Prescription Drug Arrest in Glen Rock Sparks Fair Lawn Investigation
The arrest of a 21-year-old New York man Tuesday night could lead to dozens of closed cases throughout the New York and New Jersey area, police say.
Had 21-year-old Armend Salijaj of Manhattan 'liked' the Glen Rock Police Department, he'd likely be at cozier digs than the Bergen County Jail in Hackensack.
Salijaj was arrested in connection to an attempted prescription fraud bid that ended in a dramatic foot chase on Tuesday night, and police believe the capture could lead to numerous police departments solving similar outstanding cases.
Police touted the arrest as a result of effective use of social media, alert police and cognizant citizens.
According to Det. James Calaski, the pharmacist at Rock Ridge Pharmacy noticed a familiar man attempting to fill a prescription just past 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday. The individual, whom police identified as Salijaj, fit the description of a suspect whose "crew" of four committed a fraud at the Glen Rock CVS on April 25 for oxycodone, and unsuccessfully attempted the same from the Rock Ridge Pharmacy the same day, according to police.
Recognizing the name of the doctor on the prescription and pictures of the suspect posted on the Glen Rock Police Facebook page, the alert Rock Ridge pharmacist called police. Calaski said Ptl. Murray Yang confronted the suspect in the store and after a brief questioning, the suspect bolted through an alley but eventually was captured by Yang and Ptl. Scott McGovern near the train tracks.
According to Calaski, Salijaj along with two males and a female were responsible for similar prescription frauds in Fair Lawn, Hawthorne, Spring Valley (NY) and Brooklyn. While Salijaj admitted to being responsible for the Glen Rock frauds, he refused to disclose his accomplices, the detective told Patch.
Fair Lawn police said Salijaj's arrest and subsequent admission sparked an investigation into his alleged role in a possible unreported recent prescription drug fraud perpetrated at Walgreens on River Road. Lt. Derek Bastinck said additional charges in Fair Lawn are pending an investigation by the detective bureau.
Glen Rock police, who had loaded clearer pictures of the alleged crew on Facebook hours before the attempt on Tuesday night, say the ring could be responsible for twelve known prescription fraud cases and likely even more.
Calaski said Salijaj, who emigrated from Kosovo, had about 20 drivers licenses on him. Salijaj told detectives the Tuesday arrest actually fell on his birthday (official documents show he was born on June 15, but detectives said Salijaj claimed his father wrote down the wrong date on immigration papers).
"It's a sign of the times," Calaski said of the rising number of drug fraud cases. "You look at the type of fraud we're dealing with...we're just seeing a lot more of it."
The prescription police say Salijaj used was traced to a New York doctor, whom police say is not believed to be complicit in the fraud ring.
Salijaj is being held on $150,000 bail and is charged with two counts each of attempt to obtain CDS by fraud, receiving stolen property, forgery by uttering, and identity theft/impersonation of another. He was also charged with resisting arrest by flight.
Police are confident the remaining three suspects (see photos posted to the right) will be brought to justice, and soon.
"It's just a matter of time before we find them or someone recognizes them," Calaski said.
Anyone with further information of the ongoing investigation is urged to call the Glen Rock Detective's Bureau at (201) 670-3948.
Correction: An earlier version identified the suspects of previously getting a prescription from Rock Ridge Pharmacy on April 25; police say the suspects obtained oxycodone from CVS and then unsuccessfully attempted to pass a prescription at Rock Ridge.