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Bergen-led task force ties pair nabbed in Englewood break-in to three-county burglary spree

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot File Photo

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: Two men arrested by members of a special task force moments after an Englewood burglary have been tied to no fewer than a dozen residential daytime break-ins in three counties, authorities said.

Special Investigations Squad officers who’d been tailing them said they watched Tuesday as 46-year-old Daniel Gomez of Union City (above, right) picked up Julio Ponce, 33 (above, left) at his Clifton home in a van and headed to Englewood, Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli confirmed late this morning.

“Shortly after 10 a.m. task force officers notified police in Englewood that the [two] appeared to be looking at homes to burglarize in the 1st Ward section,” Molinelli said.

Scared off by a burglar alarm, they began casing homes in neighboring Tenafly, the prosecutor said.

Then they returned to Englewood, he said.

The instant they emerged from a burglarized home and headed toward the van, task force members moved in and arrested them.

Ponce and Gomez are charged with burglary, theft and possession of burglary tools in connection with Tuesday’s Englewood break-in. Gomez was carrying a small amount of pot, for which he was also charged, authorities said.

Both men were also charged with two burglaries out of River Edge — on Jan. 16 and 29 — and with burglary and theft out of Fair Lawn, also on Jan. 16.

Ponce was being held on a combined $250,000 bail, and Gomez on $115,000, in the Bergen County Jail. Arraignments were set for Feb. 25.

As part of a two-month investigation, the task force also was eyeing both men for burglaries in Franklin Lakes, as well as for break-ins out of Essex and Passaic counties — four of them in Fairfield.

Additional charges were expected.

The Special Investigations Squad, under the direction of Chief Carmen Martino, is comprised of officers from Cliffside Park, Englewood, Fair Lawn, Franklin Lakes, Paramus, River Edge, Rutherford, Tenafly and the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office, as well as from Belleville, Fairfield, Totowa and Verona, Molinelli said.

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