Standing on line at a Western Union in Paramus, a borough volunteer firefighter saw a familiar face: Moments earlier, he’d seen the same man sitting in a suspicious minivan parking outside his bank.
Leaving the Stop & Shop on Route 17 after withdrawing money, the 30-year-old firefighter found the passenger-side window of his pickup truck smashed and console compartment open.
Gone were reading glasses, a charger and headphones.
He was reporting it to a 911 dispatcher when he again saw the same man walking through the parking lot.
Spotting the firefighter, the stranger hurried into the minivan, which sped off the wrong way through the parking lot entrance and quickly vanished on southbound Route 17.
The firefighter first noticed the minivan parked next to another in the lot of the Bank of America on Forest Avenue after he'd left the bank.
Neither had a front license plate; both had out-of-state plates in the back, he said.
One was blue and was occupied by a man wearing a black coat and black baseball cap.
The other was brown and occupied by the man he later saw at the Western Union. He was wearing a blue jacket, brown pants and baseball with a white strip.
Both appeared Hispanic, the firefighter said.
“I’m still replaying in my mind that they followed me from the bank all the way to Stop and Shop,” he said Monday morning.
“Not a good idea on my part to go to the bank 10 minutes before they close on a Friday,” the firefighter added.
“These thieves are smart,” he said. “I think they plan that the last person they see is the one they’ll rob, since no more cars will pull up after 5 p.m.
“My main concern here is not my stuff. It’s for people to become more careful and familiar with the style of these thieves.”
Paramus police were investigating.
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