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Mahwah Police Seize Suspected Video Plant Thief With Heroin

VIDEO: Neela Pawaroo Narraine
VIDEO: Neela Pawaroo Narraine Video Credit: Daily Voice

MAHWAH, N.J. -- Mahwah police tracked down a 31-year-old food service worker who they said was captured on surveillance video swiping plants from an Airmont home -- and then did the same in Suffern.

Suffern police issued an alert Tuesday after receiving a report of a man stealing pots of plants from a Yorkshire Drive residence.

Just before 3 p.m., Mahwah Police Sgt. Michael Blondin and Officers John Rodriguez and Thomas Mitchell spotted the reported SUV on Airmont Road and stopped it.

Daniel DiBenedetto, 31, of Suffern, "had some of the plants in the vehicle," Blondin told Daily Voice. "We watched the video during the stop -- you could see it was him."

A search turned up heroin after Mitchell spotted drug paraphernalia, he added. DiBenedetto also had a suspended driver's license, the sergeant said.

Mahwah police charged DiBenedetto with heroin and drug paraphernalia possession and issued traffic violations. They also contacted their colleagues from Suffern and Ramapo.

DiBenedetto was later released without bail.

The alleged Rockland County plant thefts are misdemeanors, which aren't extradictable offenses.

A day earlier, Airmont resident Neela Pawaroo Narraine said she was "in total disbelief" watching a surveillance video of her plants being stolen from in front of her home.

The man in the video backs an SUV into Narraine's driveway, gets out as the automatic hatch opens and deliberately fetches the planters and puts them into the vehicle.

Then he drives off.

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