Investigation by local police, UCPO yields arrest of man charged with 5 burglaries

An Elizabeth man is in custody and charged in connection with five commercial vehicle burglaries that occurred over the span of two days in Cranford last week, resulting in thousands of dollars’ worth of work tools being stolen, acting Union County Prosecutor Lyndsay V. Ruotolo and Cranford Police Chief Ryan Greco jointly announced Friday.

Steven Cuartas, 30, is charged with five counts of third-degree burglary and single counts of third-degree theft, fourth-degree criminal mischief, and two minor drug offenses.  

An investigation by the Cranford Police Department that expanded to involve the newly created Intelligence-Driven Investigation and Prosecution Unit of the Prosecutor’s Office revealed that the various vehicle burglaries took place on Thursday, November 14 and Friday, November 15, affecting vehicles parked on the 200 block of Bloomingdale Avenue, the 300 block of North Avenue East, and the 500 block of Claremont Place, as well as near the intersection of Casino Avenue and Claremont Place, and the intersection of Pacific Avenue and Locust Drive. All of the burglarized vehicles were commercial work trucks, and the items stolen from them included various tools with a combined estimated value of approximately $4,350.

With the Roselle Park and Union police departments also assisting, the investigation resulted in Cuartas being identified as a suspect in the case, and he was arrested without incident by members of the participating agencies outside his home on the 100 block of Chilton Street in Elizabeth on Wednesday, November 20. A search of his vehicle conducted later in the day revealed numerous tools, some believed to be stolen.

Cuartas was lodged in the Union County Jail pending a detention hearing scheduled to take place in Superior Court. Additional criminal charges against this defendant are possible, and anyone with information about his activities is being asked to contact Cranford Police Department Detective Spencer Durkin at 908-709-7346 or Detective Robert Jordan at 908-709-4124.

These criminal charges are mere accusations. Each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.