After a year of searching for a man who allegedly robbed $15,000 from an elderly woman by pretending to complete home improvements, North Bergen Police were able to catch up to the individual after he allegedly made terroristic threats to a former landlord.
According to North Bergen Police Detective Bureau Lt. Christopher Brignola, on Oct. 5, Mack Ely, 33, of North Bergen, was apprehended in Elizabeth. He was charged with making terroristic threats, theft by deception, and hindering his own arrest.
Brignola said that Ely allegedly had not paid rent on his Bergen Turnpike apartment for a few months so his landlord evicted him. According to a court order from the Hudson County Court, Ely had to produce identification that matched his lease in order for his property to be returned to him on Oct. 4.
When he allegedly could not produce this I.D., he allegedly claimed that the owner of the property had stolen a baby carriage, a PlayStation system, and a television. Brignola said that the owner explained that these items were with his other belongings, but Ely continued to become “irate.”
“Unfortunately, the victim passed away, but we contacted the family and they wished to pursue some type of justice.” – Christopher Brignola
Brignola said that the police took the alleged threats seriously and ensured the safety of the victim’s children at that time.
They soon learned that he was going to be at a self-storage facility in Elizabeth, and obtained warrants to arrest him on terroristic threats. North Bergen Police arrived that same day and made the arrest without incident.
Police also had coincidentally been searching for Mack for about a year after he was seen cashing a $15,000 check on a bank surveillance video.
On Oct. 15, 2009, Mack allegedly approached a North Bergen woman in her early 90s, stating that he would replace her roof and vinyl siding for $15,000.
Police said that instead he only painted the roof and tiling.
“Unfortunately, the victim passed away, but we contacted the family and they wished to pursue some type of justice,” said Brignola.
Ely was charged with hindering his arrest because while being fingerprinted at headquarters he signed the name “Danny Ely,” which was run through the Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) and came back as a false name.
He also had four other warrants from Union City, Fairview, Teaneck, and Atlantic City.
His bail was set at $30,000, with no bail bond option, by Judge Nino Falcone.
If anyone has more information about similar crimes, they can call the North Bergen Detective Bureau at (201) 392-2092.
Robbery by alleged mistaken identity
Police arrested Robert Satch, 50, of Fort Lee, for robbery after he allegedly caused a man to get beat up and robbed by claiming that he had robbed him first.
According to Detective Bureau Commander Lt. Frank Cannella, Satch told police he had been drinking at a local bar, when he claimed he went into his pocket, which held $6,900 in “$100 bills” and said he hoped to purchase a local pizzeria. At this time, another individual allegedly grabbed the cash and went running east down 76th Street.
Satch said he tried to chase after him, but when he was unable to keep up, he asked two other men to get his money back and offered $1,000 of the funds to them, said Cannella.
Cannella said that the two men may have found the first individual they saw, a presumed innocent man, badly beat him, and robbed the victim before leaving the scene.
When Satch showed up he allegedly saw the victim bleeding on the street and reached into his pockets and removed $300. Cannella said that other $100 bills were lying on the street.
“Basically, what we believe is Mr. Satch had taken the money from the wrong guy,” said Cannella.
The victim told police that he had been drinking at the same bar after working a construction job, before walking home when two men came up from behind him and struck him in the head. He then said another man robbed him.
Judge Joseph Romano set his bail at $2,500 with a ten percent bail bond option.
Tricia Tirella may be reached at TriciaT@hudsonreporter.com.