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Getaway Driver In 7-County North Jersey Holdup Spree Heads To Federal Prison

Meshach Whagar
Meshach Whagar Photo Credit: ESSEX COUNTY SHERIFF

The wheelman in nearly two dozen gas station and convenience store armed robberies in North Jersey was sent to federal prison for at least nine years.

Meshach Whagar, 31, of Newark must serve just about all of the 110-month sentence handed down in U.S. District Court in Newark on Wednesday because there’s no parole in the federal prison system.

Whager admitted late last year that he drove the getaway car during the 20 predawn holdups in seven counties -- Bergen, Passaic, Hudson, Essex, Middlesex, Morris and Union -- in November and December of 2017 (see list of locations below).

The gunman, fellow ex-con Tione Davis, 38, previously took a guilty plea himself. He’s awaiting sentencing.

Davis, of East Orange wore dark clothing and covered his face with masks or scarves during the holdups, authorities said.

In one, he stuck a silver and black handgun in a clerk's face at a Quick Chek on Market Street in Clifton before fleeing with $400 in cash just after 4 a.m. Dec. 11, 2020.

SEE: Police: Ex-Con Was Masked Gunman Who Robbed Clifton QuickChek

Waiting behind the wheel of a maroon Chrysler Sebring was Whager, who later led police on a high-speed chase that ended in a crash in Morris County.

Whagar was immediately arrested and Davis was captured the following day. Police found two handguns in the car that had been used in the robberies.

Four days earlier, Davis robbed an Elmwood Park 7 Eleven of $350 using the same gun, authorities said.

SEE: Feds: Elmwood Park 7-Eleven Among Targets Of Ski-Masked Armed Robbers

All of the robberies occurred between 2 and 6 a.m., they said.

Authorities said the robberies occurred in:

  • Lodi;
  • Mahwah;
  • Elmwood Park;
  • Clifton;
  • Hoboken;
  • Bayonne;
  • Kearny;
  • Parsippany;
  • Rockaway;
  • Morris Plains;
  • West Orange;
  • East Brunswick;
  • South River;
  • Edison;
  • Union;
  • Clark;
  • Maplewood;
  • Springfield;
  • Middlesex;
  • Roselle Park;
  • Rahway.

Whagar took a deal from the government rather than go to trial, pleading guilty last December to nine counts of Hobbs Act robbery, as well as conspiracy and using a firearm during a violent crime.

In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Court Judge Kevin McNulty sentenced Whagar to three years of supervised release.

Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig credited special agents of the FBI and thanked the Bergen, Passaic, Hudson, Morris, Union, Middlesex, and Essex County prosecutor’s offices, as well as police from the various towns for their work on the case.

Securing Whagar’s plea deal was Assistant U.S. Attorney Heather Suchorsky of Carpenito’s Economic Crimes Unit.

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