Fort Lee police cracked a rash of vehicle burglaries and thefts by seizing seven Hudson County teens – three of them 16 and one 15, authorities said Tuesday.
A total of 17 break-ins and four outright thefts of automobiles were reported over a 10-day span in August in Fort Lee alone, Capt. Matthew Hintze said, adding that others were reported in neighboring Cliffside Park, Palisades Park, Ridgefield Park and Leonia.
Blame key fobs, he said.
“Although this technology has added a level of convenience, it has also created opportunities for criminals to burglarize and steal vehicles without having to force entry,” Hintze said.
Borough police nabbed two adults -- Felipe Santos, 19, and Kshawn Jackson, 18, both of Jersey City – and five juveniles with major assistance from police in the neighboring towns, as well as the Bergen and Hudson county prosecutor’s offices and the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office.
One of the teens is from Union City. The rest, like Santos and Jackson, are from Jersey City.
Santos was charged with 17 counts of burglary to motor vehicles and four counts of motor vehicle theft.
Jackson was accused of stealing two cars.
Both were sent to the Bergen County Jail on Sept. 14 – and then ordered released the next day by a judge under New Jersey’s 2017 bail reform law, records show.
Township police signed delinquency complaints against the juveniles that will be heard in the Family Part of Superior Court in Hackensack. All, like Santos, are accused of 17 vehicle burglaries and four vehicle thefts.
“This investigation is an excellent example of multiple law enforcement agencies working together to solve a crime plaguing our area,” Hintze said.
The captain reminded citizens to lock their vehicles, take their key fobs and either take all valuables or keep them out of sight.
He also urged anyone who’s been a victim or sees a crime being committed to contact either the Fort Lee Police Department General Investigations Bureau at (201)592-3510 or their local police department.
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