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Montclair Hit By Robberies, Burglaries

A man on North Mountain encountered a stranger in his home, demanding money.

 

Over a four-day period, two people were robbed and four homes were burglarized, according to Montclair Police.

Residents reported burglaries on James Street, Prospect Avenue, Gordonhurst Avenue, and elsewhere, as well as robberies on North Mountain Avenue and Bloomfield Avenue.

On Sept. 6, a resident on North Mountain Avenue told police he had just arrived home after 11 p.m. through the back door of his home. Once inside, he was approached by an African-American man who demanded money. The man was described as being in his late 20s, about 5'6" tall, with a muscular build. The resident said he got away with about $300 and was last seen fleeing through the back yard. Anyone with information is asked to contact Det. Turner at (973) 509-4727.

Two days later, another robbery was reported on Bloomfield Avenue. A woman told police she was approached by an African-American man who asked her for a cigarette. She gave it to him, but then the man tried to grab her cell phone out of her hand. He then took her purse and fled in an awaiting car. The man was described as being in his late teens or early 20s, about 5'9", and wearing a grey t-shirt and jeans. The car was described as a four-door van last seen traveling west on Glenridge Avenue. Anyone with information is asked to contact Det. Turned at (973) 509-4724.

A string of four burglaries also was reported last week starting on Sept. 6.

—A man said he had arrived at his home on James Street only to find his bedroom window open and the outside screen torn. Anyone with information is asked to contact contact Det. Anderson at (973) 509-4706.

—On Sept. 8, police officers were flagged down by residents in the area of Greenwood and Claremont avenues, who told them that they'd just chased a possible burglar off their property. They said the man was trying to get inside the back of one of their homes. He was described as a tall African-American man wearing a polo-style shirt with a white stripe. Anyone with information is asked to contact Det. Cunningham at (973) 509-4716.

—On Sept. 9, a resident on Prospect Avenue also reported a burglary. She told police that when she returned home the night before she found the TV missing but initially believed the owner of the property may have needed it. But after contacting the owner she confirmed that the carriage house as well as the main house both had been burglarized. Police found that one of the home's window screens had been cut and pulled away from the window. The resident said a flat-screen TV, an Apple iPhone, a laptop, and $50 in cash all had been taken. Anyone with information is asked to contact Det. Cunningham at (973) 509-4716.

—Also on Sept. 9, a resident on Gordonhurst Avenue reported a burlgary to his garage. He said both garage doors had been closed but were not locked. Taken from the garage was a men's mountain bike valued at $499.

Jessica September 12, 2012 at 12:44 PM
Is this normal for Montclair? We just moved here in the last year and have already had a $600 racing bike (used value--definitely way more expensive new) stolen out of our garage. The cost of living in this town is so expensive...is there nothing police can do to control burglaries?
Claudia Placentra September 12, 2012 at 01:17 PM
No, not normal - but seems to be getting worse lately. I think that the social media is bringing things to our attention that unless one reads the Montclair Times crime section, you would never hear about it. Thank you Shelley for bringing this to our attention so we can be more vigilant. Lock your cars in your driveways, and make sure your doors and garages are locked at night. Have heard from a few people that they had things stolen, but their car doors were unlocked or their back door was open.
peg rosen September 12, 2012 at 04:32 PM
I think part of the problem is that people forget that Montclair may look and feel like a cozy NJ town but it's really a city. Which means we get all the great cultural perks as well as the challenges that come from living in a semi-urban environment. I take practically the same precautions here that I did when I lived in Manhattan: I'm careful about where I walk at night, especially when I'm alone. I lock my doors AND my garage and always set my alarm when I leave. I know this won't guarantee that I'll avoid problems, but it certainly lowers risk. I mean, why wouldn't you lock your garage door if you have a valuable mountain bike in there anyway, even if you lived in the middle of nowhere? I keep my road bike in my basement!
Jessica September 12, 2012 at 04:59 PM
The garages for our building (we live in a condo) are set pretty far back from the road and not all our neighbors lock their garage doors on a regular basis. The police officer who did the report actually commented that he would have never known the garages were there, since they're so hidden from view. I know it's important to be cautious regardless, but it still seems like there's more crime in Montclair than there should be. I hope police are taking measures to reduce crime rates.
CMFAS55 September 12, 2012 at 08:14 PM
"On Sept. 6, a resident on North Mountain Avenue told police he had just arrived home after 11 p.m. through the back door of his home. Once inside, he was approached by an African-American man who demanded money" This is not typical and should be looked at with great alarm. Having your bike or car stolen - that happens, especially in this sub-urban combo environment that is close to Newark and East Orange. But if you lock your doors and garages you will usually be fine. Having motion detector lights and an alarm (or alarm sign at minimum) will also help. Having an intruder ambush you in your home is another story, it's very frightening and our leadership needs to find ways to make the town safer for it's residents.
allaboutthenumbers123 September 12, 2012 at 09:37 PM
The crime stats do seem to be creeping up. More crime provides the argument that we need more police. However, simply hiring more police will simply cause our already too high tax burden to increase. According to townstat.com, Montclair spends as much on "Police Salary, Wages and Other Expenses"or close to other towns which have much higher crime indices. Montclair also has the highest percentage of employees making over $100k. In the police department we have 49. The average of cars to employees is 1 to 2, but may be higher given the new cars purchased this summer. The new TC should consider how we can manage our resources better. Do we need this many cars? Is there a way to get more police at a lower cost since the current formula isn't working? Can part time non-uniform workers watch over road repair work rather than a uniformed police officer with a car? What about considering having the county police take over this function so we can get more police on the street in an affordable way as another towns is looking into.
allaboutthenumbers123 September 13, 2012 at 12:33 AM
The 49 above is for police and fire combined. Based on 2011 information, police department had approximately 29 officers making over $100k while the fire department had approximately 20. With the increases based on the new union contracts, the number making over $100k would presumably be higher.
Abraham September 15, 2012 at 10:53 PM
Dzone and Peg I agree the other problem is ,you don't get to know your nieghbors .Just knowing who lives in and around your area is half the solution.I bet some peolpe who live on the blocks mentioned above don't even know what has even happen in the nieghborhood.Small talk goes along way ."Pardon Da grammar"

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