YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: Jorge L. Rodriguez was carrying the money stolen at gunpoint this morning from a Saddle Brook bank — along with the handgun used and other evidence — when borough police grabbed the ex-con just hours later, CLIFFVIEW PILOT has learned.
Saddle Brook police were waiting when Rodriguez, 45, of South River, left a house less than two blocks from the TB Bank at 4:30 and took him into custody without incident, Saddle Brook Police Chief Robert Kugler told CLIFFVIEW PILOT at 7:50 tonight.
The 6-foot-1, 225-pound Rodriguez, whose arrest was announced on CLIFFVIEW PILOT minutes after he was taken into custody, was followed from the bank to the Graham Terrace home by a good Samaritan, the chief said.
An area resident who spotted the Cuban-born ex-convict leave the TD branch after the 11:15 a.m. suspected something and told another man, “I think he just robbed the bank.”
That man then trailed him, Kugler said.
At the same time, an area neighbor offered police surveillance video that picked up images of Rodriguez getting out of a black SUV, the chief said. The neighbor installed the system after suffering break-ins to his home and car, Kugler told CLIFFVIEW PILOT .
Other evidence includes the residue of a bank dye pack that exploded as the robber made his getaway.
Rodriguez, charged with robbery and two counts of weapons possession. was being shipped tonight to the Bergen County Jail tonight. His bail is $250,000 cash.
Also taken into custody and later released was the home’s owner, 44-year-old Alex Maldanado — who Kugler said police were considering “a person of interest.”
Rodriguez, who sometimes stayed with Maldanado, was released from state prison last October after serving more than nine years of a 12-year sentence for a pair of Hudson County holdups, records show.
Kugler, who praised the “quick actions” of the good Samaritans confirmed that “the residence was placed under surveillance and, a short time later, a team of officers grabbed him.”
Rodriguez was wearing sunglasses and what turned out to be a fake mustache and soul patch during the holdup, the chief said.
Police from neighboring jurisdictions — including Fair Lawn and Elmwood Park — as well as Bergen County Police’s K-9 Units and the Bergen County Sheriff’s Bureau of Criminal Identification — assisted borough police and the FBI, Kugler noted.
At the same time, he said: “The real heroes are the individual citizens who provided the critical clues — and especially the person who followed the suspect from the crime scene to where we eventually hunted him down.” READ MORE….
MUGSHOT: NJDOC, SURVEILLANCE PHOTO: Courtesy Saddle Brook PD
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.