Two Virginia residents have been arrested and charged with conspiring to orchestrate an armed home invasion and robbery in Marlboro earlier this fall, Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Raymond S. Santiago announced on Nov. 3.
According to a press release from the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, Acori Knox, 21, of Hampton, Va., and Lauren McNeil, 24, of Newport News, Va., are each charged with second degree conspiracy to commit burglary, second degree conspiracy to commit robbery, and second degree attempted burglary.
Knox is additionally charged with first degree attempted robbery, second degree eluding police, and three second degree weapons offenses, according to the press release.
A joint investigation by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Bureau and the Marlboro Police Department revealed the following facts: Shortly after 5:30 a.m. Sept. 24, members of the Marlboro Police Department responded to a residential neighborhood to investigate a report of an attempted home invasion.
At that location they learned an adult male suspect later identified as Knox had just left the scene in a dark-colored Cadillac sedan with Virginia license plates, having minutes earlier attempted to enter the home through a rear patio door while brandishing an AK-47-style rifle.
A patrolman quickly located the vehicle and initiated a pursuit, but soon thereafter broke it off due to excessive speed and the associated risk to public safety.
McNeil was one of several individuals present as guests at the home at the time and it was revealed that she and her boyfriend, Knox, had planned the home invasion via text messages ahead of time, seeking to restrain the homeowner while robbing him
of cash and personal effects.
According to the press release, both defendants were taken into custody without incident on Nov. 2 in Newport News, Va., and they now await extradition proceedings and a first appearance and detention hearing to take place in state Superior Court, Freehold.
The prosecutor’s office thanked the Hampton, Va., Police Division, the Newport News, Va., Police Department, and the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Offices in both cities for their assistance in the investigation.
“This case has been marked by consistently stellar investigative work throughout, from a swift initial response that very well may have prevented a far worse outcome all the way through the identification of these suspects and their arrests,” Santiago said.
“It is also a prime example of how powerfully effective collaborative efforts involving multiple agencies can be, all in an overarching effort to ensure public safety is maintained throughout our communities,” he said.
“The Marlboro Police Department Detective Bureau worked hand in hand with the
Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and the Newport News Police Department to
close this investigation rapidly,” Marlboro Police Chief Peter J. Pezzullo added.
“I am extremely proud of the dedication and diligence of Detective (Edward)
Ungrady and all the Marlboro officers involved in this case. This joint operation
exemplifies how multiple law enforcement agencies can work as one and accomplish
great results,” he said.
Convictions on first degree criminal charges are commonly punishable by terms of up to 20 years in state prison, while second degree convictions can result in terms of up to 10 years, according to the prosecutor’s office.
Anyone with information about this matter is still being asked to contact Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Detective Aaron Shaw at 800-533-7443 or Marlboro Detective Edward Ungrady at 732-536-0100.
Anyone who feels the need to remain anonymous, but has information about this
or any crime can submit a tip to Monmouth County Crime Stoppers by calling their
confidential telephone tip-line at 1-800-671-4400; by downloading and using the free
P3 Tips mobile app (available on iOS and Android – https://www.p3tips.com/1182), by
calling 800-671-4400, or by going to the website at