LIVINGSTON, NJ ‑ It was a busy week for Livingston police, who responded to several incidents on March 4 that led to the arrests of four individuals on charges of driving while intoxicated (DWI), criminal mischief and more.
Just before 6 p.m., Officer Andrew Danielsen responded to JFK Parkway at South Orange Avenue to find that a 2017 Mini Cooper had been struck from behind by a 2018 Toyota.
The 26-year-old Florham Park man who has been driving the Mini Cooper explained that he was stopped in traffic when the other driver, a 51-year-old woman from Madison, rolled into his vehicle. The woman then backed up and attempted to drive around him, but struck his vehicle a second time, he said.
While speaking with the woman, identified as Stacey Prince, the officer said he noticed that she was slurring her words and admitted to consuming wine. Prince failed filed sobriety tests and was placed under arrest, according to police.
She submitted to a breath test while at police headquarters and was subsequently charged with DWI and careless driving.
Earlier in the day, two individuals were arrested in separate incidents at the Livingston Mall‑‑one for receiving stolen property and resisting arrest, and the other for credit card fraud.
At approximately 4:40 p.m., Officer Dave Naylor was on patrol at the Livingston Mall when he observed a man leaving Macy's with a full black garbage bag. According to police, the officer recognized the man as Edil Hernandez Torres, someone he has dealt with in the past.
The officer attempted to stop Torres to conduct further investigation but Torres dropped that bag and fled, running toward Walnut Street. After a foot chase, Naylor was able to tackle Torres and take him into custody.
According to police, the bag that Torres was carrying was found to contain five pairs of Timberland boots and two pairs of men's dress shoes with a total value of $785. The items were confirmed to be stolen from Macy's.
Torres was also found to have crack cocaine in his possession, police said.
He was sent to the Essex County Jail on charges of receiving stolen property, resisting arrest, possession of crack cocaine and defiant trespass.
While at the Macy's security office on an unrelated case that day, Det. Kevin Mullaney was informed of a suspected credit card fraud in progress.
According to police, a customer in the jewelry department was found to making several large purchases on a credit card that had just been opened earlier in the day.
The detective stayed with security, observing the man, while credit services reached out to the person whose name appeared on the account. It was determined that the credit card was obtained through identity theft earlier in the day at the Short Hills Macy's.
According to police, the man who obtained the card had made $3,743 in purchases since opening the account. Det. Mullaney then went onto the sales floor and detained the man as he was walking toward the exit.
The suspect‑‑identified as Jose Betances, 35, of Perth Amboy‑‑was found to have a fake driver's license in his possession, showing his photo with the identity theft victim's personal identifying information, according to police.
Sgt. John Maggulli and Det. Angelo Vella located the car the Betances drove to the mall, and a search of the vehicle revealed numerous new expensive watches, high-end cologne and a large amount of cash. All items in the car were held as evidence.
According to police, Betances was charged with fraudulent use of a credit card, theft by deception, false government identification and receiving stolen property. He was processed and released on a summons, and the charges were forwarded to Superior Court.
At approximately 7:30 a.m., Livingston police were called to the new Livingston Car Wash location on West Northfield Road on a report of a broken window in one of the garage doors.
Officer Shea Datz spoke with owner Paul Ritter, who told the officer he suspected that the damage may have been caused by an ex-employee who had been terminated the previous day.
Ritter identified the employee as Samuel Cordero Jr., 20, of Newark.
Det. Greg Drucks checked surrounding businesses and was able to find video showing Cordero arriving in a car at about 5:30 p.m the previous day after the car wash had closed.
According to police, the video revealed that Cordero was in the area of the broken window before running back to the car and leaving. Later in the day, officers were called back to the car wash when Cordero arrived to claim his last check. He was placed under arrest for criminal mischief.
Police noted that the same car Cordero had arrived in the night before was found parked in the Bottle King parking lot and was being driven by a friend. According to police, the friend admitted that he had driven Cordero to the car wash the night before and told officers that Cordero broke the window.
Cordero was charged with criminal mischief for breaking the window, which was valued at approximately $500.