One dead after burglary turns violent

Iselin man, 26, shot dead at his employer

Iselin man, 26, shot dead at his employer’s
Edison home

MIGUEL JUAREZ staff A reporter gets ready for a live broadcast from Maureen Court in Edison. An Iselin man was shot and killed after interrupting a robbery in progress on Saturday.MIGUEL JUAREZ staff A reporter gets ready for a live broadcast from Maureen Court in Edison. An Iselin man was shot and killed after interrupting a robbery in progress on Saturday.

An Iselin man who apparently interrupted a burglary in progress at his employer’s Edison home was shot dead.

Kalpesh Patel, 26, accompanied his employer, Ramesh Desai, to Desai’s home at 1 Maureen Court sometime after 11 p.m. on Saturday, according to a statement released by the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office on Monday.

Patel was killed by one shot that struck him in the back, according to an autopsy performed by Deputy Middlesex County Medical Examiner Frederick DiCarlo.

On Monday afternoon, the Desai home stood quiet with a black Mercedes-Benz parked in the driveway.

A woman who answered the door at the home said the family was too distraught to comment.

Neighbors in the upscale Edison neighborhood said they were disturbed by the crime.

Maureen Court resident Pam Kowitski described the neighborhood as a quiet, low-crime area.

"It hasn’t even sunk in that this happened yet. It’s very shocking," she said. "What’s scary is the police said that this could have been any one of us here."

Kowitski said she slept through the incident but learned about it from her son who returned home after it happened.

Vipin Patel, Kalpesh Patel’s uncle who answered the phone at the victim’s Bond Street residence in the Iselin section of Woodbridge on Monday, said that he was shocked that his nephew, whom he described as a happy man, would fall victim to crime like this at such a young age.

"He was always smiling. Anytime somebody asked him something he would smile," he said.

His nephew came to America four years ago from Gujarat, India, he said.

The Edison police referred all comment to the prosecutor’s office, who declined to release further details about the incident before the Sentinel’s press deadline on Monday.

"Witnesses continue to be interviewed, but at this time further information about the circumstances of the shooting must be withheld pending the identification and apprehension of the perpetrators," a statement from the prosecutor’s office said.

Authorities are looking for two black males in connection with the crime. One is approximately 6 feet 3 inches in height, while the other is approximately 5 feet 10 inches tall. Both wore dark clothing and obscured their faces with hats and sunglasses, the prosecutor’s office said.

Desai’s wife, Nayana, and daughter, Kajal, 19, were home at the time of the burglary, according to news reports on the incident.

Kalpesh Patel worked weekdays at the Quick Out convenience store on St. Georges Avenue in the Colonia section of Woodbridge Avenue, according to Parthiv Patel, who was working behind the regis­ter of the store on Monday.

Parthiv Patel, who said he is not re­lated to the victim, described Kalpesh Pa­tel as a "wonderful guy," who emigrated from India a few years ago in search of success.

"I liked to sit with him. I liked to see his face every day," he said, adding that Kalpesh Patel was always quick to help him out at his convenience store in Ha­zlet whenever he needed it.

Parthiv Patel said he left his store to fill in at the Quick Out after he was told of Kalpesh Patel’s death.

Robert Matzura, who was shopping at the Quick Out on Monday afternoon and described himself as a regular customer, said Kalpesh Patel made an impression on him during his visits to the store.

"You won’t find a better person. I wish everybody was like him. He was very pleasant and never said a bad word about anyone," Matzura said.

Anyone with any information on the incident is asked to contact Investigator Mimi Alvarez at the prosecutor’s office at (732)745-3300 or Detective Richard Buck of the Edison Police Department at (732) 287-0700.

Staff writers Bryan Sabella, Colleen Lutolf and Alison Granito contributed to this story