ONLY ON CLIFFVIEW PILOT: John Saati’s hole got deeper this week when a Maryland man confirmed that a credit card the former Bergen Catholic footballer was found carrying vanished from an Atlantic City restaurant around the same time Saati told police he was winning more than $1,200 at the casinos.
Bergen County Sheriff’s Office)
Saati, a former 1st Team member of the All-League and All-County squads, was free on bail on a drug charge when New Milford Officer Derek Mattessich stopped a car he was riding in on May 31.
A quick check found that the driver, 19-year-old Dominique Turzilli of Butler, was wanted on an outstanding warrant out of Riverdale, New Milford Police Chief Frank Papapietro said.
Sgt. William Duby Jr. arrived moments later and spotted an open alcohol container on the floor in back, the chief said.
As the former safety, running back and special teamer got out of the car, he inadvertently knocked over Turzilli’s pocketbook, “revealing a clear plastic bag” of marijuana, Papapietro said.
In an opened pack in back, the officers found plastic bags containing Ecstasy, oxycodone, Xanax and other pills, along with several clear bags and a small scale, the chief said.
They also discovered what turned out to be the Columbia, MD man’s Chase Freedom Card, he said.
A patdown of the 22-year-old Saati turned up $1,217 in cash, which he claimed he won in Atlantic City, Papapietro said.
Turzilli was charged with possession of less than 50 grams of marijuana and having drugs in a motor vehicle. She also received several motor vehicle violations and was released pending a Municipal Court hearing.
Saati, who grew up in New Milford and recently lived in Bayonne, posted $30,000 bail and was released pending grand jury action on three counts of intending to distribute drugs and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Police seized the cash and issued him a receipt, Papapietro said.
It will be up to Saati — who once said he dreamed of becoming a state trooper — to prove the money is his.
The additional charge for having the stolen credit card was added Wednesday after Officer Kevin VanSaders spoke to the owner.
The man “stated he was in Atlantic City at a restaurant during the same time frame that Saati claimed to be there,” Papapietro said. “He attempted to close out his tab when he was informed by the staff that it had already been closed and the party took the credit card.”
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