EDISON, NJ – Two off-duty police officers, Sgt. Michael Cimmino and his wife, Officer Lisa Cimmino, helped apprehend an alleged “Porch Pirate” on Friday according to the Edison Police Department.
According to police, a man wearing a leather coat and hat, and toting an empty red bookbag, on a humid, 75-degree morning looked fishy to the husband and wife who were driving along Amboy Avenue in the Clara Barton section.
The couple doubled-back in their personal vehicle for a closer look, according to police. Then, they ended up arresting the “porch pirate” who allegedly swiped two packages from the front door of a Jefferson Avenue home.
Anthony Montanaz, 55, of New Brunswick, is charged with theft, obstruction, hindering his arrest, and possession of drug paraphernalia. Police said Mr. Montanaz gave them a fake name after his arrest and cops found a crack pipe and metal spoon on him when they took him into custody.
Police stated that they also learned Mr. Montanaz was wanted on a no-bail burglary warrant from Middlesex County and a separate warrant from Watchung Municipal Court. He remains in custody at the Middlesex County jail.
“Good police work is not a 9-to-5 job; it’s a 24-7 job. It requires our police officers to be alert, observant and pro-active, whether they are on-duty or off-duty,” Police Chief Thomas Bryan said. “This arrest demonstrates that Sgt. Cimmino and Officer Cimmino recognize their professional commitment to the Edison community.”
According to police, the incident began at 9:40 am on Friday, May 31, as the Cimminos were driving to a medical appointment in Fords. Lisa Cimmino told her husband that Mr. Montanaz’s clothing seemed odd on such a warm morning, police said.
So, the off-duty sergeant doubled-back through the Clara Barton neighborhood. That’s when the couple said they saw Mr. Montanaz walking away from a Jefferson Street home with a cardboard carton under his arm and a large envelop in hand.
The Cimminos phoned police headquarters for help. But, before they detained Mr. Montanaz, they also noted the license plate off a 2009 Lexis, idling nearby, that appeared to be waiting for Mr. Montanaz. The car sped away and Edison police are now seeking its owner, a Hillside resident.
Police Officers David Goldman and Christoper Pitoscia arrived at the scene within minutes to find the Cimminos – both in casual clothes and without handcuffs – struggling to restrain Montanaz. The on-duty officers took him into custody and processed his arrest at police headquarters, police said.