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Paramus chief ‘just reacted’ in chasing down suspected thief

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

EXCLUSIVE: “I just reacted,” Paramus Police Chief Christopher Brock told CLIFFVIEW PILOT after he chased down and grabbed a suspected thief. “Wasn’t thinking of anything except catching the guy.”

Paramus Police Chief Christopher Brock

Brock was in the Detective Bureau around 2 o’clock Thursday afternoon because protocol required a second officer present, for safety reasons, as a detective processed a suspect in another case. Due to recent staffing cuts, Brock was the only one available to help Detective Robert VonSchalscha .

Suddenly, the police radio in the bureau crackled with a report of a chase involving two of three men suspected of stealing thousands of dollars worth of electronic equipment at the Garden State Plaza.

VonSchalscha happened to look out the window right about that moment. “That’s one of them!” he shouted to Brock.

The chief took a quick look, then took off. He chased the guy down Carlough Drive, grabbed him and brought him back to headquarters. The third man was in the wind, but the first was carrying most of the stolen goods, he said.

“I don’t think this kid knew I was a chief,” told CLIFFVIEW PILOT . “I had Dockers and a pull-over collared shirt on.”

An employee at the Paging Concepts kiosk called police around 1 o’clock to report the thefts. Based on a good description, Patrol Officer Michael Ditolla spotted three suspects an hour later outside the mall.

They bolted when he saw them coming, then headed across Route 4, Brock said, so the officer radioed ahead. Within minutes,  Officers Doug Ohlendorf  and Michael Boccher snatched one of the suspects from a brook that runs beneath the highway.

That man, identified as Wilfre Pena, was carrying “a large bag containing numerous stolen items” not only from Paging Concepts but from the Verizon store and Radio Shack, as well, the chief said. These included cell phones, laptops and cameras, he said.

The other two crossed over Route 17 and were seen running east on Prospect Street.

Charged with theft and resisting arrest are Pena, 20, and 21-year-old Eddie Hernandez, both of the Bronx.

It was only as the adrenaline receded afterward that Brock thought about how much he enjoyed working a beat.

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