In the view of Red Bank police, there’s no question a crime was committed. An unidentified, shirtless man loaded goods that didn’t belong to him into a car and vanished into the dead of a sultry summer night.

But was the guy a thief? A junkman? Just a passing opportunist?

Whatever, the story was the buzz of South Street yesterday.

Sometime between the end of the neighborhood’s annual block party on Saturday and the time residents awoke Sunday morning, somebody came along and helped himself to at least one carload of personal property.

Coolers, chairs, tables, propane tanks and other items were taken. So much stuff, in fact, that some residents surmised that two or more trips must have been needed to haul it all away.

But here’s the thing: the stuff had been left out at the curb by residents too tired to put it away after a day of partying. It was in the gutter.

The heist, or whatever you call it, didn’t happen unseen. One resident looked out her window at about 2:30a and saw a man loading something into his car, but she assumed it was someone picking up the beer kegs that had been rented for the party. (The kegs had been safely stored away.)

And one resident actually confronted the… taker.

Musician Dom Kalorin tells redbankgreen he’d just returned home from a Stone Pony gig with his band, Woodfish, when he saw someone loading up a white, late-model station wagon, possibly a Ford, with chairs and other objects.

He says he told the man that the stuff wasn’t junk but personal property.

“He started cursing, acting like he was mad about having to put it all back,” says Kalorin.

Kalorin says he watched the man unload the car for a few minutes before leaving him alone, thinking he’d put it all back.

No such luck. In the morning, it was all gone.

Kalorin says the man was a Caucasian in his mid-30s with a shaved head and a large tattoo on his ribs.

He also thinks he’d recognize the car, and given that his day job is as a landscaper who covers a lot of ground, he”s pretty confident he’ll spot the car again if it’s used locally. “Oh, I’ll find it,” he says.

What happens after that is unclear, though. Capt. Steve McCarthy says the incident “is absolutely a crime, because [the perpetrator] took something that didn’t belong to him.” But he adds it would be up to the judicial system to sort out whether the location of the goods mitigates charges.

Hudson Avenue, one block west of South, also held a block party Saturday, but so far, we’ve heard no reports of anything missing.

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