WATCH: Howell Township police chase after vehicle thieves; 2 Newark males arrested
Exclusive video shows Howell Township police chasing after vehicle thieves this weekend -- as police in Monmouth County continue efforts to put an end to the ongoing stolen vehicle ring.
The incident happened Sunday morning in Howell. Police, already alerted to suspicious activity near Deer Run and Breckenridge, saw three vehicles that sped off when approached. The driver of a Mercedes crashed, while the two other vehicles drove over lawns and ended up getting away.
The two suspects who ran from the wrecked Mercedes were seen later in the back of a Lyft. Officers stopped the Lyft at gunpoint and arrested the two suspects. One is identified as Dwaine Jones, 18, of Newark, and the other is a 17-year-old male, also of Newark.
“It gets frustrating,” says Capt. Tom Rizzo. “There's no fair consequence driving up on lawns around police vehicles, high speed pursuits in excess of 100 mph.”
Stealing high-end vehicles, stripping them for parts, reselling them, or shipping them to foreign lands is a lucrative business for criminals, and it's one business which thrived during the coronavirus pandemic
Hundreds of vehicles are stolen from the county each year. During the overnights, usually four or five teens, or young adults, drive stolen vehicles to Monmouth County from the Essex County region. They then are ordered by gang leaders to return with a new batch of high-end stolen cars.
Police say despite capturing some of the suspects, current bail reform laws often lead to their release, only to commit the same crimes again.
“I'm a firm believer it's the fear of any viable consequences,” says Capt. Rizzo. “We see repeat offenders. Tthe state police has been an integral part in sharing of information post-pandemic, so we have statewide briefs and you'll see these actors multi-time arrests, multi-time felon convictions and there's just no fear of consequence.”
Police say the ring leaders often pay the young men sent to the region $1,000 per stolen car.