CVP EXCLUSIVE: A heroin-addicted Garfield ex-con was sentenced to eight years in state prison yesterday for robbing an Elmwood Park convenience store last summer using a stolen motorcycle.
Ariel Drapczynski, 31, wil serve at least six years and eight months — concurrent with the same sentence for a similar holdup in Wanaque — before he’s eligible for parole.
Drapczynski took his plea after prosecutors struck a deal with his co-defendant in the Passaic County robbery to testify against him.
Tomasz Maczka, also of Garfield, was upset after Drapczynski posted photographs on Facebook of both of them wearing distinctive motorcycle helmets within hours of that holdup, investigators said.
CLIFFVIEW PILOT published the photos, which led authorities to Maczka, who police said joined Drapcyznski in robbing a Quick Stop on Ringwood Avenue in Wanaque while wearing the helmets, leather jackets and bandanas over their faces and fleeing on a motorcycle.
The photos led directly to their arrests, authorities said.
Prosecutors said they had other evidence against Drapcyznski:
• One eyewitness who reported seeing Drapczynski wearing a distinctive t-shirt at the crime scene;
• Another who reported seeing him remove the same shirt and toss it into a trash can;
• The t-shirt itself, which had DNA matching Drapczynski’s;
• The stolen motorcycle;
• A partial identification by the Seven Days convenience mart owner.
The clerk at the Boulevard convenience store told Elmwood Park police that she handed over cigarettes and an undetermined amount of cash after the robber came in wearing a cycle helmet and pointed a gun at her.
He then fled on a motorcycle or dirt bike, she said.
Bergen County sheriff’s detectives and Garfield and Elmwood Park police arrested Drapczynksi in the backyard of his girlfriend’s apartment on Van Bussum Avenue in Garfield last Aug. 19, four days after the holdup.
Drapcynski, who is in state prison after being sentenced in September for a drug-related evidence tampering conviction from last year, was briefly hospitalized at St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center in Paterson for a heroin overdose after the Elmwood Park robbery, sources told CLIFFVIEW PILOT.
A surveillance image was posted on CLIFFVIEW PILOT within hours of the holdup and tips quickly began coming in, police said.
Before long, an arrest warrant was obtained.
Drapczynski already had a record that includes parole and probation violations, one stemming from an aggravated assault conviction with a weapon in the late 2000s.
A state judge in Hackensack issued a bench warrant for him after he skipped sentencing last year on a third-degree drug conviction. Investigators from Garfield and Elmwood Park serving the warrant originally thought they had Drapczynski holed up — and armed — in a friend’s apartment on Plauderville Avenue a day before his arrest.
They briefly made contact with him, but a law enforcement source told CLIFFVIEW PILOT that he refused to surrender. So a perimeter was established and the street was closed between Shaw and Main streets in the mixed-use neighborhood.
Several area residents were relocated to Fire Company #5′s firehouse in the neighborhood.
A Bergen County SWAT team was then brought in.
It was later determined that Drapczynksi wasn’t there. Nor was he at two other residences that police checked.
STORY / COURTROOM FILE PHOTOS: CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter Mary K. Miraglia