CLIFFVIEW PILOT EXCLUSIVE: Detectives from Fairview and North Bergen had just finished discussing the prime suspect in a series of burglaries when they caught a break: A resident spotted the ex-con breaking into a home.
Steven Cuartas, left; Sebastian Delgado, top; Ronny Ruiz
What followed was pure old-fashioned police work by Fairview detectives, leading to two more arrests — with others expected.
Following a Sept. 14 burglary on 7th Street, Fairview investigators found surveillance video that clearly showed three men using a ladder to break into a second-floor apartment.
They shared it with their North Bergen counterparts at their monthly detectives meeting two weeks later, and a township officer immediately identified the obvious ringleader as career burglar Steven Cuartas of Elizabeth.
Cuartas, 22, was released from state prison in March after serving nearly two years on a host of burglary convictions out of Union and Bergen, records show.
The same day as the detectives’ meeting, a North Bergen resident took photos and called police after seeing a man break into a nearby apartment. An undercover officer was waiting outside the 78th Street building when Cuartas emerged.
He bolted across Tonnelle Avenue to the parking lot of the Lowe’s department store, where two officers grabbed him – but not before Cuartas punched one in the chest and hit the other in the face, according to a report by North Bergen police.
Fairview detectives then received a call.
“You won’t believe this, but we just got Cuartas.”
After interrogating him, detectives got a search warrant for Cuartas’s cellphone. From there, it was “a matter of knocking on doors, finding people who knew these guys,” a law enforcement source with direct knowledge of the investigation told CLIFFVIEW PILOT.
The names of two men came up: Sebastian Delgado of 49th Street in Union City and Ronny Ruiz of 68th Street in Guttenberg. Both work as deliverymen. Both are 22. Fairview detectives arrested them early this morning.
Delgado and Ruiz are being held on $7,500 bail each pending upcoming hearings in Fairview Municipal Court. Cuartas is being held on $112,000 at the Hudson County Jail in Kearny, charged with burglary, theft, resisting arrest, aggravated assault on two police officers and obstruction.
Fairview Police Chief Frank Del Vecchio applauded his counterparts in North Bergen, West New York, Guttenberg and Union City, along with his detectives, for the coordinated effort that led to the arrests.
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