NORTH CALDWELL, NJ — Faced with three suspects and a handgun in the middle of the night, North Caldwell Officers Krueser and Herbert's quick actions on Dec. 23 led to the arrest of three individuals.
Milton Brown, 22, of Belleville; Devine Crute, 22, of Newark; and Stephanie Odige, 23, of East Orange were identified as the suspects who burglarized a home on Windridge Drive while the residents were inside sleeping.
According to North Caldwell Police Chief Mark Deuer, the two males climbing through an unlocked first-floor window, went into the basement and removed a 75-inch television. He said the individuals were attempting to re-enter the home before being stopped by Officer Krueser's actions.
"Officer Krueser's good sense to turn around and check on a vehicle that was out of place prevented this situation from becoming much more serious," said Deuer, who said both Krueser and Herbert should be commended for their brave actions and calm under pressure.
While on patrol, Officer Krueser was traveling on Windridge Drive when he passed a parked vehicle in the street that only had its dashboard lights on, which the officer found suspicious. He drove up to Rickland Drive and turned around to investigate the vehicle.
According to Deuer, when Krueser got back to the vehicle, he observed three individuals trying to put a 75-inch television into the back seat of the suspicious vehicle he was going back to check on.
Krueser radioed for back up and approached the three individuals. As he approached, he observed the male on the passenger side trying to conceal something under the car. Krueser went to the passenger side and observed a handgun near the suspect.
Officer Herbert arrived at this time and three parties were arrested without incident.
"We are fortunate that this type of crime doesn't happen everyday in North Caldwell,” said Deuer. “While upsetting to many people, our residents should feel a sense of comfort knowing Officer Krueser and the rest of the men and women of the North Caldwell Police are actively patrolling every night so our residents can sleep in peace."
The investigation into this incident is ongoing and the gun (a 357 magnum) has been turned over to the Essex County Ballistics Unit for examination.