Reporter staff writer Last week, three men were arrested by Guttenberg police after they allegedly posed as state employees and tried to get a Park Avenue store owner to buy their posters.
According to police, the three men allegedly said they were selling laminated posters that were mandated by the state. The men allegedly told the storeowner that if they didn’t purchase the posters, he could be subjected to fines of more than $7,000. But the storeowner didn’t act, because he asked to see proper identification and the men did not supply any.
The three men had allegedly victimized another Park Avenue storeowner for $200 earlier that day, using the same scheme.
Police said that three men were spotted leaving another local store and identified by the victim. Arrested were 31-year-old Freddy Alvarez of Paterson, 31-year-old Luis Rabines of Vauxhall and 20-year-old Anthony Ayala, Jr. of Clifton.
Ayala is the son of former boxing champ Tony Ayala, who had several run-ins with the law and eventually served 16 years in a New Jersey state prison for raping a New Jersey schoolteacher. The elder Ayala is currently serving 10 years in prison for other crimes.
The three were charged with theft by deception and conspiracy. Each received a bail of $5,000.
Result of new unit
The arrest came just a month after police officials last month established a new investigation unit of the Guttenberg Police Department, designed to act as a follow-up after a crime takes place and possibly lead to quicker arrests.
The results have been staggering, with nine major crimes being solved and 12 arrests made.
“The one thing we noticed that we were lacking in was in investigations,” said Guttenberg Police Director Michael Caliguiro. “We would have our officers go to the scene of an incident, take down the information for a report, but then the follow-ups were lacking. We didn’t have enough manpower to hire detectives to handle the cases, so we made investigators out of our existing squads.”
Trained to investigate
One police officer out of every four-member squad was determined to be an investigator, giving the 22-man department five investigators to assist with the solving of crimes.
“This way, we always have at least one investigator on duty,” said Lt. Joel Magenheimer, the highest ranking uniformed officer in the Guttenberg police department. “There’s no increase in pay, so it costs the taxpayers nothing. These are just dedicated officers who took the time on their own to receive the proper schooling and training to become investigators.”
The investigative team went into effect Feb. 1 and it immediately paid dividends five days later, when an 18-year-old North Bergen High School student, Diego Porras Ortegon, was arrested and charged with mugging a man on 68th Street and Kennedy Boulevard. Police said he allegedly stole $64 and the man’s cell phone.
The incident took place on Feb. 3 and the arrest took place Feb. 6.
Ortegon was arrested and charged with robbery, theft and conspiracy and was held in lieu of $20,000 bail.
The actor was traced because he was allegedly using the victim’s cell phone.
Another arrest directly related to the investigative unit came on Feb. 6, when a 17-year-old Guttenberg resident and North Bergen High School student was arrested for allegedly spray painting his graffiti tag “GONE 7-13” on several buildings in the town as well as North Bergen.
Another arrest took place on Feb. 11, when a 39-year-old North Bergen resident, Diego Romero, was spotted by Caliguiro allegedly selling bootleg DVD movies out of a backpack inside a Guttenberg supermarket. The man allegedly had copies of first-run movies, like the latest Rambo movie starring Sylvester Stallone, as well as adult DVDs and music CDs. The man was charged with piracy.
Two other men, 24-year-old Clifford Colon of North Bergen and 19-year-old Christopher Boyd of Jersey City, were charged with burglary, theft and conspiracy for allegedly stealing an Xbox game station and approximately 25 games from an apartment where the two were staying in January.
Another arrest was for an attempted murder that took place on Feb. 9 inside a Guttenberg apartment on 70th Street. An alleged dispute between cousins led to the arrest of 36-year-old Jose Cumatil of Guttenberg, who allegedly tried to stab his cousin with a 12-inch butcher knife. Cumatil was held in lieu of $50,000 bail for his aggravated assault, unlawful possession of a weapon and attempted murder charges.
A 19-year-old Union City woman, Sibilia Tambone, was arrested and charged with robbing a North Bergen woman. Police said Tambone allegedly stole her cell phone on the corner of 70th and Jackson streets. The alleged robbery took place on Feb. 9 and the arrest of Tambone was made Feb. 14.
A 31-year-old Jersey City man, Charles Robinson, was arrested Feb. 21 and charged with allegedly stealing a woman’s pocket book and fleeing the scene. Police said the victim gave Robinson a ride to his uncle’s residence in Guttenberg. The pocketbook contained $1,000 in cash, police said.
Another crime solved since the investigative team was put into place involved the Serve Centers rehabilitation house located on 71st Street, when a residential counselor at the facility, 42-year-old Rochelle Muldrow, was arrested for allegedly taking two residents’ automated teller machine cards and allegedly withdrawing money out of their accounts.
Muldrow was charged with theft and identity theft after she allegedly found out the security pin numbers of two residents, then allegedly withdrew the money from the accounts at places like Atlantic City casinos and Foxwoods resort in Connecticut.
“The investigators did a hell of a job in getting these arrests so quickly,” Magenheimer said. “They went the distance. We’re happy with it. It was excellent investigative work in such a short period of time. None of these crimes would have been solved without the investigators. This is something that should have been done a long time ago.”
Jim Hague can be reached via e-mail at either OGSMAR@aol.com or email@example.com