YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: Washington Township police today confirmed a CLIFFVIEW PILOT report from the weekend of the arrest of an ex-con from Englewood after a resident interrupted a home burglary.
Corey DeGroat remained in custody at Hackensack University Medical Center, where he was taken after injuring his ankle during the police search for him Friday night.
The break-in charged to DeGroat, 37, was one of several reported in the neighborhood that night.
Washington Township police charged DeGroat with burglary, theft, resisting arrest and criminal mischief after a Bergen County Sheriff’s K9 unit tracked him down in a muddy, wooded area near the Garden State Parkway.
Several other towns have charged him with crimes or placed detainers on DeGroat, who was out on bail from a July 11 burglary in Rockland County involving him and another Englewood ex-con, Jermin Fordyce, when Friday night’s break-ins occurred. Records show he also owes $33,467 in unspecified arrears.
His combined bail is nearly $540,000.
Police already were in the area following an aborted break-in three block away on Langerfield Avenue in Hillsdale when a resident on Hoover Avenue in Washington Township interrupted Friday’s break-in, a ranking law enforcement source told CLIFFVIEW PILOT early Saturday.
“He apparently went in through the garage door and shouldered the door to the house,” the source said. “The homeowner saw him run out.”
Responding officers discovered a four-door sedan with the keys still in the ignition and open beer cans in cup holders parked out front and a sweatshirt in a nearby backyard, the source said.
Surrounding towns were alerted, police dogs were brought in to the area near the Garden State Parkway.
Acting Washington Township Police Chief Glenn Hooper today touted “the hard work and rapid response of all the responding agencies to this incident.
“Through fluid communication, cooperation and common goals shared between the Township of Washington Police Department, Westwood Police Department, Hillsdale Police Department, Ho-Ho-Kus Police Department, Ridgewood Police Department, Emerson Police Department, Bergen County Sheriffs Department, and the Bergen County Police Department, emergencies such as this one are quickly tackled,” he said.
Investigators were eyeing DeGroat for the Hillsdale break-in, as well as for at least two other neighborhood burglaries reported on Saturday, one of them on Sycamore Lane.
They’re also probing a possible connection to a pair of Monday night burglaries — one in which a gun was stolen from a residence while police were investigating another burglary nearby.
Detectives were at the Eastview Terrace home just after 11 p.m. Monday when a resident spotted a tall, heavyset man with a white shirt run from a Jackson Avenue backyard nearby.
He took off in a four-door vehicle, she told police on Tuesday.
The owner of the second home was away on vacation, Acting Police Chief Glenn Hooper said. The burglar had disabled the electric meter, killing the burglar alarm, before entering through a rear door, he said.
The bandit’s search of the house included removing the mattress and box spring from a bed in the master bedroom and emptying everything in the kitchen drawers and cabinets – including “pulling the soffit down over the kitchen stove,” Hooper said.
Several pieces of jewelry were reported stolen, he said.
On Eastview, the burglar unscrewed motion detector light bulbs before breaking a rear door.
DeGroat’s criminal record includes arrests for a trio of burglaries in East Hanover five years ago, as well as a 2003 police pursuit in Englewood following a break-in there.
MUGSHOT: Courtesy WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP PD
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