GOTCHA! A group of ID thieves were headed to an apparent shopping spree at a mall in Paramus when they were stopped by a Maywood police officer who found an "alarming" amount of credit cards and driver's licenses in innocent victims' names, authorities said.
Officer Matthew DellaBella stopped the Subaru Forester after the driver, Karina Espinal, 26, of Newark, made an illegal turn at Maywood Avenue and Essex Street, Police Chief Terence R. Kenny said.
Espinal told the officer they were headed to the Garden State Plaza to do some holiday shopping, the chief said.
She "didn't have her driver’s license with her but had a photo of her Connecticut driver’s license on her phone," he said.
Although the license bore her photo, DellaBella had already done a quick computer check before approaching the vehicle and knew it wasn't her name, Kenny said.
Turns out the license was valid -- and belonged to someone else, he said.
Inside the car was another driver's license for Espinal, this one from New Jersey, with yet another person's name on it, as well as credit cards in that same person's name, the chief said.
Police also found various bogus ID cards and more bearing the names of two of her passengers -- Christopher Godwin, 43, and Tyshawn Stevens, 26, both of the Bronx -- Kenny said.
Backups were assisting DellaBella in taking Espinal into custody when Stevens bolted, the chief said.
Sgt. Peter Donatello and Officer Alana Luna pursued Stevens through several backyards before catching him. They then found an outstanding warrant for previous drug offenses out of Bergen County, Kenny said.
Espinal, Godwin and Stevens were charged with offenses involving ID theft and false documents. Stevens also was charged with obstruction.
Despite lengthy arrest records for all three, the chief said, Espinal and Godwin were released under New Jersey's 2017 bail reform law.
Stevens, meanwhile, was sent to the Bergen County Jail, where he remained Thursday while awaiting a first appearance in Central Judicial Processing Court in Hackensack.
Kenny thanked Rochelle Park Police Sgt. Doug Arendacs and Officer James Zenock for their assistance at the scene.
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