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Here, Strobe!

Officer Vince DeFazio and Strobe. Photo courtesy the Town of Secaucus
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Officer Vince DeFazio and Strobe. Photo courtesy the Town of Secaucus

On June 3, 2021, at 2:41 P.M., a Secaucus resident reported that a male forced his way into her apartment on County Avenue, stole an item, and fled. While committing this burglary, the resident was pushed into a wall causing some minor injuries to her hand and arm, authorities said.

The burglar, later identified as George Maztek, fled the apartment complex toward Windsor Drive, according to police. Secaucus Police Units broadcast a description of Maztek, and witnesses informed officers he fled to a warehouse on Windsor Drive.

According to police, in an attempt to evade capture, Maztek forced entry into the second floor of the warehouse. Police Units from the Patrol and Detective Divisions, Traffic Bureau, and Anti-Crime Unit established a perimeter around the warehouse.

Strobe, a 19-month-old German Shepherd in the Canine Unit and his handler, Officer Vince DeFazio, were called in.

Strobe located Maztek hiding in a darkened office on the second floor, where he surrendered, without resistance, and was placed under arrest, police said.

Four-legged rookie rocks!

Strobe is the the newest addition to the Secaucus Police Department. Chief Dennis Miller introduced Strobe and his handler, Officer DeFazio, at the Town Council Meeting on May 11.

The first ever canine unit at SPD was formed in October, 2020, with a generous financial donation from the Steven Strobert Foundation, according to the town. Strobe is named for Secaucus resident Steven Strobert, who died on 9/11, 2001.

Strobe came from Connecticut Canine Services. He and Officer DeFazio went through 29 weeks of rigorous training at the Bergen County Sheriff ’s Canine Academy.

Dogs are trained in agility, obedience, evidence searches, scent work, criminal apprehension, handler protection, and detection of controlled substances.

The Canine Unit is assigned to the Operations Section and will assist the SPD in furthering proactive policing. Strobe will be used for community demonstrations to enhance community policing efforts.

The Secaucus Animal Shelter will provide veterinary services. In 2020, the SPD brought on a Golden Retriever named Oakley to work with Police Officer Taylor Ensmann for the force’s Therapy Dog Program.

“Adding canines to our police force is something I have always dreamed about,” Mayor Michael Gonnelli said. “Strobe will be an addition to the police department’s proactive policing efforts and will simultaneously serve as a remembrance of one of our beloved residents.”

“I truly hope Strobe brings the Strobert family some solace knowing that Steven’s memory will continue to live on,” Chief Miller said. “When questioned about the meaning behind Strobe’s name, Steven’s story and sacrifice will be told, thereby keeping his memory and spirit very much alive. I also thank Bergen County Sheriff Anthony Cureton for the opportunity to attend his Canine Academy.”

Canine cop

At the time of George Maztek’s arrest, evidence from the apartment burglary was recovered. Maztek was charged with Burglary, Criminal Trespass, Theft of Moveable Property, and Criminal Mischief. He was taken in the Hudson County Jail and released later that day.

These charges are merely accusations. Maztek is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

“I am proud of how officers from the different facets of my department come together and work in unison to apprehend criminals,” Miller said. “This use of K-9 Strobe in this arrest demonstrates the need for such animals in this line of work. Using a K-9 as a constructive tool alleviates the use of force in most situations, but also gives an alternative force option, which protects the safety of both the public and police.”

For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at disrael@hudsonreporter.com.

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