As Colon approached to investigate, the noise stopped but the officer spotted an aluminum ladder propped up against the side of the building. The officer also observed an unattended 1993 black Jeep Cherokee in the area.
Colon called for back-up units and Essex County sheriff’s Patrol Division officers and Verona police officers arrived on the scene.
Fontoura stated that the sheriff’s officers entered the building but were unable find access to the roof from the structure’s interior.
The officers then contacted the Verona Fire Department. Fire truck #12, equipped with a ladder tower, arrived at the scene for a visual examination of the roof.
As the fire ladder went up, Cedar Grove police Officer Jason Wolfstirn, watching the rear of the building, observed a male suspect, later identified as John Viglione, alias “Johnny Vigs”, age 52, attempt to exit from a rooftop window. When Viglione saw the Wolfstirn the suspect ducked back into the building.
At this point, officers re-entered the building. Viglione was discovered hiding behind the wall of an unfinished attic area and placed under arrest.
A crowbar which Viglione admitted that he was using and a duffle bag were discovered on the roof of the building.
A motor vehicle records check of the Jeep revealed that it was owned by Susan Baker, age 46, also of Ringwood. Viglione advised the officers that Baker was his girlfriend and that she had dropped him off at the hospital center.
A few hours later, Baker arrived at Verona police headquarters and asked which law enforcement agency patrolled the hospital center. Prior to receiving an answer to her inquiry, Baker left the police station but was subsequently stopped on Bloomfield Avenue and placed under arrest.
“The buildings at the old hospital center have been targeted by thieves before and we have made previous arrests at this location”, Sheriff Fontoura noted. “Patrol of the complex by multiple law enforcement agencies continues. Everyone should know that the condition of these structures is poor and they are considered dangerous. However, the price of copper scrap is apparently a determining factor for would-be thieves.”
The two suspects were charged with theft of immovable property and conspiracy. Viglione was also charged with resisting arrest and Baker was charged with hindering apprehension.
After processing at the sheriff’s Bureau of Criminal Identification, the suspects were released, pending a court appearance on the charges.