Police also say that they discovered a "shrine" in Hillen's West New York basement that indicated a fetish for women's nylons.
Hillen has been charged with multiple counts of terrorist threats and harassment, and is currently being detained at the Hudson County Correctional jail in Kearny on $100,000 bail set by Hudson County, and an additional $100,000 bail set by Bergen County. New Paltz, N.Y. is also expected to set a bail amount.
"What occurred here was good old-fashioned police work," said Chief of Police Frederick Corrubia of the Paramus Police Department. "All the agencies have to be commended in making this apprehension, especially Chief of Police Raymond Zappone of New Paltz and Director of Police Tim Griffin of West New York, who were really cooperative in the investigation."
Police agencies from all three townships collaborated on an investigation to identify the author, dubbed the "Ghostwriter," who had been leaving sexually explicit notes on women's cars - at times with detailed descriptions of the victims themselves.
"Since October 2004, in Paramus, there were about 30 notes of a sexually explicit nature [found on women's cars] in various shopping malls and at various times," said Corrubia.
Local police sent out a bulletin asking the public to come forward with any information.
What was discovered were similar occurrences in West New York, where about five to six notes had been discovered on cars near West New York Public School No. 5 and the Early Childhood Center on 53rd Street. Most recently, the same pattern of notes had immerged in New Paltz, N.Y.
"Our investigations began last spring," said Tim Griffin, director of police in West New York. "There was one in June, August, and there were four notes found in October; all occurring in the area of Public School No. 5, City Hall, and the Early Childhood Center."
After making a penmanship analysis of the letters, investigators concluded that they were all written by the same individual.
"The handwriting was a match, and once we made that comparison, we began to compare notes and [found out that] New Paltz, N.Y. was experiencing a similar situation since early spring of this year, but it stopped around summer," said Griffin.
"We had four cases; two of them occurred in a shopping center parking lot, one occurred in a municipal parking lot, and another in a small strip mall parking lot," said Detective David Dugatkin of the New Paltz Police.
All the agencies involved with the investigation came to a meeting in West New York, where they set up a joint task force to look for links between the three towns.
They had been looking into any unusual local reports of accidents and traffic stops, when they came upon an accident report filed a few years earlier in New Paltz, N.Y. involving Louis Hillen of West New York, N.J.
At the time, 47-year-old Hillen, who has a friend who resides in New Paltz, had been involved in a car accident on State Route 32, when his vehicle hit a construction worker after he had been hit in the back by another car. This report led West New York Police to go question Hillen.
"Apparently, he was involved in a motor vehicle accident, and the vehicle involved was originally registered in West New York," said Griffin.
Upon arriving at Hillen's 52nd Street home last week, police located the described vehicle from the accident report in front of the residence, with new license plate tags from New York. After a search was run on the tags, police discovered the vehicle was now registered in New Paltz.
"In plain sight, we noticed different articles in the vehicle that tied in with the investigation, and as a result we were able to search the vehicle and his residence, where we found several articles of evidence to tie him directly to the crime," said Griffin.
Police found a pen, paper and similar notes within the vehicle, and upon searching Hillen's home, where he lived alone, they found additional evidence and a shrine indicating an alleged obsession with women's undergarments.
"He was a self-proclaimed artist and had custom-designed his entire basement into a shrine [exhibiting] a fetish for women's nylons," said Griffin.
Police also discovered that Hillen had a prior arrest record in Paramus for shoplifting, and one moving violation in New Paltz.
Hillen was arrested on Nov. 3, and arraigned the next morning in Jersey City.
He currently remains at the Hudson County jail and has been charged with six counts of terrorist threats and two counts of stalking. The case has also been brought to the Hudson County Prosecutor's Office to see if additional charges will be brought up.
Hillen is also awaiting arraignment in Bergen County, where he's facing 17 counts of harassment with more to follow. New Paltz is also in the process of filing their own charges, including aggravated assault.
"We have not lodged them yet, but they are forth coming," said Dugatkin. "There are four [pending] charges of aggravated assault in the first degree, which is a Class E felony in New York State."
Hillen could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted on the Hudson County charges alone. Jessica Rosero can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org