PATERSON, N.J. -- Paterson police who stopped a stolen car after the driver ran a stop sign found a loaded semi-automatic handgun and arrested both occupants, authorities said.
The Anti-Crime Unit officers were in the 5th Ward on Monday when the black Acura MDX blew the sign at Market and East 18th streets, Police Director Jerry Speziale said.
They followed the vehicle and ran a records check that showed the license plate not recorded, he said, so they pulled the Acura over on 20th Avenue.
The passenger -- identified as Carlos Burgos, 19, of Paterson – was trying to conceal a license plate with his feet as Detective Jose Torres approached, Speziale said.
Torres told him to move, then spotted the semi-automatic handgun sticking out from between the passenger seat and the center console, he said.
Torres immediately alerted Detectives Martin Luizzi, William Hermann, and Sgt. Richard LaTrecchia, who helped him remove Burgos and the driver, 26-year-old John Umstead of Clifton, the director said.
They seized the loaded weapon and impounded the car, reported stolen out of Clifton, he said.
A judge ordered both men held without bail pending first appearances in Superior Court in Paterson on weapons charges and other offenses.
“The quick actions, observations, and teamwork of the detectives involved quickly defused a potentially dangerous situation, and possibly prevented a future violent crime,” Speziale said.