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Man Charged With Car Break-Ins

Police took man into custody Thursday morning after victims of car thefts positively identify items found in backpacks as theirs.

A 38-year-old Union City man was arrested early Thursday morning on 15th Street in connection with two car break-ins in Palisades Park and Fort Lee near 15th Street, Fort Lee Police Chief Thomas Ripoli reported.

At approximately 4 a.m. Thursday morning, Palisades Park police alerted surrounding towns to be on the lookout for a male on a bike who had just committed a burglary to a parked vehicle on the border of Fort Lee and Palisades Park. 

According to Ripoli, Fort Lee Police officers Mark Radoian and Anthony Bozzetti located the suspect, Juan Hernandez, who allegedly smelled of marijuana. In searching his backpack, police found a laptop, casino reward cards that did not belong to him and a small bag of marijuana, police said. Hernandez also provided the officers with a false identity.

Ripoli said that Hernandez was carrying spark plug chips, commonly used to break car windows, and an ipod. The victim of the ipod burglary positively identified the ipod as his. 

Shortly after police arrested Hernandez, two reports of car thefts, one on 15th Street and one on Ann Street, were called into headquarters. As detectives canvassed the area around 15th and Ann Streets, they discovered another backpack containing a laptop. The victims of the car thefts were able to positively identify the items in the backpacks as theirs.  

Hernandez has been charged with two counts of burglary, two counts of theft and one count of receiving stolen property. He is being held at Bergen County Jail in lieu of $25,000 bail. 

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