Jewel ‘thief’ dumps loot, runs through Lyndhurst neighborhood
By Susan C. Moeller / Senior Reporter
LYNDHURST (Nov. 16, 2010) — Two alleged jewel thieves threatened three people in a shop on Main Avenue in Clifton, then fled into Lyndhurst Monday, Nov. 15, carrying a bag containing $200,000 worth of jewelry they had just stolen, according to police.
Rockman Hughes, 41, of Newark, jumped out of a 1996 GMC Jimmy on Kearny Avenue, just off of Rutherford Avenue near the Route 3 exit ramp, dropped a green bag filled with the proceeds of the alleged robbery, then ran into the backyards of Kearny Avenue homes, according to Clifton Police Capt. Robert Rowan.
Hughes was apprehended at gunpoint shortly afterward, at approximately 11:39 a.m. by a Clifton police officer who found Hughes hiding under a pool cover at a Riverside Avenue home.
Hughes’ brother, Lester, 43, of Phillipsburg, drove away from the area, stopping at the Continental Travel Agency on Park Avenue, where he asked to use the phone to call for help related to a flat tire, according to police.
Hughes was picked up there by his girlfriend, Deborah Viscel, police believe. Lester had not been apprehended at press time.
Lyndhurst’s Jefferson Community School and Jefferson School were both placed on lock down at the time of the chase and search, said Lyndhurst Police Chief James O’Connor, who assisted the Clifton Police Department.
The schools were locked down because initial reports indicated that the Hughes’ brothers were armed, O’Connor said.
When the men entered Tony’s jewelry store, they were both wearing black ski masks, and told the people in the store that they were carrying guns, Rowan confirmed. They threatened to kill the storeowner, an employee and a customer if they did not cooperate, but no one actually saw a gun, Rowan added.
Lester and Rockman Hughes were both charged with first-degree robbery and second-degree theft, according to Rowan. Lester also faces a charge of eluding police for driving the getaway car.
Lester Hughes is described as a black male, approximately 6-feet tall and 170 pounds, with a short haircut. Deborah Viscel, 48, is a white female, approximately 5’6” tall. She is originally from Belleville, and currently believed to be a resident of Phillipsburg, Rowan said.
Anyone with information about the robbery or suspects is asked to call the Clifton Police Department at 973-470-5908.