MARLBORO — Residents of Marlboro have recently been victimized by a rash of automobile thefts and break-ins. According to a statement from the Marlboro Police Department, there has been “an uptick in incidents in the last few months.”
On March 8 at 3 a.m., Patrolman Charles Wilson apprehended five individuals who were casing a residential neighborhood. The five juveniles who were from northern New Jersey were driving a high-end luxury vehicle with a damaged temporary license plate.
Wilson, who is part of a detail specifically assigned to thwart late-night thefts, noticed the vehicle with the damaged license plate driving slowly in a neighborhood and made the decision to initiate a motor vehicle stop. After speaking with the five individuals, the arrests were made.
“We have been preaching attention to detail,” Police Chief Peter Pezzullo said in an interview. “It was great catch by Patrolman Wilson. He took notice of a small detail and was proactive. But even though we are out there, it is still like finding a needle in a haystack.”
Pezzullo said officers in the department have been accessing data from the New Jersey State Police and from task forces which have been monitoring an increase in motor vehicle thefts. He said Marlboro is one area that is being targeted.
Since the arrest of the five individuals on March 8, two other vehicles in Marlboro have been stolen using key fobs the perpetrators found in the unlocked vehicles.
“It is a testimony to our community and our law enforcement that people become comfortable with leaving their doors unlocked,” Pezzullo said. “But given the circumstances, residents need to make it less appetizing for others to feel free to attempt these acts.”
Pezzullo said the biggest deterrent to the crime wave related to motor vehicles is for residents to ensure their vehicles are locked and that any remote devices such as a key fob are safely in the home or in possession of the owner.
The Marlboro Police Department has been raising awareness of the issue over the last few months by using electronic sign boards along township roads, by posting messages on social media and by handing out fliers in the community.
Mayor Jon Hornik has initiated a “See Something, Say Something” campaign and is encouraging residents to take notice of anything unusual.
Anyone with information may call 732-536-0100 to reach the police in a non-emergency situation.