Allendale Ex-Con Captured After Breaking Into Woman’s Home, Furiously Fighting Police

An Allendale ex-con released from prison only three days earlier fought fiercely with police in a waist-deep stream after a local woman found him in her home before dawn Friday, authorities said.

Justinian Rocco

Justinian Rocco

Photo Credit: MUGSHOT: Courtesy ALLENDALE PD

An Allendale dispatcher called the West Crescent Avenue resident back after getting an abandoned 911 call around 3:40 a.m. and was told that there was someone in the house, Police Chief George Scherb said.

Borough police were joined in setting up a perimeter by officers from neighboring towns – among them, Mahwah, Midland Park, Ramsey, Saddle River, Waldwick and Wyckoff, Scherb said.

Soon after, he said, a Midland Park officer spotted the suspect laying under a guardrail along West Crescent Avenue.

The man – identified as 23-year-old convicted burglar Justinian Rocco – then took off into a wooded area between the road and Park Avenue, Scherb said.

Records show Rocco had served nearly two years in state prison for a string of Bergen County burglaries in 2016 and 2017. He also was convicted of peering into windows.

Officers cornered Rocco in the stream behind homes on Park Avenue, the chief said.

He violently resisted attempts to take him into custody, wrestling with officers among the rocks and drop-offs in the stream bed, Scherb said.

Rocco “continued to yell, thrash about, bite and kick officers,” the chief said.

They eventually had to tie him down to a portable stretcher “so they could lift and carry him up over an embankment and into an Allendale ambulance,” he said.

Rocco “continued to thrash and yell at officers and EMTs in the ambulance” while being brought to New Bridge Medical Center in Paramus, Scherb said.

Officers recovered proceeds from the home along Rocco’s path of flight, the chief noted.

It wasn’t the first time police have tangled with Rocco.

SEE: A manhunt and chase that included tracking dogs and a helicopter ended before dawn Monday with the arrest of a former Allendale resident charged in a half-dozen overnight borough burglaries that all occurred while the victims were home.

Five years ago, Rocco was charged with harassment while on probation. His record also includes an arrest for credit card theft.

This time, Rocco is charged with burglary, theft, resisting arrest and multiple counts of assault on police officers.

He remained held in the Bergen County Jail pending court action.


ALSO SEE: A 19-year-old Lodi man was paralyzed when he was shot in the back just after midnight Thursday, authorities confirmed.


to follow Daily Voice Northern Highlands and receive free news updates.