Residents of a waterfront Staten Island community awoke Friday to find a man pushing around a metal dolly with a wrapped-up load that looked extremely suspicious.
Not only was he pushing around a body — it allegedly turned out to be his long-suffering wife.
Neighbors on Post Lane in Mariners Harbor first saw Anthony Lopez, 31, allegedly pushing his deceased cargo toward the aptly named Kill Van Kull around 7 a.m.
But rather than call 911, one of the local residents instead rang up an off-duty detective buddy to come by and take a look.
As soon as the cop got out of his car, Lopez ditched the corpse of his 26-year-old alleged victim — who was still on the bloody dolly — in the front yard of a small brick home and bolted.
“I was taking my nephew out to catch the school bus, and I saw her. She was dead — strangled and hit upside the head. She was topless but had jeans on,” said a neighbor living at the home where the body was dumped. He added, “I could see blood on the cart.”
Police sources said the woman’s nose was bloody and there were marks on her neck.
Rhonda Coleman was stunned to learn the strange crime had unfolded yards from her front door.
“This is my home. This is crazy. My plans for the day were ruined,” she fumed, adding that she hadn’t been allowed to leave the taped-off crime area.
The off-duty officer who scared off the thug recognized him from past gang-related crimes, according to police.
Lopez is a member of the Bloods gang and has been arrested 52 times on charges including domestic violence, police said.
He confessed to his brother that he had killed his wife, according to cops. He was still at large on Friday evening.
In 2007, he allegedly punched his girlfriend in the face and locked himself in his home. Three years later, he was convicted of criminal contempt and was sent to prison for two years.
Local residents were stunned.
“This is a quiet neighborhood. Maybe that’s why he decided to dump the body here. No one would expect it,” said Denise Johnson.
The name of Lopez’s wife had not yet been released, and her cause of death was undetermined Friday.