WEST ORANGE, NJ – On Feb. 8 and 9, the Alternative Press reported two incidences that occurred on Valley Road: first, the shooting of two patrons that had just left the Heritage Restaurant and Lounge, located at 442 Valley Road; and the next, a stabbing at Las Palmeras Bar and Restaurant, 365 Valley Road, that left two injured. The stabbing followed a melee outside Las Palmeras that involved several patrons and required the response of a number of police officers.
In addition to these two incidences there have been other problems recently at the two establishments. On Jan. 25, a simple assault was reported at the Heritage Bar when a black male punched a female in the face. On Jan. 27, another simple assault occurred when a woman attending a birthday party reported that she was punched in the eye by another female after an argument escalated.
Over the past few months, several arrests were reported at Las Palmeras for fighting and assault, and on Dec. 27, Ronald Chacon, 20, of Orange, was arrested for possession of CDS (marijuana) in the Las Palmeras parking lot.
Other armed robberies and assaults have been reported in the Valley Road area. On Feb. 1, an armed robbery was reported in the area of 458 Valley Road and Dean Street. A black male exited an older model vehicle brandishing a silver handgun robbing a woman of a $595 deposit for Subway. (The woman is an employee at the Subway in the Livingston Mall.) The Orange Police Department advised that there have been similar incidents involving a black sports car and silver handgun in Orange.
On Feb. 3, a black male with a black handgun approached a homeowner sitting in his vehicle on Pillot Place, opening the driver side door, pulling out a black handgun, and forcing the victim to open the car door. The suspect entered and sat in the back of the vehicle, demanding the victim’s wallet. After taking the wallet, he rummaged through the victim’s bags, and taking nothing from the bags, said “Don’t call the police.” He then fled the scene. The suspect was described as a thin black male in his 20s. The victim did not report the incident until Feb. 4.
On Feb. 4, a college student was punched, assaulted and robbed by four black males at Watson Avenue and Washington Street. The assailant threatened the student saying “give me all you got or I’ll shoot you.” The student handed over his wallet and cell phone. The suspects fled, disappearing on John Street. The student was treated for facial injuries.
On January 26, police responded to a report of shots fired on Maple Street. The reporting individual said he was heading home when he stopped to speak to a friend and observed a dark colored vehicle traveling east on Maple St. After speaking to the individual, one of the occupants of the vehicle, described as a heavy set black male, exited the vehicle and fired a shot, purportedly at the individual, subsequently fleeing in the car. Police recovered a shell casing in the street and observed a bullet hole in the individual’s home. The incident was reported as an aggravated assault with a firearm.
On Nov. 16, 2013, an attendant at the BP gas station at Main Street was robbed of $90. A black male, described as in his 30s and approximately 6 feet tall, exited an older model white mustang, pointed a silver handgun and demanded money from the attendant. He asked the attendant about the money inside the building but was scared away by a noise and took off. The attendant got the license plate number, and it was determined that the vehicle had been stolen.
There are currently two police cadets in training and another eight are expected to enter the academy this year. However, there are a number of West Orange Police Department retirements this year as well, including three as of February 2014. The police department is currently at its lowest complement in recent history, down from 125 a few years ago to 85.