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Former Edgewater man charged with stealing, fencing equipment after Sandy

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot File Photo

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: A former Edgewater man stole generator, jackhammers, vehicles and other equipment, some of which he fenced in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, a state grand jury indictment alleges.

Louis R. Milito, 40, whose last known residence was in Edgewater, was charged yesterday with theft, fencing and issuing bad checks.

“By selling much-coveted generators that he knew were stolen, this defendant illegally profited from…a catastrophic phenomenon that left so many people in New Jersey devastated,” state Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman said.

The state grand jury indictment alleges that between Nov. 9, 2011 and Dec. 17, 2012,

Milito stole nearly $131,000 worth of equipment and vehicles — including a 2012 Dodge Ram, a 2011 Toyota Sienna, nine generators, four demolition hammers, three breaker hammers, four brute hammers and various other expensive power tools — from car and industrial power-tool rental companies throughout New Jersey, the indictment charges.

An investigation by the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor found that Milito then rented the equipment and reported much of it stolen so he wouldn’t have to return it, it says.

Between Oct. 29, 2012, the day that Superstorm Sandy hit the state, and Jan. 28, 2013, Milito “trafficked three of the stolen generators, which had a total value of approximately $12,563,” the indictment alleges.

He also issued five checks worth nearly $8,000 drawn in his own name and in the name of his company, ACS Industries, knowing that the bank wouldn’t honor the checks, it says, adding that he wrote these checks to rent equipment.

Following up on complaints fielded by local county prosecutors, Deputy Attorney General T.J. Harker and Detective Wendy Berg expanded the investigation to include additional pieces of equipment identified after broadcasting an alert to law enforcement authorities statewide.

Deputy Attorney General Harker and Detective Berg coordinated the investigation, with the assistance of Sgt. Jarek Pyrzanowski.

Also participating, authorities said, were: Detective Bryan Van Wettering of the Edgewater Police Department, Sergeant Edward Zloty of the Secaucus Police Department, Detective James Mandeville, of the Pequannock Police Department, Lieutenant Michael Reilly, Sergeant Shawn Bates, and Detective Joseph Mathews of the Mansfield Township Police Department, Detective Doug Williams of the Ridgewood Police Department, and Officer Timothy Pittarese of the Readington Township Police Department, and Officer Michael Rohlls of the East Hanover Police Department.

Travelers Insurance Company also assisted, they said.

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