Officers Encounter Ends in Burglary Arrest

The incident began Saturday, February 20th at 02:46 am, when an alert patrol officer observed a male subject sitting on a guardrail along Ridge Road. Officer Michael Passafiume initiated contact with the subject and while doing so he notice a cardboard box containing several packs of Lava E-Cigarettes. The box was partially buried in the snow on the other side of the guardrail next to the subjects backpack. The 18 year old subject, later identified as Julian Lopez of Cedar Grove, claimed the E-Cigarettes were not his and couldn’t provide a reasonable explanation for his actions. He was not entered as missing nor were there were any outstanding warrants. Additionally Lopez refused any assistance, so contact was terminated. The E-Cigarettes were secured as recovered property.

On Saturday, February 20th at 7:02 am, officers responded to 597 Pompton Avenue, the Krauzers Store, on a report of a burglary and theft that had occurred overnight. The proprietor reported missing lottery cash and E-Cigarettes.

On Saturday, February 20th at 11:25 am, officers responded to another 597 Pompton Avenue Store, Sonny’s Yogurt, on a report of an attempted burglary that had also occurred overnight. Unknown actor(s) had entered through an AC unit/vent on the roof in an attempt to gain entry into the business.

Cedar Grove Detectives responded and processed the both scenes. Evidence collected including shoe prints and store security video footage revealed sufficient probable cause that Lopez had committed the burglaries. An arrest warrant was authorized by the Essex County Prosecutors Office and a Cedar Grove Municipal Court Judge. He was charged with Burglary, Theft, and Criminal Mischief.

On Saturday, February 20th 2021 at 5:30 pm Detectives and Officers then responded to the subject’s residence where he was arrested without incident. The accused was processed and subsequently transported to the Essex County Jail to await a bail hearing.

“The officers’ actions were key. The subsequent thorough investigation in conjunction with the diligence of the Officer Passafiume clearly enable this agency to bring this investigation to a successful conclusion”.

                                                                Chief Joseph Cirasa

All persons charged are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

The Cedar Grove Police Department requests that the public report all suspicious activity observed, as it occurs. The police department non-emergency telephone number is 973-239-4100 and in cases of emergency 9-1-1.  

Operation Take Back

The Cedar Grove Police Department will be participating in the bi-annual Operation Take Back Program sponsored by the Drug Enforcement Agency. This program enables the public to get rid of unused, unwanted and expired medications properly.

Prescription drug abuse is rapidly becoming one of our nation’s greatest emerging drug problems and it is widely recognized that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from home medicine cabinets. In addition to this growing drug problem, unused and expired prescription medications also represent a severe environmental hazard. Most individuals are not aware of methods to properly dispose of their unused medicine, often flushing them down the toilet or throwing them away; both potential safety and health hazards.

This service is free and anonymous, with no questions asked.

Date: Saturday, October 24, 2020

Hours:  10:00 am – 2:00 pm
Location:  Cedar Grove Police Department – 525 Pompton Avenue, Cedar Grove

For more information about the Operation Take Back program visit www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov

Body Worn Camera Roll Out

The Cedar Grove Police Department has concluded the pilot program and has gone live with the use of body worn cameras throughout the department.  In addition to having in-car video, officers will be wearing the Safe Fleet Mobile Vision BWX-100 Camera.  This camera functions as an audio and video recording device and could also be utilized as a still camera for photographic purposes.  A red LED (shown in picture above) indicates when the camera is recording.

These cameras will be worn by uniform officers on either their outer vest carrier or uniform shirt relatively close to the center of the chest.  All non-uniform officers can wear either center of the chest or on their waist.

We are excited to add this technology to our department.  Body cameras will enhance officer’s testimony with the added layer of audio and video recordings.  Additionally this equipment will allow administrators the ability to review officer’s conduct while performing their day-to-day operations increasing accountability and transparency.

Four Charged After Motor Vehicle Pursuit

On September 3rd, 2020 at 2:44 AM, Livingston PD pursued a Silver Nissan Sentra into Verona that was eluding them. The vehicle was occupied by four young males. Police suspected the group was involved in motor vehicle burglaries. Verona PD subsequently pursued the vehicle into Cedar Grove onto Fairview Avenue. Cedar Grove Officer Grigolo then took up the pursuit of the vehicle on Fairview Ave from the intersection of Myrtle Ave. The vehicle continued to elude the Cedar Grove Officers, initially, north onto Route 23 into Little Falls then turned back South into Cedar Grove again. The pursuit ended when the Silver Nissan drove behind a commercial business on Sand Park Road and the four occupants fled from the vehicle on foot. They fled into the wooded area between Sand Park Road and Magnolia Lane. Cedar Grove Sgt. Rodriguez apprehended one suspect and the other three were apprehended with the assistance of Fairfield, Livingston, Verona, Totowa, North Caldwell, Little Falls and the Essex and Passaic County Sheriff Departments. One officer sustained a knee injury in the foot chase. No other injuries were reported. It was determined that the vehicle was stolen out of Belleville. Additionally, one suspect was in possession of proceeds from a car burglary in Newark. The subject’s charges included possession of stolen property, resisting arrest, eluding, obstructing, hindering apprehension, disorderly conduct and numerous motor vehicle violations.

            Please continue to lock and remove keys and valuables from your vehicles. It will the deter thefts and discourage this behavior. If you should observe suspicious activity or a crime, contact police immediately. Do not investigate or confront the actors.                                                                                                                        

Chief J. Cirasa  

Allergic Reaction

On Monday, August 24th, 2020 at 2:04 pm, the Cedar Grove Police received a 911 call reporting a female experiencing an severe allergic reaction to food and difficulty breathing. Upon arrival, police found the patient in anaphylactic shock, her face swelling and her airway closing. Officers Hoyt and Cardona administered oxygen. Atlantic Ambulance arrived moments later. Atlantic EMT’s administered epinephrine via an EpiPen they carry as standard equipment. The swelling was reversed, the subject breathing improved, and she was then subsequently transported to Mountainside Hospital. Anaphylactic shock is a life threatening condition. Timely actions taken in those first critical minutes are crucial. In this case, bringing immediate relief to the resident.

Chief J. Cirasa

NJMVC Mobile Inspection Station

The Cedar Grove Police Department, in conjunction with The New Jersey State Motor Vehicles Commission’s Mobile Inspection Unit, will be running a vehicle inspection station for motorists who have been unable to get to a State MVC inspection station. The inspections will take place on Friday, August 28, 2020, between the hours of 9am and 12pm in the parking lot adjacent to the Cedar Grove Board of Education Offices located at 520 Pompton Avenue. Motorists will be required to present a valid license, registration and insurance card prior to inspection. Police officers will be on scene to assists motorists in and out of the inspection location. The unit will conduct vehicle inspections free of charge. Motorists requiring other services such as license or registration renewal will need to go to a NJMVC location.