Some things to think about before you call the cops in on a missing-keys case
Apparently no stranger to misadventure, the Owen Grundy Pier on the Jersey City waterfront, the site of Sunday's incident, was depicted that evening on the Jersey Journal website in this photo from November 2013, when the pier was reopened after being struck by a ferry owned by Goldman Sachs. (Goldman Sachs famously moved its "back office" operations to a skyscraper on the new skylined Jersey City waterfront.)
Perhaps it just marks me as a "glass half empty" kind of person, but there seemed to me -- just from the basic facts of the incident -- to have been two fairly major conceptual flaws in Tereek DaSilva's scheme for retrieving his keys, which I'm sure you saw right away too, and then a third, more practical flaw that became evident with the addition of a bit of background information.
Charges downgraded for Elizabeth man who lied to cops about nephew jumping into Hudson RiverThe conceptual flaws first.
By Michaelangelo Conte | The Jersey Journal
on July 28, 2015 at 8:15 AM, updated at 8:42 AM
JERSEY CITY -- Charges were downgraded yesterday for an Elizabeth man accused of causing false public alarm on Sunday by falsely telling police his 10-year-old nephew had jumped into the Hudson River and disappeared.
Tereek Q. DaSilva, 19, appeared in Central Judicial Processing court this afternoon via video link from Hudson County jail in Kearny. At the hearing, his bail was set at $5,000 with a 10 percent cash option and the charge was downgraded to a disorderly persons charge rather than a criminal charge.
Around 2:40 a.m. yesterday, DaSilva called 911 and reported that his 10-year-old nephew had jumped into the river to retrieve car keys DaSilva had accidentally dropped from Grundy Pier. He said the boy went under the pier and did not resurface, reports said.
All available police units converged on the area but after searching for the boy for 15 minutes and finding nothing, officers asked DaSilva if he was certain the 10-year-old was in the water. DaSilva said yes, reports said.
That's when three women who were with DaSilva spoke up. They told police DaSilva dropped his keys into the river and in an attempt to get cops to retrieve them, he made up the story about his nephew diving in, reports said.
Confronted again, DaSilva admitted the story was a rouse [at a guess, it was more likely a "ruse" he admitted to -- Ed.] and was arrested, reports said.
DaSilva has five prior arrests and a criminal conviction for receiving stolen property, court officials said. CJP Judge Margaret Marley also noted that there is a warrant for his arrest out of Elizabeth Municipal Court with a $100 bail.
He is to appear in Jersey City Municipal Court tomorrow in person if he posts bail or by video link if he does not.
Conceptual flaw No. 1: Aren't the cops going to be looking for the kid, not the keys?
Say what you will about cops, when they're called in about a 10-year-old kid who has disappeared in the river, it's going to be awhile before they or the additional people they call in think about anything except the missing kid. The scenario Tereek seems to have had in mind was a team of frantic searchers coming up to him and saying, "Sorry, sir, there's no sign of your nephew, but you'll be glad to hear that we found your keys." I'm not seeing it.
Conceptual flaw No. 2: Doesn't there have to come a time when the cops are made aware that there isn't any missing kid?
Again the imagined scenario seems to have been that whatever team of searchers was assembled would be so overwhelmed by the good news that they would say, "Well, that's a relief, sir! Now you have a good day!" I don't think this one stands up to scrutiny either.
THEN THERE'S THAT PRACTICAL PROBLEM
You know, based on having a bit more background info. I'm thinking here of the five prior arrests, the criminal conviction for receiving stolen property, and the outstanding Elizabeth Municipal Court arrest warrant. These might have seemed to me good reason for not initiating contact with the police, especially contact with the above-noted conceptual problems unlikely to dispose said police to a favorable outlook.
It might be taken as a touching show of faith that, with his history of extensive contact with the police, Tereek turned to them for help with his problem of the lost-in-the-river keys, but I'd be surprised if the cops looked at it this way. I guess, though, that under the pressure of having, you know, just dropped your keys in the Hudson River, you don't always think things through completely.
Although I haven't seen an account that mentions it speciically, as far as I can tell, the keys were not recovered.
Also left open is the question of those mysterious "three women who were with DaSilva," who psuddenly pop up out of nowhere to blew the missing-nephew cover story. I can't help thinking that for a complete picture of the incident we need to know a little more about them.