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Alert Neighbor Assists Police in Burglary Arrest

Leonardo R. Castro, 28, was charged with burglary Thursday after a resident saw him breaking into neighbors' cars, Saddle Brook police said.

Alert Neighbor Assists Police in Burglary Arrest

A Paterson man was arrested on burglary charges early Thursday morning, after a resident observed the man entering his neighbors' vehicles on Elm Avenue, Saddle Brook police said.

Leonardo R. Castro, 28, who allegedly led police on a brief foot chase and initiated a scuffle with officers before being detained, was charged with burglary to a vehicle, resisting arrest and obstruction of governmental function.

An Elm Avenue resident called police after spotting a suspicious man wearing a dark hoodie sweatshirt enter two of his neighbors' vehicles, police said. Responding officers verified the sighting with surveillance footage from the resident's home security system and went searching the area for the suspect, Deputy Chief Robert White said.

When Lt. William Byrnes approached a man on a nearby street who matched the suspect's description to ask why he was in the area, the man took off running, police said.

A foot chase through two blocks and several residential backyards ensued before the suspect was eventually captured on Schepis Avenue, police said.

White said the man scuffled with police, but was finally subdued and taken into custody with the help of on-duty Officers David DeGennaro, Jeffrey Panagia and off-duty Officer Douglas Habermann, who was monitoring the police frequency at home and came to help.

Police found coins, gloves and a flashlight on the man that linked him to the burglaries, according to reports. Because he had no identification and claimed not to understand English, he was booked as a "John Doe" and transported to county jail with bail set at $7,500, police said.

Around 9 a.m., the suspect was identified as Leonardo R. Castro through fingerprint analysis, and found to have an extensive history of burglary and theft-related arrests, police said.

"This arrest is indicative of how public safety works best," White said. "that is our residents being vigilant and timely reporting what they see and our police officers truly protecting and serving with equal vigilance and passion for justice.

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