Eleven arrested in major car-theft ring
Law enforcement authorities arrested 11 people on Oct. 19 in conjunction with a major criminal network that allegedly was responsible for stealing high-end vehicles, which North Bergen Police first reported more than a year ago.
According to Union County Prosecutor Theodore J. Romankow, many of them were alleged to be gang members. The arrests followed a 15-month investigation that spanned three counties.
In addition to the arrests, police recovered three high-end luxury vehicles worth more than $330,000, several guns, and $71,000 in cash.
In July 2009, the North Bergen Police Department entered into a cooperative investigation with the New Jersey State Police Auto Unit and the F.B.I. Newark Field Office after seven Mercedes Benz vehicles were stolen from a storage facility in town at a value of $775,000. Five of the vehicles were later recovered.
In May 2010, authorities investigated additional automobile thefts, including a Mercedes Benz stolen from a Hudson County dealership and six Cadillac Escalades, worth $310,500, from a storage facility.
The investigation led to three men allegedly running the ring, Maurice Loyal, an alleged member of the Bloods Street Gang, Maurice Murray, and Rahjan Simmons. The men were also owners or affiliated with several Newark businesses.
“It has become clear that gang members have moved beyond street crimes like dealing drugs and into more sophisticated criminal enterprises,” said Romankow.
While authorities were looking into the thefts, Simmons was shot and killed on July 14 in front of one of these shops.
In addition to Loyal and Murray, Jasmin Golson, Jorge Rosario, Alvin Harper, Jimi Harrison, Edwin Martinez, Carlos Perez, Carlos Arnau, Mohamed Selim and Hector Martinez were arrested.
They were charged with 2nd degree racketeering, 2nd degree receiving stolen property, 2nd degree fencing-dealing in stolen property, 3rd degree forgery, and 2nd degree conspiracy.
“Even though car theft is considered a non-violent crime, the monies generated often make it back to the coffers of violent street gangs,” said Colonel Rick Fuentes, superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “We believe the streets of New Jersey are safer as a result of these arrests.”
Police are still seeking the arrest of Eliot Martinez, 39, of Union City. There is still an active investigation underway.
New Jersey Police Auto Theft Unit Det. Aaron Auclair served as the lead in the case, which will be prosecuted by Union County Assistant Prosecutor James Tansey.
Police nab man for illegal DMV documents
William Alfredo Rodriguez, 30, of West New York was arrested and charged with exhibiting a fraudulent document and obstruction to the administration of law after a sharp-eyed employee of North Bergen’s Department of Motor Vehicles noticed something amiss, said police.
According to Commander of the Detective Bureau Lt. Frank Cannella, Rodriguez was in the DMV applying for a non-driver identification card. He allegedly presented another person’s Puerto Rican birth certificate, social security card, and New Jersey Department of Labor and Benefits statement.
However, a DMV employee noticed that according to the documentation Rodriguez was 5 feet 11 inches tall, when he clearly appeared to be 5 foot 6 inches.
When North Bergen police officer Diego Estrada attempted to arrest Rodriguez, he took off running on Bergenline Avenue, until Officer Apostolakos Dino, who was on patrol, noticed Estrada running.
“He stated he bought the identification from someone else, which is currently under investigation,” said Cannella.
He was awarded a $5,000 bail bond with a 10 percent option by Judge Nino Falcone.
Free meals for vets
On Veterans Day, veterans will be able to receive a free meal at North Bergen’s Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill and Bar, located at 2100 88th St.
Due to the popularity of last year’s event, which served 256 meals to veterans, from 10 a.m. until midnight veterans with the following documentation will be able to receive a free meal:
U.S. Uniform Services Identification Card, U.S. Uniform Services Retired Identification Card, current leave and earnings statement, Veterans Organization Card, photograph in uniform or wearing uniform, DD214, Citation or Commendation.
This year’s menu includes a 7 oz. house sirloin, bacon cheeseburger, fiesta lime chicken, double crunch shrimp, three-cheese chicken penne, chicken tenders platter, and oriental chicken salad.
To locate the Applebee’s restaurant nearest you or for more information, visit www.applebees.com.
Ramos introduces bill to aid commuters
Assemblyman Ruben J. Ramos Jr. (D-Hoboken) has introduced legislation to help commuters besieged by increased transportation rates. The New Jersey Commuter Pass Credit Act (A-3414) would provide a temporary gross income tax credit for 8 percent of the amount a taxpayer spends on qualified commuting passes up to $100 per taxable year.
“This bill is designed to provide some measure of financial relief to New Jersey taxpayers who rely on train, bus, or ferry to get to work,” said Ramos (D-Hudson). ”We also hope this will alleviate congestion and provide incentives for us to reduce our carbon footprint.
The credit would be available for the three taxable years beginning on or after Jan. 1 following the date of enactment of the legislation. A qualified commuting pass includes passes for train, bus, or ferry service which taxpayers purchase for their use at a price of no less than $30. Qualified commuting is limited to travel between the taxpayer’s home and work, or terminals near those places, one of which must be located in New Jersey.
“This is a logical, short-term, three-year stimulus measure designed to help those that are struggling to stay afloat and allow us to see just how effective this policy will be in the long-run,” added Ramos. ”Hopefully this measure will help ease a little bit of the strain on the average commuter.”
The bill would also require the director of the Division of Taxation to complete a report on the credit, which is to be submitted to the governor and legislature in August of the third year of the credit in order to determine if the incentive should be renewed or allowed to expire.
PMC to host health seminar on pelvic floor disorder
Palisades Medical Center, located at 7600 River Rd., will host a health seminar on female incontinence and pelvic floor disorder on Nov. 2 from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Admission, parking, food, and refreshments are free, along with transportation to the event from 60th Street and Bergenline Avenue, beginning at 5:30 p.m.
According to PMC, more than 50 percent of women between the ages of 42 and 50 suffer from these problems.
Dr. Sam Hessami, director of the continence center at PMC as well as an associate clinical professor at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, will be the featured speaker.
For more information, call Nikki Mederos at (201) 854-5702.