BERGENFIELD, N.J. – A Bergenfield police officer who smelled burning rubber helped track down a driver who led a late-night chase through several towns before trying to stash stolen jewelry behind a toilet tank in a pharmacy bathroom, authorities said.
Edward Arnold, 29, of Bergenfield, was seized as he emerged from the Washington Avenue Walgreens men’s, Capt. Mustafa Rabboh said.
Arnold -- whose rap sheets includes busts for aggravated assault and drug-related offenses, among other charges -- had been freed earlier this year following six months in the Bergen County Jail after authorities charged him with resisting arrest, eluding, burglary and dealing drugs last year.
Sunday night’s chase began after he stole a 2016 Honda SUV from the area of Sunnyside and Washington avenues in Dumont, authorities said.
Arnold may have been headed to Paterson when a Fair Lawn officer a short time later tried to pull the car over on westbound Route 4, authorities said.
But he hit the gas and headed into Glen Rock and, eventually, Ridgewood, they said.
Arnold found his way to southbound Route 17 to eastbound Route 80 toward the George Washington Bridge before he wound up heading north on Route 9W, authorities told Daily Voice.
He eventually made his way back to Bergenfield, where Officer Gregory Slater heard screeching tires and smelled burned rubber in the area of Liberty Road and Howard Drive just before 1 a.m.
Slater found the vehicle, unoccupied, in a parking lot at 66 Howard Drive, Rabboh said.
Teaneck police and a Bergen County sheriff’s K-9 joined the search for Arnold, he said.
Officer Jose Portorreal went to the Walgreens, asked whether any suspicious people had recently come in and was directed to the men’s room, Rabboh said.
He and backup heard “excessive flushing of the toilet and what sounded like the cover to the toilet bowl tank being moved,” he said.
Arnold was arrested as he emerged, after which police found two gold rings, -- woth a combined $1,200 – stashed behind the toilet bowl, Rabboh said.
Arnold, who was also wanted on a warrant out of Fair Lawn, was brought to the Bergen County Jail pending a detention hearing on theft charges.
An investigation was continuing.
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