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Bergen County Prosecutor's Office

Threatening Bathroom Graffiti Temporarily Closes Private Englewood School (UPDATE) Threatening Bathroom Graffiti Temporarily Closes Private Englewood School (UPDATE)
Threatening Bathroom Graffiti Temporarily Closes Private Englewood School (Update) 𝗨𝗣𝗗𝗔𝗧𝗘: Police were reviewing security video to determine who's responsible for a threat specifically mentioning Blacks and Hispanics that was found scrawled on a bathroom wall at Dwight-Englewood School. The K-12 school was closed on Wednesday, April 24, following the discovery earlier in the week of a message that investigators said threatens to "get even." The Bergen County Prosecutor's Office was alerted and police in Englewood are working the case, assisted by the county sheriff's forensics team, which collected evidence. "There's concern right now considering what just recently trans…
UPDATE: Quartet Flees Following Botched Maywood Jewelry Store Robbery UPDATE: Quartet Flees Following Botched Maywood Jewelry Store Robbery
Update: Quartet Flees Following Botched Maywood Jewelry Store Robbery Authorities are investigating the failed robbery of a Maywood jewelry store. The female owner and a male customer were in Diamond Fantasy on West Pleasant Avenue when two gunmen entered around 11:15 a.m. Tuesday, April 23, authorities said. Two others outside apparently acted as lookouts, they said. All left empty-handed, although at the moment it's unclear why.  No one was injured and no arrests had been made as of early Wednesday. Police recovered a moped, detained and interviewed potential suspects and collected statements and video from in and around the scene. A local resident…
Bergen Man Charged With 2010 Pre-Teen Sex Assault Bergen Man Charged With 2010 Pre-Teen Sex Assault
Bergen Man Charged With 2010 Pre-Teen Sex Assault A Midland Park man was charged with sexually assaulting a pre-teen in Wyckoff in 2010. Donato Avolio, now 35, was in his early 20s when he sexually assaulted the youngster, Bergen County Prosecutor Mark Musella said. Wyckoff police notified his Special Victims Unit of the allegation on March 27, Musella said. An arrest warrant was drawn up the following day charging Avolio with second-degree sexual assault of a victim under 13, he said. A manhunt that lasted nearly three weeks ended with the single, Italian-born Avolio’s arrest in Clifton on Tuesday, April 16, the prosecutor said. He has…
Sixth Defendant Charged In Armed Edgewater Robbery Being Held In Westchester Sixth Defendant Charged In Armed Edgewater Robbery Being Held In Westchester
Sixth Defendant Charged In Armed Edgewater Robbery Being Held In Westchester 𝗨𝗣𝗗𝗔𝗧𝗘: The broad-daylight holdup of an Edgewater shopper last fall was committed by an armed robbery crew that included a Bronx man who was arrested this week in Westchester, authorities said. Jose A. Santana Torres, 22, and his partners followed the victim from Hudson County to an unidentified shopping center on River Road in last Oct. 24, Bergen County Prosecutor Mark Musella said. Two of them approached the victim and stole a watch at gunpoint while a third member of the crew served as lookout. The robbers then hopped into getaway vehicles driven by companions. The mid-afternoon holdu…
'Vibrant Spirit': Death Of Ridgefield Girl, 15, Leaves 'Profound Void' In 2 Communities 'Vibrant Spirit': Death Of Ridgefield Girl, 15, Leaves 'Profound Void' In 2 Communities
'Vibrant Spirit': Death Of Ridgefield Girl, 15, Leaves 'Profound Void' In 2 Communities UPDATE: The death of a 15-year-old Ridgefield girl who was struck while riding a scooter near her home leaves a "profound void," said the schools chief in Clifton, where her father works. Serenity Law was struck at the intersection of Shaler Boulevard and Edgewater Avenue in Ridgefield shortly after 7:30 p.m. Sunday, April 14, Bergen County Prosecutor Mark Musella said. She was pronounced dead at Hackensack University Medical Center a short time later, the prosecutor said. Although Musella referred to the incident as a "pedestrian death," law enforcement sources confirmed that the teen was…
Girl, 15, Killed In Ridgefield Crash Girl, 15, Killed In Ridgefield Crash
