A teenager arrested for possession of a loaded handgun claims he found the weapon under a bush and was in the process of taking it home to his mother to turn it over to police.
18-year-old Cornell Day says he was walking on Jefferson Street when he saw the handgun on the ground.
“He was outside of a school. He saw a gun lying on the ground, kind of under a bush. And he was worried. He knew little kids play in the area. He was worried that a child was going to get the gun. And essentially, as he stated it, they could have grabbed it at any minute. So, his point of view was, let me pick up this gun — let me bring it to the police station,” said public defender Adrianne Fields.
Day put the gun inside the fanny pack and was en route to take it to his mother.
Fields said he had the fanny pack to carry other things. “It’s not as if a fanny pack is only used for guns. It’s used for many things,” she said. She said Day did not directly go to the police station because he was “nervous.”
Police had arrested him with a weapon two months earlier. He was scared police would say it’s his gun and place him under arrest, said Fields.
As Day was walking on April 13, police spotted him on North Main and Jefferson Street. He was seen with a heavy fanny pack, suggesting there was a weapon inside. He tapped the fanny pack several times to allegedly ensure the weapon is secure, said Passaic County assistant prosecutor Jessica Petrella during a detention hearing on Monday.
Police officers approached him to question him and observed the butt of a handgun protruding from the fanny pack. He was placed under arrest and later taken to the Passaic County Jail.
The weapon, loaded with 12 rounds, was reported stolen.
Police previously picked up Day, who was allegedly joyriding as a passenger in a stolen vehicle, in possession of a weapon on February 5. He was released and placed on pretrial monitoring.
“Now he’s engaging in the exact same activity two months later,” said Petrella arguing he should be detained pending trial.
She said Day also has a juvenile record for conspiracy to commit robbery.
Fields argued Day should be released on home detention.
Passaic County judge Joseph Portelli ordered Day be detained until trial.
“I don’t take kindly to cases where someone is already on pretrial monitoring, they’ve been given a chance to get out of jail, and they are arrested again,” said Portelli.
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