Armed Robbery Victim Was Used as Human Shield

Police apprehend two suspects who robbed a man at gunpoint, then used him as a decoy to gain entry into a Franklin Street apartment Tuesday night.


A brazen robbery occurred on Franklin Street last night when two Belleville residents robbed a Bloomfield man at gunpoint and then attempted to use him as a decoy to gain entry into an apartment building at 147 Franklin St.

Police responded to a 911 call at 6:19 p.m. June 5 reporting a man had seen his friend being held against his will by two other men who were trying to get into his apartment building.  

When officers arrived on the scene the victim had been released unharmed by the perpetrators. The victim told Officer Jannor Navarro he had had been robbed at gunpoint by two unknown men, who had fled in foot traveling west on Franklin Street.

Officers immediately searched the area and noticed a man fitting the description of one of the suspects sitting on a porch at a home on Berkeley Heights Park. Because he was out of breath and sweating profusely, Navarro questioned him and was able to secure him. He was identified as Farrakhan Howard, 20, of Little Street in Belleville. The victim positively identified him as one of the robbers.

The second suspect was taken into custody by Officer Frank Falco after witnesses saw a man fitting his description running down Willard Avenue.  This suspect was positively identified as George Kupinewicz, 24, of Hickory Court in Belleville.

A search of the area produced several items of evidence including the victim’s backpack, which contained an Apple Mac Pro laptop computer, a cell phone and a wallet containing $160.00 in cash. The weapon believed to have been used in the crime was located by Officer Sang Yoon a short distance from the crime scene, wrapped in some clothing and discarded under a parked car on Willard Avenue.

Both suspects were charged and their court date was set for June 12, 2012.  Judge Perrone set bail for Farrakhan Howard at $400,000 and $250,000 for George Kupinewicz. Neither arrestee was afforded a 10% option on their bail.

Speaking to Patch on Wednesday, Bloomfield Police Sergeant Anthony Servedio praised the quick work of the officers on the scene. 

“We have a good response time at the department,” he said. “The officers were able to get a good description of the suspects and react quickly.”

Servedio said the suspects are currently being questioned by the detective squad for a possible connection to other robberies that have occurred in the area.


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