Girl, 15, Killed In Ridgefield Crash UPDATE: The death of a 15-year-old Ridgefield girl who was struck while riding a scooter near her home leaves a "profound void," said the schools chief in Clifton, where her father works. Serenity Law was struck at the intersection of Shaler Boulevard and Edgewater Avenue in Ridgefield shortly after 7:30 p.m. Sunday, April 14, Bergen County Prosecutor Mark Musella said. She was pronounced dead at Hackensack University Medical Center a short time later, the prosecutor said. Although Musella referred to the incident as a "pedestrian death," law enforcement sources confirmed that the tee…
Bergen Widower, 91, Charged With Exposing Himself To Three Kids Bergen Widower, 91, Charged With Exposing Himself To Three Kids
Bergen Widower, 91, Charged With Exposing Himself To Three Kids A 91-year-old Saddle Brook widower was jailed Friday after authorities said he exposed himself to a trio of preteens. John Urso was booked into the Bergen County Jail on April 12 following his arrest on lewdness charges hours earlier, records show. The defendant "exposed themselves to students who were playing outside at Franklin School," Saddle Brook Schools Supt. Toni Violetti wrote in a message to the community. Violetti thanked staff at the K-6 school on Caldwell Avenue "for their quick response" and township police "for their swift investigation and decisive action." Bergen Cou…
Bergen Grade Schoolers Accused Of Sodomizing Boy With Sex Toy Bergen Grade Schoolers Accused Of Sodomizing Boy With Sex Toy
Bergen Grade Schoolers Accused Of Sodomizing Boy With Sex Toy A group of young boys from Old Tappan are accused of sodomizing another with a sex toy. According to multiple parents, the 8th graders pooled their money to buy the penis-shaped sex aid from a popular gift company. One apparently turned it on another at a local residence while at least two others helped with the horrific assault, they said. Video of the penetration and what the parents said was an equally disgusting subsequent act was apparently recorded and shared. It wasn't immediately clear what physical injuries the victim may have suffered or what medical treatment was needed.  …
Waldwick Man Charged With Sexually Assaulting Woman At Saddle River Home Where She Worked Waldwick Man Charged With Sexually Assaulting Woman At Saddle River Home Where She Worked
Waldwick Man Charged With Sexually Assaulting Woman At Saddle River Home Where She Worked A Pakistani national living in Waldwick was charged with sexually assaulting a woman who was working at a Saddle River home. Muhammad Yousuf, 54, was arrested late last week for a sexual assault that Bergen County Prosecutor Mark Musella alleged occurred this past Feb. 26. Yousuf was sent to the Bergen County Jail following his arrest in Saddle River on Thursday, April 4. A judge in Hackensack released him, with conditions, the next day, records show.
Young Teen Sexually Assaulted In New Milford By Elderly Man, Middle-Aged Companion:  Prosecutor Young Teen Sexually Assaulted In New Milford By Elderly Man, Middle-Aged Companion:  Prosecutor
Young Teen Sexually Assaulted In New Milford By Elderly Man, Middle-Aged Companion: Prosecutor An underage teen was sexually assaulted in New Milford by two men – one of them 67, the other 59 -- said authorities who reported finding one of them with a date rape drug. The older man, Eliezer Kopelowitz of Englewood, and Wayne Bambling of River Edge, were both arrested in New Milford late last week, Bergen County Prosecutor Mark Musella said on Monday, April 8. Kopelowitz was charged with second-degree sexual assault of the child, who the prosecutor said was between 13 and 17. He was also charged with child endangerment, criminal sexual contact and possession of both GHB and drug parap…
FACEBOOK ROBBERIES: College Freshman From Bayonne Charged After Bergen Hit-And-Run Holdup FACEBOOK ROBBERIES: College Freshman From Bayonne Charged After Bergen Hit-And-Run Holdup
