Off duty Edison police officers thwart ‘porch pirate’ theft


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EDISON – Michael and Lisa Cimmino – a married sergeant and a patrol officer respectively with the Edison Police Department – may have been off-duty, but their police instincts were in full gear leading to the arrest of a “porch pirate” after he allegedly swiped two packages from the front door of a Jefferson Avenue home.

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The incident began at 9:40 a.m. on May 31, as the Cimminos were driving on Amboy Avenue in the Clara Barton section to a medical appointment in Fords, police said.

The couple observed a man wearing a leather coat and hat toting an empty red bookbag on a humid, 75-degree morning. Lisa Cimmino told her husband the suspect’s clothing seemed odd on such a warm morning, police said.

The man looked so suspicious, the veteran officers – Michael with 25 years and Lisa with 16 years experience – turned their personal vehicle around for a closer look through the Clara Barton neighborhood, police said.

That’s when the couple said they saw the suspect walking away from a Jefferson Street home with a cardboard carton under his arm and a large envelop in hand.

The Cimminos called police headquarters for help. But, before they detained the suspect, they also noted the license plate off a 2009 Lexus, idling nearby, that appeared to be waiting for the suspect. The car sped away and Edison police are now seeking its owner, a Hillside resident, police said.

Police Officers David Goldman and Christoper Pitoscia arrived at the scene within minutes to find the Cimminos – both in casual clothes and without handcuffs – struggling to restrain the suspect. The on-duty officers took him into custody and processed his arrest at police headquarters, police said.

A 55-year-old New Brunswick man is charged with theft, obstruction, hindering his arrest, and possession of drug paraphernalia. The suspect allegedly gave police a fake name after his arrest and cops found a crack pipe and metal spoon on him when they took him into custody, according to police.

“Good police work is not a 9-to-5 job, it’s a 24-7 job,” Police Chief Thomas Bryan said. “It requires our police officers to be alert, observant and pro-active, whether they are on-duty or off-duty. This arrest demonstrates that Sgt. Cimmino and Officer Cimmino recognize their professional commitment to the Edison community.”

Police also learned the suspect was wanted on a no-bail burglary warrant from Middlesex County and a separate warrant from Watchung Municipal Court. He remains in custody at the Middlesex County Adult Correction Center in North Brunswick.

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