Romanian Traveller

"I love you," a woman told her fellow Romanian traveler after Montvale police arrested him for pickpocketing an elderly victim. "Goodbye."

Robert P. Nuta

Robert P. Nuta


And she was gone.

A wallet that Robert P. Nuta, a 31-year-old fugitive wanted out of Florida, swiped from the late-70-something victim outside Wegman's held $100 in cash, credit cards and a Social Security card, Montvale Police Chief Douglas McDowell said.

The victim's cellphone also was taken, the chief said.

Nuta and the woman he was with "piggybacked" at the nearby Apple store, with her fraudulently purchasing a $3,700 laptop while he waited outside before heading in as she left, McDowell said.

A security camera at Wegman's caught images of the two following the theft around 1 p.m. Monday, April 1, he said.

Acting on a hunch, Officer Matt Zagaja headed straight to the Apple store -- and spotted Nuta inside, the chief said.

The officer grabbed him before he could go anywhere.

The woman, who'd apparently been waiting in a Jeep Cherokee parked nearby, sped off.

Nuta tried calling her once he was in custody. Her reply: "I love you -- goodbye."

Saddle River found the Jeep abandoned on a local road sometime later. Nuta had the key fob in his pocket, police said.

The victim's wallet was recovered from a trash can and returned it to him with everything inside but his Social Security card.

Detectives also applied for a search warrant for the Jeep, which held suitcases, various merchandise and other stuff, the chief said.

"We might find the Social Security card inside," McDowell said.

Nuta, who was carrying a stack of gift cards and $1,600 in cash, was charged with multiple credit card crimes, ID theft and theft, among other offenses, the chief said.

He will remain held on a fugitive warrant in the Bergen County Jail until authorities from Brevard County can get him extradited to face related charges there, McDowell said.

The Romanian couple had been traveling up the East Coast, living in hotels and committing crimes for money, investigators said.

ANYONE who might have seen the woman, or knows where to find her, is asked to call Montvale police: (201) 391-4600.

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