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Heroin-addicted Garfield ex-con caught, charged with Elmwood Park convenience store robbery

Photo Credit: issued in Elmwood Park convenience store armed robbery
Photo Credit: Courtesy ELMWOOD PARK PD
Photo Credit: Courtesy WANAQUE PD
Photo Credit: issued in Elmwood Park convenience store armed robbery
Photo Credit: issued in Elmwood Park convenience store armed robbery

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: Authorities today arrested a heroin-addicted Garfield ex-con charged with being the motorcycle-riding robber who held up an Elmwood Park convenience store last week.

Ariel Drapczynksi — who CLIFFVIEW PILOT learned was briefly hospitalized this weekend after a drug overdose — was being held on $150,000 bail in the Bergen County Jail tonight.

Bergen County sheriff’s detectives and Garfield and Elmwood Park police arrested Drapczynksi in the backyard of his girlfriend’s residence on Van Bussum Avenue in Garfield at 2:55 p.m.


They responded to a tip from a resident who spotted Drapczynksi, then took him to Elmwood Park police headquarters following what Garfield Detective Capt. Darren Sucorowski told CLIFFVIEW PILOT was an uneventful arrest.

There he was charged with armed robbery and various weapons possession counts — including being a felon in possession of a firearm — in connection with Friday’s holdup, Elmwood Park Detective Capt. Brian DiPasquale told CLIFFVIEW PILOT .

Police also recovered a motorcycle they believed that he used, DiPasquale said.

Drapczynski was also expected to be questioned about a similar robbery in Wanaque in January committed by two men in motorcycle gear, a law enforcement source said. Charges were also pending out of Garfield.

Drapcynski was briefly hospitalized at St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center in Paterson this weekend for a heroin overdose hours after the Elmwood Park holdup, sources told CLIFFVIEW PILOT .

The clerk at the Seven Days convenience mart in the 700 block of Boulevard told Elmwood Park police last week that she handed over cigarettes and an undetermined amount of cash after the robber came in wearing a cycle helmet and pointed a gun at her.


He then fled on a motorcycle or dirt bike, she said.

A surveillance image was posted on CLIFFVIEW PILOT within hours of the holdup and tips began coming in, police said.

( SEE: Surveillance photo issued in Elmwood Park convenience store armed robbery ).

Before long, an arrest warrant was obtained.

Drapczynski already had a record that includes parole and probation violations, one stemming from an aggravated assault conviction with a weapon in the late 2000s.

Ariel Drapczynski (FACEBOOK PHOTO)

A state judge in Hackensack issued a bench warrant for him after he skipped sentencing two months ago on a third-degree drug conviction.

Investigators from Garfield and Elmwood Park serving the warrant originally thought they had Drapczynski holed up — and armed — in a friend’s apartment on Plauderville Avenue.

They briefly made contact with him, but a law enforcement source told CLIFFVIEW PILOT yesterday that he refused to surrender.

So a perimeter was established and the street was closed between Shaw and Main streets in the mixed-use neighborhood.

Several area residents were relocated to Fire Company #5’s firehouse in the neighborhood.

The Bergen County Police Department SWAT team was then brought in.

It was later determined that Drapczynksi wasn’t there. Nor was he at two other residences that police checked.

As the search continued, Drapczynksi posted photos on Facebook of himself and a friend with two cycles and an ATV ( BELOW ).

He previously posted photos of himself and others in motorcycle helmets, including one similar to that worn by one of the Wanaque robbers ( above, RIGHT ).


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