KPD: Teen accosted on way to school

By Karen Zautyk

Observer Correspondent


Police last week arrested a local man on charges of criminal attempted kidnapping after he allegedly grabbed a 17-year-old student on her way to Kearny High School. The girl managed to escape his clutches and ran to the school, where she reported the crime, police said.

The suspect, identified as 44-year-old Holger Chamba of Kearny, was being held in the Hudson County Jail on $150,000 bail — cash only, authorities said.

Kearny Police Chief John Dowie told The Observer the girl was walking on Highland Ave. about 8 a.m., Tuesday, June 4, when she was accosted. The man reportedly grabbed her and tried to take her with him along the street. She struggled free and fled, Dowie said.

At KHS, she notified the school administration and the KPD’s high school resource officer, P.O. Steve Montanino, of the incident.

Montanino broadcast a description of the suspect and his last known location, and all available KPD resources were sent to the area.

On the 100 block of Maple St., Lt. Anthony Gouveia saw a man matching the description said the suspect tried to push past the officer, but Gouveia physically detained him and contacted Det. Sgt Robert Maguire, who was coordinating the followup investigation.

Maguire brought the victim to Maple St. for a “drive by,” and she reportedly identified the suspect as the man who had accosted her, the chief said.

Chamba, who reportedly lives in the area where the incident had occurred, was arrested, booked at KPD headquarters and transported to the county jail.

On the advice of the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office, Chamba was additionally charged with luring and child abuse, authorities reported.

Dowie said U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents were notified because Chamba’s immigration status was in question.

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