KPD:  N.Y.C. cabby assaulted, robbed

Vincent Stephens

Shortly after midnight last Thursday, March 10, Kearny police were alerted to a “commotion” at Passaic and Magnolia Aves. involving a New York City yellow cab. Office Dean Gasser arrived to find the driver, a 56-year-old N.Y.C. man, bleeding profusely from a head wound and determined that he had been assaulted and robbed of his wallet and jacket by two passengers who then ran south on Passaic, police said.

Patrol units scoured the area, and near the railroad tracks at N. Midland Ave, Officers Chris Medina, Andre Fernandes and Richard Pawlowski saw two men who fit the description provided by the cabby. The suspects were taken back to the scene and were identified by the victim, police said.

Eric Stephens
Eric Stephens

Arrested and charged with robbery, conspiracy, unlawful possession of a weapon (a bottle reportedly used to strike the driver), possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, aggravated assault and endangering an injured victim were brothers Eric Stephens, 34, of Nutley, and Vincent Stephens, 32, of Kearny.

The cabby was treated at the scene by Kearny EMS and then transported to University Hospital in Newark, where he was interviewed by Det. Ray Lopez.

The Stephens brothers were arraigned later that day at Hudson County Central Judicial Processing Court in Jersey City.

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Other recent reports from the Kearny police blotter included the following:

March 5

Sgt. Dave Rakowski and Officers Steve Hroncich and Alan Stickno responded to ShopRite at 8 a.m. after the KPD was informed by East Orange police that an East Orange resident, wanted on “numerous warrants,” was possibly at the store. Police said they located and identified the target, Tajaree Kemp, 25, who, when confronted, took off, running south on Clark St.  The officers pursued him on foot and caught him at Clark and Belgrove Dr., police said.

In addition to warrants from East Orange, Orange and the Essex County Sheriff’s Office, Kemp was charged with resisting arrest. He was held at headquarters awaiting pick-up by Essex County authorities.

March 9

Officers Sean Watson and Chris Levchak, on patrol at 11 a.m., spotted a 2001 Chrysler double-parked on the 200 block of Hickory St.  Unable to locate its owner, they proceeded to write a summons, at which point, police said, they were approached by Johann Holguin, 20, of Kearny, who began to “berate them, loudly and profanely.”

Holguin reportedly refused to produce vehicle identification and ignored repeated warnings to cease and desist his behavior (as well as advice to leave the area).  When he began to aggressively approach the officers, they placed him under arrest, but he had to be forcibly cuffed, police said. He was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

March 10

At 2 a.m., Officer Michael Gontarczuk observed a 1998 Honda stopped in traffic at Kearny and Wilson Aves., where it sat through several traffic light cycles, despite the blaring horn of a car behind it. Approaching the Honda on foot, Gontarczuk reportedly found it in gear and with its engine running, and with Diego Corrales, 28, of Kearny, asleep at the wheel.

With back-up Officers Kevin Arnesman and Chris Manolis, Gontarczuk tried to rouse Corrales, who police said was unresponsive. They unlocked the door and turned off the motor — and reportedly smelled the strong odor of alcohol. When Corrales was finally awakened, he was drowsy to the point that Kearny EMS was called to the scene, police said. Following field sobriety tests and an Alcotest at HQ, he was charged with DWI.

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