Facebook Marketplace Robbery Bayonne Moonachie Safe Exchange Authorities believe they've cracked a series of Facebook Marketplace robberies with the arrest of a tennis-playing college freshman who they said struck and seriously injured a Bergen County victim with his car before speeding off. Yassine G. Rahi, 18, of Bayonne created bogus Facebook accounts offering PlayStation 5 consoles for sale, arranged meetings with buyers and robbed them, Bergen County Prosecutor Mark Musella said. One of the victims, a 22-year-old man, arrived at an arranged location on Avenue C in Moonachie shortly before 5 p.m. March 20, the prosecutor said. After robbing him …
GUILTY: Jurors Convict Ex-Con Bank Robber, 73, Of Stabbing Albany Man Dead At Bergen Mall GUILTY: Jurors Convict Ex-Con Bank Robber, 73, Of Stabbing Albany Man Dead At Bergen Mall
Guilty: Jurors Convict Ex-Con Bank Robber, 73, Of Stabbing Albany Man Dead At Bergen Mall With his dying breath, an Albany man who was stabbed in the parking lot of a Bergen County shopping mall identified convicted bank robber Augusto Perez as his killer. Jurors in Hackensack needed five hours of deliberation to convict the 73-year-old Perez on Friday, April 5, for stabbing Omar Cruz, 64, to death behind the Ulta Beauty store on the Maywood side of the Bergen Town Center on Feb. 16, 2021. The jury rejected a murder conviction, which required premeditated intent, and instead found Perez, of North Bergen, guilty of aggravated manslaughter, along with hindering apprehension, follo…
AGAIN? Repeat Bergen Offender Busted Trafficking 28,000 Child Sex Images: Prosecutor AGAIN? Repeat Bergen Offender Busted Trafficking 28,000 Child Sex Images: Prosecutor
Child Porn Child Sex South Hackensack Bergen Barraclough A repeat offender from South Hackensack relapsed following his release from prison by amassing and sharing 28,000 images of child pornography, said authorities who arrested him on Thursday. Corey Barraclough, 33, was released from the Adult Diagnostic Treatment Center in Avenel last October after serving more than 5½ years behind bars. The first 17 months or so were spent in the Bergen County Jail beginning in and the rest in state custody, records show. That's because the Northvale native had been found with more than 2,400 illegal child-porn images -- and was caught chatting online with …
One Arrest Made During Gaza War Protest In Teaneck One Arrest Made During Gaza War Protest In Teaneck
One Arrest Made During Gaza War Protest In Teaneck FOLLOW UP: An Upper Manhattanite was the only person arrested at a large demonstration outside a Teaneck synagogue, authorities said. Pro-Palestinian protestors faced off against Jewish counter-demonstrators during a fundraiser on Monday, April 1, at Congregation Bnai Yeshurun on West Englewood Avenue. The private event featured a representative of ZAKA, a Jewish group that collects body parts and blood for burial at the scenes of accidents and terrorist attacks. After American Muslims for Palestine and Within Our Lifetime announced plans to picket the event, township authorities took the …
Toddler Hospitalized With Serious Burns, PalPark Private Day Care Worker Jailed Toddler Hospitalized With Serious Burns, PalPark Private Day Care Worker Jailed
Toddler Hospitalized With Serious Burns, PalPark Private Day Care Worker Jailed A toddler was hospitalized with serious burns that authorities said were sustained at a home that operates as a daycare center in Palisades Park. Ann Zheng, 24, was jailed on child endangerment charges after the toddler was burned at Dearest Angel Child Care, which operates out of a private home on Glen Avenue off East Edsall Boulevard, on Thursday, March 28. Bergen County Prosecutor Mark Musella said his Special Victims Unit was contacted by Palisades Park police. They learned, he said, that Zheng, “while having an assumed responsibility for the child, neglected the child, resulting in th…
Woman's Throat Sliced In Cliffside, Man Charged With Attempted Murder Woman's Throat Sliced In Cliffside, Man Charged With Attempted Murder
Woman's Throat Sliced In Cliffside, Man Charged With Attempted Murder A woman narrowly escaped death when a man slit her throat in a horrific domestic assault during a gathering in Cliffside Park, authorities said. Ernesto Lara Rojo, a 49-year-old Cuban national who lives in West New York, was charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault and weapons offenses and sent to the Bergen County Jail early Monday evening, April 1. ICE immediately issued a detainer on Rojo so he can be brought before a federal immigration judge in Newark to determine his residency status in the United States, jail records show. Rojo was with a group of people in an apartment jus…
