KPD: Baby formula & pepper spray 

At 7:30 p.m. on Monday, April 17,  Officer David Bush was in the BJ’s lot conferring with Det. Michael Andrews when they observed a man leave the store carrying a backpack. When the man likewise observed them, police said,  he started to run and tried (unsuccessfully) to hide behind an air-conditioner.

As the officers approached, he reportedly  said, “Here, take  it,” and handed over the pack — and then again tried to run. Police said Bush forced him to the ground, but he refused to put his hands behind his back. A further struggle ensued, with Bush, Andrews, Det. Neil Nelson and Officer Jordenson Jean attempting to subdue the combatant, which did not happen until Bush deployed OC spray, police said.

When the dust (or spray) settled, Reginald Harris, 23, of Newark, was cuffed, and the pack reportedly was found to contain $99.98 worth of baby formula stolen from the BJ’s. Harris was charged with shoplifting and resisting arrest.

[Editor’s note: While it is conceivable that people might steal baby formula to feed starving infants, the usual scenario is that they hope to sell it to some small store for cold cash. Apparently, this has become a popular profit-maker, which is why — as you may have noticed — baby formula is now kept under lock and key in most supermarkets and drugstores.]
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Other recent reports from the Kearny police blotter included the following:

April 13

Officer Malinda Esposito, on patrol at 10:30 a.m., came upon a 2002 Mercedes sitting in the roadway at Johnston Ave. and Devon St.  She hit her siren, but there was no response, so she approached on foot and found Luis Chimbovalladolid, 62, of Kearny, trying to put the car in gear, police said.

He reportedly ignored her knocks on the window and headed north on Devon, swerving merrily along and likewise ignoring the trailing police car with lights flashing and siren wailing.

At Wilson Ave., where Devon becomes one-way, Mr. C reportedly proceeded against the flow of traffic, mounted the curb and nearly hit a retaining wall.

Esposito parked her car behind his and then saw the reverse lights come on and the Mercedes begin rolling backwards. Rather than allow Mr. C  to get back into traffic, she left her patrol car where it was, and the Mercedes came to rest against it, police said. Damage to the KPD vehicle was described as “very, very minor.”

Mr. C, described as incoherent, allegedly refused to exit his car and had to be removed by Esposito and Officer Jonathan Dowie. At headquarters, he was examined by Officer Chris Medina, a certified Drug Recognition Expert, and was charged with DUI, reckless driving, driving the wrong way on a one-way street, failure to heed a stop sign and operating an uninsured vehicle.

April 14

At 12:30 a.m., a resident of the 100 block of Washington Ave. reported seeing a man enter her father’s parked 2014 Mercedes and then exit and walk toward Hillcrest Road. Units checked the area, and Sgt. Glenn Reed and Officers Esteban Gonzalez and Darwin Paulino spotted a man fitting the suspect’s description walking with a female on Passaic Ave. near Washington.

They detained the couple, and the  original caller was brought to the scene and ID’d the suspect, police said.

Jose Sanchez, 28, of Kearny, was allegedly found to have a flat-head screwdriver and a pocket knife and was booked for burglary, conspiracy to commit burglary and possession of burglar tools. His 17-year-old companion, also from Kearny, faces the same three charges and was turned over to her father.

April 15

At 10 a.m., Officer Daniel Esteves stopped a 2013 Ford at Kearny and Oakwood Aves. for a seat-belt violation, detected the odor of marijuana and recovered from the car a plastic bag of suspected pot, police said. Driver Marcello Matta, 20, of Kearny, was charged with possession of the drug and drug paraphernalia.

April 18

A resident of the 100 block of Maple St. called HQ at 9:30 a.m. to report that she was in her living room when she heard her mailbox being opened and saw a man – not a mailman – on the front steps. She said she watched him walk south on Maple and try the door handles on a parked car.

Units converged on the area and, on Windsor St., Officer Jose Resua encountered and detained Pedro Rodrigues, 19, of Kearny, who was then ID’d by the caller, police said.

A search incident to arrest reportedly found him to be in possession of an Exxon Mobile credit card (determined, police said, to have been taken during an earlier car burglary), a Wells Fargo ATM card not in his name, and a folding knife. He was charged with two counts of criminal attempted theft, and one count each of credit card theft and theft of property lost or mislaid.

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Relative to an ongoing heroin-distribution investigation, Vice detectives were in the ShopRite lot at 5:20 p.m. and observed Marc Zarnowski, 26, and Anthony Lewis, 29 — both of Kearny — enter the store, where the officers believed a drug transaction then took place.

When they approached Zarnowski as he was exiting, he allegedly tried to flee and had to be tackled to the ground. Police said a search incident to arrest found him to have 10 wax folds of suspected heroin, stamped “100%.” Lewis, who did not resist, was said to be in possession of $858 in currency.

Zarnowski was charged with possession of heroin and drug paraphernalia, resisting arrest and on two Newark warrants: $250, motor vehicle;  $5,000, drug-related. Lewis was charged with possession of heroin and paraphernalia, possession with intent to distribute, intent to distribute in a school zone and near a public park, and on a $2,500 drug-related Jersey City warrant.

Both were remanded to the Hudson County Jail.

– Karen Zautyk




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