UPDATED: Alleged Burglar Caught in Child's Playhouse
Ronald Catti, of Brooklyn, tried to avoid capture; 3-year-old was in the yard when authorities apprehended him.
A New York man was charged Monday with eluding a police officer after authorities from multiple law enforcement agencies chased him through the Packanack Lake section of town and near Valley Road, Wayne Police said.
Ronald Catti, 32, of Brooklyn, N.Y., was found in the backyard of a house on Kossouth Place after personnel from the Wayne Police Department, Passaic County Sheriff’s Office, Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office, and the state police, pursued him after he failed to stop for a traffic stop, Det./Capt. James Clarke said.
Clarke said Wayne police had Catti under surveillance after naming him a suspect in several burglaries that occurred in town since late April; Wayne police began watching Catti about a week ago.
Wayne police detectives watched Catti proceed onto Overlook Avenue in Little Falls at about 3:30 p.m. on Monday, Clarke said. Wayne and Little Falls police determined that Catti burglarized a house on Overlook Avenue at about that time Monday, Clarke said.
Catti reportedly took several thousand dollars worth of jewelry and coins from the house, Clarke said.
Clarke said Catti was staying in a house on Plesantview Drive, which is located near Wayne Valley High School.
Catti tried to return home and Wayne police officers attempted a motor vehicle stop, but Catti took off in the Mercedes he was driving, Clarke said.
“At some point, after a short chase, he crashed his vehicle into a brick garage at Alps Road and Macdonald Drive,” Clarke said. “Catti ended up fleeing on foot.”
Authorities searched Alps Road, both sides of Packanack Lake, and down towards Valley Road and eventually found Catti on a property on Kossouth Place, Clarke said.
Lt. Robert Martello said outside the property authorities found Catti inside a free-standing children's playhouse in the backyard at 6 Kossouth Place. The house is located near the end of a cul-de-sac a few blocks off of Valley Road.
Mickey Bradley owns the house. Bradley, an inspector with the Bergen County Sheriff's Department, was not home at the time of the incident.
According to Bradley, he said that his wife told him their 3-year-old daughter Kaitlyn was about to climb up into the playhouse when law enforcement personnel went into the yard in search of Catti.
Clarke said Catti is on parole in New York on previous charges, including burglary.
Numerous items of jewelry were recovered as a result of the incident, Clarke noted, but did not say where the items were found.
The items will be made available to area police departments to identify the proceeds of past burglaries and thefts, Clarke said.
In addition to eluding police, Wayne police also charged Catti with reckless driving, failing to stop at a red light and improper passing, Clarke said.
Wayne municipal court Judge Peter Weiss set bail at $150,000 for the eluding charge.
Little Falls police charged Catti with burglary, theft, and criminal mischief, police said. G. Dolph Corradino, Little Falls municipal judge, set Catti's bail at $75,000, Clarke said.
Catti was transported to the Passaic County Jail. He is scheduled to be arraigned in Wayne Municipal court Tuesday at 1:30 p.m.
Police sent out a reverse 911 call to Packanack Lake residents shortly after 4:30 p.m., informing them that an alleged burglar was “on foot in your area.”
According to another message sent out at about 6:30 p.m., the police department said the alleged burglar "who was on foot in your area" was arrested and in the custody of authorities.
The police department has been working with the sheriff’s and prosecutor’s offices to combat a string of burglaries that have occurred in town since the end of April.
Jewelry and cash were taken from several homes.
Two Hackensack men were charged with burglary after police said they broke into a Fairfield Road home earlier this month.
Members of the department, the sheriff’s office, and the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office held an information session with residents Saturday to discuss the incidents.