The New Jersey State Police have charged two men after troopers linked them to numerous commercial burglaries and car thefts in New Jersey and Pennsylvania during a six month investigation dubbed “Operation Hellcat.”
In March 2019, detectives from the State Police Strategic Investigations Unit Central, along with members of the Howell Township Police Department, began investigating a string of commercial burglaries in Monmouth County. The suspects allegedly targeted and broke into various check cashing facilities, scrap metal yards and convenience stores in the area where they stole cash, according to information provided by the New Jersey State Police.
During the investigation, Leon Lowery, 42, of North Brunswick, and Ishawn Redd, 39, of West Orange, were identified as the suspects in the burglaries. Through various investigative means, investigators also linked them to additional commercial burglaries and car thefts in Monmouth and Middlesex counties and in Pennsylvania, according to the statement.
On Sept. 11, 2019, detectives from the Strategic Investigations Unit Central, Troop “C” Criminal Investigations Office, Interstate North Unit, T.E.A.M.S Unit, and NJSP K-9 Unit, along with members of the Howell and South Plainfield police departments, obtained and executed search warrants at Lowery’s residence in North Brunswick and Redd’s residence in West Orange, according to the statement. As a result, troopers arrested Redd and Lowery and seized four stolen vehicles (Dodge Challenger Hellcat, Audi A7, Dodge Ram 3500 and a Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG), burglary tools, 169 THC vape cartridges, a .40 caliber handgun, a .45 caliber handgun, and more than $15,300 cash, according to the statement.
On Sept. 13, 2019, detectives from the Strategic Investigations Unit Central, along with members of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office and Paramus Police Department, obtained and executed a search warrant on a storage facility, which was rented by Lowery, in East Orange. As a result, troopers seized a stolen Jeep Grand Cherokee, 4 ounces of methamphetamine, more than 500 grams of Xanax pills, more than 50 grams of marijuana and ecstasy, according to the statement.
Lowery was charged with operating a facility for sale of stolen motor vehicle parts, removal or altering of vehicle identification numbers, receiving stolen property, burglary, theft, unlawful possession of a weapon, possession of prohibited weapons, certain persons not to possess a weapon, possession of CDS with the intent to distribute and possession of marijuana.
Lowery was lodged at the Middlesex County Adult Correction Center pending a detention hearing.
Redd was charged with receiving stolen property and removal or altering of vehicle identification numbers and lodged at the Essex County Jail pending a detention hearing.
Detectives believe that Lowery and Redd may have committed additional commercial burglaries and thefts throughout New Jersey. Any victims should call the Strategic Investigations Unit Central at 609-584-5000, ext. 5351. Anonymous tips are welcome.
This case against Lowery is being prosecuting by the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, and the case against Redd is being prosecuted by the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office.