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South Passaic Daily Voice serves Clifton, Haledon, Hawthorne, Little Falls, North Haledon, Passaic, Paterson, Prospect Park, Totowa, Wayne & Woodland Park

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Let's Hear It! Clifton 'Cheer Mom' Leads Police To Fugitive's Hideout

INSET: Martin Adam Burnett
INSET: Martin Adam Burnett Photo Credit: PHOTO: Courtesy CLIFTON CHEERLEADERS / INSET: Courtesy CLIFTON PD

CLIFTON, N.J. -- A self-proclaimed "cheer mom" from Clifton who led police to a vacant house where a fugitive from Newark was hiding out said her gut "told me this guy was bad news."

Officers surrounded the house, shouting demands for Martin Adam Burnett, 47, of Coal Township, PA to surrender after they spotted him standing with a flashlight in the bay window of the Springdale Court home.

After about 45 minutes, they kicked the door in, then found him hiding in the attic with bolt and glass cutters and other burglary tools, authorities said.

The mom, whose name was being withheld by Daily Voice, was headed to a basketball game at Clifton High School when she first spotted Burnett "walking like he owned this house out of the side door."

She followed his car in hers for a few blocks before he suddenly sped off, she said.

"At that point I backed off because I didn’t know if this guy was armed and dangerous."

Sitting in the bleachers at the game, she texted some friends about what had happened.

"But I was still upset," she said. "I wanted to find this guy."

After dropping off her daughter and some of the other cheerleaders, the woman went to solicit area merchants for tricky tray items for their annual dinner.

That's when she spotted the car Burnett had been driving parked on the next street.

"I called Clifton police," she said. "They were there three minutes later and circled the house screaming demands for him to surrender, with no responses."

After police seized Burnett, the good Samaritan led them to the car -- which authorities said had been reported stolen out of Newark, DE.

Burnett, a 1988 Clifton High School graduate, also had an outstanding warrant out of South Jersey, Detective Lt. Robert Bracken said.

He remained held in the Passaic County Jail on Thursday.

"I was so proud," the woman said. "All in a day's work for a cheer mom."

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