EDISON, NJ – Thanks to the quick thinking of an off-duty Irvington police officer, Edison police were able to arrest a Piscataway man and his female accomplice less than an hour after a holding-up Investor's Bank in Wick Plaza on Thursday afternoon.
The incident began at 12:15 P.M. when a man wearing a long dark wig and hat handed an Investor's Bank teller a note demanding cash, the assailant then jumped the counter and scooped up the money into a bag before running outside into the Wick Plaza parking lot, according to police.
An off-duty Irvington police sergeant, Jamie Velez, who was outside at the time, saw the suspect run from the bank and across the parking lot into a waiting black car. The car appeared to be driven by a woman. Thinking it was suspicious, Velez followed the car onto Route 1 and phoned the Edison police dispatch center.
Velez gave Edison police a description of the car and its location on Route 1, enabling police Sgt. Thomas Lacik and Officers Joseph Luistro, David Stern, and Scot Sofield to locate the vehicle and arrest Dwight Hall 23, of Piscataway, and hus accomplice Khaliah McGruder, 20 of Plainfield New Jersey. According to the Edison Police as they approached the assailant’s vehicle the alleged robbers threw the money bag out of the window of the vehicle.
Hall is being held at the Middlesex County Adult Corrections Center in North Brunswick, on $150,000 bail, charged with robbery, possession of a weapon for unlawful purposes, and making terroristic threats.
McGruder is being held on $75,000 bail at the Corrections Center, charged with eluding police and conspiracy to commit robbery.
“Bad luck for these suspects – having an off-duty police sergeant witness their getaway – which led to these swift and successful arrests,” said Edison Police Chief Thomas Bryan. “Thanks to police Sgt. Velez's alertness and fine police work by Edison police officers and detectives, we may be able to close more than one bank robbery case.”
As the result of a follow-up investigation by police Detectives Jeff Tierney and Sean Forker, from Edison's Criminal Investigation Bureau, Halls is also charged in connection with a May 28 armed robbery at the same Investor's Bank branch during which a black handgun was brandished.
Police believe Halls is also a suspect in a July hold-up at Woodbridge bank, Tierney said. Further charges are pending the outcome of a continuing investigation by Edison detectives and agents from the FBI's Somerset County office. Anyone with information about these crimes may contact police Detective Tierney at (732) 427-0472.