A township man who allegedly held a stolen cell phone for ransom and arranged a rendezvous to collect the cash wins this week’s Catch Me If You Can — And You Definitely Can award.
On Oct. 28, Officer Daniel Esteves responded to a Kearny residence to interview the victim of the theft, a 17-yearold girl who reported that an unknown man had contacted her, demanding $100 for return of her iPhone and providing a location on Pavonia Ave. where they could meet.
The girl did not keep the appointment. But Esteves did. And at the site, he encountered Michael Henriques, 27, of Kearny, who was allegedly in possession of the iPhone that had been used to call a number supplied by the victim.
Henriques was promptly arrested for receiving stolen property.
(Runner-up for the Catch Me If You Can prize goes to a man who reportedly tried to outrun police while they were in a car and he was on a bicycle. See Oct. 28 notes.)
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Other recent reports from the Kearny police blotter included the following:
Dets. Michael Gonzalez and Bryant Obie, on patrol at Kearny and Oakwood Aves. at 10:30 a.m., saw a female pedestrian drinking from a 24-oz. can of Steel Reserve malt liquor. While confirming her identity in order to issue a summons for public consumption of alcohol, they learned she had four outstanding warrants — two each from Union Township and Clark. Theresa Rossi, 58, of Lakewood, was arrested, and the aforementioned communities were notified.
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At noon, Officer Damon Pein was dispatched to Walmart, where security had detained alleged shoplifter Yvonne Barnes, 54, of Newark. In a search incident to arrest, police said, nine hypodermic needles were found in her purse.
She was charged with their possession, shoplifting and on an outstanding Kearny contempt- of-court warrant.
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Officer Jordenson Jean, patrolling at Schuyler Ave. and Hoyt St. at 3 p.m., stopped a passing motorist for talking on a hand-held cell phone while driving.
Paul Saracino, 29, of Jersey City, was charged with that MV violation and also for driving while suspended and failure to surrender a suspended license.
At 10:20 a.m., a concerned citizen alerted police to possible drug use at Brighton and Bergen Aves. In the area, Officer Esteves found Abdel Muhammad, 20, of Kearny, detected the apparent odor of marijuana and saw him discard a plastic container. This was recovered, along with a still-burning marijuana blunt, police said. Muhammad was charged with possession of pot and drug paraphernalia. Oct. 27 Shortly after midnight, Officers Ben Wuelfing and Chris Medina were called to Walmart to take into custody 31-year-old Ron Sampson of Montclair for allegedly attempting to shoplift clothing and a TV. Police said a warrant check revealed he had two — one each from Newark and Bloomfield. (Sidelight: At KPD headquarters following his arrest, Sampson reportedly refused to remove the drawstring on his sweatpants — said removal of which is a standard precautionary measure when incarcerating a prisoner. Police therefore removed the sweatpants, and he spent the night in a cell in his shorts. Boxers or briefs? Talk amongst yourselves.)
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A Kearny man wanted in connection with a July robbery at Rite Aid was arrested by Officers Brian Wisely and Kevin Arnesman, who spotted him at 3 p.m. on the 400 block of Kearny Ave. Police said Paul Spana, 49, was the subject of multiple theft-related warrants, including two from Kearny and one from North Arlington. He has been remanded to the Hudson County Jail on $50,000 bail, with no 10% option.
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At 10:30 p.m., Wuelfing and Medina were back at Walmart to arrest Oscar Cruz, 30, of Newark for allegedly shoplifting sneakers, clothing and a TV. Cruz was also charged on a warrant from Newark.
At 7:30 p.m., Vice Squad detectives observed a man they suspected of having engaged in a recent drug transaction pedaling a bicycle at Passaic and Johnston Aves. Pulling their car alongside him, they told him to stop. He reportedly ignored this directive, rode through a gas station and headed north on Belgrove Drive. Pulling their car alongside him, they noted he was now under arrest for fleeing.
The cyclist then led them on a serpentine course, down Lincoln Ave., to Johnston, back to Belgrove and onto Woodland Ave.. At the Highland Ave. intersection, the officers alighted from their vehicle, pursued him on foot and tackled him to the ground.
During the slowspeed chase, police said, the suspect was seen discarding a brown paper bag. Det. Ray Lopez, who had responded as backup, recovered it and reportedly found it to contain suspected marijuana.
Kini Crawford, 22, of Kearny, was charged with possession of pot and paraphernalia, obstructing the administration of law, resisting arrest and hindering apprehension by discarding evidence.
Both Crawford and his bicycle were impounded.
At 12:30 a.m., Officer Thomas Sumowski was driving south on the 500 block of Kearny Ave. when a Kia in front of him suddenly swerved, mounted the sidewalk, struck a parking meter and light pole and came to rest against a tree.
Sumowski immediately summoned medical aid and then approached the car.
Reportedly detecting the odor of alcohol on the driver, he and backup officer Wuelfing conducted field sobriety tests and, at HQ , an Alcotest. Rosalba Georgallis, 24, of Kearny was charged with DWI, DWI in a school zone and careless driving.
– Karen Zautyk