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Son of popular Turkish restaurant owner in jail, accused of ‘keying’ cars in Cliffside


YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: The scion of a highly respected North Jersey family of Turkish restaurateurs was in the Bergen County Jail this afternoon, charged with “keying” 18 cars along his street, after a vigilant citizen called Cliffside Park police.

Nazmi Ali Cardak (Courtesy CLIFFSIDE PARK PD)

A judge set $5,000 bail for 30-year-old Nazmi Ali Cardak on 18 separate counts of criminal mischief.

Police spotted t he 6-foot-1, 250-pound Ridgefield High School graduate at Grand and Palisades avenues — a short walk from his home — within seconds of the 11:30 p.m. call, Capt. Michael Russo told CLIFFVIEW PILOT .

Cardak’s mother, Jennie, owns Kervan Restaurant, an admired and respected institution among North Jersey’s Turkish restaurants.

The family patriarch, 66-year-old Nazmi Cardak, cooked at the Turkish Embassy to the United Nations before he opened Kervan, down the street from where the younger Cardak lives. Decades ago, the elder Cardak, who now lives in Tenafly, opened Topkapi, one of Manhattan’s earliest, and most popular, restaurants of its kind .

“That caller gave a perfect example of how the public can help the police fight crime,” Russo said of the car-keying case. “The dispatcher immediately put out the call to patrol units and they found him right away. That’s public service.”

There could be other victims, the captain added. If so, he said, they should call Cliffside Park police: (201) 945-3600.

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