CRANFORD --Cranford Police arrested a North Plainfield man on Friday, January 8, charging him with burglary, a third degree crime, in connection with numerous vehicle break-ins and thefts in the township.
Jose Velez, 24, was arrested after police responded to a report of a vehicle burglary on Elizabeth Avenue at 5:36 a.m. on Friday. After securing the crime scene, Officer Derek Farbanec was able to track the subject for several blocks, from the crime scene to the Cranford Train Station, by following fresh footprints in the snow.
Officer Farbanec located Velez on the westbound platform and after a brief investigation placed him under arrest. Velez resisted arrest and attempted to flee the scene before Officer Farbanec and Officer Kelly Sretenovic subdued him.
At Cranford Police Headquarters, Cranford Detectives Ryan Greco and Michael Andrews were able to link Velez to 19 vehicle burglaries in the area of Elizabeth Avenue, Hamilton Avenue, Wade Avenue, Lenox Avenue, and Linden Place.
In addition, detectives were able to connect Velez to 10 additional burglaries on December 23, 2009, including one in which an attached garage was entered and a bicycle was stolen.
Velez is being actively investigated by multiple agencies in Union and Somerset Counties, including Garwood, Fanwood, Plainfield, and North Plainfield. He is considered a suspect in several hundred additional incidents. Charges in those cases are still pending.
Velez is being held in lieu of $20,000 bail and is scheduled for a first court appearance on January 13, 2010. Velez is also being detained on existing traffic warrants from East Brunswick and South Plainfield.