KPD: Strange case from A to Zzzz

By Karen Zautyk

On Jan. 16 at 5:15 p.m., numerous Kearny police officers responded to a Windsor Street apartment on a call of a burglary in progress. They met the resident who reported that she had arrived home to find a man she did not know asleep in her bed. Police said that when they went upstairs, they did indeed find an alleged intruder, Michael Colombino, 34, of Kearny, deep in dreamland.

According to police, the woman had left her doors unlocked for a short time in case her son arrived home while she was running an errand, and Colombino — who lives nearby — told them he thought he was in his own house.

He was arrested and reportedly found to be in possession of six wax folds of heroin and one hypodermic needle.

Colombino was given a bed at the Hudson County Jail and charged with burglary, possession of heroin/drug paraphernalia and contempt of court (for, police explained, violating a court order restraining him from being near the house he thought he had entered).

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

Jan. 16

Back on Oct. 19, patrol officers responded to the foot of Tappan Street on a 3:30 a.m. report of a man stealing tires and rims off of a parked Acura. They arrived to find the Acura with only one wheel left on it and resting partially on cinder blocks, partially on the ground.  A witness said that the culprit, who had fled, had struggled to remove the fourth tire, but the jack slipped and the car fell.

Det. Neil Nelson conducted a three-month investigation, which included the use of surveillance video as well as electronic and forensic evidence-processing. On Jan. 16, Nelson and Dets. Mike Farinola and Kevin Arnesman arrested suspect Matthew J. Hemphill, 35, of Kearny, charging him with third-degree theft. He was then transferred to the county jail.

Jan. 20

At 8:26 p.m.m, Officers Dean Gasser and Harold Azurdia responded to Walmart where store security reported having witnessed Soribel Fernandez, 22, of New York City, under-ring $503.99 worth of household items and groceries at the self-checkout before attempting to leave the store. Fernandez was charged with shoplifting and later released on a summons.

Jan. 22

At 2:50 p.m., School Resource Officer Jack Grimm was monitoring dismissal Kearny High School when staff informed him that a trespasser had entered the building.

Police said Grimm learned that John Najarro, 19, of Kearny, a former KHS student, had tried to go through the main entrance moments earlier and was turned away. He reportedly then re-entered and made it to the second floor, where he was confronted by a staff member.

Najarro — who was charged on a summons with trespass and later released — reportedly said he was trying to speak with a faculty member about a sports-related matter.

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Officers Josh Lopez, Rich Poplaski Jr., Matthew Knighton and Sgt. Jay Ward responded to the BJ’s Wholesale Club parking lot on a 7:35 p.m. report that two men had fled there after shoplifting from Kmart.

Police said the suspects — each holding a $19.99 Kmart pillow cover  —  were found hiding under a trailer in the BJ’s loading bay. [And, no, we have no idea why anyone would risk arrest for a pillow cover.]

One of the men, Sean Walsh, 25, of Belleville, allegedly became belligerent and aggressive when confronted by the cops. They said his breath stunk of alcohol and he started screaming and  pushed one of them in an attempt to flee “but was induced to give up after a brief fight.”

Walsh was charged on a warrant with robbery, aggravated assault, resisting arrest and obstructing and was held at the county jail. His alleged accomplice, John Hall, 29, of Henrico, Va., was charged on a summons with shoplifting and later released.

Jan. 23

At 1:47 p.m., Officers Kyle Plaugic and Ruben Rivera responded to Walmart, where security had detained three Newark women for allegedly concealing pants, shirts and underwear inside their pocketbooks and trying to leave without paying. Authorities said Danaya Simmons, 21, had $64.16 worth of merchandise; Andrea Ivey, 25, $77.52 worth; and Shaneak Hankerson, 22, $120.16.

Simmons was released from KPD headquarters with a shoplifting summons.

Ivey, found to be wanted by Union Township on a $750 shoplifting warrant, received a new shoplifting charge and was sent to the Hudson County Jail. So was Hankerson, on the shoplifting charge and a $1,500 Newark warrant (unknown prior charge).

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At 9:39 p.m., Det. Dan Esteves pulled over a Hyundai that reportedly ran a stop sign at Brighton Avenue and Halstead Street “without even slowing down” and then pulled into a residential driveway (not the driver’s own) upon seeing the detective’s emergency lights.

Approaching the Hyundai, Esteves reportedly was met with the strong odor of raw marijuana and alcoholic beverages. According to police, driver Marcos Braga, 44, of Kearny, told him, “I tell you ‘da truth. I don’t got insurance. My registration expired and my license no have.”

“When asked where he was coming from with such a brazen disregard of credentials,” a KPD source said, “Braga replied that he had just come from Newark, where he bought the bag of marijuana lying on the seat next to him. He did clarify, however, that the four empty 24-ounce Coors Light beer cans scattered about his car were not drunk on that date but on an earlier one.”

Braga was arrested and charged with possession of pot and paraphernalia, CDS in a MV, driving with a suspended license, and six other traffic infractions. He also had an outstanding $500 Elizabeth warrant for a local ordinance violation, but, noted our source, “Elizabeth authorities wanted nothing to do with him, so he was released with his summonses and a new Elizabeth Municipal Court date.”

(Sorry Marilyn)

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