Nutley police find, arrest early morning burglar

Onnjii Campbell
Onnjii Campbell

Nutley police quickly apprehended a 27-year-old Newark man they say was responsible for several early morning break-ins Saturday.

Police arrested 27-year-old Onnjii Campbell, of Newark, and charged him with burglary, theft and possession of burglary tools, in addition to criminal attempt, shortly after they began to search for him.

Nutley police gave the following account of the incident that led to Campbell’s arrest.

Police said they received a call Saturday at 4:49 a.m. from a woman claiming a man was running after another man north on Bloomfield Ave. When police arrived, they said they found the victim of a home burglary who had run after the intruder after finding him in his home moments earlier.

Police said the victim was able to give an accurate description of the burglar.

Meanwhile, police said the resident was barefoot and still in sleep attire when he  told police he lost sight of suspect after hurting himself running on stones at the intersection of Bloomfield and Kingsland Aves.

Later, Nutley and Bloomfield patrol units saturated the area and contacted the Essex County Sheriff’s Office, requesting K-9 assistance.

The dog, police said, was able to track a scent to the area of Alexander Ave., where officers observed a man fitting the victim’s description.

After a short foot pursuit, police said they apprehended  Campbell.

Detectives also said they discovered Campbell tried burglarize a Brookdale Ave. home, but he was unable to gain entry. He then proceeded to Bloomfield Ave., where he entered a home through an unlocked first-floor window — and made off with the homeowner’s handbag.

Mayor and Public Safety Director Alphonse Petracco said it’s extremely unusual for a burglar to enter an occupied home during early morning hours, and he said the homeowner was lucky he didn’t get hurt and that the suspect was unarmed.

Petracco said that while the homeowner showed extreme courage, he still  discourages anyone from taking the same kind of action.

Meanwhile, Chief Thomas Strumolo commended all the officers for their swift  apprehension of Campbell.

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