14 Years Later: Accused Child Porn Collector From New Milford Busted Again 14 Years Later: Accused Child Porn Collector From New Milford Busted Again
14 Years Later: Accused Child Porn Collector From New Milford Busted Again A New Milford man busted for collecting child porn 14 years ago has been arrested again. State Parole Board officers tipped off local authorities after taking Brian Driscoll, 36, into custody this past January, Bergen County Prosecutor Mark Musella said. A court-approved search of Driscoll’s electronic devices by members of the prosecutor’s Cyber Crimes Unit found that he'd “viewed, downloaded, and/or possessed a total of 1,102 items depicting nude and/or sexually explicit prepubescent and pubescent children,” Musella said. The detectives arrested Driscoll on Wednesday, March 27, he said. …
Ex-Con Involved In Undercover Shooting Charged With Drug-Induced Death Of Garfield Man Ex-Con Involved In Undercover Shooting Charged With Drug-Induced Death Of Garfield Man
Ex-Con Involved In Undercover Shooting Charged With Drug-Induced Death Of Garfield Man UPDATE: An ex-con from Garfield who served time for a botched drug deal that led to the shooting of an undercover police officer was arrested on Thursday and charged with causing the overdose death of a 30-year-old user late last summer. Melvin Guzman, 29, is charged with strict liability in the drug-induced death of Ivan Santiago of Passaic last Sept. 17, Bergen County Prosecutor Mark Musella announced on March 28. Santiago and another user were hospitalized after overdosing at a home on Lincoln Place, the prosecutor said. He was pronounced dead soon after. “A six-month investigation by t…
HORRIFYING: Convicted Sex Offender Lured Foreign Woman To NJ To Abuse Her Kids, Feds Say HORRIFYING: Convicted Sex Offender Lured Foreign Woman To NJ To Abuse Her Kids, Feds Say
Horrifying: Convicted Sex Offender Lured Foreign Woman To NJ To Abuse Her Kids, Feds Say WARNING: The allegations described in this report are horrific in the extreme. A registered sex offender from Bergen County lured a woman from the other side of the world to the United States so he could sexually abuse her two young children, federal authorities charged. Corey Hipscher, 52, of Lodi first got the woman's 11-year-old daughter to take naked selfies and send them to him after connecting directly with the youngster on social media, the FBI said. Among the horrific images, federal authorities said, is a video of the youngster self-penetrating with the top of a bowling pin. Soon…
Bomb Scare At Glen Rock Schools Traced To Franklin Lakes Boy, 13 Bomb Scare At Glen Rock Schools Traced To Franklin Lakes Boy, 13
Bomb Scare At Glen Rock Schools Traced To Franklin Lakes Boy, 13 A voicemail bomb threat left with the Glen Rock Board of Education was traced to a 13-year-old boy from Franklin Lakes, authorities said. The caller claimed there was a bomb in a school but didn’t say which one, Glen Rock Police Chief Dean Ackermann said. “The message, which appeared to be from a child, was more than 12 hours old when discovered, and staff had observed nothing suspicious at any of the borough’s schools,” the chief said. “At no time was there any evidence to support the idea that any school facility could have been compromised,” he added. Police Sgt. Greg Carter and Detec…
Hackensack Grade School Custodian, 76, Charged With Sexually Assaulting 9-Year-Old Girl Hackensack Grade School Custodian, 76, Charged With Sexually Assaulting 9-Year-Old Girl
Hackensack Grade School Custodian, 76, Charged With Sexually Assaulting 9-Year-Old Girl A 76-year-old custodian at a grade school in Hackensack was charged with sexually assaulting a 9-year-old girl. Phillip A. Porter of Hackensack is accused of rubbing the child’s breasts and vagina and putting his penis in her mouth, according to a complaint filed in Superior Court. Special Victims Unit detectives arrested Porter on Monday, March 25, Bergen County Prosecutor Mark Musella said. He remained held Tuesday in the Bergen County Jail. Porter is charged with aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault by contact and child endangerment. The 6-foot-3-inch, 165-pound Porter, formerly …
