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If you go out in the woods today …

Photos by Karen Zautyk Search-rescue dogs Exepnathos (above) and Archimedes with owner/trainer Stu Mavros at Meadowlands program.

Photos by Karen Zautyk
Search-rescue dogs Exepnathos (above) and Archimedes with owner/trainer Stu Mavros at Meadowlands program.


By Karen Zautyk
Observer Correspondent


On Sunday, New Jersey Search & Rescue (NJSAR) presented an informational program at the Meadowlands Environment Center, explaining how to survive — and get yourself found — if you ever get lost in the woods.

At one point, team member John Rovetto asked the audience of adults and children, “Where’s the best place to get water and food?”

And a small voice in the back piped up: “7-Eleven?”

(Smart kid. Although I was thinking White Castle.)

The correct answer is “from your pack.” If you’re going into the woods, you should have a small pack or pouch containing a snack and water. Just in case. You never know. Hikers and such don’t expect to get lost, but that’s why it’s called “lost.”

At minimum, the pack should also contain a head covering; a brightly-colored cloth that can mark your whereabouts; a metal signal mirror (you can make one out of cardboard and aluminum foil); a whistle (three blasts is the universal signal for “Help!”); and a large plastic trash bag (tear a hole in the top for your face and put the thing over your head; it can act as both a rain parka and a tent).

Wouldn’t a cell phone make all this moot? Not necessarily. You can now get a “Glympse” App with a GPS that can help searchers find you, but suppose you lose the phone, or the batteries die, or there’s no signal, or, or . . . ?

As the Boy Scouts say, “Be prepared.”

Even in our techno-savvy era, people are still getting lost. Read more »

Project Graduation needs you


By Karen Zautyk
Observer Correspondent


If you are a Kearny resident looking to give something back to your community, there are few more rewarding ways than to become involved in Project Graduation. Besides which, it can be a lot of fun!

The 2014 kickoff meeting will be held this Thursday, Jan. 30, at 7:30 p.m. in the faculty lounge at Kearny High School, and prospective volunteers are urged to attend.

Many of the adults involved in the program are, or have been, the parents of KHS students, but that’s not a prerequisite. All responsible adults are invited, and this week’s meeting is the perfect way for you to get more information, meet the other volunteers and decide if you would like to become one of them.

If your answer is yes, you will be more than welcome, for Project Graduation needs your help. Its work is ongoing, and no matter your interests or talents, there is certain to be a way for you to be part of this worthwhile effort.

Its culmination comes in June, on graduation night, when a post-commencement all-night party is held for the KHS grads. This is an alcoholfree, drug-free event that offers a jubilant, and safe, alternative to private house parties. And the kids love it.

Project Graduation was launched in Kearny in 1996 after several teens were injured in a serious graduation-night auto accident on Kearny Ave. Now, on average, at least 85% of each graduating class has opted to attend, reports Project Grad president, Steve Dyl. Last June, he noted, there were more than 300 attendees.

The grads are bused to a secret location (this discourages party-crashers) where they can dance the night away. And participate in a multitude of other activities. There are competitions (like jousting), games, crafts, an obstacle course, a DJ, an artist who will draw their caricature, plus the ever-popular hypnotist.

There also are sports: swimming, racquetball, basketball, et al.

And during the fest, the party-goers can feast to their hearts’, or tummies’, content. (Most of the refreshments are donated by Applebee’s.)

The grads are home, safe and sound and well-fed, by 6 a.m.

Obviously, none of the above can happen without adult volunteers, who act as chaperones, planners and coordinators.

But vols are needed also for other Project Graduation events, including the annual bus trip to Atlantic City (scheduled for Feb. 23), the annual township volleyball tournament (April 25), and helping out with the major Project Grad fundraiser, the 50-50 raffle, tickets for which are sold from now until the drawing in June.

One of the best things about being a Project Graduation volunteer is that you can set your own schedule. Yes, volunteering requires commitment, but the time you would have to commit is flexible.

“Project Graduation,” Dyl said, “is a great community activity for everyone.”

For more information, you can contact the organizers: Call Dyl at 201-991-7467; Sandy Hyde at 551-265-8969, or Jarlynn Hyde at 201-991- 5719.

Even better, meet the organizers and get all your questions answered by attending this week’s meeting.

KFD aids fire-beset Union City


Last Thursday, on one of the most brutally cold nights of the year, a six-alarm fire engulfed three multi-family buildings on 19th St. in Union City, leaving more than 50 people homeless. The blaze broke out about 11:30 p.m. and took six hours to bring under control.

