Bx Man who allegedly strangled Kearny resident charged with slew of crimes: KPD

A Bronx man is behind finally behind after he reportedly attempted to strangle someone he knew in Kearny and then fled to New York City, though it is not all too clear what their relationship was, the Kearny Police Department said.

Units responded to an Elm Street location May 22 after it was reported a man had threatened to kill a victim with a butcher knife. There, the man choked the victim, slammed the victim against a fixed object then threatened to kill the victim with a knife.

Officer Janitza Aquino says she observed the actor fleeing the scene on a motorcycle and attempted to initiate a motor-vehicle stop. However, he accelerated at a dangerously high rate of speed and the pursuit was called off.

A warrant was then issued for the suspect, Roberto Cruz-Torres, 33, of the Bronx, charging him with aggravated assault, strangulation, making terroristic threats, possession of a weapon for unlawful purposes, unlawful possession of a weapon, simple assault, certain persons not to have weapons and eluding  police.

The warrant was later entered into NCIC.

Because of factors that cannot be disclosed publicly, Kearny PD Officer Christos Manolis, who works with the US Marshals Service NY/NJ Regional Fugitive Task Force, utilized a communications data warrant to locate Cruz-Torres.

Then on May 30, an operation ensured and the suspect was captured in the Bronx. He was arrested and taken to the 42nd NYPD Precinct to be processed and await extradition.

Nearly two months later, on July 27, he was finally extradited, processed and remanded to Hudson County Jail.

On July 25, Officers Pete Jahera, Ryan Wilson, Derek Hemphill and Angel Martinez were called to Ivy Street on a hit and run. There, a victim provided the license plate number of the striking vehicle to a dispatcher.

The victim reportedly followed the hit & runner while police responded to the area, but the suspect didn’t get all that far — in fact, it was barely a block away.

As units responded to the area, they came across the suspect in the process of parking her car (on the 200 block of Oakwood Avenue.)

Officers reportedly noticed signs of intoxication, but the arrestee vociferously argued that because police had not technically observed her driving the vehicle (just parking and alighting from it) she could not be arrested.

After performing poorly on standardized field sobriety tests, Weronika N. Urban, 26, of Kearny, was arrested — despite her boisterous assertions.

The damage to the two vehicles showed Urban’s vehicle was in fact the hitting-and-running vehicle.

Furthermore, camera footage from Hickory Park later confirmed Urban was driving the vehicle and showed the police arriving just as she was opening the driver’s door to exit.

At KPD HQ, Urban refused to submit to a chemical breath test (to measure blood alcohol content). So ultimately, she was charged with drunken driving, reckless driving, leaving the scene of an accident, failure to report an accident and refusal to submit to a chemical breath test.

And after all this, she was later picked up by a responsible person.

Editor’s note: See similar incident here — www.theobserver.com/2016/01/06/kpd-its-deja-vu-all-over-again.

On July 26 at around 10 a.m., Det. Sgt. Michael Gonzalez was in the area of Afton and Windsor streets an unrelated investigation. There, he observed a man matching the description of a BOLO and so he surveilled the guy who was reportedly wearing winter clothing on a hot July day, whilst he attempted to break into several vehicles.

The man was reported to be in possession of a package and was attempting to open a locked mailbox.. Gonzalez, therefore, detained the man and determined the package did not belong to him

The man, 31-year-old Salvatore A. Gonnella, of Belleville, reportedly admitted he took the package, which did not belong to him, from a nearby address.

He was then arrested, taken to KPD HQ, charged with theft (package theft is third-degree now in New Jersey.) He also had a warrant out of Rockaway Municipal Court in the amount of $5,000, so he was ultimately remanded to the Hudson County Jail.

On July 2, Officer Travis Witt fielded a report from a victim alleging William M. Powers, 30, of Kearny, threatened to murder her, attempted to keep her from leaving a residence, assaulted her and attempted to strangle her, before finally parting ways. After an investigation was conducted, a warrant was issued, charging Powers with criminal coercion, criminal restraint, making terroristic threats, simple assault and harassment. On July 28 Officer Taylor Latka arrested and processed Powers and then he was taken to the Hudson County Jail, South Kearny.

Learn more about the writer ...

Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.

Det. Sgt. Michal Gontarczuk | Kearny Police Department