May 26, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Bergenfield Has Porch Pirates!

Have you ever ordered something online you were anxious to receive? Maybe found yourself checking a tracking number on an hourly basis to see if the delivery status had been updated? Been known to stalk your local UPS driver in anticipation of your merchandise? If you answered yes to any of those questions, you would understand the feeling of utter disappointment to discover that your much-awaited package had in fact been taken. This was the case recently in Bergenfield, where packages left at a front door never actually made it inside the house. Instead, they were taken by a thief scouting out homes with deliveries left outside.

Having become an internet-centered society, more and more people are turning to online vendors to purchase everything from clothing and gadgets, to food, housewares and even services. This translates into a numerous amount of residential deliveries, often to quiet suburban streets. I would venture to say that Amazon packages alone could probably keep a bandit busy for a good portion of the day.

V&N real estate agent Esther Shayowitz recently shared a video from a Nest Cam Indoor security camera installed in a new home she sold in Bergenfield. The Nest is designed to look after your home even when you are away with 24/7 live streaming and 30 days of continuous video recording. What the camera revealed was a man coming up to the home and stealing packages left on the porch. He was actually recorded making multiple trips, without hesitation, to collect the assortment of boxes at the front door.

Shayowitz shared the video footage upon the request of the homeowner, hoping someone would perhaps be able to identify the offender. Shayowitz has many clients buying homes in the Bergenfield community, which she describes as “friendly, warm and welcoming, and an overall great place to live.” However, as a community member and a real estate agent, she feels it is important for people to recognize that things like this happen, and being mindful is important.

Bergenfield Mayor Norman Schmelz recommends that residents stay alert and notify the police upon observing any suspicious activity. “In this case we were fortunate to have footage from the doorbell camera that enabled us to find the suspect and return the stolen items,” commented Mayor Schmelz. As the video has become more widespread, the mayor and other township officials are hoping copycat criminals will be less likely to attempt to steal packages.

The suspect (Robert Solano of Bergenfield) was arrested and charged with six counts of theft, one count of trespassing and one count of burglary, according to a statement from the Bergenfield Police. Police made the arrest after video surveillance footage showed a van with his name written on it.

One resident, who prefers to remain anonymous, described this as a disturbing situation. To have someone walk onto your property is violating, she added. Most residents in Bergenfield believe the neighborhood to be a safe environment without concern of strangers trespassing.

Links Residential real estate agent Nina Eizikovitz sees this incident as a rare occurrence, yet encouraged residents to be aware of their surroundings and look out for one another. “Investing in one of the many home security systems is extremely worthwhile,” she said. Nowadays, doorbell cameras and video devices are available at a reasonable cost and she recommends that her clients consider purchasing one upon moving into a new home. In some cases, a homeowner’s insurance policy will offer a deduction if the client has an anti-theft system installed. A Bergenfield resident herself, Eizikovitz considers Bergenfield and the adjacent neighborhoods extremely safe places to live.

Teaneck Deputy Mayor Elie Katz wants Bergen County residents to know that the police department is on the lookout for suspicious activity. “Our police department is aware of these thefts and remains vigilant. At a time when camera doorbells are on the rise, thieves will be caught,” declared Katz.

The message authorities are hoping this incident will impart is one of mindfulness. These instances should not necessarily scare us but rather make us smarter. Hopefully this will encourage people to stay alert; as always, if you see something say something. Wishing everyone a shana tovah and may all your packages arrive safely.

By Andrea Nissel

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