Tips from concerned residents have led to the arrest of two men in Lyndhurst alleged to have been involved in at least one home invasion, Det. Lt. Vincent Auteri, of the Lyndhurst Police Department, said.
According to Auteri:
On Sept. 9, Officer Anthony Giaquinto was dispatched to Peabody Avenue to investigate a report of a suspicious commercial vehicle in the area. Additionally, one of the occupants of the vehicle reportedly attempted to gain entry to at least one home in the area.
Upon his approach to the scene, Officer Giaquinto observed the suspect vehicle traveling south on Riverside Avenue near Valley Brook Avenue. Officer Giaquinto followed vehicle and learned it was bearing Arizona tags.
The driver of the vehicle eventually noticed Officer Giaquinto’s patrol vehicle closing in, at which point the driver began to speed up along Riverside Avenue, into North Arlington, before ultimately going over the Route 7 bridge into Belleville.
Officer Giaquinto continued to pursue the vehicle, which traveled south into Newark and was joined in the pursuit at that time by officers from the Essex County Sheriff’s Department.
The suspect vehicle came to a stop after sideswiping numerous parked vehicles along the way.
Officer Giaquinto was eventually joined by his colleagues Sgt. Richard Jasinski and Det. William Kapp at the scene in Newark.
During the pursuit, the suspect vehicle hit speeds as high as 70 mph and committed numerous motor-vehicle violations in the process.
The driver, Nathaniel Barreto, 39, of Newark, attempted to flee on foot after the crash, but was apprehended after a short foot pursuit.
The passenger in the vehicle, Philip Zaragoza, 41, of Newark, was also apprehended at the scene.
Neither suspect was injured as a result of the crash; however, Barreto claimed to have been withdrawing from the use of “heroin, fentanyl and cocaine,” and was immediately transported to hospital for medical attention.
While at the scene of the incident in Lyndhurst, Det. Thomas McSweeney learned the suspects had gained entry to one home and attempted to enter as many as two others. Det. McSweeney also determined the suspects appeared to be posing as contractors as they tried to blend in with the repairs going on at homes damaged by flooding from Hurricane Ida.
The suspect vehicle had been stolen out of Newark earlier in the day and was eventually towed to Lyndhurst PD headquarters, where Det. Kapp had applied for a search a warrant for evidence and possible burglary proceeds.
Det. Kapp’s search of the vehicle uncovered tools, stolen bank checks and an airsoft handgun.
Barreto was ultimately charged with eluding, unlawful possession of a weapon, possession of an imitation firearm, criminal-attempted burglary, three counts of receiving stolen property, forgery and possession of burglary tools.
After an examination at hospital, Barreto remained in custody of the Essex County Sheriff’s Department as on an outstanding Essex County warrant. Zaragoza was charged by Essex County and then, somehow, released in accordance with criminal justice reform before he could be charged by or handed over to the LPD.
Lyndhurst PD, as such, subsequently issued a warrant for his arrest.
On Oct. 14, Zaragoza was apprehended and charged with receiving stolen property by the Belleville Police Department. BPD then transferred custody of him to Lyndhurst on its warrant.
The Lyndhurst PD charged Zaragoza with receiving stolen property, resisting arrest by flight, unlawful possession of a weapon, possession of an imitation firearm, receiving stolen property and possession of burglary tools.
Zaragoza was ultimately remanded to the Bergen County Jail to await court proceedings.
“The Lyndhurst Police Department would like to thank all of the vigilant residents of this neighborhood who quickly reported the suspicious activity which helped thwart the actions of these men,” Auteri said. “It’s this type of vigilance and cooperation with the police that helps keep a community safe.”
Learn more about the writer ...
Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.