A look at Newark’s bizarre crimes of 2018
Stolen diarrhea medicine, a misplaced grenade and the tequila bottle that helped ID a burglar
Newark is fortunate that it doesn’t usually have to deal with the shootings, murders and other violent crimes that often plague larger cities.
That said, the crime logs at the Newark Police Department are rarely boring.
Here’s a look at some of the stranger crimes we reported on in 2018.
Two people stole anti-diarrheal medicine from a Newark Acme multiple times over the course of two weeks in September. A man and woman were caught on surveillance camera stealing more than $200 in over-the-counter medicine on at least three separate incidents, police said. It’s unclear if the thieves were addicts – certain anti-diarrheal medicine taken in large quantities reportedly produces a high similar to opioids – or just really unlucky when it comes to food poisoning.
A dispute over drugs led to a bizarre chain of events during which a woman forcefully removed another woman’s shoes and socks, assaulted a police officer and flooded her holding cell, causing $14,000 in damage to the Newark police station. While searching the woman, officers found a crack pipe hidden in her rectum and a container of drugs hidden in her crotch. The woman later told police that she went to the Park N Shop to buy crack cocaine for the victim, but because it was hot outside, she felt the victim should share the crack with her. When the victim refused to share, she removed the victim’s socks in an attempt to find the drugs, which she believed had been stashed there.
A Maryland man was arrested for his second DUI after slamming his car into a pole on South College Avenue while holding a beer. Emergency responders arrived to find him trapped in the car and unresponsive but still clutching the bottle of beer. Firefighters cut the roof off the car and freed the man after 15 minutes and took him to Christiana Hospital.
After watching a man steal $145 worth of rib-eye steaks and frozen shrimp from the College Square Acme, an armed vigilante jumped into his vehicle and pursued the thief. He pulled into the path of the shoplifter’s vehicle and got out to confront him. At some point, the vigilante, who has a concealed-carry permit, drew his handgun and pointed it at the shoplifter’s vehicle, police said, adding that the vigilante later told police the vehicle started to move and he was worried the shoplifter would run him over. The shoplifter backed up his vehicle and then sped away. Police said they were consulting with the attorney general’s office about whether to charge the vigilante.
A UD student was charged with 82 offenses for a months-long graffiti spree in which he allegedly spray-painted the word “Why?” in multiple places around Newark, including the side of a business on Cleveland Avenue, a trash can on Wilbur Street and a porta-potty at a South Chapel Street construction site. As for why he painted the word “Why,” police wouldn’t say.
Fingerprints left on a bottle of Patrón tequila helped detectives track down an alleged burglar three months after a break-in at a Newark liquor store. Three men broke into the Dash Discount Liquors on Elkton Road, and one of the burglars filled a garbage bag full of alcohol and cigarettes. The burglar attempted to flee through a side door but struggled to carry his bag of loot, which split apart, causing many of the liquor bottles to fall on the floor. Detectives were able to glean fingerprints from one of the bottles that was left behind.
Rowdy UD students celebrating graduation drew the attention of campus cops and the ire of Old Newark residents by jumping in the fountain on The Green and chanting late at night. Video that circulated on social media showed one shirtless student, who had what appeared to be male genitalia drawn on his arm, addressing the crowd. “There are honestly no words in my soul .... we graduate tomorrow,” he said before imploring the crowd to “shut the [expletive] up” so he could finish speaking. The crowd then chanted for him to take his pants off.
Rittenhouse Park was evacuated in August after a visitor found a military practice grenade in the parking lot. In what won’t go down as the year’s smartest decision, the visitor picked up the grenade and drove it to Delaware State Police Troop 2 in Glasgow. DSP bomb experts disposed of the grenade and swept the park for other explosives.
Police arrested a homeless burglar after a UD student found him drinking beer and smoking cigarettes in the basement of the student’s Choate Street home. The student called police and gave chase, and the burglar chucked a can of beer over his shoulder at him as he ran away. Police later caught the burglar, who was the same man who was arrested four years ago for throwing a piece of pizza through a woman’s car window on Delaware Avenue, hitting her in the back of the head.
Police investigate Rittenhouse Park after someone found a military practice grenade there in August.