Page 8 THE VILLADOM TIMES I • March 11, 2009 Franklin Lakes House burglars captured in borough brought to justice by Frank J. McMahon The two burglars who were captured by the Franklin Lakes Police Department in January 2008 after a high speed car chase have agreed to plea deals that will require one of them to be deported and the other to serve a five year jail term and make full restitution to his victims. Both Luis Ponce and Miguel de la Carrera have been in the Bergen County Jail since their arrest, according to Assistant Prosecutor Melanie Silletti, who prosecuted their cases. Ponce has agreed to a sentence that will cover the time he has already spent in jail, but he is on an immigration services detainer list as an illegal alien, and will remain in jail pending his deportation. Ponce had no prior convictions and was charged only with the burglary that occurred in Franklin Lakes, according to Silletti. De la Carrera was charged with multiple burglaries in Passaic County along with the one in Franklin Lakes, but they were all “collapsed” into one count, Silletti said. She explained that De la Carrera never denied his involvement in the crimes and took full responsibility for them and for making full restitution to all of the victims. “Mr. De la Carrera pled to a to a five year flat jail sentence and he will be sentenced to a New Jersey state prison for a five year term with full restitution to all of the victims,” Silletti said, adding that he will stay in jail until the time of his sentencing on May 15, at which time he will be sent to a prison facility. He has prior convictions, and Silletti advised that he will have to serve his time until the prison parole board reviews his time served to determine what, if any, credits he will get for that time served. “Because he has prior convictions he’s going to serve more time than a person who did not have any prior convictions would have to serve,” Silletti explained, “but I can’t say what that will be because it will depend on the parole board.” According to Silletti, De la Carrera was working as a window installer when he committed the burglaries. “In fact, the job he had prior to, or around the time of, the burglaries is how he came up with this scheme for the burglaries,” she said. “He was knocking on residential doors while wearing his window installer uniform pretending he was there to install windows. If anyone questioned him he had all the paraphernalia to show that he was a window installer.” She said he did not, however, install windows at the Franklin Lakes home he burglarized. Ponce, who was a day laborer, according to Silletti, claims he was duped by De la Carrera into being involved in the burglary when he was asked by De la Carrera to help him move items from his friend’s house. Ponce told the police that when he realized it was actually a burglary, he knew it was illegal, but he decided to continue because he was already there. “He is not a criminal per se,” Silletti said. “He engaged in this criminal activity and took full responsibility for it but he doesn’t have a criminal record besides this one.” Ponce’s public defender, Saray Miller, could not be reached to comment on her client’s plea deal. But Richard Baldi, De la Carrera’s private attorney, said his client is sorry for what he has done. “Mr De la Carrera is very, very sorry. He is very remorseful for what has occurred and he has spent a good deal of time in the county jail which is not a pleasant place and it’s not supposed to be a pleasant place,” Baldi said, adding that De la Carrera has done some “real soul searching” while in jail and he wants to get out of jail and start paying back his victims. “I think it was a good result all around because he has certainly been punished and when he gets out he is going to have to pay every single penny back of the money he took from his victims,” Baldi said. He added that he did not know the amount of money involved, but he said it is substantial. It was in January 2008 when a borough resident observed an unfamiliar car in her driveway when she arrived home and then saw two males leaving her home carrying a bag and entering the suspicious vehicle. She recorded the car’s license plate number and began to follow the burglars while contacting the police. Borough police officers Robert Lyon and Robert Grassi, under the command of Sergeant Pezzuti and with the assistance of police dispatcher Lynn VerHage, encountered the vehicle on Summit Avenue and signaled for it to stop. The driver accelerated, however, with the patrol cars following at a high rate of speed. The police officers pursued the vehicle on Summit Avenue and continued the pursuit onto the southbound lanes of Route 208 until the driver of the car attempted to exit the highway onto Fair Lawn Avenue in Fair Lawn and hit several curbs and went over two lanes of traffic into a drainage ditch where it crashed. Ponce and De la Carrera ran from the wrecked vehicle, but they were apprehended about a block away after a brief foot chase. When police investigators entered their car, they found a flat screen television, jewelry, and other stolen items. 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