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Mahwah detectives capture fugitive in theft of $150,000 left on street

Photo Credit: Courtesy MAHWAH PD

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: A man who authorities said got out of a passenger van and snatched a satchel filled with $150,000 from a Mahwah street was arrested by township detectives this afternoon at a Newark motel, Police Chief James Batelli told CLIFFVIEW PILOT .

James Bludson, 35, was grabbed by Mahwah Detective Sgt. Kevin Hebert, Detective Michael Grassi assisted by state and federal investigators, the chief said.

He’s charged with theft of mislaid property.

The satchel was inadvertently left on the street by employees of a company that delivers money to ATM machines on July 27.

Mahwah police soon after arrested Alton Harvey, 42, of Hillside, who they said was driving a borrowed GMC Savanna van when Bludson, of Newark, got out and grabbed the bag off a curb on Industrial Avenue near Franklin Turnpike.

Surveillance cameras produced images of the van, which Grassi traced to an Irvington resident hours after the theft.

After finding the van in Irvington, Grassi, Hebert and Detective Eric Larsen spotted a new Chevy Tahoe with temporary New Jersey license tags, ran the number and discovered that it had just been bought, Batelli said.

Detectives later arrested Harvey in Hillside.

They also impounded the van, whose owner was unaware of its involvement in a crime,the chief said.

Harvey “admitted to his role as the driver of the van and also informed detectives that the Tahoe was purchased with cash taken from the satchel,” Batelli said.

Detectives ruled out the possibility of the theft being an inside job following extensive interviews and reviews of surveillance images — which included thefts of used tires dumpd at car dealerships and repair shops, the chief said at the time.

Harvey — who has an extensive criminal history that includes 10 felony convictions for weapons and drug offenses, escape and resisting arrest — remained held on $125,000 bail in the Bergen County Jail.


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