A violent fugitive being sought by state authorities forced some schools in northwest Bergen County to shelter in place during a manhunt that ended in his capture early Tuesday, authorities said.
Ex-con Justinian Rocco, 26, of Allendale was seized by Waldwick police shortly after 7:30 a.m. Jan. 3 after colleagues from Saddle River, Midland Park and Wyckoff -- along with a K-9 unit -- converged on the area to assist, they said.
Rocco had absconded from a state facility last Thursday, Dec. 29, after spending time behind bars for a variety of convictions.
Then came a call early Tuesday of a man peering into a home on Wanamaker Avenue, Waldwick Police Lt. Troy Seifert said.
Waldwick police charged Rocco with resisting arrest, receiving stolen property, criminal trespassing and minor drug possession and sent him to the Bergen County Jail, the lieutenant said.
Burglary counts are also pending out of Allendale, Ho-Ho-Kus and Saddle River, he said.
Rocco is a career offender who personifies the term "known to police."
He's served time following convictions for various crimes, including laying down on a railroad track, stopping NJ TRANSIT service and fighting with police who arrested him.
Soon after his release last year, Rocco was charged with more than a half-dozen burglaries and break-in attempts in Ramsey and Ho-Ho-Kus.
It's all part of a lengthy criminal history that has shown no signs of letting up.
Rocco had gotten into a frenzied brawl with police in a waist-high stream in 2019 -- biting and kicking them -- after a local woman found him in her home.
Freed by a judge pending trial, he was soon back at it.
Rocco was wanted for violating a court order in August 2020 when he stretched out on the tracks in Allendale, forcing NJ Transit to temporarily suspend service.
Responding officers who had to fight to subdue him strapped Rocco to a portable stretcher so they could carry him up and over an embankment to an ambulance.
Before then, Rocco had served a state prison stretch for a string of Bergen County burglaries in 2016 and 2017. He also was convicted of peering into windows.
One of several more arrests involved the burglary in which the female Allendale resident was home.
Rocco spent nearly 10 months in the Bergen County Jail for those incidents before being released.
Barely two days after that, the first in a series of burglaries ended with Rocco's arrest last June.
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