EXCLUSIVE: Two North Arlington brothers charged with robbing a Little Ferry bank last night were briefly hospitalized after one crashed the getaway car and the other was bitten by a K9 dog who tracked him down after he fled on foot.
Most of the $5,899 stolen from the TD Bank on Main Street was recovered and returned by a Carlstadt freight company manager after Terence “Terry” Shelton, 31, tried stashing it under a truck while fleeing, Little Ferry Police Chief Ralph Verdi told CLIFFVIEW PILOT. The rest was in the pockets of a pea coat that the chief said he ditched nearby.
Police also found a clown mask that Verdi said the tattooed Shelton wore during the 5:30 p.m. holdup — and were expecting to find a gun used in the robbery in the smashed-up car.
“Witnesses saw Terence running down Main Street with the clown mask on,” Verdi told CLIFFVIEW PILOT. “While all this was going on, a dye pack in the batch exploded on him.”
He then hopped into a red, 2001 Mitsubishi Eclipse driven by his 28-year-old brother, Nicholas Shelton, the chief said.
Within minutes of the broadcast, Moonachie Police Officer Vito De Trizio stopped the getaway car as it headed south on Moonachie Road, Moonachie Police Chief Michael J. Maguire told CLIFFVIEW PILOT.
The officer was getting out of his cruiser when Terence Shelton bolted on foot. As De Trizio chased him, Nicholas Shelton hit the gas and sped off, Maguire said.
The Mitsubishi crashed just up the road. East Rutherford police found it moments later on the Route 3 entrance ramp from Route 120.
They also found a dazed Nicholas Shelton in the weeds nearby.
He was brought to Hackensack University Medical Center and then to Little Ferry police headquarters, where department detectives and the FBI interrogated him.
Terry Shelton, meanwhile, eluded police for more than two hours before a Bergen County Sheriff’s K-9 unit found him.
First, Shelton jumped a barbed-wire fence at Con-Way Freight on Moonachie Avenue in Carlstadt just off Moonachie Road, Verdi told CLIFFVIEW PILOT.
There he shed the pea coat and hid some of the stolen loot under the chassis of a tractor-trailer, the chief said. The coat, torn up from the barbed wire, was splotched with dye from the exploding pack and had money stuffed into the pockets, he said.
It proved useful for police dogs trying to track him.
After dashing back across Moonachie Avenue, Shelton jumped a fence at a UPS lot and vanished, Verdi said. De Trizio injured his back during the chase and was later attended to at HUMC, he said.
A perimeter was set up and K9 units were brought in from both the Bergen County Police Department and Bergen County Sheriff’s Office. Officers from Carlstadt, Hackensack and several other area departments joined the search. A New Jersey State Police helicopter arrived soon after.
At just around 8:05 p.m., Bergen County Sheriff’s K9 Officer Matthew Ryan and his partner, Dak, found Shelton in an abandoned chicken coop in the meadows.
Dak grabbed a mouthful of the 6-foot, 200-pound suspect, who was then turned over to Little Ferry police. After a trip to the hospital, he was taken to headquarters just after midnight.
Both are charged with robbery, conspiracy and theft in Little Ferry and with eluding and obstruction of justice in Moonachie.
Terry Shelton was also charged with weapons possession and aggravated assault with a weapon.
Little Ferry Municipal Court Judge Giuseppe Randazzo ordered Terry Shelton held on $1 million bail and Nicholas Shelton on $500,000 bail. Each had $10,000 added to their bails for the Moonachie charges.
Meanwhile, Little Ferry detectives were obtaining a search warrant for the Mitsubishi, which was at the sheriff’s Bureau of Criminal Identification garage in Hackensack.
Verdi said they expected to find the gun inside.
“We’re not sure yet whether it’s real,” the chief told CLIFFVIEW PILOT. “One of the witnesses said it made a tinny sound when he banged it on the counter.”
A short time after Terry Shelton was captured, Verdi said, a trucker was pulling a trailer out of the Con-Way lot when a batch of money fell from under the chassis. Police immediately got a call.
“It was just outstanding work all the way around,” Verdi said. “Our guys, Moonachie, Carlstadt, Hackensack, East Rutherford, county police, county sheriff — even the State Police put their helicopter up for us. The guys at Con-Way were great, too.”
The TD Bank holdup was the second bank robbery in Bergen County in less than 90 minutes (SEE: PNC Bank in Northvale robbed).
Law enforcement sources told CLIFFVIEW PILOT they didn’t believe the two robberies were related.
MUGSHOTS: Courtesy LITTLE FERRY PD