Church robbed twice in 3 months


For the second time this year, the same house of worship in Lyndhurst has been victimized by a robber, according to the LPD.

A suspect has been arrested.

The latest theft was reported last Monday, March 27, by St. Michael’s Church on the 500 block of Ridge Road, police said.

Det. Capt. John Valente said a church representative told police that more than $6,000 in checks and cash was removed from a “closed but unlocked” safe earlier in the day.

A combination of cash and checks were divided among three separate bags that had been placed in the safe, located in the rectory, Valente said.

But police have a lead on a possible suspect captured on church security surveillance video.

Valente said that suspect entered the church and rectory between 6:47 and 7:18 a.m., asked a church employee for food from the church food pantry.

He was asked to fill out a form requesting identification and while he was thus occupied, the employee went to retrieve several bags of food for him, Valente said.

“The suspect can later be seen on surveillance video exiting the rectory with the bags of food and then entering the church vestibule, Valente said. “The suspect was also observed dropping one of the money bags (empty) onto the ground prior to entering the church.”

At about 7:18 a.m., the suspect left the church and was last seen walking south on Ridge Road, he said.

Valente said the theft was not discovered until that afternoon.

He was seen entering the rectory at 7:02 a.m.

By late afternoon on Tuesday, March 28, Valente said LPD Det. Ronald Guirland, who had reviewed the church’s tape and footage from other surveillance cameras, had come up with the suspect’s identification as Quentin Hunt, 54, whose last known residence was South Orange, and filed charges of criminal theft, third degree, against him.

Valente said the whereabouts of the suspect was unknown at the time since he was believed to be transient.

After searching various locations throughout the week, LPD’s Capt. Patrick Devlin, Sgt. Richard Pizzuti and Det. Vincent Auteri located the suspect at Penn Station in Newark last Friday, March 31, and placed him under arrest, Valente said.

After he was booked at LPD headquarters, Hunt was transported to Bergen County Jail to await his arraignment.

A previous theft from St. Michael’s Church occurred sometime between Jan. 30 and Jan. 31, 2017, when a thief broken open five collection boxes in various locations inside the church and removed the contents.

With the aid of church surveillance video to help identify the suspect, the LPD apprehended Michael Gardi, 34, of East Rutherford, on Feb. 1 at a Valley Brook Ave. shopping mall on charges of burglary, theft, eluding and drug-related offenses.

Gardi was sentenced recently in Bergen County Superior Court to 364 days in jail and four years’ probation.

– Ron Leir





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