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Accused Bergenfield Grandma Abuser Arrested Yet Again -- In River Vale

Vance Willard, Stephen Willard
Vance Willard, Stephen Willard Photo Credit: MUGSHOTS: Courtesy BERGENFIELD PD

RIVER VALE, N.J. – A Bergenfield man accused of abusing his 84-year-old grandmother was arrested for the third time in two weeks after police were called by another family member, Daily Voice has learned.

Stephen Willard, 25, and his father took a cab from New York City to River Vale, where he attempted to obtain a credit card from a family member to pay the tab, authorities said.

Willard and his 61-year-old father, Vance, were freed by a judge on Tuesday, hours after police charged them with denying the elderly victim necessities and selling her valuables. This came after both had been freed on charges of burglarizing a neighbor's home.

Willard had already received notice from the relative that he wasn't to return to the house when he and his father showed up at 8:45 a.m. Thursday.

Police were called and he was arrested on defiant trespass charges.

This time, River Vale Municipal Judge Vincent Galasso ordered Steven Willard held on $2,000 cash bail.

Willard remained in the Bergen County Jail on Friday.

Earlier this week, the Willards were released from the Bergen County Jail under New Jersey's 2017 Bail Reform and Speedy Trial Act, records show.

The pair had been arrested and placed in the county lockup the day before.

The elder abuse case began with the July 5 burglary of a Willow Street home, Bergenfield police said.

The 58-year-old victim told responding officers that she’d returned from work to find a rear window broken, Capt. Mustafa Rabboh said.

They traced a blood trail from the sill to an open garage in the rear yard of a home shared by the Willards.

The Bergen County Sheriff’s Bureau of Criminal Identification collected evidence, and police the next day interviewed the father and son, the captain said.

Both stole cash and jewelry during the break-in, he said.

Vance Willard at first was released pending a court hearing on charges of burglary, hindering apprehension and obstructing a government function, Rabboh said.

Stephen Willard was temporarily held in the county before a judge ordered him released -- pending court action on charges of burglary, theft and criminal mischief -- under the bail reform law.

While continuing their investigation, police learned that Vance and Stephen Willard “were engaged in activities [that] victimized their 84 year old elderly mother/grandmother, by failing to provide and withhold certain necessities and removing and selling items from her residence.”

They rearrested the pair, who were placed in the jail before the judge freed them.

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