UPDATE: Impaired Wrong-Way Route 4 Driver Injures 5, Himself, Faces Multiple Assault Charges UPDATE: Impaired Wrong-Way Route 4 Driver Injures 5, Himself, Faces Multiple Assault Charges
Update: Impaired Wrong-Way Route 4 Driver Injures 5, Himself, Faces Multiple Assault Charges 𝗨𝗣𝗗𝗔𝗧𝗘: An impaired driver from Westchester was headed the wrong way on westbound Route 4 in Paramus when his SUV slammed head-on into another over the weekend, sending five people as well as himself to the hospital, authorities said. Whigmer J. Villanueva, 56, of Harrison was "operating his vehicle recklessly and under the influence of drugs and or alcohol" when his eastbound 2008 Toyota rammed an unidentified vehicle shortly near Paramus Road before 2:30 a.m. Saturday, March 23, a criminal complaint says. "Two passengers in the defendant's vehicle were injured as a result of the acci…
Man, 31, Charged With Sexually Assaulting Pre-Teen In Pal Park Man, 31, Charged With Sexually Assaulting Pre-Teen In Pal Park
Man, 31, Charged With Sexually Assaulting Pre-Teen In Pal Park A 31-year-old man living in Palisades Park was charged with sexually assaulting a pre-teen. Jorge Orrego-Garcia “sexually assaulted a juvenile under the age of 13 in Palisades Park…in the past,” Bergen County Prosecutor Mark Musella said on Monday, March 25. Records show that Orrego-Garcia is accused of a pair of alleged sexual assaults in 2021. Detectives from Musella’s Special Victims Unit arrested Orrego-Garcia on Friday. He remained held Monday in the Bergen County Jail, charged with two counts each of sexual assault on a pre-teen and child endangerment through sexual conduct. Althou…
NJ Fugitive Captured In Indiana: Child Porn Charges Await 'Mountain' Man In Bergen County NJ Fugitive Captured In Indiana: Child Porn Charges Await 'Mountain' Man In Bergen County
NJ Fugitive Captured In Indiana: Child Porn Charges Await 'Mountain' Man In Bergen County A former Ridgewood resident who'd returned to his native Indiana while awaiting trial on child porn charges was zapped with a stun gun by state troopers who arrested him there on a fugitive warrant. Indiana State Police seized 70-year-old Robert "Mountain" Flynn after he tried to bolt out the back door of his current home in Anderson, IN, authorities said. The 6-foot, 190-pound fugitive apparently didn't require medical attention after resisting, authorities said. No troopers were reported injured. Flynn, who'd previously owned a sprinkler company in Waldwick and also worked as a local bo…
UPDATE: Six Injured In Overnight Route 4 Crash, Impaired Wrong-Way Driver Charged UPDATE: Six Injured In Overnight Route 4 Crash, Impaired Wrong-Way Driver Charged
Update: Six Injured In Overnight Route 4 Crash, Impaired Wrong-Way Driver Charged 𝗨𝗣𝗗𝗔𝗧𝗘: An impaired driver from Westchester was headed the wrong way on westbound Route 4 in Paramus when his SUV slammed head-on into another over the weekend, sending five people as well as himself to the hospital, authorities said. Whigmer J. Villanueva, 56, of Harrison was "operating his vehicle recklessly and under the influence of drugs and or alcohol" when his eastbound 2008 Toyota rammed an unidentified vehicle shortly near Paramus Road before 2:30 a.m. Saturday, March 23, a criminal complaint says. "Two passengers in the defendant's vehicle were injured as a result of the accident …
Judge Keeps South Hackensack Ex-Con Jailed Following Threats Judge Keeps South Hackensack Ex-Con Jailed Following Threats
Judge Keeps South Hackensack Ex-Con Jailed Following Threats A judge ordered that an ex-con from South Hackensack who was seized in a SWAT team raid remain in custody after he told a police officer that he "should've killed y'all mother f*ckers as soon as you came in the door." Township police got a tip that Robert Jackson had a handgun in his home even though a drug conviction from nearly a decade ago prevents him from legally possessing one, Detective Sgt. James Donatello said. Jackson had spent nearly seven years in state prison in two separate stretches since 2012. He was on parole for a previous conviction when he sold $10,000 worth of heroi…
