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Fingerprints Lead To Charges Against Newark Man, Juveniles In Auto Theft

Palisades Park police
Palisades Park police Photo Credit: PPPD

A Newark man was charged with stealing a Mercedes Benz from a Palisades Park driveway thanks to a fingerprint match, authorities said.

Raymond Branch, 19, and two juveniles were involved in the July 24 theft, Detective Sgt. Alex Monteleone said.

The owner told police his GPS tracked the Mercedes to Newark, where city police found the vehicle and had it processed for fingerprints, Monteleone said.

The prints matched Branch's as well as those of the two juveniles, all of whom have criminal histories, the sergeant said.

South Orange police notified their Palisades Park colleagues after they nabbed Branch in connection with another car theft and found evidence from the borough incident, he said.

Branch has remained been held in the Somerset County Jail, where Monteleone said Detective Martin Kim served him with criminal complaints out of Palisades Park for burglary, theft, conspiracy and receiving stolen property.

Delinquency complaints were drawn up against the two juveniles, as well, he said.

Capt. Shawn Lee, the officer in charge of the PPPD, urged owners to lock their vehicles no matter where they park or for how long -- and to never leave keys or a key fob inside it.

Besides the loss and possible destruction of property, car thefts "put the general public and police at risk," he said.

Lee also urged anyone who sees anything suspicious to either dial 911 or call their local police department immediately. Law enforcement would rather have it turn into nothing than have you lose your vehicle.

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