

Just after midnight, Officer Ben Wuelfing responded to a report of an accident on Rts. 1 & 9 in South Kearny. When he arrived, Officer Jack Corbett, on Pulaski Skyway traffic duty, advised him that a 2008 Ford was stuck atop a highway divider. Wuelfing interviewed the driver, Shonett Colbert, 38, of Linden, who said her car had been hit from behind by another, which fled.

Colbert’s stranded car, however, was not the extent of her troubles. She was arrested for driving while suspended [no pun, etc.] and on a warrant from Jersey City.

Police were able to identify the other vehicle and its owner has been mailed summonses for careless driving and leaving the scene.

–Karen Zautyk 

23-year-old Nutley man charged with sexually assaulting 14-year-old girl


A 23-year-old Nutley man has been arrested and charged with sexually assaulting and endangering the welfare of a 14-year-old girl, Nutley police say.

Jonathan Matos was taken into custody by police on Friday, Oct. 10, on Spring Street, and is being held at the Essex County Jail in lieu of $250,000 bail, police say.

Nutley police say they, in concert with the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, investigated claims of a sexual relationship between him and the Nutley girl over the past year.

The prosecutor’s office authorized charges on Oct. 10, at which time Nutley police drafted warrants for Matos’ arrest, according to police.


NAPD: Don’t fall for phone scams


North Arlington residents have reported to police that they’ve received phone calls, mail and email from people reporting to be from the IRS and other governmental agencies. The caller will report delinquencies  in paying taxes, credit card bills or make a similar claim you owe money. A second scam purports that you are entitled to money from oversees or you can benefit from found money by the scammer.

Generally, you will be asked to purchase a green card or similar card from a local store and provide the number on the card or send money to the scammer.

Don’t fall victim to these scams.

Never provide your personal information over the phone or email to a solicitor.  Instead, contact your local police department if you’re not sure what to do.

— Chief Louis M. Ghione
North Arlington Police Department

Out as police director

By Ron Leir 

Observer Correspondent 


For the past nine years, in deference to his lengthy prior service with the Lyndhurst Police Department, having retired as deputy chief, his colleagues on the township governing body have accorded Commissioner Robert Giangeruso oversight of the Department of Public Safety.

Now, however, that is no longer the case.

At a special meeting held Sept. 29, the township Board of Commissioners voted to redesignate Mayor Giangeruso as director of the Department of Public Affairs and Commissioner John J. Montillo Jr. as director of the Department of Public Safety.

Voting for the switch were Commissioners Theodore Dudek, who remains in charge of Revenue & Finance; Matthew Ruzzo, who stays on as Public Works director; and Montillo. Commissioner Tom DiMaggio (Parks & Recreation) abstained and Giangeruso voted against it.

The vote followed a 45-minute private meeting.

There was no substantive discussion of the move during the public portion of the meeting but one source familiar with the matter said that the township insurance risk manager had advised the commission that Lyndhurst was facing a big hike in its insurance fees or being dropped from its South Bergen JIF (Joint Insurance Fund) coverage because of pending litigation against the township and Giangeruso in his capacity as public safety director.

Several lawsuits and/or notices of intent to sue allege that Giangeruso has interfered with the management of the Lyndhurst Police Department and, as a result, those accusations – though not to this point proven – expose the township to potential payouts that could stem from negative verdicts and/or settlements from these lawsuits, the source said.

One way around this dilemma, the commissioners were advised by their lawyers, is to remove Giangeruso as public safety overseer and place him in charge of some other municipal department, according to the source.

The Observer filed an OPRA request with the township in hopes of reviewing correspondence between the risk manager and local officials to learn more details on the subject but the request was rejected on that grounds that, “Information which is a communication between a public agency and its insurance carrier, administrative service organization or risk manager office are not disclosable.”

The Observer also called Philip Bogle, the insurance risk manager for Lyndhurst, for further enlightenment but he declined comment.

When the commissioners emerged from their private caucus for the vote, they did briefly debate the proposed resolution making the departmental switch.

The Observer wasn’t at the meeting but had access to a tape recording made by the Township Clerk. “Where do we go from here?” wondered Commissioner Montillo, to which Commissioner Dudek responded, “We have to do the right thing for the people of Lyndhurst: redesignate public safety and public affairs.”

A skeptical Commissioner DiMaggio griped: “This is something that has been thrust on us at the last minute. I’m not sure if there are other options. Now we’re in this situation. I know I’ve done everything I could to save this township money. I need some time to think about it. Especially something serious as this.”