Food Delivery Driver From Hackensack Charged With Collecting Child Porn Food Delivery Driver From Hackensack Charged With Collecting Child Porn
Food Delivery Driver From Hackensack Charged With Collecting Child Porn A food delivery driver from Hackensack was arrested Thursday and charged with collecting child pornography, authorities said. Michael Sapuppo, 38, “used the Internet to view, download and possess items depicting nude and/or sexually explicit prepubescent and pubescent children,” Bergen County Prosecutor Mark Musella said following the March 21 arrest. Members of Musella’s Cyber Crimes Unit collected evidence while executing a search warrant at Sapuppo’s garden apartment right off Route 80, the prosecutor said. Sapuppo was charged with possessing child sexual abuse material and sent to the…
Four Caught, One Sought In Brutal Stabbing Death Outside Garfield Bar Four Caught, One Sought In Brutal Stabbing Death Outside Garfield Bar
Four Caught, One Sought In Brutal Stabbing Death Outside Garfield Bar Authorities who’ve charged four men with the brutal murder of a man outside a Garfield bar last month turned to the public for help finding a fugitive gang member from Pennsylvania who sources said repeatedly stabbed the victim in the chest. Ricky “Angel” Vargas, 35, of East Stroudsburg, PA, and his four companions confronted Richard Franceschi, 31, of Hawthorne outside JoJo's Bar & Grill on Monroe Street before dawn this past Feb. 4, Bergen County Prosecutor Mark Musella said. Vargas had a knife and co-defendant Jayson William Rivera, 23, also of East Stroudsburg, had a handgun, the pr…
Bergenfield Widower, 94, Charged In Hit-And-Run Death Of Beloved Teacher From Dumont Bergenfield Widower, 94, Charged In Hit-And-Run Death Of Beloved Teacher From Dumont
Bergenfield Widower, 94, Charged In Hit-And-Run Death Of Beloved Teacher From Dumont UPDATE: A 94-year-old widower from Bergenfield was charged with the hit-and-run death of a teacher from Dumont, authorities confirmed on Friday. Ernest F. Hofmann was driving a 2002 Ford F-150 pickup that struck Elizabeth Feliciano-Rosa, 54, as she crossed Madison Avenue at Washington Avenue at 5:19 p.m. Thursday, March 14, Bergen County Prosecutor Mark Musella said. The victim was taken to Hackensack University Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead. Hofmann kept going, the prosecutor said. CPR was being conducted on the 44-year-old victim after she was struck at Washington &a…
Compassionate, Committed, Adored: Englewood Teacher From Dumont ID'd As Fatal Hit-Run Victim Compassionate, Committed, Adored: Englewood Teacher From Dumont ID'd As Fatal Hit-Run Victim
Compassionate, Committed, Adored: Englewood Teacher From Dumont ID'd As Fatal Hit-Run Victim 𝗨𝗣𝗗𝗔𝗧𝗘: A shocked silence that gripped a downtown intersection was pierced by the anguished scream of a woman whose mother -- a popular school teacher in Englewood -- had just been struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver less than a mile from her Dumont home. A lifeless Elizabeth Rosa lay off the corner of Washington and West Madison avenues as the driver who hit her stopped and got out, according to a witness. He just as quickly got back into the red pickup truck and sped off, the witness said. ****** 𝗨𝗣𝗗𝗔𝗧𝗘: A 94-year-old widower from Bergenfield was charged with the hit-and-run …
Another Child, Another Sex Allegation Against Tri-County Educator From North Jersey Another Child, Another Sex Allegation Against Tri-County Educator From North Jersey
Another Child, Another Sex Allegation Against Tri-County Educator From North Jersey 𝗨𝗣𝗗𝗔𝗧𝗘: A veteran school administrator who was accused of having sexual contact with an underage student in Bergen County when he was a middle school band director there is now facing charges involving another underage teen in another county. Kurt Zimmerman, a 55-year-old married father of two, was working in the Morris Hills Regional District in Rockaway when he “engaged in sexual conduct with a juvenile student who was at least 16 years of age but under the age of 18,” Bergen County Prosecutor Mark Musella said on Thursday, March 14. Zimmerman, currently of Rockaway, had worked in the di…