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Lyndhurst, Ramsey police work leads to guilty plea in $300,000 equipment theft ring

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot File Photo

UPDATE: A Warren County man admitted in a Hackensack courtroom this week that he led a ring that stole $300,000 worth of heavy equipment from construction sites in Lyndhurst and elsewhere.

Michael J. Troncone, 34, ( above, left ) who faces eight years in prison in exchange for his plea, said the crew sold the equipment fom a vacant lot in Newark to buyers from New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

“The defendant’s thefts threatened the livelihood of many small contractors and builders in New Jersey and delayed projects that were in the process of completion,” Acting New Jersey Attorney General John J. Hoffman said.

“Given that this equipment was insured, the cost of this theft was not just borne by the contractors, its burden was carried by all those participate in the insurance market, which is a substantial portion of New Jersey’s population,” added Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Ronald Chillemi. “So when you read stories about theft, know that the thief could be stealing from you, too.”

Investigators from Chillemi’s office were tipped of by police in several towns, including Lyndhurst Detective Michael Lemonowicz and Ramsey police.

They then used remotely-operated surveillance cameras, tracking devices and digital forensics to collect evidence of Toncone and a co-conspirator, Marc Fucetola, 38, of Blairstown (above, middle), stealing equipment from construction sites “during late evening or early morning hours,” Hoffman said.

Investigators in October arrested Troncone, Fucetola and 40-year-old Craig Slaaen of Livingston ( above, right ). Search warrants were executed in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

At least 21 pieces of heavy equipment valued at several hundred thousand dollars were recovered:

• 2013 Takeuchi TB153FR mini-excavator with an approximate value of $65,000
• 2014 John Deere 35G Compact Excavator, with an approximate value of $58,100
• 2006 Bobcat S300 Skid-Steer, with an approximate value of $28,250
• 2006 Bobcat S250 Skid-Steer, with an approximate value of $28,250
• 2006 Case 420 Skid-Steer, with an approximate value of $22,700
• 2005 Caterpillar 232-B Skid-Steer, with an approximate value of $17,950
• 2002 Bobcat T-190 Skid-Steer, with an approximate value of $14,300
• 2014 John Deer Gator ATV, with an approximate value of $10,243
• 1998 Case 85XT Skid-Steer with an approximate value of $9,500
• 2006 Wacker Generator valued at $24,895
• 2008 ODB Leaf Vacuum
• two 2014 John Deere Zero-turn Mowers
• several trailers including enclosed trailers and flatbed-type trailers

Lt. Joseph Waters and Detective Amy Carson led the investigation, with assistance from Detectives Jonathan Berman, Christopher Schell, Robert Rosa, Janet Amberg, and Michael Behar and Analyst Marwa Kashef.

Deputy Attorney General Reid Caster is handling the case for the state.

The cases against Fucetola and Slaaen were pending.

Chillemi also thanked: Lemonowicz of Lyndhurt, Lo-Jack, New Jersey State Police, Pennsylvania State Police, the Division of Criminal Justice Electronic Surveillance Unit (ESU), New Providence Detective Andrew Diamond, Hanover Detective Lt. John Fox and the Ramsey and Totowa police departments, the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, the National Insurance Crime Bureau and the National Equipment Registry.

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