And Mayor Giangeruso registered his displeasure, saying, “I’m notifying the Attorney General. This is an illegal meeting – [the department redesignation] was never put on the agenda. I’d like an open vote for the public meeting Oct. 14.”

Township Attorney Richard DiLascio reminded the mayor that the vote on the proposed resolution was being taken in open, public session.

DiLascio, who, in May 2012, stepped down as mayor with a year to run in his term in favor of Giangeruso, found himself a target of the new mayor’s wrath as Giangeruso fumed about his ex-running mate landing a new job as the attorney for both the township and school board and, in Giangeruso’s eyes, trying to control things with CFO Robert Benecke.

“It’s nothing personal, Bobby,” DiLascio told the mayor. “It’s to protect our insurance. You got legal advice. The board [of commissioners] is making a decision in conjunction with your risk manager and the JIF.”

“I want to know why the [police] chief’s not being asked to step down,” Giangeruso asked.

“Because he’s not part of our insurance agreements,” said DiLascio.

During the public portion of the meeting, on the advice of counsel, the commissioners – not without some grumbling from Giangeruso and DiMaggio — unanimously authorized holding a Columbus Day Celebration on Oct. 12, “subject to the approval of the selection process in naming the vendors by the [township’s] purchasing agent and CFO.” DiLascio said case law involving events held on municipal property dictates that the township take steps to ensure “that it doesn’t look like we pointed our business to a particular [vendor]. For next year, let’s put out an RFQ (Request For Proposals] and then we’re in compliance.”

17 heists & 19 years


By Karen Zautyk

Observer Correspondent


A Newark man who committed 17 armed robberies, including heists in Kearny, Belleville and Bloomfield, has been sentenced to nearly 19 years in prison, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced last week. The crime spree took place within a six-month period from December 2012 through May 2013.

The 225-month sentence for Bobby Dawson, 31, was handed down last Wednesday, Oct. 8, by U.S. District Judge William H. Walls in Newark federal court. Dawson had previously pleaded guilty to one count each of armed carjacking, conspiring to commit Hobbs Act robberies and discharging a firearm during one of those robberies.

In addition to the prison term, Dawson was sentenced to three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $72,518 in restitution.

The local crimes had occurred at Shoppers Express in Belleville, which was robbed Feb. 2, 2013; Krauszer’s Deli in Kearny, on Feb. 10, 2013; Krauszer’s in Bloomfield, hit twice, on Feb. 13 and March 29; and Belleville News & Food, April 17.

The other hold-ups were in Newark, Linden, Paramus, Maplewood, West Orange and Verona. Most of the targets were delis, groceries or convenience stores, but gas stations, pharmacies, fast-food restaurants and a liquor store also were hit, authorities said.

Kearny investigators were apparently among the first to recognize the pattern after two bandits held up Krauszer’s on Kearny Ave. at gunpoint, tied up the clerk and two customers with zip ties, and escaped with approximately $5,000 in cash.

Within days of that heist, KPD Sgt. Charles Smith and Det. Ray Lopez, noting similarities in the robbers’ descriptions and MO, had linked the crime to at least three others in Belleville, Bloomfield and Newark.

According to Fishman’s office, Dawson and his conspirators robbed each of the 17 establishments at gunpoint, taking cash, cigarettes and other items. In 15 of the heists, zip-ties or duct tape were used to restrain the victims.

In the robbery of a Maplewood store, Dawson fired a .380 caliber semi-automatic handgun at a clerk, but the man escaped injury.

The carjacking occurred on New Year’s Day 2013, in Newark, where Dawson and others brandished multiple firearms to subdue the driver of a Mitsubishi Gallant. Dawson was apprehended May 30, 2013, by special agents of the FBI Violent Crimes Task Force, which had taken over the case that month following investigations by state and local police.

The arrest was due in part to evidence from the April 17 hold-up at Belleville News & Food, 111 Newark Ave., where Dawson reportedly pointed a gun at the clerk’s head before fleeing with $2,000 from the cash register.

Security video captured the robbery and an image of the suspect removing his mask before leaving the premises, authorities said. In addition, the store’s video had footage of a man resembling Dawson apparently conducting a reconnaissance of the shop the previous day.

Two fellow conspirators have pleaded guilty in connection with one or more of the crimes. In August, Jamar (“Rhino”) Darby, 27, of Newark also received a 225-month prison term. Antwon Yarbrough, 27, of Newark reportedly was due to be sentenced last month, but no further information was available.

Among the law enforcement agencies credited by the U.S. Attorney for their work on resolving the case were the Belleville Police Department, Kearny Police Department and Bloomfield Police Department.