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Middletown police: Newark teens are suspects in attempted auto thefts

MIDDLETOWN — On Sept. 29, Middletown Police Chief R. Craig Weber announced the arrest of two juveniles who were charged in connection with the theft of a vehicle in New York City and who are suspects in several attempted vehicle thefts in Middletown.

According to a press release issued by the Middletown Township Police Department, on Sept. 23, a 16-year-old male from Newark and a 17-year-old male from Newark were arrested by members of the New Jersey State Police Auto Theft Task Force.

Each teenager was charged with receiving stolen property and attempted burglary. The charges are in connection with an Audi Q8 sport utility vehicle, valued at more than $65,000, that was stolen in New York City.

According to Weber, both juveniles from Newark are suspected of being involved in attempted thefts in Middletown and surrounding municipalities. Weber said that part of the investigation is ongoing.

In addition to the attempted thefts, Middletown police and members of the New Jersey State Police Auto Theft Task Force are continuing to investigate the theft of other vehicles in the township, including the following:

• On Aug. 8, a BMW X3 was stolen from a residence on Sailors Way. The vehicle was recovered in Newark on Aug. 9;

• On Aug. 18, a Ford Explorer ST was stolen from a residence on Mohican Drive. The vehicle was recovered by police in Newark several days later.

According to the press release, police are investigating the possibility that the Aug. 8 theft and the Aug. 18 theft are connected.

“The alarming rise in auto thefts poses a serious risk to public safety. Car thieves, who are often juveniles, have become increasingly reckless, entering garages and homes in broad daylight to retrieve key fobs and driving at extremely high rates of speed, sometimes crashing into police cars and other motorists.

“We have increased police patrols to address this criminal activity and are working collaboratively with other local, county, state and federal law enforcement agencies to target the criminal networks who are responsible for this multi-million dollar enterprise,” Weber said.

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