KPD: Know this guy? Let us know if you do since we think he robbed a bank

The suspect in Tuesday, April 12, bank robbery at Schuyler Savings in Kearny.

On April 12 at 11:50 a.m., Officer John Fearon and several backup officers responded to a hold-up alarm transmitted from Schuyler Savings Bank at 24 Davis Ave. Officers learned that a man entered the bank wearing a mask and gloves and verbally demanded money from a teller.

No weapon was shown and no one was injured in the robbery. The suspect fled on foot prior to police arrival.

Detectives released two surveillance photos of a person of interest in the robbery investigation. Anyone having information that may assist the detectives is kindly asked to contact Det. Kyle Plaugic at (201) 998-1313, ext. 2834. Tips may be submitted anonymously at

On April 8 at 7:25 p.m., Officer Derek Hemphill encountered a double-parked Audi on his patrol of Kearny Avenue. The officer’s in-car computer alerted him the owner of the Audi had a suspended driver’s license.

Officer Hemphill found the man in the driver’s seat, Juan C. Gualan-Vega, 43, of Kearny, was the Audi’s owner. Hemphill arrested Gualan-Vega for operating with a suspended driver’s license. Gualan-Vega also received tickets for double parking and failure to surrender a suspended license.

He was later released from the police station.

On April 9 at 2:11 p.m., Officers Mat Lopez and Nicole Cain were dispatched to Walmart on a report a shoplifter had stolen merchandise, placed the merchandise into a vehicle and the re-entered the store and began stealing more merchandise.

Officers Anthony Nunez and Ryan Stickno arrived first and radioed a description of the suspect’s gray Pontiac to responding officers. Officers Lopez and Cain found the Pontiac on the other of the parking lot.

Wajeedah J. Branch, 38, of Newark, was with the Pontiac. In the back seat the officers saw the allegedly stolen merchandise. After further investigation, they arrested Branch for shoplifting $335.24 of Walmart merchandise.

Branch was charged on a summons with shoplifting and later released.

On April 11 at 11:23 a.m., Officers Ellesse Ogando and Jason Rodrigues, Sgt. Jay Ward and Lt. Charlie Smith responded to a report of an aggravated assault at a multi-family residence. It was alleged during the course of a landlord-tenant dispute, Afonso F. Cunha, 66, of Sparta, swung a metal shovel at one of his tenants.

Officers arrested Cunha on charges of aggravated assault and weapon offenses. Cunha was later released from the police station with a summons.

On April 11 at 9:21 p.m., Officer Mat Lopez was participating in a distracted-driving enforcement-grant. The officer pulled over a Chevrolet Malibu near 100 Passaic Ave., after allegedly seeing its driver operating while using a handheld cellular phone.

Driver Bernadine J. Flores, 30, of Newark, could not produce a driver’s license. Officer Lopez later learned her license had been suspended and there was a warrant for her arrest issued by the Parsippany Municipal Court for a prior charge of driving with a suspended license.

That warrant carried $1,000 bail; however, Parsippany later released Flores on her own recognizance with a new court date. Officer Lopez issued the driver tickets for use of a handheld telephone and driving with a suspended license.

On April 12 at 3:15 p.m., Officers Ogando and Rodrigues were sent to the Morris County Jail to arrest Robert S. Romney, 24, of Mount Vernon, New York, a man wanted in Kearny who was about to be released by Morris County authorities.

Romney was wanted on a no-bail warrant for a theft by deception charge filed in Kearny Jan. 12. Romney was likewise wanted on a no-bail warrant from Bayonne, also charging theft by deception. After processing, Romney was booked into the Hudson 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.