Kearny Police blotter: Arrested in jail

A Kearny case under investigation since last October led to the arrest last week of a man who was already incarcerated in Newark in connection with two other crimes, authorities reported.

The Kearny incident involved a “flim-flam” perpetrated on a Schuyler Ave. car dealer, allegedly by a Newark woman who purchased a 2007 Grand Cherokee for $25,000. The cashier’s check, in the full amount, that she gave the dealership turned out to be bogus, Kearny Police Chief John Dowie reported.

Detectives following a paper trail identified the suspect as 21-year-old Jasmine Johnson, who is reportedly on the lam with a $20,000 check-fraud warrant hanging over her head, authorities said.

Shortly after the scam was reported, Dowie said, the Grand Cherokee was found abandoned in Newark.

Kearny Det. John Plaugic searched the recovered vehicle for evidence as to who might have used it, and discarded items were swabbed for DNA.

Through the national Combined DNA Index System (CODIS), there was a positive match to a 19-year-old Newark resident, Isaac Torres, Dowie said.

A Kearny warrant was issued for his arrest on a charge of receiving stolen property, and on May 28 Torres was taken into custody by KPD Officer Frank West at the Essex County Jail, where he was being held on charges of firearms possession and drug distribution, Dowie reported.

“His new habitat is the Hudson County Jail,” the chief added.

• Other recent reports from the KPD blotter include the following:

May 24

At noon, police received a report that “an alert Board of Education employee” had information that a 13-year-old student in Lincoln School had secreted marijuana in a deodorant stick. She notified school administration, who confronted the boy and confiscated the item, which allegedly was found to contain a bag of the drug. Police took possession of the pot, and the case was turned over to the KPD Juvenile Aid Bureau for adjudication.

May 25

P.O. Tim Castle was on patrol at 10 a.m. when he encountered two individuals loading office furniture into a van behind the currently-unoccupied, Sandy-damaged KPD/KFD station in South Kearny, police said. With Sgt. Paul Bershefski as backup, the officers questioned the men, and the van driver, Len McKiver, 47, of Jersey City, was reportedly found to have a revoked license and a nonrevoked warrant out of Riverdale. Both McKiver and his passenger, Robert Breeden, 46, also of Jersey City were charged with criminal trespass, attempted theft and possession of burglar tools (bolt-cutters and a pry bar).

May 28

At 8:30 p.m., P.O. Frank West responded to the report of a burglary on the 200 block of Schuyler Ave. Police said the occupant had returned home from work to find the door pried open and computers missing. Security-camera footage is being reviewed, and Det. John Telle is in charge of the investigation.

May 29

P.O. Joe Volcano and Sgt. Paul Bershefski responded to a report of an assault in progress at 11:40 a.m. on the 800 block of Kearny Ave. The female victim said she had been punched in the face and knocked off her bicycle by a man in a passing car, police reported. While they were interviewing her, a bystander — Paul McGinnis, 43, of Kearny –began “acting out” in the middle of the avenue, interrupting the officers, yelling and cursing and being otherwise not very helpful, it is alleged. He was charged with disorderly conduct and released on bail at about 3:30 p.m. Only to resurface a few hours later, police said. (See next item.)

• At 11:30 p.m., P.O. Kevin Canaley was dispatched to Stewart Ave. and Elm St. on the report of a burglary in progress at a liquor store. Armed with descriptions of the suspects, Canaley searched the area, spotted two individuals who matched the IDs, and with backup from Officers Sean Kelly and Mike Santucci, detained the duo. Sgt. Michael O’Neill interviewed the original caller who reportedly assured him that the right people had been apprehended. Arrested were Paul McGinnis (see item above) and Michael Czerminski, 54, of North Arlington, both of whom were charged with criminal attempted burglary and conspiracy. Additionally, Czerminski was charged with possession of burglar tools.

May 30

Another burglary in progress, this time to a motor vehicle, was reported at 7 a.m. on the 400 block of Forest St. P.O. Jay Ward located the vehicle in question, a Toyota minivan, checked the interior and discovered a 21-year-old male attempting to conceal himself therein, police said. Ward located the minivan’s owner, who reportedly assured the officer that the man was not authorized to be in the vehicle. Charged with burglary and theft (an iPhone and a purse that had been in the vehicle) was Kini Crawford of Kearny.

• P.O. Rich Carbone, on patrol at Belgrove Drive and Wilson Ave. at 5:15 p.m., spotted a 23-year-old Orange resident, Derek Gaters, whom he knew to be wanted on a Belleville warrant. After confirming this, he arrested Gaters and took him to KPD HQ. Belleville authorities were notified.

— Karen Zautyk

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