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Cops catch thieves in Christmas-like haul from unlocked cars

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

ONLY ON CLIFFVIEW PILOT : Cliffside Park police have charged two men with swiping nearly $2,000 in GPS devices, other items and cash after ducking into a private high-rise parking garage behind an incoming car and rifling through unlocked vehicles.

The two had walked north down Kamena Street from Fairview “trying every door handle on every car,” before they reached the Briarcliff Apartments on Gorge Road in Cliffside Park around midnight Wednesday, Det. Capt. Michael Russo told CLIFFVIEW PILOT. Soon, someone activated the remote-controlled garage door and they slipped in behind, he said.

Juliano (l.) and Messina

Using only a flashlight, “they tried every car handle in there,” Russo told CLIFFVIEW PILOT.

Before they were through, the thieves had a half-dozen GPS devices, a small TV set, a few iPods, and about $200 in cash — all without jimmying a single lock or breaking any windows, the captain said.

What they didn’t know was that surveillance cameras in the garage were rolling.

The next day, Fairview police pulled up to a car in which 23-year-old Anthony Juliano was selling some of the stolen GPS devices to two other men, Russo told the news site.

“They were testing the units when Fairview police rolled up on them,” the captain said.

All three were arrested.

Hearing about the incident, Detectives James Garramone and Vincent Capano brought Juliano — a former Fairview resident who now lives in Ridgefield Park — to headquarters for questioning.

Then they went to the videotape.

“You could clearly see it was him on the video,” Russo told CLIFFVIEW PILOT. “He had the same clothes on.”

Fairview police identified his alleged accomplice, Nicholas Messina, 26, formerly of Cliffside Park but now living in North Bergen, the captain said.

Cliffside police charged the pair with several counts of burglary — including entering the private garage — and one count each of conspiracy. Juliano’s flashlight also got him a charge for possession of a burglary tool.

Messina made $10,000 bail and was released yesterday. Juliano is still being held on $25,000 cash bail at the Bergen County Jail.

Russo said there’s a lesson here for potential victims.

“Even if you live in a secure building, you should still lock your car,” he said. “And never leave anything inside — especially this time of the year.”

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