KPD: Stolen car squealed on suspects 

At 2:15 a.m. on Sunday, April 2,  Officer Jonathan Dowie was patrol, driving west on Bergen Ave., when he observed a 1994 Jeep — its tires squealing — turn off Windsor St. and enter Bergen on the wrong side of the street. 

He conducted a MV stop, was advised by headquarters that the Jeep was listed as stolen, and held its three occupants at gunpoint until back-up (Capt. David Feldhan and Officers Chris Manolis, Jason Rodrigues and Derek Hemphill) could arrive.

Police said the driver, a 17-year-old from Hoboken, had a juvenile warrant out of Harrison and was listed on the FBI’s National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database as a missing person. He was turned over to Hudson County authorities and reportedly will be charged as a juvenile with possession of a stolen vehicle.

Front-seat passenger Kristiana Schmidt, 19, of Kearny, was taken to the Hudson County Jail after being charged with receiving stolen property, conspiracy, and possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, police said. The other passenger, Jose Sanchez, 20, of Kearny, was also booked for conspiracy and receiving stolen property.

According to the KPD, the Jeep had been reported stolen April 1 from the 400 block of Chestnut St.


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

March 30

Officers Mina Ekladious and Esteban Gonzalez responded to an 11 p.m. report of a suspicious vehicle, a 2010 Mitsubishi, parked on the 100 block of Hickory St. and, while questioning its three occupants, reportedly observed a partially burnt marijuana cigar and small bag with suspected pot at the feet of rear-seat passenger Sebastian Ferreira, 20, of Kearny. Also found near him, police said, was a “dutch pouch” containing  a glass pipe and 31 — yes, 31 — burnt pot cigars. He was arrested for possession of pot and paraphernalia.

March 31

At 5 a.m., Sgt. Glenn Reed and Officers Ekladious and Jose Castillo found a 2016 Jeep Wrangler, its headlights on, sitting in the middle of the intersection at Highland Ave. and Liberty St., with driver James Martinez, 29, of Kearny, passed out at the wheel, police said. He was subsequently charged with DWI and driving with a suspended license.

April 1

Officer Richard Carbone, on radar patrol at 2 p.m., stopped a 2017 Ford travelling 43 mph in a 25-mph zone on Seeley Ave. and, police said, found that driver Luis Velasquez, 39, of Newark, had a suspended license and two warrants: $15,000/10%, Newark, contempt of court; $250, Kearny, driving while suspended. Velasquez was booked at HQ and Newark PD was notified.


At 7:20 p.m., Officer Dowie, with Manolis as back-up, stopped a 2006 Jeep with a broken windshield on Harrison Ave. When driver Shaka Wright, 29, of Newark,  could produce only an ID card, police said, a query revealed that his license was suspended and that he was wanted on a no-bail NCIC/Essex County Sheriff’s warrant related to two separate 2014 drug charges. He was booked at HQ and turned over to Essex County authorities.

A source told The Observer that, in all probability, Wright had lost his license because of a 2003 death-by-auto conviction in Essex, for which he was sentenced to seven years in jail.

April 2

Officers Michael Gontarczuk and David Bush, on patrol on Hackensack Ave. in South Kearny at 2 a.m., pulled over a 2007 Mitsubishi with a lighting violation and six occupants. Police said that when the doors were opened, remnants of marijuana started  blowing out of the car, which also contained a jacket in the pocket of which was a glass bottle holding six plastic bags of the drug. 

Passenger Isa Williams, 18, of Newark, reportedly admitted being the jacket’s owner and was charged with possession of pot and paraphernalia. 


At 11 a.m., Officer Jordenson Jean observed a man, whom he recognized from past police interaction, entering Kearny on foot near Passaic and Johnston Aves. A warrant query reportedly revealed that Joselito Portorreal, 46, of Newark, had a $1,000 (full) one from Belleville on a shoplifting charge. He was taken to HQ and later turned over to the Belleville PD.

April 3

Officers Bush and Gontarczuk, back on Hackensack Ave. at 1:30 a.m., pulled over a 2000 Dodge whose driver, Branden Hairston, 30, of Jersey City, was not wearing a seat belt and reportedly found a plastic bag filled with suspected pot in the vehicle. Police said Hairston was found to have a suspended license and two contempt-of-court warrants: Bayonne, $250, and Jersey City, $100. He was charged on those and with possession of pot/paraphernalia and received summonses for possession of a CDS in a MV, and the license and seat-belt violations.

* * *

At 5:30 p.m., Vice officers  spotted a man walking on the 100 block of Maple St. reportedly drinking from a 24 oz. can of Miller High Life. When he was asked for his ID, police said, the officers observed in his wallet two wax folds stamped “Ice Cold.”  

Wilfredo Velazquez, 42, of Kearny, was taken to HQ to chill and be charged with possession of heroin/drug paraphernalia. He also got a town ordinance summons for drinking in public.

April 4

An attempted break-in was reported at 4:30 p.m. by a tenant in an apartment on the 100 block of Belgrove Drive.  The 55-year-old man told Officer Kyle Plaugic that someone had knocked on his door and, when he did not answer, tried to kick it in. At that point, he did open the door and observed an individual dressed in black running away.

Det. Sgt. Michael Gonzalez and Officer Esteves began searching the area and, in the common hallway of an adjoining building, Esteves encountered Frederick Norwell, 56, of New York City, who reportedly fit the suspect’s description and could not account for his presence. Police said Norwell was ID’d by the victim and arrested on a charge of criminal attempted burglary and a $125 Newark ordinance-violation warrant.

At HQ, police said, Norwell claimed to be feeling unwell. He was taken to Jersey City Medical Center, cleared, and then brought to the county jail.


Sgt. Tom Pontrella and Officers Gonzalez and Castillo were called to Walmart at 8:30 p.m. after AljamaalLawrence, 33, of East Orange, was seen instructing his child to put a $553 laptop in his shopping bag, police said.  Lawrence was charged with shoplifting and on four warrants: Hillside, $750, theft; Hillside, $683, DWI; Newark, $200, driving while revoked;  East Orange, $550, being an unlicensed driver.

Hillside PD was to take custody of the suspect. The child was turned over to a guardian. Family Services was also contacted regarding the use of a juvenile in a criminal act and reportedly “assured the KPD that they would open a case.”

— Karen Zautyk



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