LIVINGSTON, NJ — In addition to assisting in an investigation by the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office (ECPO) that resulted in the confiscation of 23,000 grams of marijuana and two kilos of cocaine as well as the recovery of seven guns and the arrest of 31 individuals, Livingston police also made several of their own arrests in late August.

Livingston’s Assistance in ECPO’s “Operation Short Storm”

According to Acting Essex County Prosecutor Theodore Stephens II and Newark Public Safety Director Anthony Ambrose, search warrants were executed in the Ironbound section of Newark as well as Harrison, Kearny and locations in Monmouth and Ocean counties that resulted in the confiscation of marijuana and cocaine that had a combined estimated total of $1.1 million.

Sign Up for Livingston Newsletter
Our newsletter delivers the local news that you can trust.

The Livingston Police Department supplied manpower to the task force to be used at the discretion of the ECPO. Livingston Police Chief Gary Marshuetz said he was “pleased that the Livingston Police Department could assist their law enforcement partners in joint operations that benefit the residents of Essex County.”

“Officers that participate in multi-jurisdictional task forces gain valuable training and experience, which inevitably benefits the township,” he said.

The ECPO stated in a press release on Aug. 27 that drug dealers delivered to buyers at their homes or other areas of Newark in what was described as a retail business on wheels. Buyers would then call in their drug orders to be delivered. In addition to the marijuana and cocaine, seven guns were recovered that included a .223 assault rifle and a 12-guage shotgun. Nearly $300,000 in U.S. currency, 62 oxycodone pills with a street value of $1,550 and three Xanax pills with a street value of $30 were also found, according to the ECPO.

Three Taken Into Custody in Connection to Several Investigations

On Aug. 29, the Livingston Police Department took three people into custody in relation to several investigations, including one individual arrested on warrants, one individual arrested for participating in a vehicle theft and one individual arrested on charges of credit card theft, theft by deception and forgery.

On June 13, a Livingston officer attempted to stop a 2019 Dodge Caravan in relation to a theft that occurred in East Hanover. Rather than stop, the driver of the van initiated a vehicle pursuit that started on E. Mt Pleasant Avenue at Rossmore Terrace, continued east to Shrewsbury Drive and then out to Route 280, according to police, who then terminated the pursuit.

During the chase, police said the occupants of the van threw stolen property out of an open sliding door. Follow-up investigation led to the identification of Jamal Johns, 22, of Newark, as the operator of the van. He was charged with Eluding and a warrant was issued.

According to police, Johns was also identified from video surveillance as participating in two shoplifting incidents that were reported to police.

On May 23, four people stole 53 pairs of sunglasses (valued at $28,000) from the Sunglass Hut in the Livingston Mall. On July 26, three people stole $950 worth of handbags and clothing from Nordstrom Rack. According to police, Johns was identified as a one of the people in each incident and was charged with Shoplifting in both cases.

An associate of Johns—Identified as Ricky Santiago, 23, of Kearny—was also arrested and charged with participating in the Nordstrom Rack theft and was a passenger in the van on June 13. He was charged with shoplifting, according to police.

The third person arrested was Mahmoud Abdeldayem, 32, of Bloomingdale, who is charged with credit card theft, theft by deception and forgery. On July 17, police said Adbeldayem went to Bottle King at the Livingston Circle and purchased $1,209 worth of alcohol and cigarettes using a credit card. The credit card was later determined to be stolen, and the store management notified the Livingston Police Department. According to police, the investigation led to the identification of Abdeldayem.

All three were sent to county jail and the charges were referred to the ECPO.

Assault Charges at Two Livingston Businesses

On Aug. 20 at approximately 11 p.m., Livingston police were called to a report of an assault in progress at the New York Sports Club (NYSC) on West Northfield Avenue. When officers arrived, they found the victim in the parking lot with his phone in hand. He directed officers to the suspect, who was sitting in a Toyota Camry.

According to the police report, officers detained the suspect and gathered information from the victim and witnesses. The victim, NYSC employee Clive Sergeant, stated that the suspect, Gil Donnenfeld, 42, of Paterson, had become in a verbally abusive when notified that the club was closing for the night.

The information gathered suggested that Donnenfeld spit in Sergeant’s face during the verbal exchange. Sergeant left his position behind the counter and approached Donnenfeld, at which time Donnenfeld pulled a knife and attempted to cut Sergeant, according to police, who noted that Sergeant was able to block the knife, but suffered bruising to his arm.

Donnenfled then left the gym into the parking lot, where police located him. When officers searched Donnenfeld, they recovered one knife in his pants pocket and a second knife tucked into his waistband, according to police.

Donnenfeld was arrested and charged with aggravated assault, harassment, unlawful possession of a weapon and possession of a weapon. He was released on a summons pending court action.

On. Aug. 23, Judith Samuel, 53, of Irvington approached the office complex security at 290 Eisenhower Parkway requesting assistance because she had been assaulted, according to Livingston police. Officers arrived and found that Samuel was bleeding from her ear and was experiencing dizziness. She stated that she was driving into the parking lot and a female pedestrian passed slowly in front of her car.

As Samuel drove by, she exchanged words with the pedestrian and then went to park, according to police. The pedestrian, Angel Robinson, 22 of Newark, followed Samuel to the building and confronted her. Robinson proceeded to punch Samuel in the side of the head and then walked away, according to the report.

The on-scene investigation conducted by Officer Sean Whalen included reviewing security footage and obtaining a description Robinson. The officer said he recognized the clothing Robinson was wearing as the uniform of a local business. The name of the business was not disclosed. Robinson was located at her job, placed under arrest and charged with one count of simple assault. She was released on a summons pending court action.

Livingston Police Assist at Macy’s Twice in One Day

Macy’s loss prevention at the Livingston Mall requested police assistance twice on Saturday, Aug. 24, for shoplifting incidents, according to police.

At 5:40 p.m., Mamayam Konneh, 29, of Newark was apprehended by security after concealing $637 worth of clothing in shopping bags and leaving the store. According to police, she was arrested and charged with shoplifting then released on a summons pending court action.

At 9 p.m., police were called back to Macy’s, where security had detained Rosina Lynette Dukes, 57, of Irvington, after she concealed $612 worth of clothing in a foil-lined bag. According to police, the foil-lined bag is used to defeat inventory control devices. She was charged with shoplifting and use of an anti-shoplifting countermeasure device. The charges were placed on a summons and she was released with a date in Superior Court, according to police.

Boonton Man Arrested for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) in Livingston

On Aug. 31, Stephen Blender, 42, of Boonton was operating a 2013 Nissan Altima on Shrewsbury Drive when his vehicle left the roadway, travelling 80 feet on the sidewalk before striking a utility pole, according to police. The pole was broken in half.

According to police, the car continued another 100 feet, damaging landscaping for 66 and 68 Shrewsbury before striking two trees and coming to rest. Investigating officers found that Blender exhibited signs of impairment and obtained specimens for toxicology testing. In addition, officers found that Blender possessed two Alprazolam pills.

The road was closed until the pole could be repaired, and Blender was charged with numerous offenses: Failure to Surrender Drugs to Police, Under the Influence of Drugs, DWI and numerous traffic violations. The charges will be heard in Livingston Municipal Court, according to police.

This report was compiled through a weekly conversation with the Livingston Police Department.