YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: A man charged with a string of armed robberies in four Bergen County towns had an accomplice in at least one of the holdups, Lodi police revealed today in announcing his arrest.
Emsha Wellington, 35, of Lodi was tracked down and grabbed in Parlin yesterday by Lodi police and U.S. Marshals in connection with the March 17 holdup of a 7-Eleven on Essex Street.
Wellington, who works for Driscoll Foods in Clifton, was being held on $500,000 bail in the Bergen County Jail, charged with armed robbery and two illegal weapons counts. Authorities were also eyeing his possible involvement in other crimes.
Wellington was in and out of the county lockup twice already this year, both in March and in May — just weeks before and two months after the Lodi robbery — in connection with a theft out of South Hackensack. He also was charged with careless driving in Garfield, records show.
Authorities publicly said nothing at the time about an accomplice when they arrested Hamilton Sanchez-Olmo moments after the 7-Eleven holdup and charged him with two robberies in Hasbrouck Heights and one each in Elmwood Park, Lodi and Garfield, following a mini-crime spree that drew headlines.
A Bergen County Police Department K9 unit and Lodi police found Sanchez-Olmo ( inset, above ) hiding in a dumpster barely 110 yards down Essex Street from the 7-Eleven after sources told CLIFFVIEW PILOT that he’d just robbed it of $100 at gunpoint.
The weapon turned out to be a BB gun, one of them told CLIFFVIEW PILOT .
Lodi Police Sgt. Louis Ruffel was on patrol when he saw the 5-foot-11, 150-pound Sanchez-Olmo run from the convenience store removing what appeared to be a ski mask, police said at the time. He vanished as workers ran out, shouting that they’d been robbed.
Officers from Hasbrouck Heights, Hackensack, Maywood and the county flooded the area before the BCPD dog Eiffel led his handler to the garbage bin.
“He covered himself in garbage and was a mess when they got him out,” a law enforcement source told CLIFFVIEW PILOT .
Sanchez-Olmo then led police to the gun, ditched nearby, another said. They also recovered the mask.
Authorities connected Sanchez-Olmo to four other robberies and a botched holdup.
Two occurred 20 minutes and barely a mile apart — first at a Lodi pizzeria and then back in Hasbrouck Heights, where the robber first struck the night before.
The spree began around 8:20 p.m. March 15 at a Rite Aid in the 100 block of Boulevard in Hasbrouck Heights .
After walking halfway down an aisle, Sanchez-Olmo pulled a ski mask over his face and walked straight to the front of the store, police said.
Pointing a black handgun, he ordered the cashier in a Spanish accent to empty the register into his black Jansport backpack, they said.
He then bolted south on Boulevard, turned a corner and got into what police believe was a dark-colored, four-door Volkswagen sedan that then headed west.
Later that night, authorities said, the same robber hit a Sunoco station convenience store in Elmwood Park.
The next day, police believe the same man made off with $660 after pulling a gun on a CVS clerk at Midland and Van Winkle avenues in Garfield.
He wearing nearly all black, including a wool hat, as well as a red scarf covering his face, and “pointing a handgun at the teller threatened to shoot her if she didn’t hand over the money,” Detective Capt. Darren Sucorowski told CLIFFVIEW PILOT .
Also that day, police believe Sanchez-Olmo tried to rob Pizza Zone at South Main Street and Lincoln Place in Lodi but left empty-handed. He was wearing a black mask and gloves, they said.
Twenty minutes later, police said, Sanchez-Olmo hit the Minit Mart in the 300 block of Hasbrouck Heights about a mile from the Lodi holdup.
He had the mask and backpack and what were described as silver or grey sneakers, they said.
Sanchez-Olmo, 22, remained held on $2.25 million bail in the Bergen County Jail today.
MUGSHOT: Courtesy BERGEN COUNTY SHERIFF / SANCHEZ-OLMO: Mary K. Miraglia, CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter
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