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Accused car thieves grabbed in meadows

Two Newark men were collared in the Lyndhurst meadows after their car – reported stolen out of Elizabeth – was involved in an accident.

Police said they responded to a two-car accident on the Rt. 17 “Loop” northbound at 11:23 p.m. on Aug. 24 and when they arrived, the occupants of a stolen BMW had fled into the marshes near the conjunction of Rts. 3 and 17.

One of the several juveniles in the other car suffered a minor injury, police said.

Police set up a perimeter around the marsh area and began searching for the two suspects, one of whom was described as wearing dreadlocks and an orange safety vest and carrying a bag.

Helped by a Bergen County Police canine unit, officers found both men hiding in the weeds. Police said they found black ski masks and gloves in one suspect’s pocket and burglar tools in a backpack.

Police said one of the suspects, Christopher Harris, 37, struggled with police, grabbing the crotch of one officer in the process of trying to get away.

Both were charged with possession of stolen property, possession of burglar tools and leaving the scene of an accident. Harris was additionally charged with aggravated assault on a police officer.

After being booked and placed in a holding cell, police also charged Harris with criminal mischief after he allegedly clogged a cellblock toilet.

After he was released from Bergen County Jail on bail, Harris returned to Lyndhurst Police headquarters to retrieve his personal property, which, police said, including a key to another BMW reported stolen out of Paramus.

Harris was then re-arrested and charged with an additional count of possession of stolen property (the key) and transported back to the county jail pending court action.

Jones was previously released on bail, police said.

In other incidents logged by Lyndhurst P.D. during the past week:

Aug. 30

Shortly after 6 a.m. a 60-year-old Lyndhurst woman was crossing Ridge Road near Fifth Avenue as a 2008 Suzuki was turning onto Ridge from Fifth struck her. Police said the driver, a Metuchen resident, told them he didn’t see the pedestrian. Police said the woman, who was knocked to the ground and bumped her head, was taken to Hackensack University Medical Center for treatment. No charges were filed against the driver.

Aug. 29

After receiving reports about a man peering into car windows in the 200 block of Newark Avenue. at around 2:30 a.m., police searched the area and, a block away, on Van Buren Street, found Nicholas Zappulla, 24, of Nutley, on the ground under a vehicle. Zappulla, wanted on an outstanding warrant for $500, was charged with hindering an investigation and held at Bergen County Jail on $2,500 bail.

Aug. 26

After getting reports about vehicles seen parking near Kingsland Shops at the foot of Page Avenue and people wandering around, police began regular checks of the site and, at 9:56 p.m., found a Dodge Ram pickup parked at that location with tape covering the license plate. After the truck’s operator, Michael DaVita, 52, of Rutherford, walked out of the Kingsland Shops, he was charged with criminal trespass. Police said the truck was registered to someone identified as Michael Edgerton, 26, of Park Ridge, who was arrested two days later, also on a trespass charge.

Aug. 23

Someone removed two iPods valued at $500 from the glove box of a 1995 Suburu while it was parked in the 200 block of Sanford Avenue. The vehicle’s owner reported the incident at 10:06 p.m. Police said they found no sign of forced entry.

– Ron Leir

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