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Cliffside Park police, witness team up in burglary arrests

Photo Credit: CLIFFSIDE PARK PD): Top left: Giancola, Bottom left: Merletto, Right: Ferguson

ANOTHER CVP SCOOP: A good Samaritan who followed a suspicious car while alerting Cliffside Park police by cellphone helped lead to the arrests of a career burglar and two middle-aged accomplices connected to a rash of burglaries and attempted break-ins before dawn this morning.

The witness began following the trio on Anderson Avenue toward Fort Lee after seeing them casing a deli near Lafayette Avenue.

Officer Yakup Zoklu zipped to the scene as the license plate and description were relayed to him by headquarters. Moments later, he stopped the vehicle in Fort Lee.

The men were carrying some cash, cigarettes and “Five-Hour Energy” bottles believed stolen, Cliffside park police said.

Detective Sgt. Mackay and Detective Sgt. Michael Giampietro later connected the trio to a rash of area break-ins, including at a Columbia Avenue bagel shop on the border of both towns, and two failed attempts.

“It was a great job by the witness, the patrol officers who responded, the detectives and both Fort Lee police and the Bergen County Sheriff’s Bureau of Criminal Identification,” Cliffside Park Lt. Thomas Ingenito told CLIFFVIEW PILOT .

John M. Giancola, 45, was being held on a combined $75,000 bail in the Bergen County Jail.

Giancola, who has a North Jersey criminal record stretching back nearly two decades, is charged with two counts of burglary and two of conspiracy in the aborted break-ins, as well as possession of burglar tools.

Also charged with conspiracy was the alleged lookout, 46-year-old Allen Ferguson, and the wheelman, George Merletto.

Merletto was being held on $25,000 bail in the county jail. Ferguson was in the process of being transferred today.

MUGSHOTS (Courtesy CLIFFSIDE PARK PD): Top left: Giancola, Bottom left: Merletto, Right: Ferguson

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