Lyndhurst PD: Man sucker punched Wendy’s customer waiting for food, fled, but is now behind bars

A man wanted for a vicious assault on a customer at the Lyndhurst Wendy’s restaurant is behind bars thanks to the work of the Lyndhurst Police Department’s Investigations Division, Det. Lt. Vincent Auteri, the LPD’s public-information officer, said.

At around 3:30 p.m., Sept. 14, the suspect, Eric Martinez, 28, of Lyndhurst, allegedly wailed on a customer who was waiting on line to order food. After the incident, Martinez and another person reportedly fled the scene and the customer suffered a broken orbital bone.

Ofc. Joseph White investigated the case and was able to determine who the suspect was.

Martinez was charged with aggravated assault and was then remanded to the Bergen County Jail, Hackensack.

On Aug. 5, Lyndhurst police received reports of 16 vehicles that had been broken into. Det. Nick Abruscato determined in addition to the vehicle break-ins, the suspect allegedly stole credit cards and made purchases with those cards in Jersey, Pennsylvania in Brooklyn, all whilst using a stolen vehicle.

Abruscato determined the suspect as Veelique Farrior-Harris, 20, of Newark, and because of that, was able to get a warrant issued for Farrior-Harris’s arrest. And, about a month later, on Sept. 12, Farrior-Harris got pulled over by a Pennsylvania state trooper and was alerted to his arrest warrant.

After being extradited to Jersey via transport by the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office, Farrior-Harris faced a slew of charges, including 16 counts of burglary to a motor vehicle and one count each of credit-card fraud, unlawful use of a credit card, theft and receiving stolen property.

On Sept. 14, Lyndhurst Officers Glenn Flora, Michael D’Allesandro and Elizabeth Hollenbeck were dispatched to the 400 block of Lewandowski Avenue on a shoplifting report. The two suspects in the case — Jeison Diaz Castelblanco, 24, of Irvington and Melanie Diaz Tovar, 21, also of Irvington, were both nabbed but separately.

Officers found Diaz Tovar near Orient Way and Page Avenue and they also found Diaz Castelblano closer to the original scene. In total, the due allegedly stole $607 in food and personal-hygiene products.

Both were charged with a single count of shoplifting and then released on their own recognizance, pending court.

On Sept. 16 at 2:50 a.m., Officer Michael Carrino was advised of a stolen vehicle entering Lyndhurst. (All borders to the township are flanked by cameras — so if you’re thinking of traveling to Lyndhurst in a hot vehicle, you will be caught.)

Carrino located the vehicle and stopped it and found Christian Otero, 29, of Elizabeth, ordered him out of the 2008 Mitsubishi SUV he driving in and placed him under arrest without further incident.

Otero was charged with receiving stolen property and then released on his own recognizance, pending court.

On Sept. 19 at around quarter past 8 a.m., Lt. Paul Haggerty noticed a White Ford Expedition with multiple motor-vehicle violations so he pulled it over while Officers Brian Kapp and James Colacci assisted. The driver, Kevin Martinez, 25, of Newark, had two warrants — one out of Toms River and the other out of Newark. Fortunately for Martinez, neither jurisdiction wanted to travel all the way to Lyndhurst to pick him up, so in addition to the tickets he got for the MV violations, he was otherwise released on his own recognizance, pending court.

Martinez’s passenger, Sarah Hicks, 25, of Newark, was alleged to have had “E” on her, so she was also arrested and charged with possession of CDS and failure to surrender CDS to a law-enforcement officer (does anyone ever really surrender illegal drug to police, though?)

While her friend was released, Hicks was remanded to the Bergen County Jail.

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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.