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Saddle Brook police chase down suspected car burglar

Photo Credit: Courtesy Saddle Brook PD

ANOTHER CVP SCOOP: Saddle Brook police had just watched a video supplied by a local resident of a man breaking into cars on Elm Avenue before dawn this morning when Lt. William Byrnes Jr. spotted a man who looked just like him.

Before Byrnes had a chance to ask him what he was doing in the area, the man in the dark-colored hoodie took off, Chief Robert Kugler told CLIFFVIEW PILOT .

Byrnes called for backup and chased him.

The 6-foot, 230-pound suspect was grabbed two blocks away on Schepis Avenue by Byrnes and three fellow officers — Dave DeGennaro, Jeffrey Panagia and off-duty Officer Doug Habermann who heard the call at home and came running — after putting up a struggle, the chief said.

Kugler told CLIFFVIEW PILOT just hours after the arrest that the suspect was carrying coins believed taken in the car burglaries, along with gloves and a flashlight.

What he wasn’t carrying was identification. He also claimed not to understand English, the chief said.

An interpreter from the Bergen County Police Department was called in, but police still weren’t able to identify their suspect — who was admitted to the Bergen County Jail as John Doe.

Authorities took digital fingerprints and Bergen County Sheriff’s officers identified him at 9 o’clock this  morning as Leonardo Castro. It seems he was also wanted on a warrant out of Belleville.

Castro, who turned 28 earlier this month, was being held on $7,500 cash bail, charged with burglary to a vehicle, theft, resisting arrest and obstruction.

Kugler lauded his officers but also had praise for the resident who called police and showed them the videotape.

“This arrest is indicative of how public safety works best — 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,” the chief told CLIFFVIEW PILOT .

He also gave a shout-out to Habermann who, through his actions, “clearly shows that our residential officers are truly on duty 24/7 within the community.”

Leonardo Castro (MUGSHOT: Courtesy Saddle Brook PD)

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