The owner of the Red Bank house that was the scene of a fatal knife-and-bottle melee early Sunday says the house was burglarized soon after crime-scene tape was removed by police Monday afternoon.
Landlord Sandra Meva tells redbankgreen that tenants contacted her shortly after investigators allowed them to return to the house at 9 Bank Street around 1 p.m. Monday and told her the house was in the process of being burglarized in broad daylight.
“They were just pulling stuff their stuff out of the house,” Meva said of the burglars.
Police, however, have a different account.
The house had been off-limits while criminal authorities gathered evidence related to the stabbing of 39-year-old Larry Yarbrough of Shrewsbury Avenue and another Red Bank man on or near the property shortly before 4 a.m. Sunday. Yarbrough died about an hour later. The second victim, Manuel Rosas-Oceloti, 18, of 46 Bank Street, remained hospitalized in critical condition Tuesday.
Two Red Bank men were arrested on murder charges in Lakewood early Monday morning, according to Monmouth County Prosecutor Peter Warshaw. They were arraigned in Freehold Tuesday.
The tenants, who Meva said are Hispanic, told her three African-American men who had loitered while the investigation was underway pulled a red truck into the driveway soon after authorities left, she said. The men then broke in the locked back door and ransacked the house, stealing a stereo, a flat-screen television, a computer game and a laptop computer.
Meva said she called the police, and they were en route as the thieves loaded their haul into the truck. In their haste, the thieves left a second flat-screen TV behind, she said.
Police Captain Darren McConnell, however, says that police responded to call from a tenant who reported having gone into the house and found the electronic goods missing.
The call was made after-the-fact, not as a crime was in progress, McConnell said. Moreover, the tenants did not tell police that they had witnessed a burglary.
“Our account is that that multiple tenants were all vacating the property at the same time,” and one reported having discovered goods missing, he said. But at no point did any tenants report having seen anyone in the house who didn’t belong there, he said.
Meva, he said, was not present at the time.
Meva, though, contends the tenants were so upset by both the murder and the burglary that they packed up and moved immediately, leaving her with a houseful of waste to discard.
“They said, ‘Can we just get our stuff? We have to get out of here,'” she said.
Meva said she is angry that after repeated assurances from Monmouth County and Red Bank detectives on Sunday that they would “release” the house to her once they were done with their work, no one from either agency contacted her when they packed up and left.
McConnell says the house was released to the tenants, and that Meva was said to be unavailable.
Meva also disputed Monmouth County Prosecutor Peter Warshaw’s report that 19-year-old defendant Gennaro Guerrero-Montes lived in the house. She said he was visiting an uncle who lived in the house “and came here just to drink that night.”
Guerrero-Montes was arrested early Monday in Lakewood with Jose Francisco Oliveres-Palma, 25, of River Street. Each faces murder and weapons charges. State Superior Court Judge Thomas Scully ordered Oliveres-Palma held on $2 million bail, and Guerrero-Montes on $1 million bail, settings that remained in place after their arraignments Tuesday.
On a tour of the property, Meva showed a reporter the aftermath of the fight that led to Yarbrough’s death. A porch railing was broken, and flower planters that had been on the porch were thrown into the house through the glass front storm door and living room window, Meva said.