FAIRFIELD, NJ — One 19-year-old male from Newark and a juvenile who was traveling with him were arrested in Fairfield early Monday morning for receiving stolen property and obstruction after being found in possession of a stolen vehicle shortly after several burglaries and a vehicle theft occurred in the area of Donna Drive.
According to Fairfield police, a Donna Drive resident woke up at approximately 2:20 a.m. when she heard her husband’s 2013 Chevrolet Silverado running in the driveway. When her husband went outside to investigate, he observed two sedans quickly fleeing the scene and immediately contacted the police department.
Based on the description of the suspect vehicles, Sgt. Ian Rasmussen began to follow a silver Lexus that was traveling on Plymouth Street toward Route 46 and did not have its taillights illuminated. Rasmussen, along with Officer David Lagan, initiated a motor vehicle stop, but the driver sped away as the officers approached the vehicle.
Police determined at this time that the Lexus had been stolen and began a pursuit. Eventually, two occupants abandoned the vehicle on Route 23 near Fairfield Road in Wayne and fled on foot, according to police.
Officers from several area departments—including the Wayne, Totowa, North Caldwell and Little Falls Police Departments—as well as a K-9 unit from the Passaic County Sheriff’s Department and a helicopter from the New Jersey State Police assisted in the search, but the suspects were not located.
Later that morning, at approximately 7 a.m., an off-duty police officer who was aware of the incident observed two individuals on Route 23 that fit the suspects’ descriptions. Shortly after the officer notified the Wayne Police Department, both individuals were taken into custody and turned over to the Fairfield Police Department for further investigation.
According to Fairfield police, Lagan positively identified both individuals as those he saw fleeing the stolen vehicle a few hours earlier, but could not determine which individual had been driving. These individuals were later charged with receiving stolen property (the 2009 Lexus) and obstruction for having fled the vehicle on foot.
According to Fairfield police, the subsequent investigation revealed that at least three other vehicles in the area were burglarized, and a 2011 silver Honda Accord was stolen from another Donna Drive residence. Also found in the stolen Lexus were various items of identification that were linked to thefts from vehicles in Belleville. The case is still under investigation.
“As the police department has advised a countless number of times in the past, residents need to lock their cars each night and not leave their key fobs in their vehicles,” said Fairfield Police Chief Anthony Mann. “Each of these thefts and stolen cars could have been prevented if this were done. Until our citizens can understand that our community will only be safe from these predators when we collectively take the time to lock our cars, then we will all remain at risk.
“It reminds me of a line from the classic movie Jaws: if you want to get rid of the shark, you cut off its food supply so it goes somewhere else. We need to take away the reason these criminals come to the West Essex area each night.”
While the two suspects were in custody, Fairfield police determined that the 19 year old, Shakur Hawkins, was wanted by the Essex County Sheriff’s Department. He was later turned over to the sheriff’s department, and the juvenile was released into the custody of a parent.