KPD: A not-so-nice walk in the park

At 10:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 26, Officers Derek Hemphill and Sean Podolski were approached on Kearny Ave. by a couple who said they had just been accosted and threatened by two males — an adult and a juvenile — in West Hudson Park.

Police said the woman, a 38-year-old Kearny resident, and her male companion, 40, from Rutherford,  were initially approached by a group of four males, two of whom then left. One who remained demanded to know what was in the woman’s purse, and the other tried to punch the man, but missed, police said.

At that point, the woman shouted for help and called 911, and the assailants fled.

While the victims were talking to the officers, the woman pointed out one of the suspects crossing the avenue. At the sight of the cops, he began running west on Rose St., with Podolski in foot pursuit.

Additional units arrived, and the woman spotted the second suspect, the would-be pugilist, who was taken into custody by Officer Chris Medina. He was identified as Jovan Echevarria, 22, of Kearny.

Meanwhile, Podolski and Hemphill had tracked the runner — a 16-year-old from Kearny — to Belgrove Drive, where he entered an apartment building and then emerged wearing different clothing, police said.

The officers returned him to the apartment, explained the situation to the teen’s guardian and were allowed entry to recover the sweatshirt he had originally been wearing, police said.

Both Echevarria and the teenager were charged with robbery and conspiracy. Echevarria was additionally charged with using a juvenile in a criminal offense.

* * *

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

Jan. 26

Vice officers, at Kearny and Oakwood Aves. at 9:15 p.m., were alerted to a fistfight in the area, found and separated the combatants — identified as William Kearney, 22, of Kearny, and Dominick Assis, 25, of Harrison — both of whom were arrested for simple assault. At headquarters, Kearney complained of head pain, and EMS responded to assess his condition. Assis was treated for a bloody nose but refused further medical attention, police said.

Jan. 27

At 6 p.m., Vice officers were returning to Kearny from an assignment when, in East Newark, they observed a man running “very fast” along Grant Ave. and two other men pointing and shouting at him. When the detectives stopped the runner,  Taronne Ross, 42, of Newark,  the other men — one from Lyndhurst, one from East Newark — reportedly advised them that Ross had just tried to carjack their 2015 Chevy on nearby Sherman Ave. East Newark PD was alerted and took Ross into custody.

Jan. 30

Vice officers were patrolling  at noon when, police said, they observed two Kearny 20-year-olds — Christopher Ochoa and Jose Sanchez — “squaring off” near Bergen and Davis Aves.  Considering, among other factors, that the ensuing battle would have been fought near Franklin School at lunch hour,  the officers intervened immediately and arrested both men for disorderly conduct.

Ochoa was also charged with making terroristic threats.

* * *

At 11 p.m., Dets. Ramon Lopez and Michael Farinola reportedly observed Rafael Leroux, 39, of Jersey City, walking aimlessly and peering into parked cars in the area of Davis Ave. and Hoyt St., where there have been a number of vehicle burglaries. Police said they watched Leroux, who was wearing a white coat, head down Hoyt to Schuyler Ave. and return wearing a black coat and carrying a duffle bag. Interest piqued, they stopped him, asked for his I.D., and learned that he had a $564 warrant out of Bayonne.

In a search incident to arrest, Leroux was reportedly found to be carrying a pair of pliers, two box-cutter knives and numerous empty glassine folds. He was additionally charged with possession of burglar tools and drug paraphernalia.

[Editor’s note: It is not clear as to how/where the suspect got the black coat and the duffle bag, so if anyone is missing such items from a car that was parked in the immediate area, you might want to call the police.]

Jan. 31

At 1 a.m.,  at Bergen and Schuyler Aves., Officers Jonathan Dowie and David Bush pulled over a 2001 Toyota with (illegal) heavily tinted windows and found it operated by Kenny Guzman, 33, of Lodi, who was charged with the windows offense and driving with a suspended license. His passenger, Jesse Weir, 21, of Kearny, was charged with possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia (a weed grinder).

* * *

At 9 a.m., the North Arlington PD issued a BOLO for a black Pontiac whose occupants were suspected of stealing Enfamil from the local Walgreens. KPD Officer Richard Carbone spotted the car heading south on Passaic Ave., pulled it over and and found it occupied by driver Dominique Wheeler-Weaver, 31, of Newark, and a passenger, another 31-year-old Newark woman, who reportedly had several containers of Enfamil, along with a Mr. Coffee machine, on her lap.

Carbone wrote the Wheeler-Weaver summonses for driving while suspended and operating an uninsured vehicle, which was impounded by Kearny. Both women were then impounded by the NAPD.

* * *

Officer Bush, with Officer Dowie as backup, stopped a 1999 Honda at midnight for turning without signaling at the intersection of Hickory and Spruce Sts. and reportedly found the car to be “reeking” of a certain odor. Police said passenger Franklin Salcedo, 21, of Kearny, had two bags of suspected pot and two folds of suspected cocaine and was charged with drug/paraphernalia possession.  After a marijuana cigar was allegedly found next to the driver’s seat, said driver, Erick Ciriaco-Diaz, 25, of Kearny, was also charged with possession of pot/paraphernalia, along with possession of a CDS in a MV, and on a $200 Elmwood Park shoplifting warrant. And he got a ticket for the turn violation.

Police said Salcedo was released on a summons, went home, returned with $200 and bailed out Ciriaco-Diaz.  [Everybody sing: “I get by with a little help …”]

– Karen Zautyk

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