The North Hudson Regional FD was aided by companies from several other communities, including Harrison and Kearny, which were dispatched to cover Union City during the conflagration.

The Kearny Fire Department had sent one engine and one ladder truck, and at 1:27 a.m. Friday, these were needed to fight yet another Union City blaze.

According to a report by KFD Chief Steve Dyl, that one occurred in a woodframe, multi-family building at 110 New York Ave. (about 10 blocks from the 19th St. scene).

Dyl said the fire, of unknown origin, was confined to a second-floor apartment in the three-story structure.

As on 19th St., firefighters’ efforts were complicated by the 8-degree temperature– with a wind-chill factor well below zero–and the snow remaining from last week’s blizzard.

As water was directed on the flames, equipment became coated with sheets of ice and the streets turned into a skating rink.

The KFD remained at the scene for about 1 1/2 hours.

Back in Kearny on Friday, the KFD responded to an 8 p.m. smoke detector activation at 151 Kearny Ave., a mattress store. Dyl reported that the fire involved the heating unit and produced a smoke condition throughout the building. The fire was quickly extinguished and confined to the heating unit.

On Sunday, at 7:50 p.m., a fire broke out on the second floor of a home on Shepard Place. It was confined to the bathroom, with smoke damage to second floor and water damage to the first floor. The cause is under investigation. There were no injuries, but three residents and two pets were relocated for the evening with family/friends. All Kearny units responded. Jersey City covered Kearny, and Harrison was on standby.

–Karen Zautyk

Brawling at club nets 2 arrests



Two patrons were arrested following fisticuffs at a Belleville strip club on the night of Jan. 16, Belleville Police said.

At 10:30 p.m., police responded to the Wet Gentlemen’s Club at Belleville and Union Aves. on a report of security personnel being assaulted.

Police said two of the patrons, Gary Matarazzo, 45, of Lyndhurst, and Eric Matarazzo, of Jersey City, got into an argument with the two bouncers at the club and were asked to leave but, instead, began punching the staff.

After four township police officers arrived, the men allegedly began fighting with the officers as well and Gary Matarazzo allegedly punched one of the officers, police said.

No one was seriously hurt in the brawling, police said.

Gary Matarazzo was charged with aggravated assault on a police officer, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and two counts of simple assault.

Additionally, police said Gary Matarazzo was charged with possession of drugs, possession of drugs with intent to distribute and possession of drugs with intent to distribute within 1,000 feet of a school after officers allegedly found 91 pills identified as oxycodone, a narcotic painkiller drug, on him.

Police said that Eric Matarazzo was charged with two counts of simple assault, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct.

Both men were released on bail pending a municipal court hearing scheduled for Jan. 29.

Police said no ABC-related charges have been filed against the club’s management. “They were fully cooperative,” one police superior said.

Doing their part to feed the hungry

Observer file photo A sample Canstruction project that Kearny High School students created.

Observer file photo
A sample Canstruction project that Kearny High School students created.


By Ron Leir

Observer Correspondent


As the nation marks the 50th anniversary of LBJ’s commitment to end poverty and hunger in America with his Great Society program, a group of Harrison public school kids want to do their part to ease the burden for struggling West Hudson families.

More than 40 youngsters from Washington Middle School will be participating in the international Canstruction program.

Twenty-one eighth-graders from the STEM (Science/ Technology/Engineering/ Math) Academy, along with 25 students from grades 6, 7 and 8 from the Family Friendly after-school program are volunteering for the charity but are reinforcing educational skills while they do it.

District Curriculum Director Cynthia Baumgartner, who is managing the project, introduced the concept to the Kearny school system while serving as Kearny High principal.

“We’re going to hold a kickoff ceremony on Feb. 6 at the middle school and we’re going to invite the community to introduce them to it,” Baumgartner said.

How it works is that students solicit and collect hundreds of cans of food from local businesses and organizations, design and “construct” huge structures made up of the full cans collected, display their final product to the public, and, finally, disassemble their invention and give away the cans to community agencies or nonprofits that operate food banks or pantries.

Cans from the Harrison project will be donated to the food bank at Holy Cross Church, the Kearny Salvation Army and the St. John’s Soup Kitchen in Newark.

Canstruction programs have raised more than 21 million pounds of food in more than 150 cities around the world in North America, Australia, South America, Europe and Asia since the program began in 1992.

Baumgartner said the Harrison Canstruction project has set a fundraising goal of $20,000 “to support our quest to feed the hungry.”

In a letter to prospective donors, Baumgartner explains: “Your donation will be used to buy cans of food which will be used to make the Canstructions,” which, she adds, “will be donated to those in need.”

