Nearly 6 decades of criminal acts: KPD

KPD Lonza Westfield (l.) Shawn McLaughlin (r.)
Lonza Westfield (l.) Shawn McLaughlin (r.)

Two drug-possession suspects top the list of recent Kearny arrestees: One, because he reportedly has a record dating back nearly 60 years.

The other, because he was driving his car with the hood up — and he was not in a convertible.

At 6 p.m. on Jan. 7, KPD Officers Richard Poplaski and Richard Pawlowski and Sgt. Charles Smith responded to a dispute in progress at the Wawa on Harrison Ave., where Lonza Westfield, 81, of Irvington, was reportedly trying to get a refund for certain items without a receipt. Those items were: beef jerky, roasted salted almonds and almond/pecan crunch.

Police said the manager told them he recognized the man from a prior incident at another Wawa. A warrant check reportedly showed that Westfield had three, all theft-related: a $296 warrant from Linden; $500 out of West Berlin (N.J.), and $1,003 from Moorestown. In a search incident to arrest, police said, Westfield was found to be in possession of: one wax fold of suspected heroin, three empty folds, a pipe commonly used to ingest drugs, a Rite Aid gift card “he could not account for” and two gift boxes of Elie perfume.

Westfield was charged on the warrants and with possession of a CDS and drug paraphernalia and was shipped to the Hudson County Jail.

According to police, this was the octogenarian’s 15th arrest. Records show that the first occurred Nov. 29, 1957, when he was charged with larceny in Jersey City.

The second unusual Kearny apprehension came shortly after 10 p.m. on Jan. 11 when Vice Unit officers at Passaic Ave. and the Belleville Pike reportedly observed a gray 2000 Hyundai travelling east across the Pike bridge with its hood up. Yes, the hood over the engine. Said hood blocking the windshield.

“The driver was having a difficult time controlling the vehicle,” KPD Chief John Dowie noted in an understatement. Apparently, the motorist was able to see the road (somewhat) by peering between the bottom of the open hood and the windshield.

According to the officers who stopped him, Shawn McLaughlin, 51, of Lyndhurst, said he had been involved in an accident in Newark, evidence of which included a deployed airbag and antifreeze leaking from the car.

Police said McLaughlin was found to be in possession of five wax folds stamped “Dunkin Donuts.” He was charged with possession of heroin and drug paraphernalia. The car was impounded.

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