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Soldier, Friend Charged In Prospect Park Church, Deli Robberies

Michael Jefferson, 22 of Hackensack, and Roberto Santiago, 22 of Paterson.
Michael Jefferson, 22 of Hackensack, and Roberto Santiago, 22 of Paterson. Photo Credit: Pompton Lakes PD

PROSPECT PARK, N.J. — A week-long Prospect Park Police Department investigation of several burglaries at a local church and deli resulted in the arrest of two men currently awaiting court hearings in the Passaic County Jail, authorities said.

Michael Jefferson, 22 of Hackensack, and Roberto Santiago, 22 of Paterson and an infantryman in the Army National Guard, were charged with several counts of burglary, Detective Walter Richmond said.

The New Hope Community Ministries on North 11th Street was victimized by the two suspects, who removed an Apple Macbook Air laptop, several gift cards and two bank checks, which was captured on surveillance footage, Richmond said.

On August 28, 2017, the Prospect Park Police Department concluded a week long investigation into several burglaries in which a local church, its pantry house, and a local deli were victims of on August 23, 2017. 

The deli on Brown Avenue had approximately 40 boxes of cigarettes, cigar wraps, gatorades, Trojan condoms, BEats Headphones and nearly $200 in coins taken, the detective said.

Proceeds taken totaled more than $4,000, police said.

Jefferson was arrested by Captain Matari after Sgt. Steven Damiano spotted the him walking on Struyk Avenue while he was working an off duty construction detail, Richmond said. 

Santiago was identified and tracked down by Richmond and Detective Robert Torres of the Passaic County Sheriff’s Office utilizing the suspect’s Facebook Social Media page and the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office ALPR (Automated License Plate Reader) database.

The two were charged with three counts of burglary and two counts of burglary respectively and both committed to the Passaic County Jail pending their CJP court hearings. 

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