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KPD blotter: Trainyard theft derailed

KEARNY –

Three New Yorkers got themselves ridden out of town on a rail, so to speak, after allegedly trying to steal a truckload of equipment from the Norfolk Southern Railway.

The Jan. 17 theft was thwarted by KPD Officers John Fabula and Giovanni Rodriguez, who were on patrol on the Belleville Pike at 5 p.m. when they noticed a “heavily laden” pickup truck with Connecticut plates exiting an area adjacent to the roadway, Chief John Dowie reported.

The department had received reports of thefts from a nearby Norfolk Southern tract, Dowie noted, and when the officers stopped the truck, it was found to be loaded with “obvious railroad property,” including rails and spikes. Also reportedly in plain view were a blowtorch and an acetylene tank, which can be quite helpful to anyone who intends to steal rails and spikes.

The Kearny cops contacted the railroad, and Norfolk Southern dispatched one of its police officers, who identified stolen RR property and estimated its value at approximately $7,000, the chief said.

Arrested were the truck’s three occupants: Gerald Atkins, 57, of Manhattan; Eric Woodruff, 56, and Gregory Purvis, 37, both of Brooklyn.

All three were charged with: theft of movable property, possession of burglar tools, criminal mischief, criminal trespassing and conspiracy.

The pickup was impounded. Taken into evidence along with the cutting torch and acetylene tank were a sledgehammer, power saw and two RR specialty tools.

Other recent reports from the KPD blotter included the following:

Jan. 17

At 4 p.m., the Vice Squad observed a reputed “known narcotics offender,” whose driving privileges were suspended, operating a motor vehicle near Harrison and Schuyler Aves. In plain view in the car, police said, was an unlabled Rx bottle containing three plastic bags of suspected cocaine. Harrison resident Joao DaCosta, 29, was charged with possession of a CDS and drug paraphernalia, operating a motor vehicle while suspended and while in possession of a CDS. Police said he also had two outstanding warrants out of Newark.

Jan. 18

Officer Tom Bannon was driving east on the Belleville Pike at 9 a.m. when his radio car’s automatic license plate reader alerted him to a westbound unregistered vehicle whose owner had a suspended license. Bannon stopped the auto, and its owner/operator, Alfred Heyer, 49, of Union Beach, was cited for the MV charges and also was found to be the subject of a Lyndhurst warrant, police said.

Jan. 19

Officer Mike Santucci responded to Walmart at 2 a.m. on the report of a shoplifter who had bolted from the store and run toward Harrision Ave. That’s where Santucci stopped a man fitting the suspect’s description. Store security was brought to the location and ID’d him, police said.

In a search incident to arrest, the man was reportedly found to have a large folding knife in his pocket and a cigarette pack containing five baggies of suspected crack cocaine.

At KPD headquarters, he allegedly tried to identify himself as William Smith, but a fingerprint check proved him to be Demetrius Williams, 37, of Newark, who was the subject of an East Orange warrant, police said.

Williams was charged on the warrant and with shoplifting (attempting to steal two TVs); possession of CDS and paraphernalia; possession of a weapon, and hindering apprehension.

At 3:30 a.m., Officer Ben Wuelfing was travelling north on Kearny Ave. near Bergen Ave., following a BMW that reportedly was swerving in the road. When it turned onto Afton St., he attempted to stop it. The driver pulled over, mounting the sidewalk, then reversed and nearly rammed the patrol car, police said.

After an Alcotest at HQ , Luis Paz, 47, of Newark was charged with DWI, careless driving, careless driving in a school zone and being an unlicensed driver.

Officer Renee Crawford responded at 6:50 p.m. to a report of a theft from a business on Central Ave. in South Kearny, where two individuals had stolen 250 gallons of gasoline from two tanker trucks. The company provided security videos, and the KPD is investigating.

Jan. 20

Walmart reported another shoplifting, and at 5:45 p.m. Officer Theamaris Hernandez spotted the female suspect running onto the Rt. 280 ramp from Harrison Ave. Hernandez and backup Officer Stephen Hroncich confronted Shawnique Hill, 40, of East Orange, who was subsequenetly ID’d by Walmart security, police said.

Property she reportedly abandoned while fleeing — two cell phones and a baggie with suspected cocaine — were recovered, and her purse was found to contain drug paraphernalia and a box cutter, police said. Hill was charged with shoplifting, possession of a CDS and paraphernalia, and an outstanding warrant from Newark.

Jan. 22

Shortly before 11 p.m., as part of an ongoing prostitution investigation, the Vice Squad arrested Stacy Light, 23, of Union City at an undisclosed Kearny location after she allegedly arranged to meet for a $150 (minimum) sexual encounter.

As detectives approached, Light reportedly used her cell phone to shout a warning to a male companion in a nearby car. He also was apprehended and was identified as Nestor Milanes, 23, of Union City.

Light was charged with prostitution; Milanes, with promoting prostitution.

Jan. 23

As part of another investigation, this one into the reported transportation into Kearny of bulk quantities of marijuana from out of town, the Vice Squad was conducting surveillance at 8:30 p.m. at Chestnut St. and Midland Ave.

There, they confronted Jesus Santiago, 41, of Kearny, who allegedly was found to be concealing a large plastic bag of suspected marijuana in his waistband. Santiago was arrested on charges of possession of pot and paraphernalia and operating a motor vehicle in possession of a CDS.

– Karen Zautyk

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