Two masked car thieves approached by police in a Paramus neighborhood in the middle of the night left behind their partner, who was arrested while they eluded pursuing officers, authorities said.
Police began searching for a black Range Rover after a Route 17 Exxon station attendant said they stole gas just after 3 a.m. Tuesday, Police Chief Kenneth Ehrenberg said.
They got another call just before 4 a.m. of two occupants from a similar vehicle walking through residents’ driveways on Highland Avenue, he said.
Officer William Stallone found the parked Range Rover – which had been reported stolen -- with a driver wearing a ski mask behind the wheel, the chief said.
His two accomplices – also wearing ski masks -- suddenly came running toward the vehicle, but only one made it in as the Range Rover raced off, Ehrenberg said.
Additional units joined in the search for Jaquil Spruill, 26, of Newark, who was captured after Bergen County Sheriff’s Officer Lorenc and K-9 Harry tracked him down, the chief said.
Stallone, meanwhile, pursued the stolen Range Rover on southbound Route 17 but lost sight of it in the area of Essex Street.
It turned out several vehicles in the area of Highland Avenue were ransacked and assorted property stolen by the thieves, who Ehrenberg said are believed to belong to a crew responsible for ongoing vehicle thefts throughout Bergen County.
In most cases, owners left their vehicles unlocked – often with key fobs, keys or valuables inside, the chief said.
Spruill was charged with eluding, as well as possession of stolen property and marijuana.
He was sent to the Bergen County Jail – only to be ordered released by a judge less than 24 hours later under New Jersey’s 2017 bai reform law.
Ehrenberg, meanwhile, asked that anyone with information that could help catch his accomplices call Paramus police at (201) 262-3400 or use the department’s TIPS App at www.paramuspolice.org.
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