A local cop who knows his town — and its petty thieves — nabbed a suspected purse snatcher by using a time-tested tool: his wits.
Sgt. Joe Mazzeo was reviewing local police intelligence bulletins when one caught his eye. It involved a purse snatching at an Emerson supermarket. Surveillance video provided a clear shot of a man he recognized as 44-year-old Matthew G. Saunders, said Chief Chip Stalter.
Hillsdale police were investigating a similar crime that occurred the same day, as well as one in which the would-be thief took off after discovering the target had smartly fastened her bag to her shopping cart, the chief said.
So Mazzeo alerted officers to keep an eye out and, sure enough, Hillsdale officer Adam Hampton spotted Saunders — who moved to Hillsdale from Simsburg, CT — in the center of town. Mazzeo zipped over as backup, and the officers took him to their colleagues in Emerson.
Emerson police charged Saunders with theft, and he was taken to the Bergen County Jail on $2,500 bail.
Hillsdale Detective Sgt. Bob Francaviglia then tied Saunders to the incidents in town on May 13 and 14, Stalter said. That added another theft charge to Saunders‘ list, along with attempted theft, boosting his total bail to $7,500.
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