Bergen Prosecutor: Morris Thief Stashed $1M In Heavy Equipment, Arms, Ammo At Rural Sussex Site

Managers at one of the country’s most renowned construction companies were confounded when they discovered a piece of heavy machinery gone from one of their Bergen County yards and its GPS device attached to a battery.

Nicholas T. DeMaio
Nicholas T. DeMaio Photo Credit: BERGEN COUNTY PROSECUTOR

“Usually by the time you realize something like that is stolen, it’s already been shipped out of one of the ports,” a veteran investigator said.

On Wednesday, however, authorities announced that they’d recovered a bulldozer and other pieces of stolen equipment – valued at more than $1 million combined -- along with a trove of illegal guns and more stashed on a rural property up the road from a Sussex County church.

Nicholas T. DeMaio, 32, of Wharton was arrested following a raid on the rented Branchville property that also turned up high-capacity magazines, silencers and hollow-point ammunition, Bergen County Prosecutor Mark Musella said.

DeMaio, who is unemployed, broke in and stole the machinery from job sites and construction yards that included one belonging to J. Fletcher Creamer, the construction giant, investigators said.

One of the stolen rigs apparently flipped off a trailer in Clifton and was left behind, they said.

On Tuesday, members of Musella’s Special Investigations Squad and Ridgefield and New Jersey State Police executed a warrant at the George Hill Road site.

They charged DeMaio with receiving stolen property, fencing and illegal possession of weapons, high-capacity magazines, silencers and hollow-point ammunition, the prosecutor said.

DeMaio, who records show has a history of minor arrests, remained held Wednesday in the Bergen County Jail pending a first appearance in Central Judicial Processing Court in Hackensack.

Musella, meanwhile, thanked Ridgefield, Clifton and Wharton police, as well as members of the New Jersey State Police Sussex Barracks, for their assistance. 

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