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Convicted Killer Flees Lyndhurst Shoplifting-Turned-Robbery, Nabbed By Alert Officer

Johannes Vanwageningen
Johannes Vanwageningen Photo Credit: LYNDHURST PD / INSET: BCJ

A habitual offender who once served time for aggravated manslaughter was nabbed by a Lyndhurst police officer after he assaulted a security guard who tried to stop him from shoplifting, authorities said.

Johannes Vanwageningen, 37, recently of Bloomingdale, loaded a shopping cart with merchandise, then bypassed the checkout lanes and headed out the door, Detective Lt. Vincent Auteri said.

Loss prevention officers tried to stop him, but Vanwageningen pushed past one of them and ran off, leaving the packed shopping cart behind, the lieutenant said.

Vanwageningen is known to police, having served time for the 2004 stabbing death of a 25-year-old Pompton Lakes man during a fight over spilled soda at a local hangout. He's also been arrested several times in various North Jersey counties for assorted drug-related offenses.

Fair Lawn police charged Vanwageningen with stealing $18,000 worth of catalytic converters from school buses in Fair Lawn late last July.

This time, Lyndhurst Officer Michael Clifford spotted Vanwageningen and took him into custody moments after the Jan. 27 incident.

Vanwageningen, who admitted taking the unpaid items, was charged with robbery, shoplifting $434 worth of merchandise and possession of drug paraphernalia, Auteri said. He also had an outstanding warrant out of Wayne.

Vanwageningen was sent to the Bergen County Jail only to be released by a judge less than 48 hours later, pending further court action, under New Jersey's bail reform law, records show.

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