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Lodi man accused of breaking into Saddle Brook police chief’s unmarked patrol car


Saddle Brook Chief Robert Kugler's 2007 Dodge Charger

SADDLE BROOK — A 21-year-old Lodi man chose the wrong car to break into Friday morning — the Saddle Brook police chief’s.

Timothy Jolls, 21, of Lodi was charged with third-degree burglary and released with a Tuesday court appearance. Saddle Brook Chief Robert Kugler said Jolls was under the influence of alcohol.

Kugler’s neighbor saw that the interior lights of the unmarked Dodge Charger were on and watched a tall man leave the vehicle around 2:45 a.m., the police chief said in an email. Kugler had left the car unlocked in his driveway on Lanza Avenue. 

“He calls the PD and patrols arrive within minutes,” he said.

Officers arrested a man who was three houses away getting out of a 2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee in a driveway.

The neighbor identified the man as the one he had seen getting out of Kugler’s car, the chief said. The Jeep wasn’t Jolls’ car and he appeared too intoxicated to give a formal statement. 

Saddle Brook officers roused the chief “to inform me of the incident unfolding in the street outside my home,” Kugler said. “This is literally a wake up call not only for me personally, but for all of us, to lock our cars at all times because you never know what or who is lurking around outside and around our homes and in our streets.”

Two other cars nearby were burglarized: a 1997 Infinity and a 2013 Mercedes Benz, the chief said. Nothing of value appears to be missing and police believe only loose change in plain view was taken.

Saddle Brook has seen an increase of car burglaries and thefts within the last month, he said.

“These are basically opportunity crimes,” Kugler said. “When you leave a car unlocked, regardless of where it’s parked, you provide the easy opportunity for the thief to enter it and help him/herself. I was the enabler here on this specific event, not that it justifies the crime, just made it a lot easier to commit.”

The chief commended his neighbor and his officers.

“The moral of the story here is two-fold, always lock your car and always be on the lookout and immediately report suspicious persons and behavior,” he said.