WEST ORANGE, NJ - A stolen dog that is a Pomeranian/chihuahua mix, a theft of a mounted television from the Essex County Country Club, two apartments on Watchung Avenue being burglarized in one day, and multi-thefts of lockers at LA Fitness are among the major crimes of theft and burglary that recently occurred in West Orange. Early October incidents of identity theft, stolen vehicles and shoplifting/property theft include:
1. An officer responded on October 11 to a report of identity theft from a victim residing on Parson Drive. The victim reported that he noticed different accounts were opened in his name by an unknown actor(s) without his authorization. There were 10 authorized accounts opened from August 2011 to June 2016, with over $3000 in current balances in these accounts. They were opened primarily with a bank and credit companies.
The victim was advised to monitor his credit report, as well as his bank account statements. He received a West Orange Police Department identity theft packet.
2. A victim living on Bayowski Road told police that on October 12 she began experiencing technical issues with her Apple iPhone after a service visit with Comcast/Xfinity. She told the reporting officer that to resolve these technical issues, she performed an internet search for Google Customer Support and was provided with a phone number to call. She told police that she spoke to a man with a “heavy Indian accent” who identified himself as “Ryan Martin.” He diagnosed her technical issue, and offered “firewall protection.” She agreed to purchase this and followed his instructions to go to the local CVS and purchase eight Apple iTunes gift cards totaling $200. She took photographs of these cards, and sent them to him.
She became suspicious when “Ryan Martin” told her that he needed more money to complete the transaction. The victim did not have the cards in her possession when she reported the crime, but she did provide the police with two photographs of the cards.
3. A victim of identity theft came to headquarters on October 14 to report that approximately two weeks ago she received a letter from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regarding a fraudulent tax return. The IRS advised the victim that some unknown person(s) attempted to file a 2016 tax return using her personal information. The IRS recognized the return was fraudulent, and did not return any monies to the unknown suspect(s). It would not share any further information with the victim, who was advised by police to monitor her credit report, as well as any other financial accounts.
4. A victim of fraud who lives on Main Street came to headquarters on October 17. He told police he received mail on September 25 from Comenity Bank with a credit card from Victoria Secret. The victim said he thought his wife might have applied for the card, at which time she advised him she did not. The victim assumed that because he did not call the 1800 number to activate the card that it could not be used. He said that on October 10th he received a bill from Comenity Bank/Victoria Secret stating he had a balance for a purchase made in New York Victoria Secret in the amount of $119.76.
When he contacted the bank, he was advised that the actor(s) opened the account using his name and date of birth. The victim said that he already contacted the credit bureaus and was given the option to add an alert to his credit report.
1. An officer responded to a report of a burglary on Wheeler Street on October 16. The victim reported that she left her residence for about three hours, and found upon her return that her apartment was ransacked, as well as her dog and jewelry missing. She said the front door, back door, master bedroom door and exterior back door were all locked. Upon examination of the doors, no signs of forced entry were noted. The missing dog is a Pomeranian/chihuahua mix named Reese. Among the $2,400 worth of items that were stolen were three Michael Kors watches, three rose gold bracelets, a Princess Tiara Pandora ring, an Ipad Mini 3, an Iphone FC and a Fitbit Blaze with two bands.
2. There were two reports of burglaries to residences on Watchung Avenue on October 17. The first burglary called in was to an apartment, where the victim observed that the rear door in her kitchen was open. She contacted the landlord, who advised her that she saw that the front door was unsecured. The victim then observed that her rear bedrooms had been ransacked. The actor(s) also ransacked two other bedrooms. There was an open window with a cut screen in one of the bedrooms. Two detectives were called to the scene. They were unable to determine if any personal property was missing from the residence at the time. The victim was advised to contact the police if she noticed any items were missing.
While on the scene, one of the detectives located another open rear window in the building. It was determined that this apartment was also burglarized. The resident of this apartment was notified of the break-in via the phone. The victim gave her consent for the detective to enter the apartment. The detective observed that an unknown actor(s) forced open the double doors that lead to the front bedroom. The victim then arrived on the scene, who told the detective that her boyfriend was the last person to leave the apartment earlier in the day. He secured the front door by locking it, and the rear window was closed. The victim was unable to determine if any property was missing at the time.
3. An officer responded to a report of a theft at the West Orange Public Library on October 19. The victim told the officer that he was seated at computer #10. He walked away from the computer, and left his backpack underneath it. When victim returned 20 minutes later he noticed the backpack was open. He further noticed that his black bi-fold was missing from inside the backpack. Items in his wallet included $23, a New Jersey driver’s license and a Wells Fargo debit card, which he was advised to cancel by the police.
4. An officer responded to a report of stolen bicycles on Seaman Road on October 8. The victim told police that he had two adult black, 24 inch, bicycles stolen from his backyard. He told the officer that the unknown suspect(s) could only enter from the property of a vacant house on Seaman Road because the fence is dilapidated, and the gate to his backyard is only accessible from the yard itself. The bicycles, which are valued at approximately $250 together, were not locked.
5. The general manager of the Essex County Country Club told police on October 6 that between September 7th and 12th some unknown actor(s) removed a mounted television from the outside bar located at the pool of the club. The manager said the television was a Sunbrite Veranda Series 4K Ultra HD Shade Outdoor. It is valued at approximately $1400.
6. There were five reports of shoplifting, according to police report, between October 5 and 19. This included a female shoplifter who was arrested for stealing over $50 of deodorants, body sprays and electronics from Rite Aid on Main Street; two unknown white male suspects who stole $166.76 in various hair growth products from the CVS Pharmacy on Prospect Avenue; and a suspect who stole over $100 in Master locks from Main Street Hardware. The locks were returned to the owner of the hardware store, and he decided not to press charges.
7. There were six locker thefts at LA Fitness, 471 Prospect Ave., on October 10. Upon arrival, the officer learned that the locks on three lockers had been stolen, and over $1,000 worth of items were taken between all the lockers. Stolen items from one locker included $200 in cash, a gold/silver money clip, Chanel Blue cologne and a Norelco electric razor. Another person lost his Givenchy leather wallet holding $300 in cash and many credit cards, which the police advised him to cancel. Two victims were robbed of $40 in cash each, as well as credit cards and New Jersey driver’s licenses.
Police noted there were multiple reports of thefts at this location. There is no video surveillance camera located at the men’s locker room entrance.
Burglaries to Motor Vehicles
1. There were eleven vehicles that were burglarized between October 7 and 17, according to police reports. Among the expensive items removed from these vehicles, according to police, included a gray Prada purse valued at $2,000, a Hyundai wheel lock kit worth $300, and a child car seat valued at $300.