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Carlstadt Charges Mount Against Old Tappan Woman In 'Walk-In' Break-Ins

Cristina Sidoti
Cristina Sidoti Photo Credit: COURTESY: Bergen County Sheriff

CARLSTADT, N.J. -- Charges continued to mount against an Old Tappan woman accused of attempting to burglarize homes in Carlstadt and Rutherford.

Carlstadt police on Tuesday added counts of burglary, theft, criminal trespassing and unlawful use of a credit card against Cristina Sidoti, 39, who has remained free since last January on $20,000 bail that she posted a week after being arrested in Old Tappan.

A bail reduction hearing brought the amount down from $50,000.

A Carlstadt woman whose father is a retired borough police officer said the stranger walked into her house on Jan. 1 and was later seen going through a glove box in a neighbor's car.

Her dog alerted her that someone "came into my house uninvited," the woman wrote on Facebook.

The woman said she caught her "ducking out the back door. I asked her what she was doing and she asked if I had the room for rent. Then high-tailed it down the driveway.

"Apparently she did not have the wrong house -- she just walked into ours."

That same day, a Union Street resident reported seeing a "40-ish" woman with long black hair and a tan coat rummaging through a car parked on Central Avenue, Police Chief Thomas Nielsen said Tuesday.

That night, a Center Street resident said someone broke into his 2014 Ford Escape and stole his wallet containing two credit cards and identification.

The victim's bank reported the cards being used with local merchants in Wallington, East Rutherford and Secaucus on Jan. 1-3, the chief said.

Detectives Sgt. John Cleary obtained video from each -- all showing the same woman, he said

A Union Street resident also said the woman entered her home through an unlocked side door on Jan. 1 and claimed to be looking for a room for rent. She said she pushed the woman out, and she headed south on Union Street.

Police in Rutherford reported a similar intrusion on Jan. 11. Again, the intruder told a resident who confronted her that she was looking for a room for rent, they said.

During a widening investigation, Carlstadt detectives learned of a similar incident on 10th Street, Nielsen said.

“Oh, my God, I am at the wrong house. I am so sorry,” the intruder said.

The resident asked who she was looking for, and she responded: "Jenkinson’s in East Rutherford.”

She then drove off in a tan SUV-style vehicle, Nielsen said.

Englewood Cliffs Police Capt. Brian Murphy produced a composite sketch. Garfield and Rutherford police helped identify the suspect as Sidoti, the chief said.

Old Tappan police arrested Sidoti at her parents' home on Jan. 9.

A warranted search of her 2004 Isuzu Ascender turned up clothing and jewelry taken from one of the Union Street residents, the chief said.

"Multiple credit, debit and gift cards were also located inside the vehicle that bore different names," Nielsen said. "Those are being investigated by the Old Tappan PD as potential victims."

A Feb. 21 Carlstadt Municipal Court hearing was set.

The chief asked that anyone who experienced similar incidents call Cleary: (201) 531-7187 or email: jcleary@carlstadtpolice.org .

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