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KPD blotter: ‘Never off watch’

Two Kearny officers — one off duty, one on — combined forces to take down a suspect who was allegedly attempting a daylight break-in at a North Arlington home, Kearny Police Chief John Dowie reported.

On Jan. 2, at 3 p.m., off-duty Det. Mike Andrews was on his way to work when he noticed a man and a woman, reportedly “very well known” to Kearny police, in a black Jeep near River Road and Hedden Terrace in North Arlington. The detective kept them under surveillance since “we have had several burglaries on both sides of the Belleville Pike,” Dowie said.

When the man — identified as Sean Smith, 38, of Montville — left the car, Andrews notified on-duty Sgt. John Manley, whom he knew to be familiar with the geography and homes in the neighborhood. Provided with a description of Smith and his last known direction of travel — eastbound on Hedden — Manley canvassed the area on foot. Police said he spotted the suspect on the rear deck of a Hedden Terrace home, trying to pry open sliding glass doors with a screwdriver.

Manley, who was in plainclothes, managed to close the distance between himself and Smith, but when he identified himself as a police officer, the suspect took flight. A foot chase ensued, but the sergeant was able to apprehend Smith in an adjacent yard, forcing him to the ground, police said.

Andrews, who had heard shouting, ran to the scene and, with Manley, cuffed the suspect despite his resistance, police said.

North Arlington police were notified, took Smith to their headquarters and booked him on charges of burglary and resisting arrest.

Meanwhile, Kearny Officer Melinda Esposito located Smith’s female companion, Vanessa Shaarawy, 28, of Kearny, sitting in the Jeep near the Pike. Shaarawy was charged by North Arlington with conspiracy to commit burglary. She was booked and released with a summons, but Smith was sent to the Bergen County Jail.

Commenting on Andrews’ alertness and initiative, Dowie said, “Even when we’re off duty, we’re never off watch.”

Other recent reports from the KPD blotter included the following:

Jan. 3

At 6 p.m., near Grant and Johnston Aves., the Vice Squad conducted a field interview with 42-year-old Robert Simone of Kearny regarding a suspicious transaction they had reportedly witnessed. He was allegedly found to have on his person several small bags of crack cocaine and was charged with possession of the drug and drug paraphernalia.

Jan. 5

Officer Richard Carbone was on foot patrol at Kearny Ave. and Afton St. at 9:15 p.m. when he was passed by another pedestrian from whom seemed to be wafting the strong scent of marijuana. When Carbone stopped the man and informed him of his olfactory suspicions, Darren Alvarez, 26, of Kearny, reportedly admitted to having recently ingested the drug and produced from his jacket a plastic bag containing suspected pot, police said. He was charged with possession of the drug and of paraphernalia.

Jan. 6

Officers Ben Wuelfing and Christian Medina, responding to a 12:30 a.m. noise complaint, arrived at a Belgrove Drive apartment where their ears were assaulted by a blaring TV or radio. When the occupant answered the door and was asked for identification, a warrant check revealed that he was wanted by Belleville, police said. Felix Bonet, 30, of Kearny, was arrested on the open warrant and Belleville PD was notified. He was also issued a summons for violating the town ordinance prohibiting excessive noise.

Jan. 7

Officer Rene Crawford responded to a noon report of an overnight burglary at a pharmacy on the 400 block of Kearny Ave. and found that a bathroom window had been kicked in. The thief had fled with cigarettes and $100 in cash. Det. Bryant Obie is conducting the follow-up investigation.

After receiving a report of a suspicious individual, Officer Steve Hroncich found a man fitting the description at Stewart and Kearny Aves. at 12:30 p.m.

Carl Johnson, 35, of River Vale, turned out to be wanted by Kearny, Newark and Hackensack, police said, and was arrested on those warrants.

At 2:30 p.m., Sgt. Robert Maguire and Det. Marc Mc- Cafferey went to the Kearny home of 22-year-old Justin Paz and arrested him on an outstanding drug-related warrant from the Kearny Municipal Court.

Officer Jay Balogh responded to Walmart at 11:45 p.m. and arrested store employee Jose Zerbian, 22, of Belleville, on theft charges. Police said the suspect had been caught on store video on two occasions: once, stealing food, and once taking a $600 Xbox.

Jan. 8

At 3:30 p.m., Officer Jose Resua responded to a report of a drunken and/or deranged man exhibiting bizarre behavior at a restaurant at Kearny Ave. and Dukes St. When asked to leave the premises, the man had allegedly pulled a knife, pointed it at an employee and then fled. The suspect was spotted and detained on Devon St. by Capt. John Gouveia and Sgt. Peter Gleason. The victim, brought to the area by Resua, ID’d the man, police said, and 54-year-old Kearny resident Kenneth Martin was charged with disorderly conduct, unlawful possession of a weapon, possession of a weapon for unlawful purposes, and tampering with evidence (discarding the knife as he fled). The knife was later found by Resua on Dukes St.

At 11 p.m., with the temperature hovering around 8 degrees (not counting the wind-chill), the Vice Squad took into custody a Newark woman who apparently was hoping to provide a little heat in town. Arrested at Stewart and Kearny Aves., as part of an ongoing prostitution investigation, was 21-year-old Chantal Carmichael, who reportedly had negotiated a $450 price for a night’s companionship.

Jan. 9

Det. Ramon Lopez, on patrol at 9 p.m. at Midland Ave. and Forest St., observed a couple of double-parked vehicles, saw a man enter one – a van – drive way, but then park nearby. Lopez was told by a concerned citizen that the van driver may have been involved in damaging the other vehicle, and the officer discovered that one of its tires had been slashed and was flat, police said.

Lopez confronted the van driver, Dennis Fonseca, 45, of North Arlington, and reportedly detected a strong odor of alcohol. After backup Officer Jay Ward conducted field sobriety tests, Fonseca was charged with DWI, and during a search incident to arrest, a razor knife was found in his pocket, police said.

Fonseca was additionally charged with criminal mischief, unlawful possession of a weapon and possession of a weapon for unlawful purposes.

Police said the tire-slashing was apparently linked to a prior road-rage incident.

–Karen Zautyk

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