UNION COUNTY, NJ -  A Vauxhall man has been arrested and charged with a dozen “smash-and-grab” burglaries and three motor vehicle thefts occurring in seven municipalities over the course of just two weeks, said acting Union County Prosecutor Lyndsay V. Ruotolo.

Christopher Ransom, 48, of the Vauxhall section of Union, is charged with a total of 37 counts, including charges of burglary, criminal mischief, theft by unlawful taking, and other related offenses.

The investigation was initiated shortly after Thursday, September 26, when a red pickup truck was stolen on the 700 block of Boulevard in Kenilworth.

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That incident was followed by 14 others, each ultimately connected to Ransom:

  • 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 notes it as being 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:

  • Union Police Department, under the command of Director Daniel Zieser
  • Hillside Police Department, under the command of Chief Vincent Ricciardi
  • Kenilworth Police Department, under the command of Chief John Zimmerman
  • Livingston Police Department, under the command of Chief Gary Marshuetz
  • Mountainside Police Department, under the command of Chief Joseph Giannuzzi
  • Springfield Police Department, under the command of Chief John Cook
  • Summit Police Department, under the command of Chief Robert Weck

The next Superior Court appearance for this defendant has been tentatively scheduled for Thursday, November 21.  These criminal charges are mere accusations. Each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.