YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: A patrol sergeant put sketchy circumstances together, leading to the arrest of a New Milford mechanic in connection with recent luring incidents in three towns.
Michael Pezzatti (MUGSHOT: Tenafly PD)
Michael Pezzatti, a 20-year-old former New Milford High School honor student, is being held on $100,000 cash bail in the Bergen County Jail, charged by authorities in Tenafly, Cresskill and Dumont.
Tenafly Sgt. Paul Liautaud stopped Pezzatti on a routine traffic violation at 3:30 Wednesday afternoon a block west of Tenafly High School, police reports indicate.
“He fit the description of our guy exactly,” Tenafly Police Chief Michael Bruno told CLIFFVIEW PILOT shortly after the arrest.
Even though outdoor temperatures were in the mid-30s, the 5-foot-11-inch, 150-pound Pezzatti was wearing a white t-shirt, the chief said.
“He said the heat in the car made him uncomfortable,” Bruno said. “Sgt. Liautaud thought this was unusual.”
It turned out Pezzatti was sitting on a mechanic’s shirt with his name stitched on it, the chief told
News of the recent spate of incidents first broke on CLIFFVIEW PILOT and was follo wed quickly by exclusive updates before this story — which made us first with the arrest, as well. For more information, click: Same man believed involved in luring incidents in three towns
After letting Pezzatti go, Liautaud immediately gave the information to department detectives, who contacted the Bergen County Sheriff’s Department Bureau of Criminal Identification, which assembled a photo lineup.
The detectives called Pezzatti on Thursday, after the girls who were approached each picked him out.
“He agreed to come in and be interviewed,” Bruno told CLIFFVIEW PILOT . “The officers arrested him soon after.”
All three departments have charged Pezzatti officially with “attempting to lure or entice a child into an isolated motor vehicle or structure.” He faces two counts in Tenafly and one each in Cresskill and Dumont.
Investigators, meanwhile, are trying to determine whether Pezzatti’s job gave him access to various vehicles. They have also issued alerts in case other area departments have had similar complaints.
Liautaud “did some heads-up work,” Bruno said. But the chief also gave “major credit” to his detectives, whom he called “the best in the business,” and to police in Cresskill and Dumont, who he said dedicated an enormous amount of time, energy and resources to the investigation.
Bruno also lauded investigators from county Sheriff Michael Saudino’s BCI.
Amid the intense activity going on Thursday, with various investigators from three jurisdictions handling the many tasks involved in this type of investigation, Bruno allowed himself the opportunity to exhale.
“It’s a relief, believe me,” the chief said.
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