Fleeing thief saved from jumping off motel balcony by officer: Lyndhurst PD

The Winslow Motor Hotel Apple Maps

The quick thinking of a Lyndhurst police officer last weekend saved a man from jumping off a motel balcony’s second story — and chances are, he saved him from a lot more than just a quick leap, the Lyndhurst Police Department said.

On Saturday, June 1, 2024, at approximately 9:24 p.m., Officer Michael D’Alessandro was on patrol near Lyndhurst Town Hall Park on Delafield Avenue when he was approached by a young boy who reported his bicycle had just been stolen.  The boy told Officer D’Alessandro a man who was dressed in all black and wearing a ski mask took possession of his bike and proceeded to ride away. The bicycle was unattended at the time but was still within close proximity to the juvenile.

A short time later, Officer Sal Wartel observed the suspect riding the bike west on Lake Avenue before it turned onto Kearney Street. Officer Wartel continued toward the suspect who quickly proceeded to ride away once he noticed Officer Wartel was approaching.

The suspect then turned onto Rutherford Avenue and proceeded into traffic and continued east toward Stuyvesant Avenue. Officers lost sight of the suspect before learning that the bicycle was equipped with a tracking device. The tracking device led the officers to the parking lot of the Winslow Motor Hotel where they found the bike abandoned behind a dumpster.

The officers proceeded to search the area for the suspect. Officer D’Alessandro then located the man crouched down in a stairwell leading to the motel’s second floor. When the suspect was confronted by Officer D’Alessandro, he proceeded to run up the stairs to the second floor as Officer D’Alessandro gave chase.

The suspect then climbed over the walkway balcony railing in attempt to jump; however, he was immediately grabbed by Officer D’Alessandro who prevented him from jumping. Officer D’Alessandro held the suspect before being joined and surrounded by Officers Anthony Morreale and Wartel. Sgt. Richard Jasinski also assisted while Sgt. Phil Reina engaged the suspect from ground level while he coordinated the arrival of additional first responders.

The suspect was belligerent and resisted the help of the officers who held him by his arms, legs and clothing for more than 10 minutes before they could fully coral him and bring him to safety.

The suspect was identified as a 17-year-old juvenile from Clifton who was charged with theft, receiving stolen property, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct before being transported to a local hospital for a medical evaluation.

“A split-second decision was made by Officer D’Alessandro and aided by the effort of his colleagues to save the man from injury or worse,” Det. Lt. Vincent Auteri said. “It was a great team effort and we are extremely proud of the bravery and compassion showed by all of our officers. Their actions are indicative of the work routinely done by members of this police department. We thank the Rutherford and North Arlington police departments, as well as the Lyndhurst Fire Department, for their assistance and support during this incident.”

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