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Marlboro ordinance targets individuals who trespass to steal vehicles

MARLBORO — The members of the Marlboro Township Council have adopted an ordinance that will impose penalties on individuals who are convicted of trespassing on private property for the purpose of stealing a motor vehicle.

The ordinance was adopted during the Dec. 15 council meeting.

Mayor Jonathan Hornik said the ordinance would take effect immediately.

The ordinance carries a fine of up to $2,000 or imprisonment of up to 90 days
for each attempted vehicle theft. Trespassing in an attempt to steal a motor vehicle, even if the individual does not steal the vehicle, constitutes an offense under the ordinance.

The charges would apply to adults and juveniles who attempt to steal a motor vehicle, according to Hornik and Township Attorney Louis Rainone.

According to municipal officials, Marlboro became the first municipality in New Jersey to announce this type of law.

Hornik said after the announcement of the ordinance in November, officials from several municipalities reached out to Marlboro with the idea of possibly taking the same or similar action in their communities.

During his administrative report on Dec. 15, the mayor said, “If you do the crime, you should go to jail.”

Council members voted unanimously to adopt the ordinance.

“The immediate effective date of the ordinance is very important,” Councilwoman Randi Marder said.

In 2018, Hornik announced Marlboro’s “See Something, Say Something and We Will Do Something” campaign in which residents are encouraged to report suspicious activity to the police department.

In March, the program was expanded to include home and vehicle safety due to an uptick in stolen vehicles and the theft of personal items from vehicles. Township emails, social media messaging and Police SWIFT 911 texts remind residents to lock their vehicles and to take the key fob with them.

The initiative was expanded in May as Hornik and Police Chief Peter Pezzullo asked residents to take an online pledge agreeing to take basic steps to keep their home and vehicles safe. In return, a police officer delivered a lawn sign that serves as a reminder to neighbors and sends a warning to potential thieves to stay out of Marlboro.

Another program was implemented in September with the Neighbors App, which allows police to request doorbell video from residents in specific areas to assist in police investigations.

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