YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: Lyndhurst police and U.S. Postal Service inspectors grabbed a convicted sex offender when he showed up at the borough post office this afternoon to pick up a handgun he convinced a woman to mail to him from Texas, authorities told CLIFFVIEW PILOT tonight.
Gilbert Violante, 55, who was convicted of molesting a young teen in Florida in 2003, befriended the McAllen, Texas, woman on Facebook, Lyndhurst Police Chief James O’Connor said.
As a convicted felon, he isn’t allowed to possess a firearm. However, Violante “told her he was having a problem with rodents — as if that’s a problem here in New Jersey — and asked her to help him get a gun,” the chief told CLIFFVIEW PILOT .
The woman bought a .22-caliber handgun through a catalog company and had it delivered to a licensed shop, then packaged the box in aluminum foil and packing peanuts ( photo, above ) and shipped it to Violate, O’Connor said.
Postal authorities in Texas became suspicious and interviewed the woman, then arranged to have Violante notified that the package had been delivered to the post office, the chief said.
Violante, who is registered as a sex offender in New Jersey under Megan’s Law, was taken into custody when he showed up early this afternoon and signed for the package, O’Connor said.
He was being held on $20,000 bail in the Bergen County Jail on unlawful weapons charges.
Meanwhile, Lyndhurst police were talking with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firerms and postal authorities to determine whether the woman should face charges, as well.
IMAGES: Courtesy LYNDHURST PD
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