He opens wall, finds grenade




A contractor working at a Hillside Ave. rooming house last Wednesday, June 26, got a jolt after he turned up an explosive device.

Police Capt. Tom Strumolo said the contractor was renovating a recently vacated apartment in the boarding home, just off Franklin Ave., shortly before noon, and was ripping down sheetrock when he came across a grenade wedged between the sheetrock and a shaft in a wall.

Because of the way it was positioned, “you couldn’t tell if it was live or not,” Strumolo said.

So the contractor immediately phoned police, and, when officers arrived, showed them a photo of the device that he’d taken with his cellular phone.

Police called for the Essex County Bomb Squad who sent two technicians in to check out the explosive. At the same time, officers evacuated seven tenants from the rooming house. Officers checked on neighboring residences but no one was home, police said.

“It was deemed inert,” Strumolo said. “The bottom was drilled out but you couldn’t tell immediately looking at it. It must have been there for years – somebody might have dropped it in the shaft.”

After determining the device didn’t pose a danger, the technicians removed it for disposal, Strumolo said.

There will be no investigation to determine where the grenade came from, he said.

Here are other incidents logged by Nutley P.D. during the past week:

June 28

A traffic stop on Rt. 21, at 1:19 a.m., resulted in the arrest of Leon Lowery, 36, of North Brunswick, who was ticketed on a speeding charge. After learning Lowery was wanted on an outstanding warrant out of Woodbridge, police took him to headquarter where he was released after posting bail pending court dates in Nutley and Woodbridge.

June 27

A Briar Lane homeowner called police at 2:01 p.m. to report the theft of jewelry from the house. Police said they found no sign of forced entry. Detectives are investigating.

A motor vehicle stop for allegedly speeding on Rt. 21, at 2:04 a.m., resulted in the arrest of Zaid Williams, 25, of Newark, on an outstanding warrant from Irvington. Police said Williams was operating the vehicle with a suspended driver’s license. He was ticketed on charges of driving while suspended, safety glass requirement, speeding and failure to inspect. He was turned over to the custody of Irvington P.D.

June 26

A patron at the Nutley Public Library called police at 11:24 a.m. to report a theft. The victim told police they left their bag on a table unattended for a few minutes and, upon returning, couldn’t find their wallet. Police said the wallet was found in the bag but was missing cash. Police are investigating.

June 25

A motorist who’d parked in a designated space on River Road told police that someone had broken the front passenger door window but apparently didn’t get inside the vehicle. The incident was called in to police at 5:15 p.m.

June 24

Police pulled over a vehicle on Park Ave., at 7:26 p.m., after noticing that the car’s brake light wasn’t operating. Police issued the driver, Tremayne Pinckney, 37, of Fair Lawn, summonses for the non-working brake light and for driving with a suspended license. Police said Pinckney also had an outstanding warrant from Weehawken. He was released pending a court hearing.

Police stopped a vehicle on Kingsland St., at 1:42 p.m., for an expired/failed inspection sticker and arrested the driver, Lorenzo C. Devone, 27, of Belleville, on an outstanding warrant from Lyndhurst. He was issued a summons for driving with a suspended license. After posting bail, he was released.

Police are investigating a criminal mischief incident at Radcliffe School that, according to the school custodian, happened during the weekend. The custodian told police that intruders piled up four picnic tables to climb to the roof and bent the aluminum fins on the air conditioning unit on the building’s north side.

June 23

At 5:07 p.m., police responded to Yantacaw School field after receiving complaints about a group of juveniles setting off fireworks there. Officers noticed a broken window at the school. Checking the area, police said they found several youths matching the descriptions they’d been given. Police said the youths admitted lighting the fireworks but denied breaking the window which, police said, will cost $450 to replace. Police advised the youths’ parents about the incident.

– Ron Leir

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