ELMWOOD PARK, N.J. – A ski-masked gunman and getaway driver went on a robbery spree through several counties in North and Central Jersey -- holding up, among other businesses, a 7-Eleven in Elmwood Park and leading local police on chases, federal authorities charged Tuesday.
Tione Davis, 35, of East Orange, stuck a silver handgun in the clerk's face in the convenience store at the corner of Market Street and Mola Boulevard around 4:15 a.m. last Dec. 7 before making off with $350 in cash, an FBI complaint on file in federal court in Newark charges.
An, 29-year-old Meshach Whagar of Newark, was waiting behind the wheel of a white Honda Accord with tinted windows registered to someone he was dating, authorities said.
During the holdup, Davis pulled off one of the gloves -- apparently to call Whager, who was nearby -- the federal complaint says.
Detectives "recovered a latent fingerprint left on the cash register drawer matching [Davis's]," it says.
Authorities suspect the pair was involved in another holdup hours a little over an hour earlier at the Liberty Gas Station/Quick Stop Deli on northbound Route 17 in Mahwah, but neither was charged in connection with that robbery.
A ski-masked gunman made off with about $400 in that one, police said at the time.
The federal complaint on file in U.S. District Court in Newark does charge Davis and Whagar with nearly 20 other robberies in Passaic, Hudson, Morris, Middlesex, and Union counties last November and December.
They include a Clifton QuickChek that authorities say Davis robbed of $350 four days later by pointing the same gun at the clerk ( Feds: Clifton QuickChek Among Targets Of Ski-Masked Armed Robbers )
All of the robberies occurred between 2 and 6 a.m. and "involved convenience stores and/ or gas stations," the FBI complaint says.
"During those robberies, Davis, while wearing dark clothing and hiding his face with masks or scarves, brandished a handgun and demanded money from store clerks," U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito said Tuesday. "After stealing cash from the stores, Davis fled with Whagar, who acted as the getaway driver.
"Before being apprehended, the defendants led law enforcement on a high-speed vehicle pursuit in Morris County," the U.S. attorney added. "Among the items found in their [Chrysler Sebring] were two handguns matching the description of those Davis used during the robberies."
The FBI also found the Accord, he said.
Carpenito 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 Elmwood Park, Lodi, Mahwah, Clifton and various other towns for their work on this case.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Heather Suchorsky and Jamari Buxton of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Newark.
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