And, she says that, “for every donation of $250 we will advertise your business or organization on T-shirts for our participating students to wear. For a $500 donation, we will advertise your name and have a sign with your business or organization logo displayed at the construction exhibition.”

“For donations over $500, we will acknowledge your contribution by displaying your business or organization logo on both the students’ T-shirts and on a sign at the culminating exhibition,” she says in the letter.

Just as important as “being a creative means of feeding the hungry,” Baumgartner says the project “is a means for the students of Harrison School District to use the skills that they have learned in their classes in a real world context and serve their community as well.”

So, for example, in organizing the can collection campaign, students will need to apply entrepreneurial, business-related skills and in designing and executing the Canstruction project, they will use mathematical and rudimentary engineering lessons as they execute their design, all under adult supervision, Baumgartner said.

The final product will be unveiled to the public in the middle school gym by mid-May, at a date to be announced, she said.

The Harrison Education Foundation is the official sponsor of the project.

An adult steering committee, led by Baumgartner, will help guide the Harrison Canstruction project. Its members are: STEM Academy instructor Joe Wrobeleski; Family Friendly instructors Sean Dologhan and John Carey; instructor Mary Ann Dunphy, fundraising chair; instructor Gabby Zygnerski, serving as treasurer/business manager; Washington School Principal Michael Landy; and Norma Bianchi, of the Harrison branch of Valley National Bank, serving as fundraising advisor, together with assistants Julie Smith and John Montesano.

KPD blotter: Trainyard theft derailed


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

Logged in the Lyndhurst Police blotter

Jan. 21

At 8:08 p.m., police responded to a report of criminal mischief to an auto parked in the 500 block of Valley Brook Ave. Police said the owner of a 2007 Toyota told them his vehicle had been defaced by someone shooting a paintball gun.

Jan. 20

A Lyndhurst resident called police at 8:49 p.m. to report a theft at Spa Lady on Stuyvesant Ave. The resident told police that she placed her $600 cellular phone in her jacket which she hung up in the spa’s coat room and that when she returned, the phone was gone.

The owner of a 2012 Kia called police to report that when they returned to their vehicle, parked in the 300 block of New York Ave., at 7 p.m., they found its windows down and that someone had apparently gone through the car’s interior. Nothing was missing, however, police said.

At 1:15 p.m., police received a report of a theft from a vehicle. Police said someone took two batteries, valued at $160 each, from excavation equipment, owned by a Ringwood company, while the excavator was parked in the 600 block of Riverside Ave.

Jan. 17

Police stopped the driver of a 2002 GMC SUV traveling south on Stuyvesant Ave. near Second Ave., at 2:04 a.m., after radar clocked him doing 39 mph in a 25 mph zone. Jeffrey Vasquez, 38, of Lyndhurst, was charged with speeding, DWI and refusal to take an Alcotest. He was released to a family member pending a court date. Jan. 16 Police charged Glenn Ruggiero, 51, of Lyndhurst, with shoplifting at the ShopRite on New York Ave. At 5:05 p.m., police said they were called to the supermarket by store security who told police they spotted Ruggiero placing aspirin and cold medications valued at $25 in his coat pocket.

Jan. 14

Police responded to two separate criminal incidents at the ShopRite on New York Ave. during the morning. In the first, at 8:42 a.m., a witness told police they saw a man, about 30, loading ShopRite shopping carts, valued at $200 apiece, into a gold mini-van in the ShopRite parking lot and drive away along New York Ave. Then, at 11 a.m., police picked up James Manieri, 41, of Rutherford, after store security had detained him and charged him with shoplifting. Security personnel told police Manieri entered the supermarket with a ShopRite shopping bag which he proceeded to fill with $63 worth of filet mignons from the meat department and took them to the courtesy counter where he allegedly tried to get a refund without having paid for them.

Jan. 13

At 8:30 a.m., police responded to Frank’s GMC Truck Center on Orient Way on a report of theft. Someone removed a battery and battery cables from a 2007 Freightliner truck parked at the facility.

– Ron Leir

Thoughts & Views: I’m not ‘bowled’ over by football




Believe it or not, there are some of us who don’t give a hoot in Hades about the Super Bowl.

I mean, it’s nice that New Jersey is getting some national attention for something other than mobsters, political corruption and Snooki, and it’s even nicer that MetLife Stadium is in our own backyard (wave to it as you cruise past on Route 3), and I have even picked a team (the Broncos because I like horses), but do I really care? No.

I will watch, of course. At least some of it. Just in case something newsworthy happens that I should know about. And because on Monday, everyone will be talking about the commercials.

