Cops grab accused serial burglars

BCPO Jose L. Cardona
Jose L. Cardona


Two men have been arrested in connection with at least 25 commercial burglaries across Bergen, Hudson and Passaic counties over a four-month period, Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli reported last week.

Three of the crimes occurred in Kearny; one, in Lyndhurst.

The suspects taken into custody Wednesday, Sept. 23, were identified as Jose L. Cardona, 30, and Woodrow Garcia Jr., 21, both of Woodland Park. Each has been charged with multiple counts of burglary and theft. A third individual, who was not named, was still at large, authorities said.

Cardona was arrested without incident at an apartment building in Paterson. Garcia surrendered to detectives at the Prosecutor’s Office.

The arrests were the result of the work of a multi-jurisdictional task force that included the Kearny and Lyndhurst police departments.

Along with the Bergen and Passaic County prosecutor’s offices and the Bergen County sheriff, task force members also represented police from Rutherford, Fair Lawn, Lodi, Elmwood Park, Saddle Brook, Paramus, Ridgefield, Fort Lee, Glen Rock, Waldwick, South Hackensack, Rochelle Park, Ramsey, Palisades Park, Wyckoff, Hawthorne, Paterson and Woodland Park.

Woodrow Garcia
Woodrow Garcia

Molinelli said the joint investigation, launched in July, revealed that more than two dozen recent burglaries shared certain similarities: “For instance, the burglars generally targeted gas stations and auto-body repair shops in the early morning hours while the stores were closed. The perpetrators would gain entry . . . by removing the locks utilizing specialized lock-picking tools. Once inside, they would steal, among other items, diagnostic equipment, cash and cartons of cigarettes.”

Search warrants executed by task force detectives yielded suspected proceeds from the crime spree, the prosecutor reported.

Two of the Kearny burglaries occurred on the same night, in the overnight hours of Aug. 19-20, at the BP gas station at Kearny and Linden Aves. and Woodland Auto Service at Kearny and Woodland Aves.

The third Kearny target, the U.S. Gas station at the Belleville Pike and Devon St., was burglarized Aug. 25, apparently at 2 a.m., when an alarm was triggered.

In Lyndhurst, thieves hit the Score service station at Ridge Road and New York Ave. Lyndhurst police said that crime was discovered at 6:25 a.m., Aug. 28, when the station owner arrived to open the business. Police said forcible entry had been made into a booth by the pumps and cigarettes and $24 in cash were taken.

Following their arraignment last Thursday, Cardona and Garcia were remanded to the Bergen County Jail. Cardona was being held on $250,000 bail, with no 10% option; Garcia, on $100,000, no 10%.

Learn more about the writer ...