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Authorities: Ex-Con Allendale Burglar Who Fought Police Freed, Breaks Into Another House


(excerpt from The Daily Voice 9/19/19)

An ex-con from Allendale who fought furiously with police as they tried to arrest him for burglary three days after he was released from prison was ordered freed by a judge from the Bergen County Jail -- and immediately hit another local home, authorities said.

Justinian Rocco -- released Tuesday under New Jersey's bail reform law after spending four days in the county lockup -- was back in custody early Thursday after another overnight incident in Allendale, this time on Heather Court just after 4 a.m.

As in last Friday's pre-dawn break-in, Rocco entered an occupied home and was discovered by a resident, police said.

The resident chased Rocco out of the house and into the yard, Police Chief George Scherb said.

Officers from surrounding towns joined their borough colleagues in searching for Rocco through much of the night with no immediate results.

Hours later, the Saddle River Police Department day shift got a call of a suspicious person -- and found Rocco in the area of West Gate and Burning Hollow roads near the Allendale border shortly after 7 a.m., authorities said.

Rocco was returned to the Bergen County Jail on charges of burglary, theft, stalking and obstruction.

Rocco served nearly two years in state prison for a string of Bergen County burglaries in 2016 and 2017. He also was convicted of peering into windows.

Last Friday, an Allendale dispatcher who got an abandoned 911 call around 3:40 a.m. called the West Crescent Avenue resident back and was told that there was someone in the house, Scherb said.

Borough police were joined in setting up a perimeter by officers from neighboring towns – among them, Mahwah, Midland Park, Ramsey, Saddle River, Waldwick and Wyckoff, Scherb said.

Soon after, he said, a Midland Park officer spotted Rocco laying under a guardrail along West Crescent Avenue.

Officers chased Rocco into a stream behind homes on Park Avenue, the chief said.

A violent struggle ensued.

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