Lyndhurst Police Emergency Squad captain charged with theft from squad

(MICHAEL LAMENDOLA)   Lyndhurst – The captain of the Lyndhurst Police Emergency Squad has been arrested and charged with third degree theft and fourth degree filing a false police report after officials say he used the squad’s ATM card to withdraw $5,160 from the squad’s bank account and initially told police the card had been stolen.

According to Police Chief James O’Connor, 30-year-old Haniel Lora called O’Connor on May 11 to discuss an issue he had with the squad. O’Connor said he met with Lora that day and Lora filed a report saying that the squad’s ATM card had probably been stolen and there were unauthorized withdrawals from the account. O’Connor said the case was given to Detectives Vincent Auteri and Mike Lemanowicz, who tracked down the charges in question to ATM machines in New York City where they were able to obtain video surveillance and still photos showing Lora using the card.

“As a result of the videos and photos, Lora came back in on May 18 for an interview and he was confronted with the video and photos,” said O’Connor. “He then admitted he used the card to make the withdrawals.”

O’Connor credited other members of the squad with noticing cash being withdrawn from their account, where they in turn alerted Lora of their concerns. O’Connor said the volunteer squad of about 20 maintains an account of donations for purchases of special equipment or apparatus, which goes above and beyond the amount they are funded for operating by the township.

Lora was released on his own recognizance and is scheduled to appear for an arraignment in Lyndhurst Municipal Court on Tuesday, May 25. O’Connor said Lora used the card eight times to withdraw the approximately $5,000, but police have yet to ascertain where the funds are or what they were used for.

“I would hope it doesn’t tarnish the good all these other people do; there have been a number of them there, dedicated, for a number of years,” said O’Connor.

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