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Saddle Brook bank robber bought heroin with proceeds, police say

Photo Credit: above

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: A bandana-wearing bandit from Paterson who robbed a Saddle Brook bank of roughly $4,500 yesterday afternoon bought 300 or so bags of heroin with much of the proceeds, authorities told CLIFFVIEW PILOT after township detectives arrested him outside a Rochelle Park hotel less than seven hours later.

Detectives investigating the 2:30 p.m. holdup at the Spencer Savings Bank in the Terra Mini Mall on Market Street were scouring area hotels when they found the getaway car — a four-door, gold 2000 Mazda Millenia — in the parking lot of the Ramada Inn off the Garden State Parkway tonight, Saddle Brook Police Chief Robert Kugler told CLIFFVIEW PILOT.

Just before 9:30 p.m., 25-year-old William Petrucelli II of North 8th Street emerged from the lobby following an apparent visit and was arrested, the chief said.

Detective Capt. Vincent Laurentino and Detective Sgt. Thomas Johnson got his consent to search the car and found a key inside to the Airport Hotel in South Hackensack, Kugler said. There they recovered approximately $1,500 in cash, along with the hundreds of heroin bags that the chief said Petrucelli bought with the rest of the booty.

He later confessed during questioning, Kugler said.

A witness earlier reported seeing Petrucelli — wearing a grey sweatshirt and dark shorts — run across the parking lot of the mini mall, get into a four-door, late-90s model gold-colored vehicle and drive off immediately after the robbery, Kugler said.

Meanwhile, detectives from the Bergen County Sheriff’s Bureau of Criminal Identification were lifting a fingerprint matching Petrucelli’s from the demand note, which the chief said he left behind.

The note said he had a gun and instructed the teller to put the cash into a bag he’d brought, the chief said.

“We can’t say enough about the accuracy of the witness’s description of the vehicle, combined with the quickness of the sheriff’s officers in matching the fingerprint,” Kugler said. “That and the work of our detectives.”

Petrucelli ( photo, above ) was being held on $75,000 bail in the Bergen County Jail, charged with robbery. Kugler said drug charges will follow.

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