Guttenberg Commander of Patrol Operations Lt. Joel Magenheimer said last week that at 3:17 a.m. on May 23, Joseph Hernandez, 37, allegedly ran through the door at Benny's Liquor and Food Store, located at 7000 Park Ave. in Guttenberg. The incident was caught on videotape.
Within 37 seconds, he allegedly left with a cash register in hand.
Benny Rizzo, the store's owner, said last week that there had been problems with the previous camera, and he had installed one of better quality just before the incident. Rizzo said that the store had never had any previous break-ins.
"He [allegedly] runs out with the cash register," said Magenheimer last week while playing the video of Hernandez. "There's a trail of register tape behind him on the street."
Hernandez left with $900, police said.
Rizzo said that he has yet to see his stolen money returned.
Magenheimer said that Hernandez was suspected in seven other incidents in the surrounding towns of Weehawken, Union City, North Bergen and West New York.
Magenheimer said that Hernandez allegedly broke into a store in Weehawken in a similar fashion.
Eight charges in 48 hours
According to Chief Jeffery Fulcher of Weehawken, Hernandez allegedly broke into the Art CafÃ© on the 4500 block of Park Ave. on May 27 at 3:30 a.m. in Weehawken.
Fulcher said the suspect used a brick to break in, thinking that all of the employees had gone home. An employee had been working late and she screamed.
Through this attempted burglary and "confidential informants," Fulcher said that police detectives were able to pursue the investigation.
Magenheimer said that Guttenberg police went with the Weehawken force to arrest Hernandez.
"I give the detective bureau a lot of credit for making an arrest very quickly in 48 hours," said Fulcher. "We not only had this fellow in custody, but solved several other incidents in surrounding towns."
According to Fulcher, Hernandez currently has eight charges of burglary against him.
'Admissions' lead to arrest
Some of the other robberies that Hernandez is allegedly responsible for included the Park Avenue Cleaners on 51st Street in West New York and the Havana Sandwich Queen on 4800 Broadway in Union City.
Magenheimer said that Hernandez allegedly broke in to Benny's Liquor Store in a very "dramatic" way and that it was his head-first approach that helped the police crack the case.
"We developed Mr. Hernandez and brought him [in to the Weehawken Police Station] and interviewed him," said Fulcher last week. "He made some admissions and we turned our attention to the other incidents. It was a very good arrest with very good detective work."
Fulcher said that Hernandez is in custody at the Hudson County Correctional Facility in South Kearny.