WESTFIELD, NJ — Police have arrested three teenagers in connection with motor vehicle thefts reported to have happened while the town was cleaning up from Tropical Storm Isaias.
Officers arrested Nasir Johnson, 19, and Giavannii Farris, also 19, along with a 16-year-old boy in Newark Wednesday, Police Chief Christopher Battiloro said in a statement. Westfield police detectives and members of the New Jersey State Police Auto Theft Task Force, who have been working together to combat Westfield’s ongoing vehicle thefts, arrested the teenagers in Newark’s Upper Clinton Hill neighborhood, Battiloro said.
The vehicles went missing early Wednesday morning. Police said both of them were unlocked.
Police charged each of the teenagers with two counts of receiving stolen property, a third-degree crime. Johnson and Farris were served with summonses and released, Battiloro said. The 16-year-old was sent to the Essex County Juvenile Detention Center, he said.
Authorities also recovered three vehicles that had been recently stolen from residents on Stoneleigh Park, Dudley Court and Orenda Circle, Battiloro said.
“I am grateful for our working relationship with the New Jersey State Police,” said Battiloro, who noted a Westfield Police Department detective has been assigned to its Auto Theft Task Force since March to help combat the ongoing vehicle theft problem facing many suburban New Jersey municipalities.
This year, suspects have stolen 19 vehicles from Westfield and burglarized another 40 in apparent attempted vehicle theft attempts, according to police. The majority of those vehicles, Battiloro said, were left unlocked with keys inside them. Authorities have recovered all but one of the vehicles, he said.
“Our officers and detectives are working extremely hard to combat vehicle thefts, but our residents must do their part as well,” Battiloro said. “We cannot continue to leave our vehicles unlocked with the key fobs in them.”
Email Matt Kadosh at firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter: @MattKadosh
Read More Westfield NJ Local News