A man has been charged with assaulting a Bayonne police officer after getting caught stealing a catalytic converter last year, authorities said.
Leonardo Borrero, 24, of East Orange, has been charged with aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, criminal attempt theft, and resisting arrest, according to Police Capt. Eric Amato.
Borrero was taken into custody at around 9:14 p.m. yesterday after a detailed investigation conducted by the Bayonne Police Detective Bureau led to him being identified as the thief of an incident reported on April 6th.
On that date at approximately 12:45 a.m., an off-duty Bayonne police officer observed a vehicle parked in the area of 49th Street and Avenue E that he recognized as a vehicle involved in a prior theft of a catalytic converter reported on April 1st.
As the officer drove past the vehicle, he observed a man, later identified as Borrero, placing a floor jack under a parked vehicle with another unknown male standing behind him.
After relaying his observations to police dispatch and requesting additional units, the officer exited his vehicle and approached the actors to investigate.
As he approached, the officer was able to observe Borrero underneath the parked vehicle that was on the floor jack and detected the distinct sound of a reciprocating saw being utilized to cut metal to remove the vehicle’s catalytic converter.
The second man was positioned near the suspect vehicle with the side door ajar. As the officer confronted the actors and identified himself with his badge displayed, Borrero emerged from underneath the vehicle with the saw in hand.
The officers were able to immediately grab hold of Borrero and take him to the ground, causing him to drop the saw. A struggle ensued and Borrero struck the officer in the body with his elbows as the second man attempted to pull Borrero from the officer’s grip.
Borrero was able to break free and enter the driver compartment of the suspect vehicle.
As the second man was entering the vehicle, the officer attempted to grab hold of him but could not, due being struck by the vehicle’s door and because the vehicle was actively accelerating at a rapid pace.
The actors then fled the scene toward the NJ Turnpike, striking a responding Bayonne Police vehicle, rendering it inoperable, and also striking a parked vehicle.
A motor vehicle pursuit ensued and ultimately ended in Newark where the vehicle was recovered after being located unoccupied. The resulting investigation led to Borrero being positively identified and a warrant was issued for his arrest, police said.