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New Milford merchants, police thwart jewelry store robbery

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot File Photo

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: Two New Milford store owners scuffled with a man who just swiped several thousand dollars worth of jewelry and threw it onto a shopping center roof, before a pair of borough police officers drew their guns and got him to stop the getaway car in the parking lot.

Both Alexander Garibian, the owner of New Milford Delicatessen, and Jewelry by Vincent owner Vincent Aveta were back at work this morning, Police Chief Frank Papapietro said.

“They weren’t going to let a little thing like that stop them,” the chief said, relieved that both were OK.

Meanwhile, 58-year-old Greg William Schrumpf of Oakland was being held on $100,000 bail in the Bergen County Jail.

Officers Derek Mattessich and Michael Lafrano were on a motor-vehicle stop in front of the Brookchester (Shop-Rite) Shopping Center on River Road around 1 p.m. yesterday when they heard cries for help, the chief said.

They saw Schrumpf running through the parking lot with the two merchants close behind, he said.

Garibian then grabbed the accused thief and began struggling with him before Schrumpf got into his car, Papapietro said.

With Aveta hanging on, Schrumpf gunned the black VW Passat out of its space, pinning Garibian and sideswiping other vehicles, he said.

He then headed toward both officers, who drew their guns, Papapietro said.

Schrumpf then stopped the car, he said.

The officers tended to Aveta and got Schrumpf out of the car and into custody.

“While all this was going on, the holdup alarm came in from Vincent’s,” Papapietro said.

Aveta told police that Schrumpf took $25,000 in jewelry from his store about a month ago and $3,500 worth yesterday.

Borough firefighters using a tower ladder fetched yesterday’s haul from the roof of the shopping center, the chief said.

Meanwhile, police were reviewing surveillance video from the previous theft.

“Now we have a name to go with the face,” Papapietro said.

Schrumpf currently is charged with two counts of assault by auto and one each of robbery, theft and hindering apprehension.

“The officers showed outstanding restraint in dealing with a life-threatening situation,” Papapietro said. “It was an example of excellent police work.”

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