YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: A daylong manhunt involving several law enforcement agencies ended early last night after a Garfield woman told a city police sergeant she’d found her apartment door forced open and dead-bolted from the inside – and police found their 47-year-old subject hiding in her attic.
It wasn’t difficult for Sgt. John Lesica and a team of officers who rushed to the Palisade Avenue apartment just after 5:30 p.m.: a coffee table that Dexter Mouzone had used to boost himself up into the attic was where he left it, Garfield Detective Capt. Darren Sucorowski said.
CLIFFVIEW PILOT first reported the arrest and capture within minutes of when Mouzone was brought to Garfield headquarters for processing – hours after police said he rammed a van into a house while fleeing Passaic officers and unsuccessfully tried to carjack a motorist.
Police put Lincoln Public School #6 on lockdown at 8:30 a.m. as they formed a perimeter around the neighborhood where Mouzone was eventually found. They’d checked several homes on Palisade Avenue and elsewhere, with no luck.
Although they called off the dragnet six hours later, officers hung around the area, hoping to catch a lead.
Sure enough, a woman walked up to Lesica and told him what she’d found at her apartment, Sucorowski said.
Garfield police immediately charged the 5-foot-5-inch, 165-pound Mouzone with criminal trespass, and a judge ordered that he be held on $25,000 bail, pending additional charges in the city and in Passaic.
Mouzone, whose most recent address is in Passaic, has an extensive rapsheet in Garfield and Lodi that includes arrests for burglary, theft, simple assault and contempt, records show.
Lincoln School #6 was on lockdown for most of the day as a squadron of police – including a K9 unit – concentrated on the neighborhoods where authorities thought they might find him.
One parent said she intended to stay in the school until she got the all-clear.
“Police cars were flying up the one-way street, officers were jumping out of their cars, all the while yelling at the teachers to get the kids in school and close the doors,” she said. “I will not leave this school.”
Police also went to an address in Lodi where they thought they might find him, without luck. Lodi’s Washington School was briefly locked down during the search.
Passaic police said the chase began around 8:30 a.m. as officers were responding to a domestic violence call. Mouzone crossed the river into Garfield before crashing a Dodge Caravan into a River Drive building and taking off on foot, Sucorowski said.
Moments later came the failed carjacking attempt on nearby Cambridge Avenue, he said.
The perimeter included Passaic, Garfield, Lodi, Wallington, Paramus, South Hackensack police, as well as:
Bergen County Police
New Jersey Transit Police
New Jersey State Police
It was taken down around 2:30 yesterday afternoon, although police continued to search various areas.
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