Police in Wayne say they've arrested the same suspect at least 10 times, point to bail reform

Anthony Johnson Image
Thursday, January 26, 2023
Man arrested repeatedly -- including twice for same crime on same day
Wayne police say NJ man Stephan Sales is a public nuisance and repeat offender, but due to bail reform their hands are tied. Anthony Johnson has the story.

WAYNE, New Jersey (WABC) -- Police say a man in New Jersey has become such a public nuisance that he was arrested twice in the same day -- but officers say the real issue is bail reform.

His charges are endless and the rap sheet is long, but police say their hands are tied.

They say before they know it, 42-year-old Stephan Sales is out of jail and back on the streets - only to cause more trouble.

From reportedly making terroristic threats to urinating in public, police say Sales has become a public nuisance in Wayne.

"Just the Wayne Police Department alone, we have had 64 encounters with him," said Wayne police chief Jack McNiff. "He's been arrested by us at least 10 times."

That includes an assault on an officer. One day Sales was arrested twice in connection to the same crime and was back on the streets before police finished the initial report.

"We're arresting him, we're going through the process, but him being released is out of our hands," McNiff said.

The police chief said it is tough to control the situation because bail reform has handcuffed cops more than criminals.

"New Jersey's bail reform is broken," McNiff said.

Many of the police encounters involving Sales happened in a parking lot off the Hamburg Turnpike. He was arrested after police say he urinated on several businesses.

"The owners say 'he's back, he's threatening people, he's intoxicated, you need to come get us out of here,'" McNiff said.

In one encounter, Sales came to court intoxicated. He was not supposed to appear in person, but remotely, so police sent him away.

When he got on his phone for his court appearance, he exposed himself while walking away.

"He decided to walk in front of Wayne Valley High School which is right next door, while he's on the Zoom with the judge and the court clerk, and pull down his pants and expose his genitalia and begin urinating," McNiff said.

That happened while kids were still in school on Jan. 10.

Before that, Sales harassed customers at a restaurant having dinner.

"He's threatening to shoot children on New Year's Eve at a restaurant in front of their families," McNiff said.

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