Woman groped in park:NPD blotter

Composite courtesy N.J. State Police Have you seen him?
Composite courtesy N.J. State Police
Have you seen him?


Police are looking for a man who, they say, grabbed a woman in Nichols Park, bounded by Kingsland St. and Bloomfield Ave., in Nutley late Thursday afternoon.

The woman told police she was walking her dog near the waterfalls in the park at about 4:45 p.m. when an unknown man grabbed her from behind, touching her inappropriately.

Police said she fended him off and ran, calling police for help and providing a description of her assailant as white, about 6 feet, 200 pounds, wearing a navy blue hooded sweatshirt and blue jeans.

A search of the park area was unavailing.

A New Jersey State Police sketch artist produced a composite rendering of the potential suspect.

Police asked anyone who has information about the incident to contact the Nutley Police Department’s Detective Bureau at 973-284-4940, ext. 2171.

Police listed the following incidents as among those logged during the past week:

March 1

At 9:12 a.m., police were called to a Walnut St. residence where the owner told them that, upon returning home, they found the rear door entrance handle broken off and a rear window sill broken off and screen removed and bent. Under the window, police said they found a long-handled shovel which they surmise was used by an intruder to try to pry up the window. Police said they also found footprints in the snow. Inside, police said, multiple rooms and drawers were rummaged through and an estimated $3,000 worth of items taken. Essex County law enforcement agents and local detectives are investigating.

March 5

At 11:47 a.m., the manager of a River Road business reported finding a pile of garbage outside of the two Dumpsters in their parking lot. The manager told police that the Dumpsters were kept locked because of previous problems with people dumping trash in the Dumpsters without authorization.

At 2:03 p.m., the owner of a Franklin Ave. business reported a suspicious incident, telling police that someone purporting to be from the Online Windows Co. called asking about their computer, saying they needed to update the company’s files, and the owner gave the caller information to access the computer from a remote location. The caller told the owner that a fee was required for further assistance but the owner declined. So far, no personal or financial information is missing, police said.

While on patrol, at 9:47 p.m., police said officers were stopped for a light at Bloomfield Ave. and Kingsland St. when they spotted a silver Audi go through the red light, with the driver shutting off the headlights, nearly causing an accident. Police said the patrol unit activated its overhead lights and siren and began a pursuit of the Audi which continued on at a speed of 40 mph. Police said the Audi continued into Clifton and got onto Rt. 46 West where the chase was ended. However, police said they were advised that the Audi was stopped by Totowa PD after it crashed on Rt. 80 West. The driver, Michael Matto, 39, of Franklin, was taken to an area hospital and later released. Matto was charged with eluding, failure to stop or yield, no headlights, speeding, failure to signal turn, reckless driving and driving while suspended. Matto was held at Passaic County Jail on $5,000 bail or 10% cash option, pending court action.

March 6

Multiple police units responded to a Park Ave. location, at 1:44 a.m., on a report of someone trying to gain access to vehicles in a parking lot. A caller told police they heard their car alarm sounding and, when they looked out the window, which overlooks the lot, someone shouted, “Hey!” from their apartment window, prompting a man dressed all in black with a black ski mask to run from the lot. Police said they found no signs of any vehicles tampered with and a search of the area proved unsuccessful.

At noon, police said they responded to a River Road location on a report of a stolen vehicle. Police said the owner of a white Ford Mustang told them they’d parked the vehicle in front of their apartment complex and, upon returning, found it missing. The owner told police that before they parked the Mustang on River Road, they saw two men parked in a station wagon blocking the driveway into the complex.

March 7

A suspected case of fraud was reported by a victim who told police their bank had contacted them about someone who’d tried to cash a check from their business, but who, after the teller became suspicious of the transaction, left the bank, leaving behind the check. The victim told police they logged onto their account and noticed that two checks had been drawn from the account, payable to two different individuals, that appeared to be fraudulent. Both checks, totaling $3,574.90, were cashed at a branch of the bank in Jacksonville, Fla. The victim advised the bank they didn’t issue those checks. The victim told police they had made out several checks to various companies and suspected that those checks were intercepted in the mail or by someone at one of those companies. The victim’s information was copied with their signature onto new fraudulent checks. Police advised the victim to contact the Jacksonville PD and advise them of the incident.

– Ron Leir

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