In early March, a man who participated in Hoboken’s annual LepreCon pub crawl was found clinging to a pylon in the Hudson River, screaming for help. He claimed to have been thrown into the river by two unknown assailants after fighting with his girlfriend at a nearby lounge. A few weeks later, 27-year-old Andrew Jarzyk took off from his Monroe Street apartment for a moonlit jog, then vanished after being seen for the last time on a security camera near Pier A Park. And on Palm Sunday, two young men drowned when one jumped into the river off Pier C and the other tried to rescue him. There’s still no word on what made the man jump in the first place.
On Thursday, a Hoboken police detective told The Reporter there was still no sign of Jarzyk and that the search, which has focused largely on the waterfront, has gone cold without a continuous stream of new information. Asked if the police had a working theory, Sgt. Anthony Falco Jr. said he thought focusing on the river was their best chance for finding Jarzyk.
‘There’s nobody down on the waterfront throwing people in the river.’ – Sgt. Anthony Falco Jr.
Falco has insisted there is no connection between Jarzyk’s disappearance and the earlier case of the man who said he was thrown in the river around the same hour of the night and same location a few weeks earlier. But the similarities between the cases are hard to ignore.
Also, that earlier case may not be exactly what it seems, according to police.
According to Falco, Hoboken police have contacted the throwing victim – who told them he lives in Wharton, in Morris County – several times since Jarzyk’s disappearance to request an additional interview, hoping to gain some insight that could lead them to Jarzyk.
But each request has been ignored, Falco said, leading police to wonder whether the man’s story was true in the first place.
“It could have been that he wasn’t [thrown in],” Falco said. “We tried to re-interview him several times and he refused to contact us.”
Police have maintained that they don’t believe there is a connection between the cases. Falco has insisted, “There’s nobody down on the waterfront throwing people in the river.”
Waterfront security has been increased
Nevertheless, city spokesman Juan Melli said last week that the police have stepped up security on the waterfront with Class II officers, part-time police who work during peak hours.
“Several months ago the city expanded its police presence along the waterfront with dedicated patrols from Class II Police officers,” Melli said in a statement. “We are working with Public Safety and the Office of Emergency Management to explore additional strategies to improve public safety along the waterfront.”
Meanwhile, Hoboken residents weighed in on waterfront security on the Hudson Reporter Facebook page.
“There should be ladders installed along the waterfront so that if you were to end up in the river you could climb out before you get cold, exhausted and drown. At least you would have a chance to save yourself,” wrote Carl, a reader.
“With Hoboken being so popular now with the town full of people drinking every weekend, I think the city needs more security along the waterfront,” wrote Sheila. “I know the police are stretched to the limit as it is, but other than installing more security cameras, a physical security presence is needed.”
After Jarzyk disappeared, an NBC report revealed that the city’s ten security cameras (two of which are situated on the waterfront near where Jarzyk was last seen) have been out of operation since 2010. On Wednesday, the Hoboken City Council voted to accept a grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for $124,000, which will likely be used to purchase new cameras or maintain existing ones.
Dean DeChiaro may be reached at email@example.com