Teaneck Man, Associate, Nabbed in Burglaries

TEANECK, N.J. -- A Teaneck man and an alleged accomplice from South Jersey were being held on $500,000 bail each in the Bergen County Jail in connection with a series of high-end home burglaries in Edgewater, Fort Lee, River Edge and elsewhere.

Derek Edwards, Jesus "Johnny" Pedraja
Derek Edwards, Jesus "Johnny" Pedraja Photo Credit: MUGSHOTS: Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office

An Edgewater resident got an investigation started last month by the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Special Investigations Squad after calling local police with a license plate number of a suspicious car in the neighborhood, authorities said.

The car belonged to Derek Edwards, 49, of Teaneck, who River Edge police suspected in a high-end residential burglary, Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli said Wednesday.

Detectives began following Edwards and Jesus "Johnny" Pedraja, 43, of Burlington "as they drove through several affluent areas throughout Bergen County, where they were believed to be targeting high-end homes to burglarize," the prosecutor said.

Around 7:45 p.m. on Tuesday, investigators learned that the back door to a Westview Avenue home in Fort Lee had been shouldered open and jewelry taken fom the residence, Molinelli said.

A half-hour later, they arrested Edwards and Pedraja in Englewood, the prosecutor said.

They also found a pillow case containing the stolen goods that the pair tossed while fleeing, he said.

Both are charged with single counts each of burglary and theft, with additional charges expected, Molinelli said. First court appearances were set for tomorrow afternoon in Hackensack, he said.

The prosecutor thanked various law enforcement agencies for their participation in the investigation, including the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office and police from Edgewater, River Edge, Fort Lee, Englewood, Englewood Cliffs, Teaneck, Hackensack, Fair Lawn, New Milford, Palisades Park, Leonia, Closter and Saddle River.

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