A Hoboken City Hall worker has been charged with stealing 24 parking meter batteries, valued at over $3,000, after a two-week long investigation by local police.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
Wilfredo Gonzalez, 43, of Jersey City, was charged with 24 counts of theft of moveable property, according to Police Det. Lt. Edgardo Cruz.
On December 27th, Hoboken police received information regarding the theft of several batteries from parking meter pay stations. It was initially reported that 13 batteries had been taken from pay stations, each valued at approximately $165, officials said.
Detectives immediately began to conduct an investigation into the matter and they discovered several more batteries were taken for a total of 24, now valued at over $3,000, authorities said.
After investigating further, ,following several leads, they were able to focus their attention on Gonzalez, who was a Hoboken City Hall employee, officials said.
The defendant has been employed for less than one year by the Department of Environmental Services and is part of a staff that collects the garbage while walking an assigned area, police said.
On Friday, January 12th, Detectives Bret Globke, Vito Gigante, and Artuo Gonzalez, along with Sgt. William Vera and Capt. Charles Campbell, set up an operation in order to locate and arrest the defendant for the above thefts.
Detective Christine Collins and Officer Luis Rodriguez later assisted in the operation.
While Detectives prepared for the arrest, it was determined that the defendant was not at his assigned work area tending to his assigned duties and had left the city during his work hours, authorities said.
He was located arriving back to work several hours later in the area of 210 Newark St. while in the company of 2 other men. He was stopped, along with the other males, and placed under arrest by Gigante and Globke.
Warrant complaints were generated for Gonzalez and he was remanded to the Hudson County Rehabilitation Center. He was the sole suspect for the thefts of the batteries and the others were not linked to the Thefts therefore not charged, officials said.
However, Luis Gonzalez, 48, of Jersey City, was still charged for possession of marijuana under 50 grams and bail jumping, police said.
“I would like to thank Capt. Campbell, Sgt. Vera and their detectives who magnificently attacked this issue, obtained evidence, performed surveillance and closed this case with an arrest consisting of dozens of theft charges. It is a testament of their dedication to serving this city,” Police Chief Kenneth Ferrante said in a statement.
“I want to thank Chief Ferrante, Captain Campbell, Sergeant Vera, and all other HPD Detectives that worked diligently to apprehend the individuals responsible for stealing the Parking Utility’s pay station batteries,” Department Head Ryan Sharp said in the same statement.
“HPD’s hard work and clinical investigation into this case shows that theft or vandalism of City property will not be tolerated in Hoboken.”
City spokesman Juan Melli told Hudson County View that Wilfredo Gonzalez was hired part time 11 months ago at a salary of $15 per hour.
Furthermore, he is currently suspended without pay as the city seeks termination, Melli said.