Five arrests have been made following the motorcycle club fight that left four people with knife wounds and at least 11 shell casings strewn on the ground at a clubhouse in North Bergen. All five individuals arrested have been charged in connection with possession of two separate guns, although neither of the weapons was fired on the night in question. Police are still actively investigating the incident to determine who else was involved and exactly what took place.
Police were called to the scene of a reported altercation at the club house of the Lost Boyz Motorcycle Club in North Bergen at about 11:45 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 7. They found more than 100 members of different motorcycle clubs gathered for a post-Halloween party. Among them were several wounded individuals.
“There was a crowd larger than our police force could handle,” said Police Chief Robert Dowd. “We reached out through mutual aid and the Hudson County Sheriff’s Department responded, along with Fairview, Cliffside, West New York, Jersey City, Guttenberg, and New Jersey State Police.”
Nine shell casings were found, with two more discovered in a later canvass of the area. A multi-jurisdictional task force was established with the assistance of the Newark Real-time Crime Center to look into the incident.
No arrests were made at the scene. Among the attendees at the party were numerous other motorcycle clubs, including the Hell’s Angels, Thug Riders, Brick City Riders, Free Spirits, Hoboken Motorcycle Club, and Lowriders.
Police investigations led to the arrest of a local resident in possession of a gun and four men who drove to a hospital in Secaucus for treatment of wounds.
Parties with multiple clubs are common, according to Jusino. “Whenever they throw a party, that’s who shows up: other clubs,” he said. “They advertise on Facebook. They’re fundraisers for the clubs, to pay the rent. They charge a fee or have raffles.”
With few motorcycle clubs in the immediate area, members came from surrounding regions, like the Thug Riders, Brick City Riders, and Hells’ Angels from Newark.
Initial reports suggested that the incident was the result of a feud between the Thug Riders and the Hell’s Angels. At least one of the injured parties was allegedly a member of the Hell’s Angels.
Spotted with a gun
The first arrest took place on Thursday, Nov. 12. Christopher Kreush, 26, of North Bergen was charged with possession of a firearm for unlawful purposes, and unlawful possession of a handgun.
“Inside of the establishment there was a video and after the incident was over we observed him [allegedly] walking around with a handgun in his hand,” said Jusino. “He didn’t fire it. There was no evidence of that.”
Unfortunately the video was of limited help in identifying the participants in the altercation. “It’s very difficult to identify who is assaulting who because the camera is facing the bar area and the fight took place in the back,” said Jusino.
Kreush, a member of the Lost Boyz, was cooperative and handed over the weapon when police went to his house.
“His story was he found it that night,” said Jusino. “We still had to charge him. Regardless of if he found it that night, he should have turned over to police, not taken it home.”
His bail was $20,000. He has been released on bail.
Hospitalized for injuries
The second set of arrests took place over several days as a result of further investigations.
The night of the incident, four individuals showed up in a vehicle at Meadowlands Hospital Medical Center in Secaucus. At least two of the individuals were admitted to the hospital for lacerations.
“Secaucus knew about our incident,” said Jusino, so officers from Secaucus contacted North Bergen when the wounded men showed up at the hospital. A detective from North Bergen interviewed the four individuals, who were “evasive,” according to Jusino.
“They gave a different account of what happened and said it happened somewhere else, not North Bergen,” he said.
But because they allegedly parked their car illegally, Secaucus police seized the vehicle and held it while North Bergen police applied for a search warrant. Once the warrant was granted, a search turned up a silver revolver in the glove compartment and a blackjack club in the trunk.
The gun, an old weapon that was fully loaded but had not been fired, did not have a traceable serial number and none of the four men claimed ownership.
“Because it was in the glove compartment, everybody in the car gets charged. That’s the law,” said Jusino. “The weapon in the trunk goes to the owner.”
Police reached out through the men’s attorneys and all four turned themselves in over the course of the next few days.
The driver, William Stanton, 57, of Bayonne, was charged with prohibited weapons and devices, a fourth degree crime, and unlawful possession of a handgun. His bail was set at $20,000.
James Culotta II, 35, of Pompton Plains, was charged with unlawful possession of a handgun. Brett Hinchman, 36 of Bloomingdale and Steven Kaczur, 31 of Iselin were charged with unlawful possession of a handgun and certain persons not to have weapons. “The charge of certain persons not to have weapons is because they have a previous felony conviction,” explained Jusino.
Bail for the three passengers was set at $15,000. All four men posted bail and were released.
“They’re not admitting officially that they were there or that it happened in North Bergen,” said Jusino, noting that the men are considered “persons of interest for being involved in this incident.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact the police at North Bergen Police Department Detective Bureau at 201-392-2100. Callers can remain anonymous.
Art Schwartz may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.