KPD: There’s no beer in the ‘can’


A Kearny man, who might have walked away with just a town ordinance summons for drinking in public, instead walked himself into a jail cell on criminal charges, Kearny police reported.

Authorities said the arrest of Gregory Banks, 25, stemmed from a disturbance at 10:30 p.m., Thursday, May 26, at Tappan and Devon Sts. Officers Mina Ekladious, Darwin Paulino and Esteban Gonzalez responded to the intersection, where they reportedly were met with “blaring music” and a “loud and disorderly” group of about a dozen people in the street. “They were advised to disperse, and most did,” The Observer was told.

Banks, though, who was observed drinking from a 24 oz. can of Miller Lite, remained at the scene and remained defiant, police said. They then conducted a warrant check, which reportedly revealed he had one out of Lyndhurst for a seat-belt violation. [Editor’s note: Still, no big whoop, right? However . . .] Advised that he was now under arrest, police said he fled into a nearby building and was found hiding in the basement.

Banks got his drinking-in-public summons, along with ones for creating a disturbance, refusing to obey a police officer, public intoxication, and littering.

He was charged criminally with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest and was sent to the Hudson County Jail on $2,500 bail.

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

May 27

Officers Victor Girdwood and Steve Podolski were on patrol at 3:45 a.m. at Harrison and Bergen Aves. when a 2008 Audi reportedly swerved from the middle lane and nearly struck their marked police car. Police said the motorist, Nevin Perkins, 20, of Jersey City, was found to have a suspended license and three warrants: a $1,000 drug-related one from Denville and two MV warrants, $675 from Rockaway and $200 from Lake Hopatcong. He was arrested on all of the aforementioned and also received summonses for careless driving and driving while suspended.

  • ••

Officer Chris Levchak responded to a three-vehicle accident — two cars and a Dodge pick-up — at 6:20 p.m. on the 300 block of Kearny Ave. Police said there were no injuries, but following field sobriety tests, the truck’s driver, Brandon Olivero, 22, of Clifton, was arrested, taken to HQ for an Alcotest, and charged with DWI, driving while suspended, careless driving and failure to keep right.

  • ••

At 9:30 p.m., Sgt. Michael O’Neill and Officers Sean Podolski and Dean Gasser responded to the 700 block of Schuyler Ave., where a 2007 VW had struck an apartment building. Following FSTs, driver Jessica Meyers, 29, of North Arlington, was taken to HQ and charged with DWI, refusing to take an Alcotest, careless driving and failure to obtain a New Jersey driver’s license. Police said she had a Florida license but had not replaced it with a N.J. one within the 60-day limit.

May 28

Shortly after 1 a.m., Officers Michael Gontarczuk and Jason Rodrigues came upon a 2007 Toyota sitting in the middle of the Lincoln Highway near Jacobus Ave. in South Kearny. Police said it was “parked perpendicular to the flow of traffic as multiple tractor-trailers attempted to maneuver around it.”

Its engine was running, it was in “drive” and was occupied by an awake [which does not seem to be the usual case in such blotter instances] Dave Handy, 53, of North Plainfield. The cops had him turn the motor off and they moved the car from the roadway and conducted FSTs. Charged with DWI, Handy was placed in the rear of the patrol car, where he fell asleep en route to headquarters, police said. He was also charged with reckless driving, failure to wear a seat belt and obstructing traffic.

May 30

Officer Dominic Dominguez, stopped for the traffic light at Passaic and S. Midland Aves. at 7:30 p.m., noticed that the 2002 Chrysler in front of him had no brake lights. When driver Abel Gonzalez, 18, of Newark, was asked to step from the car, an unlabeled Rx bottle was visible inside and was found to contain five Oxycodone tablets, police said. Since neither Gonzalez nor his passenger, Juan Rodriguez-Diaz, 19, of Newark, reportedly would own up to ownership, both were arrested and charged criminally with possession of a CDS and drug paraphernalia. Gonzalez also received summonses for the lighting violation and operating a MV while in possession of a CDS.

May 31

At 8:30 p.m., Vice officers observed two apparently intoxicated Kearny men — Roger Russoman, 54, and Gabriel Brooks-Morales, 31 — walking near Midland Ave. and Devon St. Russoman then headed into the grassy area by the railroad tracks at Devon and Columbia Ave. and when he was questioned, police said, an unlabeled Rx bottle was seen protruding from his jeans. It reportedly contained 100 alprazolam pills. Russoman was charged with possession of a CDS and possession with intent to distribute. Police said Brooks-Morales was also arrested after he was found to have two warrants: one from Lyndhurst for $1,510, and a no-bail, child-neglect warrant from the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office.

June 1

At 3:45 a.m., Officer Michael Alvarez approached an illegally parked 2013 Toyota at Chestnut St. and Midland Ave. and asked to see the driver’s license. Police said she responded that she had no ID with her, but identified herself as Jessica Mondragon of Kearny. When backup Officer Ekladious illuminated the interior of the car, he saw on the floor a license bearing the woman’s photo. Problem: It also reportedly bore the name Karla Scotto. Confronted with this information, she admitted she was indeed the 37-year-old Scotto (of Kearny) and had lied because the license was suspended, police said. She was given summonses for the license and parking offenses and was charged criminally with hindering apprehension.

  • ••

On Devon St. near Devon Terrace, Officer Daniel Esteves stopped a New York-registered car at 7:15 p.m. for having no brake lights. Police said driver Luis Cuateco, 43, of Kearny, produced a Maryland license and an expired insurance card. A records inquiry reportedly revealed that the man’s license was suspended and that he had a $287 traffic warrant from Manalapan and three parking warrants from East Newark. Cuateco was arrested on the warrants and also charged with driving while suspended and the lighting and invalid-insurance card violations.

June 2

Officer Gontarczuk, on patrol at 1 a.m. at Harrison and Bergen Aves., stopped a passing 2008 Honda after he was alerted via his computer that the registered owner had a $250 MV warrant from Carteret. Driver/owner Andre Thornton, 24, of Port Reading, was taken into custody — but there’s more. In the car, police said, Gontarczuk and backup Officer Chris Manolis saw several small plastic bags containing a white substance — but there were more. The officers reportedly confiscated a total of 66 small empty bags with crack-cocaine residue, eight bags containing crack, and one glass pipe.

Thornton was charged with possession of crack, possession of a CDS in a MV, possession of drug paraphernalia and failure to produce proof of insurance. He was remanded to the county jail.

— Karen Zautyk

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