Ten Police Incidents in 2010
Take a quick look at some notable incidents the Ridgewood Police responded to in 2010.
Just because crime is down in Ridgewood doesn't mean the men and women of the Ridgewood Police Department aren't busy day and night. The force can reflect on a 2010 that featured drug crimes, prostitution, aggravated assaults, pedestrian accidents and deaths, along with contentious Valley protests and a scandal from within.
Take a look at a brief run-down of some notable police activity in 2010.
- Officer indicted for stealing from PBA account
A Ridgewood Police sergeant was relieved of duty in January after he was charged with stealing $65,000 in dues set to be deposited into the PBA account. Sgt. William Hemmer received two years of probation in connection to the case when sentenced in June. While conducting an audit PBA officials discovered discrepancies in their financial records, Chief John Ward said. Hemmer was the local union's treasurer.
- Man stabbed on Brookside Ave
In December, police arrived to the scene at 136 Brookside Ave. on a report that a man was stabbed. Police say Michael Nepola, 19, of Ho-Ho-Kus, stabbed 37-year-old Michael McDaid in the neck while he was in bed. The victim is the boyfriend of the accused's mother. Nepola was charged with aggravated assault with a weapon and has a pending court date in Ridgewood Municipal Court.
- Pedestrians struck; one dies
The village has stepped up its enforcement of traffic and pedestrian safety after seeing a death and numerous injuries from bicyclists and pedestrians getting struck by vehicles. In June, an 83-year-old priest was struck and later died in the hospital. In a little over a week there were In December, three teens were hit in two separate incidents. Drivers were cited in all three incidents and Chief Ward said the force is committed to doing what it can to stop what's a clear problem in the village.
- Thanksgiving Eve Melee on Chestnut St.
The college kids were out in force for Thanksgiving break and the Ridgewood Police Department put out a call asking for assistance to help quell what they say was a raucus crowd just getting out of the bars. There was a report of one individual being struck but no actor. Some in the crowd said that it was peaceful and the reaction by police was not proportional. Police said precautions were needed with a large and intoxicated crowd of youth.
- 42-year-old man arrested on drug charges; screamed he was God
In arguably the strangest crime of 2010, Craig Andrews, 42, was arrested March 4 in what was sure to be a memorable night for police. Patrol responded to East Glen and North Maple Avenues at 10 p.m. on a report of man in the middle of the street. Officer John Chuck found Andrews, who then jumped into a taxi. He started yelling that he was God and reportedly made no sense, police say. While attempting to take Andrews into custody, the officers smelled marijuana. Andrews was charged with disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, and three drug and paraphanalia charges.
- Storm the doors–man arrested for making comment to incite riot
Nothing so divides the village like the possible expansion of Valley Hospital. With the school gym packed to capacity and hundreds of residents shut outside, a Hackensack man shouted "Storm the doors!" in apparent frustration. Leonard Nix, 62, on crutches, was arrested by police for disorderly conduct, obstruction of justice and failure to disperse. The planning board voted to approve Valley's Renewal expansion that day.
- Two Passaic men arrested on drug trafficking charges
The Ridgewood Police Department, along with authorities from the Bergen County Prosecutor's investigation unit and others, arrested two Passaic men for drug trafficking in September. Authorities say the pair, Hwang Woojin, 20, of Paterson, and Marcelo Castillo, 22, of Passaic, had been trafficking large large quantities of ecstasy pills in a registered mailbox at the Ridgewood Post Office. A surveillance sting led to the arrests.
- Mortar shell found in basement
An elderly woman selling her home was surprised to see a WWII-era mortar shell had been collecting dust on a shelf in her basement. The county bomb squad hopped over to Prospect St. and retrieved the device, which will be sent to the U.S. millitary for disposal. Police said the general public was not in danger though it could have been a bad situation had the device been mishandled.
- School dance marred by drinking, possible drug use
The annual RHS school had quite a big turnout, and two students were hospitalized for drinking and there were possible incidents of drug use as well, school officials said. Police came to the scene to help the overwhelmed chapperones in managing what was over 1,000 students, nearly double of what was expected. Principal Jack Lorenz sent out an e-mail regarding the incident and parents at a Board of Education meeting said the issue was students bringing alcohol in water bottles, which was a preventable issue.
- Man charged in fatal accident on Rt. 17
A Mahwah man was arrested on charges of vehicular manslaughter when police say he caused an accident while drunk on Route 17. Rocco John Benedetto, 36, is said to have struck Dorothy E. Scordato, 80, whose car spun out of control and was hit by another vehicle. Scordato later died at The Valley Hospital. Following the accident, Benedetto called police from a nearby Sunoco gas station and police later said he was drunk after a blood test was taken.