But I have never understood football.

They run. They fall down. They run. They fall down. This is exciting?

I have only just learned what “first and 10” means. No, I am not joking. It never made sense to me. First and 10 WHAT? Yards? But if they already got the first yard, where are the other 10?

I asked a friend to explain it to me the other night (no, I am not joking), and I think I now have a grasp on it.

Still, I will be channel jumping during the game, to catch the action in the 10th annual Animal Planet Puppy Bowl. This year, there will be penguin cheerleaders and a half-time show featuring Keyboard Cat.

Unlike the Super Bowl, all the Puppy Bowl players are adorable–and have better hair.

My sport has always been baseball. (Not playing. Watching.)

Its rules are far more complicated that football’s, but I learned them literally at my daddy’s knee, sitting on the floor at age 3 or 4, watching the N.Y. Giants on a grainy old B&W television, while he explained the basics. (Daddy had been a semi-pro baseball player back in the days when semi-pro baseball was a big deal. Not only a player, but an MVP, with the trophy to prove it.)

Anyway, I was raised on baseball. I can appreciate the skills needed. Which are far more than the ability to run and fall down (although run and slide is a different matter).

In any case, all this has reminded me of the classic George Carlin routine on violent, gladiatorial football vs. far gentler baseball, with which I am sure you are familiar, but I’m going to quote from it anyway:

“Baseball is a 19th century pastoral game; football is a 20th century technological struggle.”

“Baseball is played on a diamond, in a park. Football is played on a gridiron….”

“Baseball begins in the spring, the season of new life. Football begins in the fall, when everything’s dying.”

“Baseball has the seventh-inning stretch. Football has the two minute warning.”

“Baseball has no time limit; we don’t know when it’s gonna end. Football is rigidly timed, and it will end even if we’ve got to go to sudden death.”

“Football is played on an enclosed, rectangular grid, and every one of them is the same size; baseball is played on an ever-widening angle that reaches to infinity, and every park is different.”

“In football, they have the clip, the hit, the block, the tackle, the blitz, the bomb, the offense and the defense; in baseball, they have the sacrifice.”

“In football, you march downfield and penetrate enemy territory and get into the END zone. In baseball, the object is to go home. And to be safe. ‘I hope I’ll be safe at home!’”

This part, I had not heard before. It compares American football to Britain’s quest for empire:

“. . . that’s what football is, football’s a ground-acquisition game. You knock the crap out of 11 guys and take their land away from them. Of course, we only do it 10 yards at a time. That’s the way we did it with the Indians – we won it little by little. First down in Ohio – Midwest to go!”

Gosh, I miss George Carlin.

–Karen Zautyk


To the editor,

So soon again, I’d like to commend Chief James O’Connor and the Lyndhurst Police Department, DPW, Commissioner Matt Ruzzo, Parks Commissioner, Tom Di Maggio, and also Superintendent Rich Gress; for their organized efforts on their job well done during this most recent snowstorm. Our departments’ professional response to any such immediate event, certainly reassures the security, safety, welfare and wellbeing of our also very cooperative Lyndhurst residents.

Thank you,

with appreciation,

Mayor Robert. B. Giangeruso


Suspected burglars nabbed, NPD blotter

The Nutley Police Department has credited Bloomfield PD with making a collar about an hour after a residential burglary on Daily St. on the afternoon of Wednesday, Jan. 22.

Police said they responded to a report of a burglary in progress at a Daily St. location, at 1:44 p.m., from the resident who, police said, was hiding in a bedroom at the time.

The resident told police he was sitting on his living room couch when he spotted a man peek around the corner from the kitchen. When the intruder realized someone was home, he escaped from an unlocked rear window, from which he’d entered, police said.

Arriving minutes after getting the call, police said they canvassed the area and managed to get a neighbor’s description of the vehicle the intruder used to make his getaway. Police then put out a broadcast over SPEN of the burglary and the car’s description as an older model white 4-door vehicle.

At 2:30 p.m., police said Det. Lt. Joseph Krentz and Det. Sgt. Michael Sisco, both of Bloomfield P.D., spotted a vehicle matching the description broadcast earlier by Nutley P.D. with two occupants emerging from a cul de sac off Hoover Ave. just over the border into Bloomfield and tried to pull it over near Plymouth Court but police said the driver tried to elude the detectives through evasive maneuvers.

After a brief chase, police said the detectives pulled over the white Buick in the 200 block of E. Passaic Ave. where the passenger, later identified as Davon Harrington, 23, of Newark, tried to run away but was caught by Lt. Krentz.

