A contractor digging to install a patio at 43 E. 17th St. near Avenue E uncovered a grenade that later turned out to be a non-explosive one used for training, according to Deputy Police Chief Ralph Scianni.
Thinking it may have been a working explosive, workers for Lucha Construction moved the devise to the front of the house, and then called the police.
Police said the call came in at 10:57 a.m., and the area was deemed safe by 12:45 p.m.
The workers, according to the police, originally thought the device was a toy.
Scianni said police evacuated the houses around the building as a precaution. The Bayonne Fire Department and McCabe Ambulance were called.
The Jersey City Bomb Squad brought two vehicles to the site, including an explosive containment unit. At the time, officers had not yet determined the nature of the explosive and treated it as if it was capable of exploding.
A training grenade – used generally in basic training and advanced infantry training by the military – emits smoke instead of an explosive. But since the training grenade is the same weight and appearance as a live grenade, police had to treat it as a possible threat, officials said.
Had it been a real grenade, it might have exploded simply from handling because of its deteriorated condition, police said.
After the device was removed from the area, the Bayonne police K-9 unit with its bomb-sniffing dog Willie was brought to check the area for possible other explosives.
“Officer Eugene Urbanowic and K-9 Willie swept the area and found no additional devices,” Scianni said.
Young men charged in high school burglary and arson
Three young men were charged with burglary and arson at Bayonne High School as a result of an investigation.
Police Chief Robert Kubert said police detectives pieced together information from their own investigation, as well as information supplied by school officials, in order to apprehend two adults and one Bayonne teen who allegedly set a fire in a room in the high school at about 1:10 a.m. on May 8.
Derrick Hilton of Humphrey Avenue, 18 and a current student at Bayonne High School, was charged with burglary, arson, and possession of marijuana. Hilton allegedly had a couple of small bags of marijuana on him when arrested, police said.
George Kemple of Trask Avenue, a former student at Bayonne High School, was charged with burglary and arson.
A 17-year-old student at Bayonne High School was charged with burglary and arson.
Kubert said the juvenile was arrested on May 13 and taken directly to Hudson County Family Court on Newark Avenue in Jersey City for a detention hearing.
Two of the three people accused were apparently students of the teacher who used that room, Kubert said.
“All were arrested after pertinent information was obtained from school officials and an investigation was conducted by Police Department detectives,” Kubert said.
Bail for the two 18-year-olds was set at $25,000, or 10 percent, which means they have to post $2,500 up front to be released pending a court hearing in the Hudson County Central Judicial Processing Court (CJP). They couldn't post the bail. Therefore, both were sent to Hudson County Jail pending arraignment on May 16.
“I'm going to request that school officials provide the cost of repairing the damage caused by the fire and the replacement of school materials damaged in the fire,” Kubert said. “The investigating detectives will then request restitution upon conviction of the [perpetrators] in court. I commend both the school officials and investigating detectives for their cooperation in bringing this case to a successful conclusion.”
House raided of tunnel trespass suspects
On May 12, Bayonne police joined Port Authority police in a raid on the house of the 20-year-old man who was arrested last week for allegedly walking through the PATH train tunnel from Manhattan to Jersey City.
Local officials said the raid took place at the 43rd Street and Broadway residence of Reymundo Rodriguez because of suspicions that he might be possession of weapons.
“One of the people interviewed apparently said he might have a gun,” a local police source said, asking not to be identified. The Port Authority has issued no statement on the raid.
Rodriquez has so far been charged with criminal trespass for his walking through the tunnel.
Police and fire departments respond to tractor turnover
Traffic got snarled for hours after a red 1997 International tractor trailer turned over while making the turn on the Route 440 loop from Bayonne into Jersey City on May 10.
The police received the call at about 8:26 a.m. that the truck carrying a load of kitchen cutting boards had overturned and was lying on its side partly on the highway and partly on the center divide. Police diverted traffic at the Avenue C exit. Representatives from the state Department of Transportation, McCabe Ambulance, and the Bayonne Fire Department were on the scene, but nobody was apparently hurt, and the truck was righted by 11:15 a.m. The driver, however, was issued a summons for careless driving, and four summonses for unsafe tire equipment.
Woman with baby charged with shoplifting
Katrina F. Lovina, 19, of Bayonne, was charged with shoplifting from ShopRite on May 11, after store security saw her allegedly place $17.60 worth of merchandise into the bottom of her baby’s carriage and attempt to leave the store without paying. The baby was later released to the custody of the father.
Cosmetics theft charged
Tea Barbakadze, 36, of Eatontown, was charged with shoplifting from ShopRite on May 9 after store security saw her allegedly place $59.13 worth of cosmetics into her jacket and allegedly attempt to leave the store without paying.
Goal post tossed into water
The Department of Public Works filed a report with the Bayonne Police that someone during the overnight period from May 7 to 8 damaged several trees in the lower level of the park and threw the soccer goal post off the 18th Street dock into Newark Bay.
Red Civic stolen
A resident who parked a red 1994 Honda Civic near Avenue C and 33rd Street at about 8 p.m. on May 10 returned the next morning at 6:50 a.m. to find it gone.
Al Sullivan may be reached at email@example.com.