Ex-Cons Released Early Due To COVID Nabbed In Bergen Highway Gas Station Robbery

Two ex-cons who were among more than 2,000 New Jersey prisoners released early last year because of COVID were charged with holding up a Route 17 gas station in Hasbrouck Heights last month.

Salik Stephens, Keywan Hudson
Salik Stephens, Keywan Hudson Photo Credit: INSET: Bergen County Prosecutor, Essex County sheriff

Keywan Hudson, 25, spoke on a cellphone as he pointed a gun at the victim at the BP gas station on the northbound highway and demanded cash shortly before 3 a.m. Aug. 11, according to a complaint filed by a Bergen County prosecutor's detective.

He also demanded to know the address, it says.

Security video also showed Salik Stephens, 29, pulling up in a black BMW sedan with temporary tags moments later, says the complaint filed in Superior Court in Hackensack.

Hudson and Stephens were both released from Northern State Prison in Newark last Nov. 4 after Gov. Phil Murphy signed a law that knocked off time for a host of offenders, records show. Each would have been eligible for parole this summer.

Hudson, who’s spent more than eight years of the past decade behind bars, has convictions for carjacking and resisting arrest in a high-speed police chase, records show.

Stephens was sent to prison for two years for a pursuit of his own, among other convictions. He’s awaiting trial on theft charges out of South Hackensack, among other pending cases, records show.

Both were talking on the phone during the Hasbrouck Heights gas station robbery, authorities said.

Police later stopped the BMW in Newark and arrested Stephens. They also seized “distinctive” clothing worn by Hudson during the holdup, the complaint says.

Hudson was arrested at his home on Monday by detectives from the Bergen and Essex county prosecutor’s offices, with Hasbrouck Heights and Newark police, Bergen County Prosecutor Mark Musella said.

Detectives served Stephens with criminal complaints at the Hudson County Correctional Facility in Kearny, he said.

Stephens had been taken there from the Essex County Correctional Facility on Aug. 19 for a court proceeding in another case, records show.

Both he and Hudson are charged with armed robbery, conspiracy, aggravated assault and weapons offenses, including being convicted felons in possession of a firearm. Convictions on the weapons offenses alone could return them to prison for several years.

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