Prospect Park detectives cracked a series of burglaries, arresting two self-proclaimed Trinitario gang members who they said stole more than $167,000 in jewelry, cash, watches, electronics – and guns.
Detective Walter Richmond and Officer Arthur Canestrino were reviewing surveillance footage from a burglary last Friday when they identified a car whose owner said a 17-year-old Passaic boy had been using it at the time.
A search of the vehicle turned up several pieces of jewelry taken during a Prospect Park break-in, Capt. Ammen Matari said Wednesday.
Around 1:15 p.m. Tuesday, Richmond and Canestrino took the teen into custody, assisted by Passaic County Sheriff’s Detectives Robert Torres and Daniel Tareky, the captain said.
Five hours later, they arrested 20-year-old Michael Rodriguez at his Passaic home, where Matari said they found jewelry and a $25,000 Panerai wristwatch taken during several burgaries.
They also found three ounces of pot, packaging materials and more than $700 in drug cash, he said.
Altogether, Matari said, the pair were tied to a half-dozen break-ins, including one in Prospect Park in which the victim lost $40,000 in Indian style jewelry, cash and electronics, and at least five others in Clifton.
One of the Clifton burglaries also included the theft of two handguns -- a Smith & Wesson 9mm and a Smith & Wesson Sigma .40 caliber – the captain said.
The juvenile was released to a guardian pending a hearing in the Family Division of Superior Court in Paterson.
Rodriguez remained held in the Passaic County Jail pending a detention hearing in Central Judicial Municipal Court.
Passaic County Sheriff Richard Berdnik: “This successful investigation stopped a two-person crime spree in it’s tracks. The fact that this investigation yielded two arrests and will prevent countless other criminal activity is significant. I want to commend both the Prospect Park and PCSO detectives involved in solving these crimes.”
Prospect Park Police Chief Charlie Atie: “I want to commend all the officers involved in this investigation on a job well done where they utilized good old fashion police work displaying great investigative skills which led to the apprehension of multiple suspects and ultimately ended a multi-jurisdiction[al] burglary spree.”
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.