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Saddle Brook police arrest suspect in armed bank robbery

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot File Photo
Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot
Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

ANOTHER CVP SCOOP: Saddle Brook police this afternoon arrested a suspect in this morning’s robbery of a TD Bank branch who they said was hiding out in a house behind the nearby Long Memorial Elementary School.

  • YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: Jorge L. Rodriguez was carrying the money stolen at gunpoint from a Saddle Brook bank — along with the handgun used and other evidence — when borough police grabbed the ex-con this afternoon, CLIFFVIEW PILOT has learned. READ MORE….

They also recovered the clothes he was wearing — a key factor, given that a dye pack from the stolen cash exploded while he was fleeing, Police Chief Robert Kugler told CLIFFVIEW PILOT at 4:30, as the suspect was being taken to headquarters.

Jorge L. Rodriguez, Saddle Brook TD Bank robbery

Kugler said the suspect was found in a Graham Terrace home thanks to a good Samaritan who followed him and surveillance video from a nearby residence that showed the accused robber getting out of a black SUV spotted at the scene of the 11:15 a.m. holdup.

Two schools were placed on lockdown for nearly an hour while police searched the area around the Floral Lane bank after the robber pulled a black handgun, ordered customers to the floor and made off with a couple of thousand dollars around 11:15 this morning.

Long Elementary, only a block and a half from the bank, was locked down immediately, as well as the Smith School a few blocks away. As it turned out, the suspect was within shouting distance of Long, the chief said.

The FBI initially took the lead on the case, suspecting the same man may be responsible for other North Jersey holdups, including one last December in West Orange . But the bureau this afternoon turned the investigation back over to Saddle Brook police.

TD Bank employees and witnesses described the robber as white or light-skinned, about 5-foot-10 to 6 feet tall and 200 pounds, wearing a white baseball cap and black jacket, with white sneakers, a moustache and a soul patch — although the chief said it wasn’t certain whether either bit of facial hair was real.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: The chief later confirmed that his hunch turned out to be true.)

He “showed a black handgun,” Kugler said. “He may have had a car waiting or was picked up. Officers were there right away.”

Saddle Brook police were joined in a perimeter by their colleagues from Fair Lawn and Elmwood Park, Kugler told CLIFFVIEW PILOT earlier tonight.

The Bergen County Police Department’s K9 unit swept the area, while the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office processed the scene for evidence, he said.

The home surveillance video showing the suspect being dropped off turned up during a canvassing of the area after the good Samaritan who followed him notified authorities, the chief said.

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