According to mycentraljersey.com, an 18-year-old Camden man found himself behind bars a mere 3 hours after being released from Middlesex County Adult Corrections Center in North Brunswick. Upon release from jail, the man carjacked a Mercedes convertible that was occupied by an elderly man on oxygen. The young man allegedly threatened the older person by stating that he had a gun and demanded that he be driven to Route 130. The 18-year-old released the elderly man from the car on North Main Street in Cranbury after relieving him of the money in his pocket before speeding away.
Police attempted to pull over the suspected carjacker on Route 130 in Robbinsville. However, the suspect fled west on I-195. The suspect crashed the vehicle in Hamilton and was subsequently apprehended by police and taken to the Cranbury State Police Barracks.
The young man was placed on $500,000 bail and returned to county jail where he faces a considerable rap sheet that includes carjacking, kidnapping, aggravated assault, terroristic threats, theft of vehicle, robbery, burglary, and resisting arrest.
While carjacking crimes in New Jersey are relatively rare, they are serious first degree charges that are accompanied by a minimum sentence of up to thirty years.
Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:15-2, carjacking occurs, if in the course of committing an unlawful taking of a motor vehicle or attempt to steal a motor vehicle, the defendant:
(1) inflicts bodily injury or uses force upon an occupant or person in possession or control of a motor vehicle;
(2) threatens an occupant or person in control with, or purposely or knowingly puts an occupant or person in control of the motor vehicle in fear of, immediate bodily injury;
(3) commits or threatens immediately to commit any crime of the first or second degree; or (4) operates or causes said vehicle to be operated with the person who was in possession or control or was an occupant of the motor vehicle at the time of the taking remaining in the vehicle.
Here, the teenager’s actions likely satisfy the elements of carjacking as he violently threatened the elderly occupant of the vehicle. Moreover, the 4th element will likely be satisfied because the teen not only caused the automobile to be operated by the occupant, but also operated the vehicle himself.
The defendant is likely in big trouble, but the ball is now in the prosecution’s court to prove him guilty.