On April 5 at 3:11 p.m., Officer Mat Lopez was dispatched to a report from Nassau County police that a 2017 Bentley Bentayga SUV stolen from their jurisdiction was GPS “pinging” at the Kearny Walmart. Upon entering the Walmart lot, Officer Lopez saw the SUV being driven erratically. When it pulled into the smaller, adjacent Taco Bell parking lot, Officer Lopez tried to enter the lot as well. Upon seeing the marked police SUV entering, the Bentley driver jumped a curb, rammed the side of the police SUV and a civilian’s vehicle, and fled toward Harrison. Kearny police did not pursue the Bentley. (Editor’s note: Not because they didn’t want to, but because the state AG says they can’t). Officer Lopez and the citizen were unhurt in the attack.
Moments later, Harrison Police officers encountered the SUV in Harrison where two occupants bailed out and ran. Harrison officers arrested the passenger of the stolen Bentley, Jalil Morris, 21, of Decatur, Georgia, and charged him with receiving stolen property.
The Bentley was recovered but its driver remains at large.
Less than 24 hours later, at 9:11 a.m. on April 6, Officer Mina Ekladious passed a Honda CR-V illegally parked in front of 169 Midland Ave. When a computer query showed the Honda’s license plate to have been reported stolen out of Paterson, Officer Ekladious made a U-turn to investigate. A man entered the Honda as Officer Ekladious positioned his police vehicle for a motor vehicle stop. The man then drove at the police SUV, striking it, before fleeing west on Midland Avenue. No officers pursued the striking vehicle. (Editor’s note: Not because they didn’t want to, but because the state AG says they can’t).
The investigation remains active.
On April 1, Officer Sean Kelly located and arrested Jacob J. Charles, 20, of Roselle, who was standing at the corner of Brighton and Rutland avenues. Charles was the suspect in a March 25 burglary in which it is alleged he accepted a Domino’s Pizza delivery at a Rutland Avenue home and then took the food inside the house without paying. The house is not Charles’s and he allegedly had no permission to be in it. The pizza was intended for a neighbor of the home Charles allegedly entered.
The serendipity is mind-boggling.
Charles was also wanted as the suspect in a theft by deception investigated by Det. John Fabula. In that case, it was alleged on March 18, a local resident sold his Infiniti G35X car for $5,000 to Charles under the Facebook Marketplace alias “Mizzy Banks.”
The seller allegedly let Charles drive off in his car after he received a text message purportedly from the banking application Zelle, informing him he was receiving a $5,000 electronic transfer. But the seller later discovered the money was never transferred into his bank account. The text message had been sent from a private phone number, not from Zelle.
Charles was charged with burglary and theft by deception. He was transferred to the Hudson County Jail. The Infiniti was recovered on March 23 by Officer Jose Perez-Fonseca. It had been abandoned in the middle of the roadway at Park Avenue and William Street with heavy font-end damage. Affixed to the stolen Infiniti was a license plate reported stolen from a different vehicle out of Wayne.
On April 3 at 2:08 a.m., Officer Bryan San Martin was dispatched to investigate a vehicle obstructing traffic on Hoyt Street. Upon arrival, Officer San Martin found a Honda Accord parked in the middle of the one-lane roadway with two occupants asleep inside it. After rousing the pair, the officer noticed signs of impairment in driver Irais Melendez, 45, of Newark, who was arrested after failing field sobriety tests.
Following an Alcotest at the police station, the other occupant was charged with DWI, reckless driving, and obstructing the passage of vehicles and was later released to a responsible person.
On April 3 at 6:33 a.m., Officers Mina Ekladious, Jose Resua, Esteban Gonzalez and Sgt. Phil Finch were dispatched to an apartment building for a report of an active domestic violence dispute. Following the sounds of arguing, the officers knocked on an apartment door where the victim’s mother let them inside.
There, a 23-year-old man alleged his 25-year-old girlfriend stabbed him, struck him in the head with a beer bottle and scratched him. Officers observed a laceration to the man’s forearm and marks all over his upper body. The victim was treated at an area hospital for non-life-threatening injuries.
Officers arrested the girlfriend who was also at the apartment. She was charged with aggravated assault and weapons possession offenses before being held at the Hudson County Jail.
On April 3 at 9:05 a.m., Officer John Donovan and Sgt. Jay Ward were dispatched to the area of Kearny Avenue and Halstead Street on a report of an attempted car burglary. A man reported that while inside a local bakery, he observed a man pacing around outside. The man then allegedly took a cell phone photo of the interior of the complainant’s BMW before trying to open the car door. The owner exited the bakery and confronted the man, who allegedly walked off.
Sgt. Ward quickly found the suspect walking in the Mandee parking lot. After further investigation, he arrested Felipe M. Ochoa, 39, of Kearny. Ochoa was charged with criminal attempt (burglary) and later released with a summons.
On April 4 at 11:04 a.m., Officer Ryan Brady and several backup officers converged on the area of Dukes Street and Schuyler Avenue on a report of two males trying car door handles. Officers found one of the suspects, Jiahad Y. Wormley, 20, of Newark, in a residential backyard on Dukes Street. They also found a 15-year-old Newark boy hopping fences near Tappan Street and Schuyler Avenue. Abandoned on Tappan Street, the officers located a hooded sweatshirt containing seven bank credit cards belonging to two other people.
Wormley was arrested on three counts of criminal attempt (burglary) and one count of defiant trespass. He was later sent to the county jail. The boy was turned over to a guardian after a witness failed to identify him in connection with the burglarized vehicles.
On April 6 at 5:15 p.m., Officers Jason Rodrigues and Christos Manolis were dispatched to a domestic violence incident at a private home. It was reported that a husband and wife had an argument about parenting during which the husband struck the wife on the side of her head and on her elbow leaving red marks. Officers arrested the husband for simple assault and he was later placed into the county jail.
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Capt. Timothy Wagner | Kearny Police Department
Capt. Timothy Wagner is the Kearny Police Department's public-information officer and the commander of the department's Internal Affairs Unit. He contributes the KPD Blotter weekly and writes it completely.