UNION, NJ – The investigation into the recent rash of motor vehicle thefts, beginning in November 2016 and specifically targeting work-type trucks and tools, has resulted in the arrest of an Irvington man.
Detectives arrested Yusef Dunbar, 44, at his home on Westervelt Place in Irvington. He has been charged with 2nd degree theft and conspiracy.
According to Union police, nearby towns likewise began to report stolen vans and burglaries. Police discovered a common thread in the thefts that led them to Westervelt Place in Irvington. Detectives and Street Crimes Unit officers conducted surveillance details and tied the suspect to auto thefts in Union, Essex, Passaic, and Hudson Counties.
Working in conjunction with the Union County Prosecutor's Office and the State Police Auto Theft Unit, Union detectives were able to gather sufficient information to obtain search warrants for two homes on Westervelt Place and for a storage locker in Bergen County. Police report that numerous power tools were found at all three locations.
The stolen tools were confiscated. Detectives will attempt to return those with obvious markings to its owner.
Assisting with the search warrants were detectives from the Union County Narcotics Strike Force, Roselle Park Police Department, Cranford Police Department, Newark Police Department, and the Clifton Police Department.
Detectives continue to gather evidence to charge other co-conspirators. Police estimate that over 125 vehicles (primarily work vans) were stolen by this group in the last six months. In a recent period, Dunbar was involved in seven motor vehicle thefts in a 10-day period.
Union police recommend writing or etching a name or identifying mark on tools, ladders, and other equipment.