At the same time, police said, the driver, identified as Khalil Gilliam 19, of Newark, ran into a yard on E. Passaic with Sgt. Sisco in pursuit. Police said Gilliam climbed over an eight-foot fence where Sisco lost sight of him.

But, as other officers from Bloomfield, Nutley, Belleville, Clifton PDs and the Essex County Sheriff’s Department converged on the scene and joined in the search of rear yards, police said Bloomfield Police Officer Hector Cartagena spotted Gilliam crossing over Hoover Ave., from east to west, and radioed the suspect’s position to other units in the area.

At that point, police said Bloomfield P.O. Michael Falco located Gilliam and began chasing him, finally apprehending him in a rear yard on Pake St. in Nutley.

Nutley PD said they later discovered that Gilliam had approached another house on Daily St. and rang the bell, allegedly intending to burglarize that home but was apparently scared off and Bloomfield PD said that after interviewing the two suspects and gathering evidence, they concluded that the same two men were tied to a burglary committed on Farmingdale Ave. earlier in the day.

In Nutley, police alleged that Harrington waited in the vehicle while Gilliam committed the burglary.

Gilliam was charged with two counts of burglary by Nutley PD; he was additionally charged by Bloomfield PD with two counts of burglary, theft of movable property, receiving stolen property, resisting arrest and conspiracy.

Harrington was charged with two counts of burglary, receiving stolen property and conspiracy.

Nutley bail for each suspect was set at $50,000 and a court date is pending, police said.

Nutley Police Chief Tom Strumolo commended all the officers involved and Bloomfield PD, in particular, and Nutley Mayor/Public Safety Director Alphonse Petracco concurred.

Nutley PD also logged the following incidents during the past week:

Jan. 18

At 10:55 a.m., police got a report that a resident’s vehicle was damaged while parked at a River Road location. Police said the driver’s side view mirror was cracked and its housing was cracked. Police said the rear housing of a passenger side view mirror was found in the road.

Jan. 19

Police said a proposed sale of merchandise went sour after the seller allegedly got only part of the agreed-upon purchase price. The victim told police they’d posted on Craigs list an offer to sell two Mac Books for $2,000. After getting a phone call from a prospective buyer, the victim arranged to meet with two men, both African American, between 25 and 30, one heavy-set and bald with a beard, the other with dreadlocks. But the pair gave the victim only $134 in cash, took the Mac Books and drove away, police said.

The report was logged at 1:40 p.m. Detectives are investigating.

At 4:35 p.m., the owner of a vehicle parked in the parking lot of a River Road condominium complex told police someone had keyed their vehicle along the passenger side.

Jan. 21

At 7:38 a.m., the owner of a vehicle parked on High St. called police to report that someone had stolen both license plates from their vehicle and had taken their registration from a warranty folder in the glove box. Police said the vehicle was locked and there was no sign of forced entry.

Jan. 23

Police received a report of an apparent utility scam at 9:35 a.m. from a resident who reported receiving a call from someone claiming to be a PSE&G representative about an outstanding balance of $497.23 on their account. The alleged representative – who had the victim’s account number, Social Security number and other personal information – told the victim that if they didn’t pay the balance within an hour, their service would be cut off. Police said the victim had an outstanding balance but had arranged a payment plan with PSE&G. Nevertheless, police said the victim was instructed by the alleged utility representative to purchase a Money Pack credit card from a CVS to make the payment, which the victim did, via telephone. Police said the victim didn’t realize they’d been scammed until after receiving a bill weeks later from PSE&G warning customers to watch for scams like the one perpetrated on the victim. Police said PSE&G confirmed that the victim had been defrauded. Police said they tried to reach the scammer via telephone, only to get a voice mail stating that they’d reached a Magic Jack phone service.

Police said a black Scion driving east on Kingsland St., at 10:33 a.m., got their attention because of an item obstructing the driver’s view hanging from the rear view mirror. Police said they stopped the vehicle, whose driver, they learned, had an active warrant from Weehawken. Kernley Saint-Victor, 24, of Nutley, was arrested on the warrant, issued a summons charging him with obstructed view of windshield and advised to contact the Weehawken Municipal Court for a new court date.

Jan. 24

While on patrol on River Road, at 3:16 a.m., police said they noticed a vehicle pulled over to the side of the road with its brake lights on and the driver asleep behind the wheel with the vehicle in drive. Police charged the driver, Ryan Dennis, 34, of East Brunswick, with DWI, careless driving and driving with a suspended license. He was released pending a mandatory court appearance.

– Ron Leir