LIVINGSTON, NJ — In addition to being credited for assisting in the arrest of a Vauxhall man who has been charged with a dozen “smash-and-grab” burglaries and three motor vehicle thefts occurring in seven municipalities, including Livingston, members of the Livingston Police Department also recently reported several incidents related to last week’s storm, an arrest made as a result of a stolen vehicle pursuit, a summons given to a woman who drove into a Livingston home and more.

Livingston's Assistance in Arrest of "Smash-and-Grab" Burglary/Theft Suspect

Late last week, Union County Prosecutor Lyndsay V. Ruotolo credited detectives from the Livingston Police Department, under the command of Chief Gary Marshuetz, for assisting in the arrest of Christopher Ransom, 48, of the Vauxhall section of Union, in relation to various burglaries and thefts that occurred in seven New Jersey towns over the course of two weeks.

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According to Ruotolo, Ransom is charged with a total of 37 counts, including charges of burglary, criminal mischief, theft by unlawful taking and other offenses. Livingston police have charged Ransom with burglary, theft, criminal mischief and receiving stolen property in relation to a burglary that took place at the Raceway gas station on South Orange Avenue on Sept. 29.

The investigation was initiated in September when a red pickup truck was stolen on the 700 block of Boulevard in Kenilworth. This incident and 14 others ultimately connected to Ransom as follows:

  • Friday, September 27: Burglary of motor vehicle, 600 block of U.S. Route 22 West, Hillside
  • Friday, September 27: Burglary of business establishment, 10 block of Ashwood Avenue, Summit
  • Sunday, September 29: Burglary of business establishment, 200 block of So. Orange Ave., Livingston
  • Thursday, October 3: Stolen motor vehicle, 300 block of Conant Street, Hillside
  • Thursday, October 3: Burglary of business establishment, 100 block of Hillside Avenue, Springfield
  • Saturday, October 5: Attempted burglary of business establishment, 300 block U.S. Route 22, Hillside
  • Saturday, October 5: Burglary of business establishment, 1300 block of Chestnut Avenue, Hillside
  • Saturday, October 5: Stolen motor vehicle, 900 block of Rahway Avenue, Union
  • Sunday, October 6: Attempted burglary of business establishment, 1200 block Salem Avenue, Hillside
  • Sunday, October 6: Burglary of business establishment, 100 block of Hillside Avenue, Hillside
  • Sunday, October 6: Attempted burglary of business establishment, 100 block U.S. Route 22, Hillside
  • Wednesday, October 9: Burglary of business establishment, 10 block of Caldwell Place, Springfield
  • Wednesday, October 9: Burglary of business establishment, 1100 block U.S. Route 22, Mountainside
  • Wednesday, October 9: Burglary of business establishment, 900 block of South Springfield Avenue, Springfield

The victim businesses included seven gas stations, a convenience store, a tire store, a bakery, and a farmer’s market, according to the Union County Prosecutor’s Office. Forced entry (or attempted forced entry) occurred during most of the incidents, which took place while the various businesses were closed and locked.

Ransom was located in Newark hours after the final burglary and taken into custody without incident. He appeared in Superior Court for a detention hearing last Wednesday, when he was ordered to remain in custody pending the adjudication of his cases.

In announcing the arrest, Ruotolo said it was the successful result of an intensive joint investigation between local police and the newly formed Intelligence-Driven Investigation and Prosecution Unit of the Prosecutor’s Office.

The investigation was coordinated by the Intelligence-Driven Investigation and Prosecution Unit, under the command of Lt. Gary Webb and Supervising Assistant Prosecutor Peter DeRose, and involved participation from the Cyber Crime Task Force of the Prosecutor’s Office, as well as members of the Union County Sheriff’s Office, under the command of Sheriff Peter Corvelli, and detectives from the various departments that police the municipalities in which the crimes occurred.

In addition to the Livingston Police Department, detectives from Union, Hillside, Kenilworth, Mountainside, Springfield and Summit also assisted in the investigation. Ransom is scheduled to appear in Superior Court in November, according to the Union County Prosecutor’s Office.

Newark Woman Nearly Strikes Other Vehicles Before Driving into Home on Walnut Street

On Tuesday, Oct. 19 at approximately 9:11 p.m., a 63-year-old woman from Newark was operating a 2007 Hyundai when she crashed into a home on Walnut Street. Witnesses told police officers that the woman was driving so fast that she lost control of the vehicle, almost striking one of the witness’ cars before leaving the road and striking the house.

According to police, the driver stated that she could not recall what happened, and she was issued a summons for careless driving.  The damage to the home included the foundation, the lawn and fence, police said.

Livingston and Essex Fells Police Pursue Stolen Vehicle

On Wednesday, Oct. 30 at approximately 1:28 a.m., the Essex Fells Police Department notified Livingston police that officers were in pursuit of a stolen motor vehicle on Laurel Avenue. Livingston Officer Michael Prendergast joined the pursuit when the stolen vehicle reached E. Mt Pleasant Avenue and turned west.

The stolen vehicle, a 2008 Toyota Sienna, then turned right onto Tiffany Drive and continued up to Tilden Court, a street with cul de sacs at both ends, according to police. The Toyota crashed in front of 22 Tilden Court, and some occupants fled on foot, police said.

One passenger—identified as Najee Howard, 18, of Newark—was detained at the scene and transported to Essex Fells police headquarters. Officers searched the surrounding area, but did not immediately locate any of the other occupants, according to Livingston police.

At daylight, a Livingston resident reported a suspicious male in the area of 202 E McClellan Avenue. Responding officers located a 15-year-old male Newark resident who claimed to have a head injury. According to police, he stated that he woke up in a brook and had no idea how he got there. He was transported to Morristown Memorial in the company of Essex Fells police officers.

Downed Trees and Wires Cause Damage in Livingston on Oct. 31 - Nov. 1, 2019

During the storm late last week, first responders from Livingston reported the following incidents caused by the high winds and rain:

  • Tree on house at 67 Hazel Avenue
  • Tree on house at 5 Taft Court
  • Tree on house at 204 E. Cedar Street
  • Tree on car at 95 Falcon Road
  • Tree damage to window at 42 Ashwood Drive
  • Tree damage to roof and solar panels at 42 Elmwood Drive
  • Tree damage to two cars at 10 Elmwood Court
  • Primary wires down Falcon Road

Early November Incidents Being Investigated in Livingston

On Monday morning, police responded to the Shell gas station at 37 W Mt Pleasant Avenue on a report of a vehicle that fled the station without paying. As of Monday evening, Livingston police were not able to confirm the make, model and plate of the vehicle.

Livingston police also reported on Monday afternoon that an unidentified male was in custody in relation to ID fraud at a local bank and that charges are pending.