Updated at 7:34 p.m.
WESTFIELD, NJ — A 19-year-old Westfield man charged with numerous motor vehicle thefts and burglaries within the town struggled with officers during his arrest Wednesday evening, police said.
Two detectives and a patrol officer were injured as they arrested Justin T. Bass while he was leaving his residence in the 1000 block of Lawrence Avenue around 5:15 p.m., police Chief Christopher Battiloro said in a statement Thursday. Bass will face additional charges for resisting arrest, Battiloro said. The officers suffered minor injuries and have since returned to duty, a spokesperson for the department said.
Bass was wanted on a second-degree charge of receiving stolen property: a 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee, which had been reported stolen from the driveway of a home in the 10 block of Bennett Place during the overnight hours of April 29 and a 2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee stolen from a driveway in the 500 block of Sherwood Parkway May 6, Battiloro said.
Bass was also wanted on charges of second-degree conspiracy to receive stolen property and third-degree forgery for attempting to electronically deposit a check which had been stolen from an unlocked vehicle on the 100 block of Golf Edge April 28, police said.
He was further wanted on a third-degree charge of eluding following an incident in Passaic City May 7 during which, police said, Bass fled from members of the New Jersey State Police Auto Theft Task Force. He was driving a 2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee that had been stolen from the driveway of a residence in the 500 block of Sherwood Parkway in Westfield, Battiloro said.
Thefts of and burglaries from vehicles have been an ongoing problem in Westfield in recent months.
Battiloro said that with a Westfield police detective assigned to the New Jersey State Police Auto Theft Task Force and a patrol officer temporarily assigned to that unit, police have recovered all 11 vehicles stolen from Westfield this year.
“We continue to devote an incredible amount of time and effort towards investigations of vehicle burglaries and thefts,” Battiloro said. “And the New Jersey State Police has provided us with a tremendous amount of support.”
Bass remained lodged at the Passaic County Jail in Paterson Thursday, pending a detention hearing, police said.
Investigations into five recent vehicle thefts in the town that happened April 25 – May 7 remain ongoing, and additional charges are likely including in two of the vehicle thefts, which also involved burglaries to private residence, Battiloro said.
“Not one person or group of persons is likely responsible for all of Westfield’s vehicle thefts,” he said.
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