On May 17 at 7:27 p.m., Officers Anthony Oliveira, Danny Maganinho, David Vazquez and Sgt. Dean Gasser investigated a report of a person breaking into a vacant house on Seeley Avenue.
Officer Oliveira arrived at the scene to find a woman climbing through the house’s freshly-broken front window. Identified as Frances A. Garrison, 59, of Kearny, the woman said the house had been her parents and she had forgotten her key. The officers noticed signs someone had been squatting in the vacant house.
After contacting a person in authority, officers learned the house had been vacant for approximately two years. It had reportedly been foreclosed on by the mortgagee and no one had permission to enter it.
Officers arrested Garrison and found during a search she possessed eight driver’s licenses bearing her photo but utilizing different names. Three of the licenses were purportedly from Pennsylvania, three from Florida and one each from California and Ohio. Garrison also possessed eight Sovereign Bank Visa debit cards corresponding to the names on the eight licenses.
Officers charged Garrison with trafficking in personal identifying information of another, criminal mischief, fraudulent use of credit cards, possession of false government documents and defiant trespass.
Garrison was later housed in the Hudson County Jail.
On May 19 at 1:45 a.m., Officers Luis Cazares, Tom Collins and Sgt. Sean Kelly were dispatched to a domestic dispute at a home. A 33-year-old resident there reported he had just returned from a bar with his 27-year-old girlfriend when an argument erupted. The girlfriend then allegedly scratched the boyfriend’s chest with her fingernails and threatened to hit him with a beer bottle.
Seeing scratches and swelling on the victim’s chest, officers arrested the girlfriend for simple assault.
They later released her with a summons.
On May 21 at 7:54 p.m., a Kearny resident reported to Officer Derek Hemphill she has a restraining order against her 49-year-old ex-boyfriend and he has been contacting her in violation of the order. Recently, the ex-boyfriend showed up at the victim’s friend’s house in another town while the victim was visiting, and also sent a card, flowers, text messages and called the victim’s job.
Even more alarming, the victim reported she took her car in for service and the mechanic found a small GPS tracker had been affixed to the frame of the victim’s vehicle which would report her location in real-time to the person who placed it.
Officer Hemphill filed a charge of contempt against the ex. The victim did not wish to pursue additional charges. On May 23 at 9:45 p.m., the boyfriend turned himself in to Officer Anthony Oliveira at police headquarters and he was booked on the contempt charge and also held on arrest warrants from Wayne (stalking) and Essex County (child neglect). The officer also issued the suspect a traffic ticket for failure to surrender a suspended driver’s license.
The suspect was later transferred to the Hudson County Jail.
On May 22 at 1:54 a.m., Officer Michael Ore and several backup officers were dispatched to a domestic dispute at a private home. There, a 27-year-old resident reported during an argument with his 24-year-old ex-girlfriend, the woman punched him in the face.
Officers observed red marks to the victim’s face and corresponding red marks to his ex-girlfriend’s fist and thumb. They arrested the ex on a simple assault charge. She was later released with a summons.
On May 22 at 5:22 p.m., Officers Chris Medina, Ellesse Ogando and Sgt. Jack Grimm responded to Marshalls store where a loss-prevention associate accused Joselyn A. Gutierres, 24, of Newark, of shoplifting $205.84 worth of clothing and lingerie.
Officers charged Gutierres with shoplifting and later released her with a summons.
On May 23 at 5:06 p.m., Officers Alvaro Goncalves, Chris Medina, Travis Witt and Sgt. Jack Grimm were sent to a domestic dispute at a residence. A 38-year-old crying resident met the officers and complained her 45-year-old boyfriend had kicked her in the back of her thighs and pulled her hair during an argument.
Finding the victim in pain, officers arrested the boyfriend for simple assault.
He was later released with a summons.
On May 25 at 11:47 a.m., Officers Mat Lopez and Paul Duran were dispatched to Walmart where several employees were following an alleged shoplifter. When confronted by officers near the exit doors, the accused thief allegedly dropped his shopping bags to the floor.
Store staff advised cops those bags contained $153.67 worth of merchandise stolen from the store. The officers also seized a glass crack pipe from a cigarette pack on the suspect’s person.
The suspect was later identified as William H. Minitee, 50, of Newark, who was held at the Hudson County Jail on charges of shoplifting and possession of drug paraphernalia.
On May 23 at 12:19 a.m., a 29-year-old Hillside man reported to Officer David Vazquez his Nissan Pathfinder had been burglarized while parked in the town parking lot at 261 Kearny Ave. The complainant had returned to his vehicle and found his driver’s side window broken and the contents of his SUV ransacked. He also noticed a Jeep parked next to his vehicle suffered a similar fate.
Officers later found a total of five vehicles had been similarly damaged throughout the town; others were found near 117 Belgrove Drive and 380 Kearny Ave. The burglaries resulted in only low-value thefts in some cases and no thefts in others, but the cost to repair the vehicles was substantial.
Det. Jonathan Dowie took over the case and identified the lone burglary suspect as Joseph M. Ferguson, 31, of Kearny. Det. Dowie learned Ferguson had been arrested on May 23 after the vehicle burglaries by Belleville police for shoplifting. Ferguson had been wearing the same clothes in Belleville’s body-worn camera videos he was allegedly wearing during the Kearny burglaries.
Det. Dowie charged Ferguson with burglary (multiple counts), theft, criminal mischief (multiple counts) and criminal-attempt (burglary). Ferguson was already detained at the Hudson County Jail on Hudson County arrest warrants discovered during his Belleville arrest. He was processed for the new charges and remained in jail custody.
Learn more about the writer ...
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.