KPD: Brother officers, both former college rugby players, team up to tackle and arrest fleeing shoplifter

On Oct. 27 at 3:14 p.m., Officers Mathew Lopez and Alan Stickno were dispatched to Walmart where a loss-prevention associate had an alleged shoplifter under surveillance. The associate reported the suspect was known by store staff from prior incidents and he was currently observed concealing merchandise in a backpack.

The officers and associate confronted the suspect near the store exit, but he ran into the parking lot with $571.56 of unpaid-for merchandise.

Later identified as Andre E. Lutas, 33, of Newark, the man allegedly ran across the parking lot and hid behind parked cars. Officer Stickno flushed him from his hide, but Lutas again ran from him. Not to be outdone by the earlier efforts of his brother Ryan — both brother officers are former college rugby players — Officer Alan Stickno tackled Lutas on the run and arrested him. Lutas was charged with shoplifting, resisting arrest and obstructing the administration of law. He was later held at the Hudson County Jail.

On Oct. 22 at 12:15 a.m., Officer Lawrence Latka and several backup officers investigated a report of an occupied vehicle stopped in the middle of John Hay Avenue with its passenger side tire blown out. Officer Latka found the car, a Honda Accord, parked diagonally in a residential handicapped parking space. The driver was reportedly asleep in the driver’s seat with his head back and his mouth agape. The passenger side tire was shredded and the passenger side doors had sustained damage consistent with the car having been driven on the flat tire.

Officers Latka and Michael Ore woke up driver Edwin M. Ajualip Taperia, 29, of Ridgefield, who reportedly had an open bottle of Modelo beer in his center console. Observing signs of impairment, the officers administered field-sobriety tests Taperia could not pass. They arrested him for DWI and operating with an open container of alcohol. Taperia was later released with summonses.

On Oct. 22 at 8:42 a.m., Officer Ryan Stickno responded to a domestic violence complaint at a private home. There, a 59-year-old woman reported her 71-year-old boyfriend swung a garden hoe at her during an argument, but did not hit her with it.

Officer Stickno arrested the boyfriend for aggravated assault and weapon possession offenses.

He was later transferred to the Hudson County Jail, South Kearny.

On Oct. 23 at 7:25 p.m., I (Capt. Tim Wagner) detained Moussa Camara, 21, of Newark, after a ShopRite manager found Camara allegedly attempting to exit the store through the entrance door with $115.56 of unpaid-for health and beauty products inside of two backpacks. Officers Bismark Karikari and Michael Ore later responded and arrested Camara for shoplifting.

Camara was charged via summons on the Kearny offense. However, he was turned over to the Essex County Jail because he was wanted by the Newark Municipal Court (NJIT Police) for burglary (no bail) and the Essex County Superior Court for robbery, burglary, receiving stolen property and his failure to appear in court after absconding from a treatment facility.

On Oct. 24 at 8:17 a.m., Officer Ellesse Ogando and Sgt. Phil Finch were dispatched to BJ’s Wholesale Club at the request of store management. The manager pointed out Frankie R. Crane, 48, homeless, who was asleep near the store exit on a hand cart used by customers to carry groceries. The manager had reportedly warned Crane on prior occasions he is not permitted on the property.

Officers arrested Crane for defiant trespass. Incident to which, they found in his pockets vials containing white residue, a wax fold of heroin and burnt pipes with steel wool filters, commonly used as crack pipes.

Crane was charged with defiant trespass and possession of CDS and drug paraphernalia. He was later transferred to the county jail.

On Oct. 26 at 3:20 p.m., Officer Sean Podolski was patrolling near Kearny and Quincy avenues when he observed a black 2021 Mercedes S-series sedan driving at him against the flow of traffic. Upon seeing the marked police vehicle, the driver of the Mercedes stopped it facing northbound in the southbound lane of Kearny Avenue.

The vehicle then sped off. Officer Podolski turned on his lights and siren and tried to close the distance to the vehicle but he could not catch up. The officer discontinued following the luxury car as it approached Liberty and Devon streets because it was nearing a school.

A few minutes later, Officer Ryan Stickno responded to a motor vehicle crash at Kearny Avenue and Halstead Street. One of the involved vehicles was — you guessed it — the aforementioned black Mercedes whose driver had since fled from it on foot.

Officer Stickno found the fleeing driver at Maple and Halstead streets, but he again ran. Officer Stickno chased down the fleeing man and tackled him in a backyard on Windsor Street as he was trying to scale a fence.

Dets. Jordenson Jean and Dave Bush later reviewed area surveillance video finding the driver of the Mercedes had allegedly earlier stolen it from the 400 block of Kearny Avenue.

The alleged car thief was identified as Sebastian Pierrecent, 18, of Newark. He was charged with eluding, theft, obstructing the administration of law and resisting arrest. Pierrecent was also wanted by Nutley Municipal Court for theft (no bail).

Pierrecent was remanded to the Hudson County jail.

Fortunately, there were no injuries reported from his car crash.

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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.