A relentless repeat offender who's been caught and released a half-dozen or so times in Bergen and Passaic counties this fall pulled out a hidden fold of heroin and began snorting it while in custody at Fair Lawn police headquarters, authorities said.
Judges and police alike in Bergen and Passaic counties have been forced to release Michael Benedek, 26, of Paterson under bail reform multiple times following recent arrests for burglary, theft, receiving stolen property and shoplifting, records show.
Benedek dropped a power buffer he'd just stolen from an auto body shop when Hawthorne police grabbed him in early August, authorities said.
He was then recorded on security video stealing a leaf blower and weed trimmer from the back of a pickup truck parked in the Haledon owner's driveway, police there said.
Security cameras also captured Benedek snatching a bicycle from in front of a Belmont Avenue pizzeria, they added.
Benedek had been free pending trials for several incidents when a caller in Fair Lawn reported a man checking out parked vehicles on Fern Street early this month, Police Sgt. Brian Metzler said.
Officer Justin DiGuglielmo stopped Benedek on the bicycle on Maple Avenue at Chester Street and found "evidence of drugs use" -- as well as an outstanding warrant out of Passaic, Metzler said.
Benedek was taken to headquarters and placed in a holding room, where he began snorting the hidden heroin, the sergeant said.
Police charged him with possession of drugs and paraphernalia, being under the influence of drugs and tampering with evidence, then handed him over to Passaic police.
Back on the street soon after, Benedek was carrying an apparently-stolen folding electric scooter on Zabriskie Street when an off-duty officer spotted him and notified his colleagues.
Benedek was arrested and charged in connection with the earlier burglaries in town. He was sent to the Passaic County Jail, only to be released again, records show.
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