Online Exclusive: Kearny Police Blotter

The Kearny Police Department aided their Harrison counterparts on Jan. 20th. At around 5:20 p.m., Officer Neil Nelson overheard broadcasts from the Harrison Police Department reporting a series of thefts in motor vehicles on the Kearny/Harrison border. Nelson then observed a man near some parked vehicles with a screwdriver in his hand. Upon seeing Nelson, the man slipped the screwdriver into his pocket. After conducting a field inquiry, the man blurted out, “I don’t got noting but a screw driver and I’m in computer school.”

The man volunteered he was 26-years-old but was unable to provide a date of birth. After Nelson was able to get enough information, he conducted a check for warrants, and the subject had three active warrants out for his arrest. A search of the man revealed a bag of suspected marijuana, a blunt cigar, and a screwdriver.

The man, 24-year-old David Castillo, of Kearny, was charged with possession of marijuana and possession of paraphernalia. He was held pending pickup by other municipalities.

On the 22nd, Officer Pat Becker was dispatched to the gas station at Linden and Kearny Aves. on the report that a man was, “begging for alms,” to the point that the gas station attendant called the police because he was harassing customers. When Becker arrived on scene, the car the man had been in was gone, but got the description. A patrol of the surrounding area found a car fitting the description in a prohibited area at Seeley and Kearny Aves.  Becker approached the vehicle and questioned the driver, who admitted that he had been at the gas station. A check of the man’s identification revealed that he had a driver’s license number, but no license and that he was wanted by North Arlington on a $500 warrant. The 64-year-old North Arlington resident, Robert Clark, was arrested for the warrant and additionally charged with driving while suspended.

Later that afternoon, around 4 p.m., 2nd precinct patrol officers in south Kearny were alerted that there was a stolen tractor-trailer being operated within the area. Officers Giovanni Rodriguez and Frank West were supplied with the description of the 2012 Kenworth truck and eventually observed  the truck on Hackensack Ave. The truck was pulled over and confirmed stolen. The two men, 55-year-old Luis Berrios from Bayonne and 40-year-old Angel Dominguez from Union City were placed under arrest and charged with receiving stolen property.

In what became a busy afternoon for Kearny Police, Officer Pat Becker was sent to a dispute in the 700 block of Elm St. He arrived on scene and interviewed people in the area and compiled a description of the individual who fled the scene. A check of the surrounding area saw a man who fit the description and was stopped. The man admitted he had been involved in the fray and was placed under arrest. A search of the man found that he was wanted in Hawthorne and had a warrant for $15,000 from Bergen County. The individual, 58-year-old Kearny resident John Berry, was arrested for the simple assault and the two outstanding warrants.

On Jan. 23rd, officers received  a call from a frantic homeowner on Wilson Ave. stating that he had just had an encounter with an individual who had broken into his apartment about 1:40 p.m. Officer Jack Corbett responed to the scene and interviewed the individual. Corbett got a description of the suspect and broadcasted the information to responding units. One of those units, Det. Mike Gonzalez, confirmed there was a burglary and was fortunate enough to find video footage near the scene and gave a better description and the route that he took to escape. A wide perimeter was set up and a canvas of the area led to another residence on Wilson Ave. where Corbett and Gonzalez confronted an individual who fit the description. Corbett and Gonzalez confronted the individual in a hallway at the residence. After advising him of their reasons for being there and the evidence, he resisted violently and had to be forced to the floor to be handcuffed. 18-year-old Kearny resident Eric Wheeler was arrested for burglary and resisting arrest.

In the early morning of Jan. 25th, Sgt. John Becker was on patrol in the area of Kearny Ave. and Liberty St. when a citizen advised him that he saw individuals that he didn’t think belonged in the area. He drove to the area of the high school parking lot and placed the area under surveillance. It was then that Sgt. Becker saw three individuals breaking into a parked vehicle. Becker alerted headquarters and approached the individuals who began to flee the scene. Becker took a foot persuit and captured one of the individuals near the steps of the high school. Officers Thomas Floyd and Derek Hemphill responded to the area and took one of the individuals into custody. The third individual still remains at large. The vehicle was confirmed broken into and a screwdriver was found at the scene. Kearny Police arrested the two individuals, a 16-year-old and a 17-year-old, both male residents of Newark, on possession of burglary tools, conspiracy to commit burglary, and criminal attempted theft of an auto. The men were released to their parents and guardians.

Later that day, Officer Cesar Negron was made aware of the situation and was patrolling the area of the 300 block of Forest St. Negron came on a vehicle that, based on his experience patrolling through the area, was probably stolen. Further observation of the vehicle found materials inside the vehicle indicative of theft and his follow up investigation concluded that suspicion. A look up of the car showed that the car had just been reported stolen in Newark. The items were recovered and are going to be used to attempt to link the individuals from earlier in the morning to this car. The investigation is still ongoing.

Also on the 25th, Officer Jay Ward responded to the high school on a report that several students had been accosted, assaulted, and robbed upon dismissal. After conversing with individuals who had been compromised, he obtained a description of the individuals, anywhere between four and six in number. Patrol units flooded the area. Officer Chris Medina, who was off duty but was monitoring the radio observed and intercepted two individuals fleeing Davis Ave. Detectives Mike Gonzalez and Ray Lopes responded as backup. The two individuals made statements indicating that they were in the area, but had no involvement and were willing to help. Based on the information they provided, hey narrowed their focus, got names of the indiiduals, and ultimately charged three individuals. A further follow up conducted by the Detectives and Detective Sgt. John View  with the assistance of OfficersPaul Bershefski and Steve Hroncich led hem to Nwark and found an adult who is believed to be the ring leader. A 20-year-old Newark resident who had a history of robbery could possibly be charged with the actual robbery. Ultimately, four Newark residents, two 14-year-olds, a 15-year-old, and a 16-year-old, were all charged with conspiracy to commit robbery.

Finally, around 2:30 a.m., a woman as arguing with a boyfriend on her cell phone while driving. The argument became so heated that the female struck several parked vehicles and overturned her vehicle. Officers Mike Santucci and Angelo Palagano responded to the scene to find the car overturned. The female had crawled out of the vehicle and had been unsteady at her feel. Officers smelt the odor of alcohol. After interviewing the woman, she admitted that she was traveling on Ivy St. while talking on her cell phone and lost control, swerved into and stuck several parked vehicles and had flipped over. The woman admitted she had been drinking in Newark prior to the incident. She was offered medical attention, but ultimately declined. The owners of the three struck vehicles were notified and the female was placed under arrest. The female, 30-year-old Newark resident Jessica Moreno, was charged with driving while intoxicated, reckless driving, talking on the cell phone while operating a vehicle, and failing to submit to a breath test.


– Anthony J. Machcinski

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