Rochelle Park police nabbed a handyman who they said used his tools to break into a locked closet and steal $20,000 worth of luxury handbags, jewelry and other items from a borough resident whom he'd worked for the past five years.
The Harvey Avenue resident told police she and her husband contacted 37-year-old Martin Armanzo of West Orange, who agree to return the goods, Detective Sgt. James DePreta said.
Investigators and uniformed officers were waiting when he showed up Saturday morning.
They arrested Armanzo, recovered eight handbags from the back seat of his car and discovered a small amount of cocaine, DePreta said.
"Never once did we think this would happen," the homeowner said. "Just goes to show you that no matter how long you know someone you truly don't know them....Unfortunately we learned this the hard way.
"Rochelle Park police have been amazing in catching him and working on recovering a lot of what he took," she sadded. "Some has sentimental value, which means more than the monetary value...[At] the end of the day I just want my belongings back and this to never happen to anyone else."
Detectives were working with local pawns shops, hoping to recover other bags they said he stole. They also asked that anyone who hired Armanzo check their belongings and report any thefts to their local police department.
They charged Armanzo with burglary, theft, receiving stolen property, and possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia and released him pending a court hearing.
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