On Jan. 21 at 8:11 p.m., Officer Tom Collins responded to Wawa on Harrison Avenue for on a report of a man fighting a Wawa employee and had struck him in the head with a wooden broom handle. The assailant fled before police arrived.
Joined in the investigation by Det. Michael Farinola, officers learned the Wawa employee had been cleaning around the outside of the building when he heard a man allegedly say, “Come pick this s[–]t up, Mexican boy.”
The employee turned to see a man in a parked car had thrown garbage out the window. When the employee voiced his displeasure at this, the man allegedly alighted from the car and began punching at the employee, but missing. The assailant then picked up the employee’s broom and struck him three times in the head and hand causing him pain and swelling.
The assailant fled by car when confronted by security, allegedly calling out “Go back to Mexico.” He was described as a Black man wearing a “KISS” T-shirt and slippers.
Det. Farinola learned the assailant used both an EBT card and a credit card to make store purchases before the assault. After serving court orders on the banks, the detective identified the suspect as Alston Ross, 28, of Newark. He charged Ross by summons with aggravated assault and weapon offenses.
The summons later became a warrant and Ross was picked up by Port Authority police at Holland Tunnel, who turned him over to KPD. Ross was then booked and held at the Hudson County Jail.
On Jan. 13 at 2:38 a.m., Officer Anthony Oliveira pulled over a Nissan Altima at Belgrove Drive and Bergen Avenue for having a suspended registration. Officer Oliveira impounded the car and issued driver Victor M. DaSilva, 58, of North Arlington, tickets for driving with a suspended registration and for having an inoperable license plate light.
However, during the course of his motor vehicle stop, Officer Oliveira recognized passenger Michael J. Byrd, 30, of Newark, from a prior police contact. He struck up a conversation with Byrd and soon learned Byrd was the subject of a Kearny arrest warrant stemming from a violent Dec. 17, 2022, robbery on Halstead Street.
In the December incident, a 43-year-old Kearny man had just driven home after cashing a large check for his contracting business in Newark. After parking near his home, the victim was approached by two men who threatened they had a gun and demanded money.
When the victim did not turn over money, he was brutally beaten about the face swelling his left eye shut, and lacerating his face. The thieves then allegedly stole an envelope that fell out of the victim’s pocket containing approximately $16,000 cash from the business check he earlier cashed.
Responding officers recovered a stun gun on the ground next to the victim that was believed to have been dropped by one of the robbers; however, it is unclear how or if the stun gun was used in the assault.
Det. Kyle Plaugic led an investigation in which he collected and analyzed a trove of digital evidence in cooperation with the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office Computer and Technical Services Unit and the Newark Police Division’s Robbery Squad.
That investigation identified Byrd as one of the suspects in the robbery. The investigation also showed Byrd allegedly followed the victim from Newark where he cashed his check.
On Oct. 25, Det. Plaugic filed criminal complaints charging Byrd with robbery, conspiracy to commit robbery, aggravated assault and unlawful possession of a weapon. After Byrd’s Jan. 13 arrest, he was held at the Hudson County Jail.
On Jan. 17 at 4:30 a.m., Officers Alvaro Goncalves and Jose Castillo were dispatched the 300 block of Kearny Avenue on a report of a man breaking glass and throwing furniture out the windows of an apartment. Additional 911 calls received while the officers were enroute to the scene reported the man had begun throwing items at, and damaging, a parked vehicle.
The officers arrived to find a large debris field of broken glass, heavy stereo equipment, furniture and blood stains. A Chevy Traverse was parked directly under the apartment with the broken windows. The SUV had a shattered sunroof and a partially-collapsed roof.
Officers forced entry into the suspect’s apartment to check on its occupants. They found several rooms damaged and bloody and found Brian White, 42, of Kearny, lying in his bed with bloody hands. Officers arrested White, who put up mild resistance. White was transported to Jersey City Medical Center by EMS.
Officers charged him with criminal mischief and resisting arrest. He was subsequently involuntarily committed to a state psychiatric hospital.
On Jan. 17 at 7:20 a.m., Officers John Fearon, Sean Kelly and Sgt. Phil Finch were dispatched to Hackensack Avenue and Routes 1&9 on a report of a vehicle crash with a subsequent dispute in which one party was wielding a collapsible police-style metal baton.
The officers were told there had been a two-vehicle crash but Jorge Hernandez-Falcon, 35, of Elizabeth, allegedly did not stop to exchange paperwork. The other driver, Juan A. Paz, 42, of Newark allegedly followed Paz’s car and began hitting it with the metal baton. Paz allegedly struck the windows, windshield, and side mirror causing damage.
The officers seized the baton and arrested Paz for weapon offenses and criminal mischief. Paz was later released with summonses. Falcon was issued traffic summonses for being an unlicensed driver and for failing to produce proof of insurance.
On Jan. 18 at 4:32 p.m., Officer Kevin Carvalho was dispatched to Marshall’s store on a shoplifting complaint. A store associate detained Diana S. Pinto, 33, of East Newark, and accused her of passing all points of sale with $2,878.77 worth of shoes, clothes and makeup for which she did not pay.
Officer Carvalho arrested Pinto for shoplifting. She was later released with a summons.
On Jan. 19 at 6:26 p.m., a 45-year-old Kearny woman walked in to police headquarters to report she was a victim of domestic violence. The victim alleged three days earlier, she was in bed and her intoxicated husband punched her in the face and grabbed her left arm leaving her with blurred vision and bruising. The husband also broke the victim’s cellular phone after looking through it and accusing her of infidelity.
Officers drew up charges against the husband for aggravated assault, simple assault and criminal mischief. Officers Paul Duran, Ryan Wilson and Cort Montanino then arrested the husband at his home. He was later lodged in the county jail in South Kearny.
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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.