Police Release Details as Concerns Are Raised About Jan. 4 Jacoby St. Armed Robbery

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An armed robbery and “pistol-whipping” in the driveway of a home in the Lightning Brook section of Maplewood has elicited community concerns — not just about crime trends in the area but also the timely sharing of information by police to neighbors.

After a 49-year-old man was robbed and struck with the butt of a handgun at 1:39 a.m. on Wednesday, January 4 in his driveway on Jacoby Street, neighbors noted that they did not receive a Nixle alert from the Maplewood Police as is the usual process after such crimes in the township.

On Sunday, January 8, Maplewood Township sent out a release apologizing for the lack of an alert regarding the incident.

“We sincerely regret that an alert was never sent,” said Interim Township Administrator Gregg Schuster. “There was an internal miscommunication that resulted in the alert not being issued. Part of being transparent is admitting when you’ve made a mistake and we clearly fell short in this instance. I will be working with Chief Sally to ensure that the community is notified of future incidents in a timely manner.”

Read the full release here.

Village Green also reached out to Maplewood Community Board on Police Chair Ayoola Akinnuoye, who responded: “The Board appreciates that the mistake was acknowledged and believe that Nixel [sic] alerts are a key element of transparency and safety for the community. So, it’s our hope that the department has resolved the policy issues so this doesn’t happen again.”

Additionally, Village Green reached out to Police Chief Albert Sally for a full report on the incident. Sally shared that report on January 9. Read it below. Sally recently was appointed police chief after the sudden death of Chief Jimmy DeVaul in October.

From Maplewood Police Chief Sally:

On Wednesday January 4, 2023 at approximately 1:39 am, the Maplewood Police Department received a 911 call from a 49-year-old resident of Jacoby Street who stated that he was just robbed in his driveway. The resident reported that as he was exiting his vehicle, he was approached by two unknown black males (one wearing a white colored hooded sweatshirt with a black mask and one wearing a dark colored sweatshirt with a black mask, both appeared to be between 20-25 years of age). One of the unknown males brandished a small black handgun and demanded the resident’s keys and wallet. Once the resident refused to turn over those items, he was struck with the butt of the handgun causing a minor injury. At the same time, the second unknown male removed the resident’s wallet from the vehicle. After the altercation, the unknown males took off on foot northbound toward Springfield Avenue. The resident was evaluated for his injuries by South Essex Fire Department and ultimately refused medical attention.

Anyone with information or video of the suspects should contact Detective Zuhowski at 973-761-7929 or email JZUHOWSKI@MAPLEWOODNJ.GOV.

Note: This story originally contained a quote from a neighbor in the area who had reached out to Village Green, but that quote has been removed due to the objection of the person quoted who says that Village Green did not ask for their permission. We apologize for the mistake.

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