Cops thwart cycle theft; grab 1, hunt 2

Photo courtesy Nutley Police Department/ Crane lifts suspects’ van out of resident’s driveway.


By Karen Zautyk

Two sharp-eyed officers patrolling River Road in the wee hours last Thursday spotted something that did not look quite right.
Turned out, it wasn’t. And it led to a  chase, the  arrest of one man and a hunt for his two accomplices.
Police said  Officers John Mecka and Ted Durand were on patrol at 3:12 a.m. Oct. 6 when, while passing a driveway near E. Centre St., something caught their eye: a white van surrounded by three men who appeared to be intent on stealing a motorcycle.
“What happened next,” said Det. Anthony Montanari, “was textbook police work.”
The cops made a u-turn, one of the guys in the driveway yelled, “Police!” and the trio piled into the van, heading west on Centre.
Mecka and Durand pursued the white Ford Econoline – reported stolen out of Paterson – up Centre and then north on Washington Ave.  At the corner of Washington and Satterthwaite Aves., as it was attempting to make a turn at a high rate of speed, the van went out of control and slammed into a house, demolishing one corner of the structure.
It also managed to land on top of the homeowner’s 2008 Chevy Impala parked in the driveway
The Econoline’s three occupants jumped from the vehicle and fled on foot through the backyards.  Several houses away, police found one of the alleged culprits, 18-year-old Anthony Olivo of Paterson, hiding in  a shed.
The hunt for the other suspects continued with the aid of the Essex County Sheriff’s Department K-9 Unit, but the dogs lost the scent near the intersection of Park and Washington Aves.  Authorities believe the men had been picked up by a vehicle at the location.
The suspects were described as Hispanics: a lighter-skinned man, approximately 26 years old,  having a goatee and standing approximately 5’-5”, and a darker-skinned male, about 19 years old, with a round face, approximately 5’-7” and wearing a Chicago Bulls cap.
Detectives took possession of the van – after it was lifted off the homeowner’s car via crane –  and were processing blood and other evidence that was left behind.
Olivo was charged with receiving stolen property, attempted theft of the motorcycle, eluding police and hindering apprehension. He was remanded to the Essex County Jail in lieu of $75,000 bail.
Police said the trio had visited the area earlier, observed two motorcycles at the River Road address and returned in an effort to steal them.
Olivo reportedly told detectives he and his friends had been there no more than a few minutes when the Nutley officers spotted them.
“The people in Nutley should feel safe knowing that their patrol division is so vigilant,” Montanari said.
The hunt for the escapees continues, and Chief John Holland said, “It’s only a matter of time before the two that temporarily got away are apprehended.”
Police Director Alphonse Petracco also commended the two officers for an outstanding job.

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