It took over a year and a half, but relentless detective work aided by modern tech produced the arrests of two accused police imposters from the Jersey Shore who authorities said tried to abduct an East Rutherford man from outside his home.
Anthony Naso of Seaside Heights, Nicholas Polimeni of Toms River and an unidentified accomplice were all wearing bogus police badges when they rushed the victim on Sept. 11, 2020, Bergen County Prosecutor Mark Musella said.
The victim told police he'd just returned to his Lincoln Place home shortly before 10 p.m. when the trio “grabbed him on his staircase just outside his front door and identified themselves as law enforcement,” a complaint filed by one of Musella’s detectives says.
“At first, the victim was cooperative, believing the [assailants] were law enforcement, but when he asked to see [their] badges and they ignored him, he began to physically resist,” the complaint says. “A physical struggle ensued while the actors attempted to zip-tie the victim's hands behind him.”
He screamed for help and fought off the attackers, who fled in two vehicles – one a black pickup truck with distinctive markings, the other a silver sedan -- the complaint prepared by BCPO Detective Ed Kazmierczak says.
Investigators conducted interviews, reviewed area security video and found a mask, gloves, screws and a police-style badge in a parking lot several blocks away, it says.
Footage showed the items being left by the occupants of the vehicles that had just fled the botched kidnapping, Kazmierczak wrote.
DNA found on the mask matched that of Polimeni, a 27-year-old tile worker who had an arrest record, he said.
Polimeni “had a longstanding association” with Naso, also 27, who works as a financial adviser and was also apparently known to police, the complaint says.
Both men had previously lived in Fairfield, records show.
Detectives found a “striking resemblance” when they compared photos of Naso, both from social media and law enforcement databases, to surveillance footage captured from the victim's Ring doorbell camera, Kazmierczak wrote.
He also had on an Adidas hat similar to one he’s seen wearing in a social media photo, the detective added.
There’s more: According to Kazmierczak, a computer check showed that Naso also was the registered owner of the 2020 black GMC Canyon, which “has distinctive side steps and a sticker located on the driver side of the front bumper.”
The ”follow vehicle” seen in security footage is a 2018 Infiniti Q-50 “belonging to a known associate of both Naso and Polimeni,” Kazmierczak wrote .
Members of the prosecutor’s office and East Rutherford and Toms River police arrested Polimeni without incident at his home on Tuesday, Musella said.
Naso was arrested the next day in Paramus, the prosecutor said.
Both men were charged with robbery, conspiracy and impersonating a law enforcement officer.
Each was released from the jail less than 24 hours after their arrests, pending further court action, under New Jersey’s 2017 bail reform law.
Authorities haven't yet disclosed an alleged motive for the crime.
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