Accused bike thief ‘smoked’ out: HPD


A weary traveler is getting an ill-deserved rest now … with some assistance from the local gendarmes.

Sometime after 5 p.m. on July 18, a Harrison resident came into Harrison Police Headquarters to report the theft of his bicycle, valued at $150, from outside the QuickChek on Bergen St.

About 10 minutes later, police said a store employee — who had earlier learned about the incident from the victim — called to alert police that, after having reviewed tape from the store’s surveillance camera, an Hispanic man wearing a blue shirt and gray sweat pants who, from the tape, appeared to be the bike thief, was inside the store.

Police said Officer Marc Silva responded to the store and, after scanning the area, found a man matching the suspect’s description sitting on a bench on Frank E. Rodgers Boulevard, just west of the QuickChek.

While Sgt. John Brown watched the suspect, Silva went inside the store to review the tape and observed that at 5:12 p.m., the video showed the victim lean his bike against the storefront and go inside, and at 5:15 p.m., it showed the suspect riding off with it, police said.

When the officer asked the suspect, identified as Renan Freitas, 19, of Newark, about the incident, police said Frietas reportedly admitted taking the bike but refused to say where he had left it and a police search of the area proved futile.

Frietas was arrested on a theft charge and, after a search incident to arrest resulted in the discovery of a clear zip lock bag with green vegetation suspected of being marijuana, he was additionally charged with possession of marijuana under 50 grams.

While he was being booked, Freitas reportedly told officers that he was tired because he was smoking marijuana all day, police said.

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Police also logged reports of these recent incidents:

July 18

At 2:42 p.m., police responded to a report of a man yelling at customers in front of the QuickChek in the Bergen St. mall where they found Michael N. Coulanges, 30, of Newark, who reportedly shouted an expletive and began walking away, initially ignoring an order to stop but finally complying.

After learning that he had three active warrants of $2,500 from Newark, $500 from Bloomfield and $100 from Camden, detectives arrested him on a charge of contempt — disobeying a judicial order and on the warrants.


Authorities in the three communities were notified that Coulanges was being held temporarily by Harrison.

July 19

At 8:48 p.m., police received a report of theft from auto, which apparently happened during the night prior.

The victim told police she had parked her 2012 Hyundai Sonata on the 200 block of Hamilton St. at 8 p.m. on July 18 and when she returned at 7:30 a.m. the next morning, she discovered someone had broken into the vehicle. She said the contents of her glove compartment and her gym bag had been thrown around the car and the fuse box had been opened but that the only item missing was a pair of metallic blue Bear Wireless headphones valued at $399.

She told police that her car doors were locked but there was no damage to the windows or doors.

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A burglar apparently gained entry to a Cleveland Ave. apartment building and made off with various items, police said.

The tenant of a basement apartment told police that she had left for work at 8:40 a.m. and that when she returned at 7:10 p.m., she noticed her door was ajar, her apartment had been ransacked and that she was missing an Apple MacBook Pro computer, waterproof speaker, portable speaker and jewelry, valued in total at more than $3,000. Police said they found pry marks near the dead bolt on her door.

A third-floor tenant told police he left his apartment at 6:45 a.m. and at 3:45 p.m., got a text message from his brother who was at his apartment asking if he had taken his black Nike running shoes to work because they were not in front of his door where he normally leaves them. The tenant, whose apartment was not entered, told police someone else must have taken the sneakers.

Police said a second-floor apartment was not broken into.

At the bottom of the basement stairs, police said they found a metal hand tool with the tip of the metal bent outward, lying on the floor. Also, at the rear door, police said they found a pair of “oddly placed” Adidas sneakers on the top step leading to the door and, inside the sneakers, there were tiny glass shards with apparent blood stains and multiple strands of hair on the laces, all of which were bagged as evidence for a follow-up investigation.

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A thief purloined a Kearny woman’s bicycle from the 900 block of Frank E. Rodgers Boulevard South, but police are hoping a surveillance tape will offer clues.


The owner told police she had locked up the bike at 7 a.m. and when she returned at 9:05 p.m., it was gone. But in viewing footage from a store surveillance camera, the owner witnessed the theft on video.

Police said she told them that, according to the time-stamped video, between 6:36 and 6:39 p.m., a dark-skinned man, about 5-feet-10, wearing a dark shirt, dark cargo shorts, baseball hat and sneakers stole her 2015 K2 Women’s Hybrid, 26-inch wheel, lime-green bike with a breast cancer ribbon decal sticker, valued at $275, from a bike rack where it was secured with a Level 2 Bell bike coil chain and lock and drove off south toward the Jackson St. Bridge.

— Ron Leir  

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