Suspected teen burglar nabbed


A 16-year-old from Newark was arrested last week on criminal charges after leading cops on a 3 a.m. chase through Devon St. backyards – in the course of which one officer was injured, KPD Chief John Dowie reported.

Although the charges were serious and the teen was allegedly in possession of property stolen from motor vehicles, when Hudson County authorities were contacted police were advised to release him to the custody of his mother. (Editor’s note: Was the Youth House too crowded?)

Dowie said Officer Dean Gasser first noticed the youth shortly after 3 a.m. apparently trying car door handles in the parking lot across from Mandee’s on Kearny Ave.

As Gasser approached, the teen dropped a backpack he was carrying and fled on foot down the avenue, police said. Gasser ran after him but lost sight of the suspect on Bergen Ave. The officer radioed headquarters with a description and direction of flight, and shortly thereafter Officers Derek Hemphill and Tom Sumowski spotted the teen on Devon St. near West Hudson Park.

With both officers in pursuit, running through backyards and jumping over fences, the youth was eventually cornered but would not comply with orders to surrender, Dowie noted. Compliance occurred after OC spray was employed.

During the chase, one of the fences collapsed as Sumowski was vaulting it, and he suffered facial and head injuries. The suspect was found to have a laceration on one wrist, and both he and Sumowski were taken to Clara Maass Medical Center, treated and released.

Police said a search of the backpack the kid had dropped in the Mandee’s lot produced: two Samsung phones, $28 in cash and change, several sets of keys, three GPS units, a U.S. Postal Service ID card, two wallets and two handgun bullets, one of them a hollow-point.

The youth was charged with: criminal attempted burglary, theft of property lost or mislaid, obstruction of the administration of law, possession of burglar tools and possession of the hollow- point.

As noted, rather than being held at the Youth House, he was released to his mother.

Detectives from the KPD Juvenile Bureau are conducting a follow-up investigation, including efforts to reunite the backpack contents with their original owners.

Dowie noted there had recently been “a series of overnight car burglaries throughout town.” And he repeated what law enforcement has often said: “Lock your car!”

The chief also complimented Sumowski for being “a real trouper,” reporting for duty the next day despite his injuries. (Editor’s note: Yes, “trouper.” Look it up.)

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