NPD: Be wary of utility scammer calls


Calls to Nutley residents claiming to be from PSE&G are likely scams, especially when the calls require residents to “pay their bill within 30 minutes” through MoneyGram – or face disconnection of service – the Nutley Police Department said last week.

The scammers are so good they may even have an accurate account number. But PSE&G would never require an account holder to pay via MoneyGram within a half-hour – and they’d never threaten disconnection of service within 30 minutes, the NPD said.

Get a such a call? Immediately contact PSE&G to confirm the fraudulent call – then contact the NPD (or your local police department if you live elsewhere) at 973-284-4940.

Meanwhile, the NPD released the following reports of incidents that took place between Oct. 2 and Oct. 6:

Oct. 2

While initiating a traffic stop on Park Ave., officers were advised that the driver of a car, Hassan Gibbs, 20, of Belleville, had two active warrants. Gibbs was placed under arrest, transported to headquarters where he posted bail, and was issued a ticket for obstruction of windshield for vision and released pending court action.

Oct. 3

The owner of Kingsland St. eatery reported to police that a former employee had been stealing money from the business for more than a year. The suspect would reportedly manipulate a computer to reflect a larger tip than was indicated on a receipt and thus, was taking the additional amount owed to the restaurant.  The total amount allegedly stolen was listed as $2,000. The employee, Stephen Kirschenbaum, 27, of Union, was charged with theft and issued a court date.

Oct. 4

The police and fire departments responded to Roma St. on a report of a small fire on the driveway of a residence. The fire was promptly extinguished and there were no signs of any property damage. Two witnesses told police they saw two men walking on Roma St. and filming something with their cell phones.  Then they saw an orange glow, indicative of a fire burning.

The witnesses told police they approached and questioned the suspects, who took off on foot running from the scene. They described one suspect as wearing all gray, about 5-foot-11 and the other as wearing a red tank top, about 5-foot-seven and possibly Asian.

Upon further inspection of the contents of the fire, it appeared a stack of newspapers contained inside a plastic milk crate were set on fire.  No lighters or matches were found on scene. A fire captain said there were no signs of an accelerant and advised officers there was no need to contact an arson investigator.

Both police and fire personnel checked the area for any other fires – there weren’t any. Officers also checked the area unsuccessfully for the two suspects. The tenants of the residence could not be contacted around the time of the fire to advise them of the incident.

Oct. 5

Officers conducted a motor vehicle stop on Passaic Ave. and discovered the registered owner and driver had a warrant out of Aberdeen Township. Nicholas Biamonte, 55, of Toms River, was placed under arrest and transported to HQ without incident. He posted bail and was issued a motor vehicle summons for failure to inspect his vehicle before being released.

  • ••

Officers responded to Church St. on a report of a burglary, where a homeowner told them someone had forced entry into the rear of their home by breaking a rear door window.  A jewelry box containing approximately $15,000 in jewelry was taken. The neighborhood was canvassed in an attempt to gather information about the incident.  Detectives are investigating.

  • ••

Officers responded to Franklin Ave. on a call that a man was touching himself inappropriately outside a business.  Upon arrival, officers located the suspect and witnesses positively identified him, police said.

Victor Pinto, 56, of Nutley, was arrested on charges of endangering the welfare of a child and lewdness, a disorderly person’s offense. Pinto was released on $50,000 bail with a 10% option along with two mandatory court dates.

Oct. 6

Headquarters received a walk-in fraud report from a victim who told officers he attempted to buy an English Bull Dog puppy through but never got the dog.

The victim paid an initial $380 fee through Western Union. After the money was picked up, the seller indicated an additional $840 was required to send the dog by plane from Maryland to Newark Liberty International Airport.

The victim again transferred the money through Western Union.

Later, when the victim went to the airport to retrieve the puppy, there was no record of the flight or the dog. Upon contacting the seller, the victim was told the puppy wasn’t delivered because he needed to pay an additional $1,700.

At that time, the victim realized he was being scammed.

The victim was advised of his right to file a complaint with the Nutley Municipal Court.


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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.