A Union County grand jury has returned a 25-count indictment against three defendants for their alleged roles in operating a luxury car theft ring affecting car dealerships in four counties across North Jersey this past summer, acting Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park and Linden Police Chief Jonathan Parham jointly announced Friday.
Haquil Green, 25, of Newark, Salik Stephens, 34, of Newark, and Ibn Holman, 35, of East Orange all are charged with second-degree conspiracy to commit theft and multiple counts of third-degree theft and third-degree burglary. Green and Stephens additionally are charged with multiple counts of third-degree receiving stolen property.
A joint investigation by the Prosecutor’s Office’s Special Prosecutions Unit and the Linden Police Department, spearheaded by Linden Police Detective Matthew Damatta, revealed that Stephens, Green, and Holman allegedly traveled to multiple luxury car dealerships from June into September, each time expressing interest in certain vehicles, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor Jeremiah Lenihan, who is prosecuting the case.
Once the defendants received key fobs for the vehicles from representatives of the dealerships, they would surreptitiously switch them out with replacements, then return to the dealerships overnight and use the real key fobs to steal the vehicles, Lenihan said.
Most but not all of the dozen Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi, and other luxury vehicles obtained by the group have been recovered. The approximate overall value of the vehicles was $400,000, and they were stolen from dealerships in Belleville, Bloomfield, Elizabeth, Hillside, Linden, Lodi, Rahway, South Hackensack, Springfield, and Wayne.
Police departments in each of those municipalities, the Union County Sheriff’s Office, and the New Jersey State Police all assisted in the investigation. Stephens was arrested on September 20 in East Orange on a charge of eluding police, and he was found to have seven key fobs on his person when taken into custody. Green was apprehended approximately one week later, while Holman remains at large.
Anyone with information about this matter is being urged to contact Detective Damatta at 908-474-8538.
Convictions on second-degree criminal offenses are commonly punishable by 5 to 10 years in state prison, while third-degree crimes typically result in terms of 3 to 5 years.
These criminal charges are mere accusations. Each defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.