Kearny Police blotter: The chips were down

Earlier this month, Kearny officers responded to a report of a burglary in South Kearny. Thanks to security cameras and some good police work the suspect has been identified and will be turned over to Hudson County authorities, as soon as Union County is through with him.

It all began around 4 a.m. June 6, when Officers Tom Floyd and Chris Levchak were called to the Subway shop at Tullo’s Truck Stop on the Lincoln Highway, where they found the front door smashed and the culprit gone.

According to the business’ owner, $225 in cash had been stolen, along with some food, primarily bags of potato chips, a trail of which had been left behind.

Det. John Plaugic searched the crime scene, gathered evidence and, along with the owner, reviewed security videos. Plaugic then utilized the KPD’s Critical Reach system, a law enforcement intelligence and information-sharing network, and discovered that Elizabeth had a similar break-in, also at a Subway, and a suspect was in custody. Comparing security footage and the arrest photo of the alleged burglar, the detective was able to identify 23-yearold Gustavo Figueroa as the suspect in the Kearny crime and on June 18 draw a warrant for his arrest on charges of burglary and theft.

Figueroa, who previously had no known address, has one now: the Union County Jail in Elizabeth. He will eventually be transferred to Hudson County on the Kearny charges, police said.

Other recent reports from the KPD blotter included the following:

June 15

At approximately 3 a.m., three young men, apparently all Kearny residents, were sitting on a bench on the 200 block of Kearny Ave., enjoying some food they had just purchased at Quick Chek, when they were approached by an individual who asked them if they had any “weed.” Police said the three told him they did not, nor did they want any.

At that point, the stranger displayed a handgun, punched one of the youths in the face, and relieved them of their credit cards, driver’s licenses and an iPhone. He then ran to a waiting vehicle, which fled along the avenue. The suspect was described as a black male in his early 20s, wearing a grey hoodie and dark pants.

P.O. Dean Gasser was the initial responding officer, and Dets. Michael Gonzalez and John Plaugic are conducting the follow-up.

June 17

At 7:30 p.m., P.O. Jay Ward arrested a 16-year- old Kearny youth at Kearny and Midland Aves., after confirming the teen had an outstanding warrant from Hudson County for failure to appear in drug court, police said. A search subsequent to the arrest reportedly revealed four small bottles containing suspected cocaine in his bookbag. The youth was processed at headquarters, his parents were notified, and he was transported to the Hudson County Juvenile Detention Center.

Vice Detectives on patrol on the Belleville Pike at 10 p.m. noticed a parked car with its interior lights on, put it under surveillance, and saw the occupant apparently in the process of rolling a marijuana cigar. Arrested on charges of possession of a CDS and drug paraphernalia was David Emanuel, 27, of Kearny, who also received a summons for operating a motor vehicle while in possession of a CDS.

June 18

At 5:45 p.m, P.O. John Fabula and Sgt. Anthony Limite, responding to a report of a fight on Tappan St., arrived to find that one of the combatants had already fled. The other, identified as 18-year-old Harrison resident Christopher Henry, was found to be “highly intoxicated” and carrying alcoholic beverages in his backpack, police said. Henry was charged with underage possession of alcohol. At HQ , due to the state of his intoxication, EMS was summoned and transported him to Clara Maass Medical Center for treatment, Police Chief John Dowie reported.

Pursuant to an ongoing investigation into the distribution of marijuana, members of the Vice Squad were conducting surveillance on Belgrove Drive at 8:30 p.m. when they observed what they believed to be a hand-to-hand transaction. When the alleged buyer got into a car and began to leave, he was stopped and arrested. The suspect, Michael Nee, 19, of Kearny, was charged with possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

The officers then returned to the original scene and confronted the alleged seller, who reportedly was found to have eight bags of marijuana in the sleeve of his shirt. A search of his Belgrove Drive apartment turned up seven more bags of suspected pot, police said.

Arrested was Luis Medina, 22, of Kearny on charges of possession of marijuana and paraphernalia, distribution of the drug, and distribution within 1,000 feet of a school and 500 feet of a playground. Medina was also found to have an outstanding warrant from the Essex County Sheriff’s Office, police said.

June 19

At 1 a.m., P.O. Ben Wuelfing was alerted to a suspicious male on Ivy St. Checking the area, the officer observed a man carrying a bicycle down off a porch, stopped and questioned him. The individual said he did not live in the house, a fact confirmed by the homeowner, whom Wuelfing also interviewed, while backup Officer Joe Martin secured the the suspect. Charged with defiant trespass was 35-year -old Newark resident Danny Morales, who was also found to be wanted on a $5,000 theft-related warrant out of Newark, Dowie reported. Morales was also charged with contempt of court on that warrant. The origin of the bike is not known.

June 20

P.O. John Travelino, in full uniform and wearing a traffic vest, was on pedestrian crossing duty at 3:15p.m. on Kearny Ave. near Mandee’s, when, Dowie said, he noticed “some interaction between a motorcycle and a red Honda” travelling south on the avenue. The Honda appeared to be “the more agressive” of the two, the chief noted.

The motorcycle stopped as it approached the crosswalk, but the Honda cut around it, coming “very close,” to the officer and pedestrians, Dowie said. Travelino ordered the driver to stop, but he reportedly accelerated into the oncoming lane and turned west onto Bergen Ave. Additional units were called to the area and found the Honda had hit another vehicle at Bergen and Maple St. The driver abandoned the car, and his passenger, and fled on foot through the backyards.

Officers Jay Ward and Pat Becker and Sgt. Pete Gleason detained the passenger while others searched the area. P.O. Pat Sawyer and Det. Neil Nelson found the motorist hiding in a backyard on Maple near Rose St. “He actually made a good distance for a guy wearing flip-flops,” Dowie commented.

Taken into custody was McEden Etienne, 19, of Irvington, charged with: eluding police, obstructing the administration of law, and criminal trespass. He was also issued motor-vehicle summonses for: reckless driving, failure to yield to pedestrians, improper passing, failure to stop or yield at a red light, operating an unregistered vehicle, failure to produce a driver’s license, and having fictitious plates.

– Karen Zautyk

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