Not so sweet a season for alleged thief


A Newark man who, police say, may have had thoughts about swiping an unsecured package in Harrison, probably didn’t do it because he already had his hands full – with what police later discovered to be stolen goods.

But when the man turned his attention to the goods in hand, a pair of vigilant cops turned their focus squarely on him.

The action unfolded sometime between noon and 1 p.m. last Wednesday, Dec. 14, as the HPD’s Det. Sgt. Charles Schimpf and Det. Ernie Hernandez were patrolling the town in an unmarked vehicle on the watch for holiday grinches who’ve been swiping packages left on porches by delivery services.

In so doing, they observed a UPS truck drop off a package at a Harrison Ave. residence and began conducting surveillance.

Sure enough, police said, within a few minutes a man walked by carrying a brown box under one arm and, in the other, a bag containing a brown box.

Police said the man approached the location where the package was sitting outside but, instead of picking up the package, attempted to open the front door but was unable to do so.

Schimpf and Hernandez followed the man around the corner to Sixth St. where, police said, he continued walking about half a block before entering an alley on the north side of Sixth.

There, the detectives walked up to the man who, police said, was trying to open one of the packages while the other package’s contents – a Versace perfume kit valued at $50 – were strewn on the ground.

After the detectives identified themselves and asked what he was doing, the man reportedly told them: “You got me.”

The suspect, identified as Jose Diaz, 43, a resident of Newark, was arrested and taken to HPD Headquarters where, police said, he admitted to having stolen – earlier that day – the package of perfume and the still-sealed package from a Harrison Ave. location only a few doors from the building he had tried to enter. Police surmise he wanted to get inside the building lobby so he could open the two packages in a more private place.

Diaz was then charged with two counts of theft.

Police said Diaz also confessed to a prior theft of a $180 comforter set from a Sixth St. location, but he did not have the comforter in his possession at the time of his arrest.

Police said he did, however, have in his possession clothing and two boxes of Triple Leaf tea and was wearing a $1,700 leather jacket but they said they could not confirm those items had been stolen.

Diaz was released on a summons with a returnable court date.

— Ron Leir

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