YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: Washington Township police arrested an ex-con from Englewood last night after a resident interrupted a home burglary — one of several in the same neighborhood, CLIFFVIEW PILOT has learned.
Corey DeGroat, 37, was being held on $50,000 bail in Hackensack University Medical Center, charged with burglary, theft, resisting arrest and criminal mischief after a Bergen County Sheriff’s K9 unit tracked him down in a wooded area near the Garden State Parkway.
He injured — and possibly broke — his ankle, a law enforcement source said.
DeGroat, of Franklin Road, was out on bail from a July 11 burglary in Rockland County involving him and another Englewood ex-con, Jermin Fordyce. Records show he also owes $33,467 in unspecified arrears.
Police already were in the area following an aborted break-in three block away on Langerfield Avenue in Hillsdale when the Hoover Avenue resident in Washington Township interrupted last night’s break-in, a ranking law enforcement source told CLIFFVIEW PILOT .
“He apparently went in through the garage door and shouldered the door to the house,” he 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.
Emerson, Hillsdale, Ho-Ho-Kus, Montvale, Paramus, Park Ridge, Ridgewood and New Jersey State police also responded.
Authorities are eyeing DeGroat for the Hillsdale break-in, as well as for at least two other neighborhood burglaries reported earlier today, 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.
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