Nine arrested for Union High School burglary

UNION, NJ — Nine suspects — including at least six recent graduates — have been charged in connection with the June 29 burglary of approximately $26,000 in cash from a secretary’s desk and other items from Union High School, police said.

Among the suspects was Nicholas Zuena, son of Union Board of Education Vice President Nancy Zuena, Union Police Director Dan Zieser confirmed.

Union schools spokeswoman Akua Boakye would not answer any questions about the theft, saying the matter was still under investigation.

Fernando Cunha and Joshua Cipriano, who both graduated six days before the burglary, were arrested the same day the theft was reported. Seven others, including a 17-year-old juvenile, were arrested subsequently: Kevin Rea, Christian Pereira, Marlon Roberts, Joshua Monica, Jason Laurent and Zuena. All were charged with burglary and theft except Zuena, who was charged with criminal trespass.

All but Pereira and Monica were listed in the June 29 edition of the Local Source as having graduated from Union High School on June 23.

Zieser said police were able identify the suspects with the help of school officials as well as interior and exterior surveillance video, which indicated the theft occurred at approximately 1:30 a.m. The video showed at least some of the suspects entering the building three times, wandering until reaching the main office, where they broke into the locked drawer containing the cash.

The police were able to identify the vehicles used by the suspects via the exterior surveillance video, and noticed one with Cunha and Cipriano while reviewing the video, Zeiser said.

According to a press release, the suspects also stole an iPad device, bullhorn and other school property. Zieser said school officials indicated the cash had been collected from fees for the prom and other activities during the latter part of the school year and they had not yet had time to deposit it at the bank.

The cash has not been recovered, Zieser said.

Cuhna and Cipriano already have been arraigned; the other seven charged are scheduled for an Aug. 18 court appearance.