KPD: Whisky, you’re the devil

A man with an apparent fetish for Hennessy whisky was arrested last week on suspicion of being the serial shoplifter who has been hitting local liquor stores in search of that specific label, Kearny police reported.

Shortly after 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 25, Officer Alan Stickno was called to a store at New Lawn and Kearny Aves., whose proprietor reported that a man had attempted steal a $105 bottle of Hennessy but put it back and fled when he was confronted. The same man had allegedly stolen the same brand from the shop on at least two prior occasions, Oct. 18 and Oct 24.

A BOLO was issued, and Stickno and Deputy Chief George King soon spotted the suspect — Jose Mendes, 31, of Harrison — at Kearny and Midland Aves., where he was identified by the proprietor and taken into custody without incident, police said.

A follow-up investigation led Det. Ray Lopez to another liquor store, at Kearny and Seeley Aves., where a man fitting the Mendes’ description had absconded with a bottle of Hennessy on Oct. 23, police said.

As of press time, Mendes had been charged with two counts of shoplifting and was facing a third.

  • ••

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

Oct. 20

Officer Derek Hemphill responded to a report of an 11 p.m. “traffic jam” at the Passaic Ave. Burger King drive-thru and found that a 2001 Hyundai had overshot the service window and was now just sitting there, blocking the vehicles behind it.

Police said the driver, Ana Carneiro, 24, of Kearny, could neither produce her credentials nor speak coherently. Following field sobriety tests, she was brought to headquarters, where Officer Chris Medina, the KPD’s Drug Recognition Expert, determined that she was probably under the influence of a CDS, police said.

She was charged with DUI (of alcohol and/or drugs), operating an unregistered/uninsured vehicle, and on a $1,000 drug-related Hopatcong warrant. The Hyundai was towed, and the other Burger King customers could finally get their Whoppers.

Oct. 22

At 1:30 a.m., Officers Michael Santucci and Jose Castillo responded to a report of a disturbance in an apartment on the 200 block of Hoyt St. and found the residence in disarray, said disarray including a toppled refrigerator, police said.

While gathering information, Santucci encountered an allegedly hostile Edgar Barreiro, 23, of Kearny, who tried to block the doorway and pushed the officer, police said.

Santucci and Castillo forced him to the floor and cuffed him, but he reportedly continued to struggle. He was eventually hauled to HQ and charged with obstructing the administration of law, criminal mischief, resisting arrest, and aggravated assault on a police officer.

Oct. 24

Officers Dave Bush and Jon Dowie, at Woodland and Kearny Aves. at 11 p.m.,  detained a pedestrian, Kenyatta Saunders, 35, of Newark, who police said had two outstanding warrants from Hamilton Township: $500, drug-related; $200, traffic-related. In a search incident to arrest, he was allegedly found to have five wax folds of suspected heroin. Saunders was charged on the warrants, with possession of the drug/drug paraphernalia, and with hindering apprehension (he reportedly gave a phony name when initially confronted). Kearny Municipal Judge Thomas D. McKeon tacked on an additional $2,500/10% bail.

Oct. 25

At 6:45 a.m., Sgt. Joseph Vulcano responded to the report of an accident at Rts. 1/9 and Hackensack Ave. in South Kearny, where a 2013 Jeep had apparently struck a 2015 International tractor. Officer Philip Finch was called in to perform FSTs on the Jeep driver — Martin McNerney, 53, of Bayonne — who was charged with DWI and reckless driving.

Oct. 26

Officers Bush and Dowie, on patrol at 1:30 a.m., pulled over a 2008 Nissan with an obstructed license plate and obstructed field of vision at Harrison and Bergen Aves. and, when the door was opened, reportedly detected the scent of marijuana. Police said driver Verline Ulysse, 27, of Maplewood, was “very reluctant” to open the glove box when asked for her credentials and it was found to contain a plastic bag of suspected pot. She was charged with possession of pot/paraphernalia, operating a MV in possession of a CDS, and the obstructed view/license plate offenses.

  • ••

At 11 p.m., Officer Mina Ekladious stopped a 1999 Honda for an illegal U-turn on Brighton Ave., detected a familiar odor and found in the car four partially smoked marijuana cigars, a pipe and a black-and-silver imitation handgun, police said. Driver Jeffry Jerez, 25, of Paterson, was charged with possession of pot/paraphernalia, operating a MV while in possession of a CDS, possession of an imitation firearm, and making an improper turn.

  • ••

Also on this date, a Kearny man was taken into custody on a theft charge stemming from an incident that occurred three weeks earlier. Here is the saga as recounted by police:

On Oct 4, at 5:30 p.m., a 53-year-old Newark woman who had been shopping at Kmart loaded her purchases into her car and drove away. She then realized she had left her purse in the shopping cart in the parking lot. Returning immediately, she found the cart empty. But she also found a Good Samaritan, who told her he had seen a man in a red pick-up truck take the pocketbook and had confronted him. Thanks to the Samaritan’s intervention, the thief was persuaded to do the right thing, and he returned the purse to the victim.

However, when the woman examined the contents, she reported that $900 in cash was missing. The thief insisted the purse had been empty, walked away and left in his truck.

Det. Michael Farinola, conducting the follow-up investigation, tracked down the  truck through its license plate number, learned that Michael Canabe, 21, of Kearny, had been issued summonses in another jurisdiction while driving the vehicle, compared Canabe’s DMV photo with Kmart surveillance video, and determined he had been there when the theft occurred.

Farinola contacted Canabe, who reportedly admitted he was at the store, but denied the crime. The detective then obtained a warrant charging him with theft of property lost or mislaid and requested that he come to HQ, which he failed to do.

On Oct. 26, at 5:15 p.m., Farinola spotted Canabe in the truck near Stewart Ave. and Argyle Place and took him into custody. Judge McKeon set bail at $10,000/10%.  Canabe posted it and walked free.

Learn more about the writer ...