An accused carjacker admitted Monday that he helped a gunman drag an Uber driver from her car and throw her to the ground in Newark before they drove off with the vehicle.
Rakeem McNair, 21, of Roselle, took a guilty plea in federal court in Newark less than two weeks after an accomplice, city resident Raquin Tanner, 25, confessed to his own role in the Aug. 13, 2019 carjacking.
The victim was in the driver’s seat of her parked car on Summer Avenue in Newark around 11 o’clock that night when three thugs approached, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael Honig said.
Video surveillance shows Tanner approaching with two others from around the corner, Honig said.
As they neared the vehicle, she said, Tanner “spoke to the other two, then went ahead of them” and “looked into the passenger seat of the car.
“Upon seeing the lone female driver, [Tanner] signaled the other two males to begin the carjacking.”
One of them pointed a gun through the driver’s side window, opened the door and grabbed the victim, Honig said.
She struggled, so McNair went around the car to help get her out, the U.S. attorney said.
“McNair and the unidentified male threw the victim violently to the ground and drove away with the vehicle,” Honig said.
Rather than go to trial, both Tanner and McNair took deals from the government.
In exchange for leniency, Tanner pleaded guilty on March 10 to aiding and abetting the carjacking. Authorities didn’t say whether he’d signed a cooperating agreement to testify against anyone.
Honig did announce that McNair pleaded guilty Monday to both carjacking and using a gun during the robbery.
She didn't address Rakeem McNair, 20, who was also identified by police as involved in the carjacking.
U.S. District Judge Madeline Cox Arleo scheduled Tanner’s sentencing for July 12 and McNair’s for July 27. Both will remain in federal custody at least until then.
Honig credited Newark police, the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, and special agents of the FBI for the investigation leading to the video-conferenced pleas, secured by Senior Trial Counsel Robert Frazer of her Organized Crime/Gang Unit in Newark.
UPDATE: A heavily-armed fugitive who held tactical officers at bay for nearly seven hours at a Secaucus hotel told police that he was “prepared for war” and “ready to die,” the U.S. attorney for New Jersey said Monday.
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