5 religious statues stolen from homes: NPD


Five religious statues, in addition to other lawn and decorative ornaments have been stolen from homes in Nutley in the first quarter of 2016. Nutley Police Det. Sgt. Anthony Montanari says the department is actively searching for the criminal or criminals responsible for the thefts.

Montanari says the NPD isn’t quite sure what the suspect(s) motives are since some of the items stolen aren’t very expensive. He believes the person or persons responsible for the recent rash of car break-ins (close to 50) might also be the ones to blame for the thefts of the statues.

He said it is uncommon for an auto burglar to commit thefts from residential homes and that most thieves commit their crimes in a similar way each time called an MO, although not ruling out the possibility it may be the same actor (s) since all the thefts are relatively petty.

Regardless of whether there is a connection, Nutley Police Chief Thomas Strumolo warns that whoever may be the guilty parties, the NPD will eventually make an arrest and that pledge was echoed by Montanari.

“Our chief has stepped up enforcement and addressed this situation, he has asked the public to remain vigilant and call police should they see or hear anything suspicious,” Montanari told The Observer.

“The Mayor/Police Director [Alphonse Petracco] wants the suspects to be apprehended as quickly as possible. He said that this is a quality of life issue and no resident should have to fear that their home or vehicle may be subjected to these types of crimes”.

“If it turns out there is just one actor, the charges will be compounded. We’re taking this seriously — and they should know that penalties can carry up to five years in prison.”

Montanari declined to say where the thefts occurred, but did say police have heightened patrol in specific geographical areas within the township and have compiled a potential list of suspects.

“These crimes effect everyone,” Montanari said. “We take them very serious and will continue to investigate until we apprehend the actor(s).”

The mayor concurred.

“It’s truly unfortunate that someone would take a religious statue from another’s property,” Petracco said. “He or she may need to answer to someone other than police one day. In response to heightened acts of theft within the community, we have bolstered patrols, initiated checkpoints, as well as assigned officers to investigate these incidents. Just like any other person who thinks they can commit crimes against residents in this town, it will not be tolerated and will be prosecuted once apprehended.”




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Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.