YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: New Milford police tonight released photos of recovered belongings along with weapons found at the home of a Hackensack man charged with burglarizing a local home while the owners slept.
They also released a new mugshot of Chris Connolly, 35, who remained held on $50,000 bail tonight in the Bergen County Jail.
The stolen goods include three laptops, five passports, power tools, purses, wallets, jewelry and cash. The weapons include knives and nunchucks (see below).
As CLIFFVIEW PILOT was the first to report earlier today, New Milford detectives tracked down Connolly with help from colleagues in local towns and a debit card used at both an area gas station and convenience store within hours of last Wednesday’s break-in.
The Henley Avenue victims, a husband and wife, told police that they’d called their bank to cancel a stolen debit card and were told that it had just been used at the BP Gas station on Hackensack Avenue in River Edge and at a 7Eleven on Main Street in Hackensack less than 10 minutes later.
Surveillance video from both businesses showed a white man with long hair and wearing a black jacket with a red hood using the card, New Milford Police Chief Frank Papapietro told CLIFFVIEW PILOT. He was driving a white mid-1990s Toyota Camry – with a missing gas-cap door, the chief said.
A bulletin was immediately issue to local police departments in the area.
Paramus police called their New Milford colleagues to say that they’d arrested Connolly for drug possession on New Year’s Eve.
Connolly, who fit the broadcast description, was driving a white 1994 Toyota Camry with a missing gas cap door, they said.
New Milford detectives began searching for Connolly and found him on Friday, parked in a car in the Target lot in Hackensack. He was wearing the same jacket as in the security videos, Papapietro said.
They followed Connolly back to his apartment and, with Hackensack police, took him into custody.
He gave them written and verbal consent to search his car and house – where they recovered the electronics and several other items, Papapietro said — and confessed to the crime, the chief said.
They also got back the jewelry from stores where Connolly hocked it, he said.
“It takes a heightened level of desperation to break into an occupied residence, which makes this type of criminal especially dangerous,” Papapietro said. “Knowing this, Detective Lt Frank Ramaci and Detectives Kevin VanSaders and Nelson Perez worked tirelessly to bring this case to a close before anyone was injured,” Papapietro said.
He also thanked the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office and police from Paramus, Hackensack and River Edge for their help in the case.
Connolly is charged with burglary, two counts of theft, receiving stolen property and credit card theft, as well as drug charges for having a small amount of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. Charges were also pending out of River Edge and Hackensack for credit card fraud, Papapietro said.