As Good As Alleged Thieves Were, Law Enforcement Was Better

CEDAR GROVE, N.J. (CBS 2) — Police were enjoying the sweet smell of success Friday after busting a crew of thieves, charged with attempting to steal a half-million dollars worth of perfume.

The bandits, who took precautions by wearing ski-masks, were captured on videotape shot by detectives. reports CBS 2’s John Slattery.

They operated fork lifts, and were chased by the cops on camera, after allegedly loading the perfume into two trucks outside. But the plant’s owner said the haul could have been enormous.

“I would suspect it would have been in the millions for the type of material we have here,” Joseph Lizzi said, adding when told state police estimated $5 million to 10 $million, “I think that’s reasonable.”

The place is called Contract Filling, Inc., and it packages various brands of perfumes, including “Ed Hardy.”

Police had information that the place was going to be hit. They put detectives inside with a camera and waited for the front door to be forced open.

“When they gained entry through the front door, they attacked the alarm system and disabled it in about 20 seconds. They were good. They knew what they were doing,” said Lt. Michael McDonnell of the New Jersey State Police.

Fearing that police might show up, they left and came back three hours later to begin loading two stolen trucks. Police moved in, arresting three men inside and two outside. State police last week shot a video of $2 million in copper tubing, allegedly stolen in Carteret and being peddled in Hackensack.

“We think they’re part of the same group and we’re working on trying to link them together,” Lt. McDonnell said.

It’s a lesson that security systems in plants need to be reviewed.

“It’s already improved, yes. We’ve made upgrades already,” Lizzi said.

With these two busts, the message to thieves is clear: If you plan to pull a job you run the risk of doing it on camera.

In the Cedar Grove bust, all five arrested had bail set at $300,000 and were being held in the Essex County Jail.

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