For the second time this week, a vehicle was carjacked in Newark with a child inside. Thankfully, in both instances, the children were found unharmed. But this is an unsettling trend.
At about 7:00pm last night (January 30th), a woman left her Nissan Altima idling outside an auto repair shop on Central Avenue with her 5-year old daughter in the back seat. An unidentified person jumped inside and sped off. The vehicle was quickly found a block away and the child was unharmed. There are no suspects as of yet. For more information, see theStar Ledger article entitled, “Vehicle carjacked with a child inside in Newark.”
Only a week earlier (Wednesday, January 23rd), a woman was forced out of her parked Nissan Pathfinder on Newark Street at approximately 7:50pm. Her children, an 11-month old and a 3-year old, were seated in the back. Shortly thereafter, the vehicle was found a few blocks away with the children, unharmed, still in the back seat. There are still no suspects. Fore more information, see the Star Ledger article entitled, “2 young children found safe after taken for ride by Newark carjacker.”
Just this past Saturday (January 26th), an Essex County Freeholder was also carjacked in Newark. He did not have children in his vehicle, but the carjacker did allegedly utilize ahandgun. This matter was actually the subject of my blog article on Monday (January 28th), “Essex County Freeholder Carjacked at Gunpoint.”
Carjacking is a crime of the First Degree, the most serious under the New Jersey Criminal Code. A conviction for carjacking carries sentencing exposure of between 10 and 30 years in New Jersey State Prison with 85% that must be served before the benefit of parole, pursuant to the No Early Release Act (“NERA”). In instances of joyriding, a “lesser-included offense,” the sentencing range is much lower. In some cases, jail may be avoided altogether. But a downgrade in these recent matters in Newark is unlikely due to their violent nature – the risk of injury to the children, and the use of the handgun.