KPD: Chivalry is dead

By Karen Zautyk


A female shoplifting suspect  fleeing Walmart last week was abandoned in the parking lot by her male companion, who drove off without her — but not before trying to run down a Kearny cop, police reported. However, considering her reputed conduct, you might have left her behind, too.

At 1 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 24, KPD Officer Victor Girdwood responded to the store’s security alert and observed the woman running through the lot, heading for a 2002 gold Saturn, police said. But before she could enter the car, Girdwood stopped her, at which point the male driver allegedly revved the engine, put the auto in gear and drove toward the officer, who was about 15 feet away.

The cop jumped clear, and the Saturn fled onto Harrison Ave. “and has not been seen since,” police said. But Girdwood had gotten the plate number.

Left behind was Lisa Askins, 54, of Newark, who allegedly had attempted to steal $200 worth of Walmart merchandise, pushing a security guard as she fled.

Police said Askins refused to comply with Girdwood’s directions to return to the store, pushed him and had to be wrestled to the ground. She allegedly continued to struggle and could not be cuffed until OC spray was deployed.

Backup Officers Michael Santucci, Jose Castillo and Thomas Floyd were then also at the scene, and Kearny EMS was called to assess the effects of the OC on the suspect — and to treat abrasions Girdwood had suffered during the struggle. Police said Askins had also tried to bite him.

Askins was arrested on charges of robbery and aggravated assault on a police officer. While she was carted off to KPD headquarters, cops remained on the scene to gather video evidence of what had transpired in the store and the lot.

Video footage also aided detectives, who were able to ID the car and locate it in Newark and who “are in the process of drawing up complaints against the driver,” authorities reported.

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

Sept. 19

At 11:30 p.m., HQ received a call from a  24-year-old Kearny woman who reported being followed by a man as she was walking near Woodland Ave. and Maple St. Officer Mina Ekladious responded, with Officers Castillo and Tim Castle as backup, and located Rodney Jones, 48, of Newark. Questioned as to why he was in the area, he reportedly answered, “I’m here to film a movie.”

Problem: Police said he didn’t have a camera.  What he did have was a $1,000 (full) contempt warrant out of Irvington, so he was arrested on same and turned over to the Irvington PD.

Sept. 25

At 11:30 a.m., Vice officers stopped a 2000 Lexis for making an unsafe lane change while entering Rt. 280 from Harrison Ave, were advised the vehicle was unregistered, detected the odor of burnt marijuana, and recovered a partially smoked pot cigar from the center console, police said. Driver Kemo Gomes, 22, of Bloomfield, was charged with possession of pot/drug paraphernalia and got a summons for the lane-change violation. The unregistered car was towed away. We don’t know how Gomes got back to Bloomfield.

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Officer David Bush, on patrol at Passaic Ave. and Afton St. at 11:45 p.m., spotted a northbound 2017 Honda failing to maintain its lane, pulled it over at S. Midland Ave. and reportedly detected can you guess what? With backup Officer Jason Rodrigues, he recovered a large plastic bag of suspected marijuana in the driver’s-side door panel, police said. Driver Gabriel Pichinin, 25, of Kearny, was arrested for possession of pot and paraphernalia and summonsed for careless driving and possession of drugs in a MV.

Sept. 26

Officer Bush, still on the job at 4 a.m., stopped a 2013 Toyota at Belgrove Drive and Oakwood Ave. for a view obstruction, detected the odor of pot and recovered two plastic bags of the drug in the center console and a metal pipe from the  front passenger floor, police said. The passenger, Henry Lopez, 18, of Kearny, reportedly took responsibility for all and was charged with possession of pot/paraphernalia. The driver, a 22-year-old woman from Totowa, got a summons for the view violation.

(Note: If the name “Henry Lopez” sounds familiar, that is because he led last week’s KPD blotter in an incident involving his alleged assault of two motor vehicles and a considerable amount of spitting on and in a KPD car. This time, Mr. Lopez apparently conducted himself like a complete gentleman.)

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Shortly before 9 p.m.,  Officers Bush and Jonathan Dowie spotted a running 2011 Hyundai blocking a driveway in the area of Chestnut and Boyd Sts. and occupied by Jorge Fernandez, 21, of Kearny, who they knew to have a suspended license, police said. When he was asked to step from the car, a “very large” plastic bag of suspected marijuana was reportedly seen in the front passenger area. Police said Fernandez was also found to be in possession of $500 in cash, including: a $100 bill, 18 $20s, four $5 bills and 12 singles.

Fernandez was arrested and charged with possession of pot (reportedly 1 oz. 28 grams when weighed at HQ), possession with intent to distribute, intent to distribute in a school zone, possession of paraphernalia, possession of a CDS in a MV, driving while suspended, and blocking the driveway.

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Now, for THIS week’s spit story: Shortly before 10 p.m., Officer Michael Gontarczuk — backed up by Sgt. Chris Levchak and Officers Dowie, Sean Podolski and Jay Rodrigues — responded to a street altercation near Quincy Ave. and Elm St. and found a small group, “at the center of which,” police said, “was a highly intoxicated” Corey McFadden, 29, of Kearny.

Police gave this account: While the cops were attempting to sort things out, McFadden repeatedly interrupted them, and when ordered to cease and desist, raised his arms in a fighting stance, began to taunt Gontarczuk and Podolski, threatening them and their families in a profanity-laden tirade, and threatening to beat up everyone there.

Arrested for disorderly conduct, police said McFadden resisted attempts to put him in the patrol car, and when finally inside, started spitting — letting the officers know he was “disrespecting” the vehicle. He was additionally charged with resisting arrest and got a summons for expectorating in public.

Due to his agitated and intoxicated state, police said, Kearny EMS was called to HQ and took him to Clara Maass Medical Center.

As with last week’s spittle incident, the KPD car had to be taken out of service until it could be professionally cleaned.

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