Mahwah, NJ – A photograph taken by a passing motorist helped Mahwah police find the culprit responsible for at least one incident of vandalism to the local eruv, leading to the arrest of a 49 year old Mahwah resident.
The Mahwah Police Department announced the arrest of Marcello Allegro today, charging him with one count of criminal mischief.
While Chief James Batelli of the Mahwah Police Department said in July that he intended to treat multiple incidents of damage to the eruv as possible bias crimes as reported by NJ.com (http://bit.ly/2CiWuMw), at this time Allegro has not been charged with a hate crime in the September 3rd incident.
A motorist who was passing by managed to snap a blurry photograph of the vandalism as it occurred, showing a man using his hands to damage the PVC piping of the eruv that had been attached to a utility pole at Airmont Avenue near Masonicus Road, reported the Mahwah Daily Voice (http://bit.ly/2ChmV52).
That picture, which was given to police, also showed a nearby woman standing next to a black Audi, whose New Jersey license plates were partially visible. Using that information, police were able to identify and interview the woman, which led them to several other individuals who they also interviewed before arresting Allegro.
The woman was not charged in the investigation.
Allegro is due back in court on January 9th. It is unknown at this time if he is responsible for other incidents of damage to the eruv which took place over the summer.
Multiple rewards were posted for anyone who could provide information leading to arrest and conviction of the eruv vandals, with $25,000 offered by New Jersey Attorney General Christopher Porrino, $1,000 offered by Mahwah Mayor Bill Laforet and $1,000 offered jointly by a Teaneck resident and Teaneck Councilman Mark Schwartz, as reported by the Mahwah Daily Voice (http://bit.ly/2Cg0JYZ).
Neither Mahwah Mayor Bill Laforet nor Chief Batelli were immediately available for comment on the incident.