MORRIS TOWNSHIP, NJ - Members of the New Jersey State Police Motor Vehicle Crimes North Unit have charged six individuals after a multi-county auto theft investigation. The detectives recovered 30 work vans and pickup trucks as a result of "Operation Cat Burglar".
The crime unit began investigating a trend in the theft of work vans, pickup trucks and catalytic converters in Northern New Jersey.
According to authorities, detectives identified David Wilson, 54, of Bloomfield, N.J., George Milton, 60, and Donald Williams, 64, both of East Orange, N.J., as the suspects of an operation that was allegedly stealing work vans and pickup trucks in Bergen, Passaic, Essex, Union, Hudson, Morris, and Middlesex Counties. Detectives also identified Gary Herring, 42, of Irvington, N.J., Jameer Smith, 21, of Newark, N.J., and Timothy Pereira, 31, of Guttenberg, N.J. as additional suspects in the operation, they said.
Reports indicate that the suspects were transporting the stolen vehicles to scrapyards in Jersey City and Newark and using a parking lot in North Bergen to store vehicles. The suspects would remove the catalytic converters and sell the parts for profit or illegally modify the vehicle identification number (VIN) of the vehicles to commit additional crimes.
On February 19, detectives from the crime unit, executed a search warrant and recovered a stolen vehicle, stolen tools and equipment, 31 vehicle titles, stolen license plates, and 16 motor vehicle VIN plates, according to police. During a February 22 search, of a scrapyard in Jersey City, a parking lot in North Bergen and a residence in Guttenbergy, detectives recovered 15 stolen vehicles, a stolen snowplow and a car transporter trainer with an altered VIN, said police.
“Given the extreme financial hardship and related difficulties that so many of our residents have experienced over the past 12 months, it was critical that we act quickly to stop this criminal enterprise targeting individuals’ work vehicles and trucks,” said Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal. “In this case, the New Jersey State Police and Division of Criminal Justice acted swiftly on emerging crime trend intelligence and then worked collaboratively with agencies across our state to bring these criminals to justice.”
The Crime Unit consists of detectives from the Paramus Police Department, Morris Township Police Department, Warren Township Police Department, Bernards Township Police Department, River Vale Police Department, Montville Police Department, Newark Police Department, and the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice, along with members of the Garfield Police Department, Passaic Police Department, Union City Police Department, Clifton Police Department, East Orange Police Department, West New York Police Department, Elizabeth Police Department, Bloomfield Police Department, North Bergen Police Department, Jersey City Police Department, West Orange Police Department, Belleville Police Department, Nutley Police Department, Woodland Park Police Department, Paterson Police Department, Middletown Police Department, Westfield Police Department, Guttenberg Police Department, New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, National Insurance Crime Bureau,
The defendants were charged as follows:
David Wilson was charged with:
- Receiving stolen property,Theft, Burglary, Fencing, Criminal mischief, Conspiracy, Eluding, Resisting Arrest, Aggravated assault, Possession of CDS,Obstruction
George Milton was charged with:
- Conspiracy to operate a facility for the sale of stolen automobile parts, Receiving stolen property, Theft, Burglary, Fencing, Criminal mischief,Conspiracy
Donald Williams was charged with:
- Conspiracy to operate a facility for the sale of stolen automobile parts, Receiving stolen property, Theft, Burglary, Fencing, Criminal mischief, Conspiracy
Gary Herring was charged with:
- Conspiracy to operate a facility for the sale of stolen automobile parts, Receiving stolen property, Theft, Burglary, Fencing, Criminal mischief, Conspiracy, Possession of CDS, Possession of drug paraphernalia
Jameer Smith was charged with:
- Resisting Arrest, Possession of CDS, Obstruction, Possession of Burglar’s Tools
Timothy Pereira was charged with:
- Receiving stolen property, Possession of a motor vehicle with altered identification numbers
The case is being prosecuted by the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice.
Charges are mere accusations, and the accused are considered innocent until proven guilty.