By Ron Leir
Police credited an alert resident’s call to 911 with leading them on the path to capturing two suspected burglars on Monday, Nov. 14.
Linked to at least two Nutley home burglaries on Hopper Ave. and Ackerman St. are Alhafeez Williams, 18, and Dominque Morris, 18, both of Newark.
Nutley Police Capt. Tom Strumolo and Det. Anthony Montanari gave this account of the incident:
Lt. Eric Anderson and Officer Gerard Tusa responded to a call from a Bloomfield Ave. resident reporting two men loitering around Bloomfield and Hopper Aves. shortly after 6:15 p.m.
The officers located two men – later identified as Williams and Morris – at the intersection of Taft Ave. and Spring St. and asked them what they were doing there. The pair gave inconsistent accounts about an alleged third man they say they were waiting for.
The officers found that Morris had a checkbook on his person that was issued to a Hopper Ave. resident.
Searching the area, the officers discovered a gold earring on the sidewalk, and, a bit further away, a cellular phone. In nearby bushes, they came across two suitcases which were filled with jewelry, cameras and video equipment.
The contents of the suitcases reportedly included items listed as taken earlier that day from one of the burglarized homes, and the pair had in their pockets what police described as “additional proceeds” from those home burglaries and potentially others in the area.
The Hopper Ave. property was accessed via a garage door and entry to the Ackerman St. house was gained through a window. A dog belonging to the owner was later discovered limping from an injured paw, police said.
During the same time period, someone tried to force open the door of another Hopper Ave. home but failed to gain entry.
Police later learned of another burglary at a Myrtle Ave. house where the intruders got in through a sliding glass panel door, ransacked the place, and removed a large TV. It’s unclear whether the two men were responsible for that incident, police said.
All of the burglaries happened within a three-hour period, police said. Total value of the proceeds is still being calculated, they added.
Williams and Morris were each charged with two counts of criminal mischief, burglary and theft and taken to the Essex County Jail where they’re each being held on $175,000 bail pending court action.
Police believe it’s unlikely that the pair can be tied to the Nov. 9 robbery of the Delta gas station at Bloomfield Ave. and DeVausney Place, near the Hopper Ave. homes.
Montanari commended the patrol officers’ investigatory procedures.
“They did an exemplary job,” he said.