Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Prosecutor Probing Alleged Gun Theft

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Prosecutor Probing Alleged Gun Theft

Article excerpt

CLIFTON -- Passaic County Prosecutor Camelia Valdes on Thursday said she was instructing her staff to determine whether she should intervene in a Clifton Police investigation of an alleged handgun theft by a special police officer.

Clifton police charged Nayeska Bermudez, 36, a special police officer working in Guttenberg, with theft of firearms this month but initially withheld information about her arrest. Documents released Thursday also showed the police charged her with a third-degree crime, which is an indictable offense and punishable by up to five years in prison. Bermudez was issued a summons to appear in Municipal Court. She was released without bail.

Valdes said her office was not involved in the case and had not been notified. "I'm not familiar with it at all, because it's not here," she said, meaning a case file is not in the prosecutor's office.

Valdes said that while she did not know the details and didn't cite specific issues, she was concerned about how the case was being handled. Valdes said she would instruct Paul DeGroot, an assistant county prosecutor who handles public integrity cases, to contact Clifton Police today.

Documents released on Thursday showed that Bermudez, a Clifton resident, was accused of stealing two 9mm Glock handguns from a Union City police officer who also lives in Clifton. The guns were not recovered.

The Union City police officer from whose home the weapons allegedly were taken declined to comment. Bermudez could not be reached.

On May 15, The Record reported that Detective Sgt. Robert Bracken confirmed there was an ongoing investigation into a complaint police received about a theft of firearms in Clifton. He declined to release details of the case, saying that criminal charges were being considered. However, a booking sheet obtained last Friday through a public records request showed that Bracken had arrested Bermudez and charged her on May 8. …

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