LIVINGSTON, NJ — Three men from Newark were apprehended in Livingston and charged with eluding police, resisting arrest and possession of stolen property on Sunday in connection to a string of vehicle burglaries in West Orange, South Orange and Millburn, according to Livingston police.

After investigating a report of people attempting to enter cars on Silver Spring Road in Millburn, responding officers from the Millburn Police Department located a white Chevy Malibu and attempted to conduct a motor vehicle stop. When the driver refused to stop, Millburn officers began a pursuit that broke off in front of Saint Barnabas Medical Center on Old Short Hills Road in Livingston. 

Taking over the chase, Livingston Police Officers Todd Compesi and Anthony Trajer located the Malibu speeding westbound on E. Northfield Road. The officers then pursued the vehicle onto JFK Parkway and into the area of the Short Hills Mall, where the driver of the Malibu made a U-turn and began traveling back toward Livingston.

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While traveling west on South Orange Avenue into Florham Park, the vehicle made another U-Turn and headed back toward Livingston once again, according to police. The vehicle then turned onto the dead end of Peach Tree Hill, where officers watched as the vehicle struck a curb and became disabled. At this point, three men jumped out of the Malibu and fled on foot into the wetlands of the East Orange Water Reserve, according to police. 

The driver—identified as Antoine Lee, 27, of Newark—was captured within minutes while officers from Millburn, Florham Park, Essex County Sheriff K-9 and Chatham were called to assist Livingston police in establishing a perimeter and conducting an extensive search for the remaining suspects.

At approximately 7:45 a.m., Livingston Police Officers Dave Naylor, Kelli-Ann Mallek and Jessica Colucci took a second suspect into custody and identified him as Eric Fonseca, 26, of Newark. According to Livingston police, the third suspect—identified as Shatuwan McCall, 20, of Newark—later surrendered to Florham Park officers at the rear entrance to The Regency Club at the intersection of Regal Boulevard and Kennsington Lane in Livingston.

Inside the vehicle—which was found to have been rented in the name of a relative of Fonseca’s girlfriend—police discovered evidence linking the three men to burglaries in West Orange and South Orange.

According to West Orange police, there were at least seven incidents of burglaries from motor vehicles reported in the early hours of Sunday morning on Walker Road, Yale Terrace, Tremont Avenue and Rollinson Street. A Walker Road resident also reported a theft of a package coinciding with this string of burglaries, and an additional commercial burglary at Castillo Auto Repair at 36 South Valley Road was reported around the same time, according to West Orange police.

Lee and McCall where transported to the Essex County Jail, and Fonseca was released on a summons with a future court date.

A fourth Newark man was also recently arrested for a separate incident of eluding police in Livingston.

Just before noon on Saturday, Nov. 14, Livingston Officer Matthew DeBiasse attempted to stop a 2008 Toyota Corolla on JFK Parkway for equipment violations and a fictitious license plate. Instead of stopping, the driver accelerated in an attempt to outrun the police car. The officer pursued the Corolla eastbound on E. Northfield Rd. into West Orange, where he terminated the pursuit.

According to police, Livingston detectives conducted follow-up investigation and were able to locate the vehicle parked in Newark. Once the car was identified and located, Det. Angelo Vella and Det. Michael Spano identified Chris Ocasio-Granell, 22, of Newark, as a suspect.

When interviewed, Ocasio-Granell admitted to being the driver during the pursuit and claimed that he did not stop because the car was unregistered and uninsured and that his license was suspended, according to police.

He was charged with second-degree crime of eluding police and was processed and released with a summons to appear in Superior Court.

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