New Jersey State Police Superintendent Colonel Rick Fuentes announced that criminal charges have been lodged against 20 individuals in the wake of a sweeping, 14-month investigation dubbed “Operation Ninja” that targeted a sophisticated tri-county motorcycle theft ring.
The thefts took place mostly in Burlington, Mercer and Camden counties over the past two years. The ring, operating out of the Willingboro area, may be responsible for the theft of a couple hundred late-model, racing-style motorcycles. The accused men allegedly stamped new identification numbers on the bikes and created fraudulent documents in an attempt to hide the thefts.
According to Colonel Fuentes, detectives assigned to the State Police Auto Unit, with assistance from representatives of the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice, Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office, F.B.I., Pennsauken and Willingboro Police Departments and many other agencies, conducted the investigation. In early morning raids, 19 individuals were arrested. So far, 40 stolen motorcycles and two cars were recovered with an estimated value of more than $500,000.
The New Jersey State Police Auto Unit began the investigation in February 2004, when detectives uncovered a string of motorcycle and ATV thefts. The thefts affected numerous towns in southern New Jersey, but appeared centered in the Willingboro area. In the spring of 2004, the F.B.I. and Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office initiated a parallel “sting operation” into auto and motorcycle thefts in the Trenton area. A coordinated investigation continued for a short time with the federal probe ending in the early summer of 2004.
The State Police investigation continued and revealed an extensive criminal network committing thefts of racing-style motorcycles and ATV’s in several counties. The investigation eventually stretched into the states of Delaware, Virginia, New York, California and Georgia where several of the stolen motorcycles were sold.
“The Division of Criminal Justice and the Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor assisted the State Police investigation through the preparation of arrest warrants and by providing information regarding potential insurance fraud,” said Division of Criminal Justice Director Vaughn McKoy. “While the theft and fraud schemes alleged in the arrest warrants impact the sale of motorcycles, the second and hidden crime, is that of insurance fraud. The Insurance Fraud Prosecutor will move to determine the amount of insurance fraud and will submit the appropriate information to the State Grand Jury.”
As a result of the New Jersey investigation, detectives have determined that at least an additional 12 stolen motorcycles were transported out-of-state and efforts are underway to recover those and other stolen vehicles. State Police detectives and the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) are coordinating efforts to recover stolen motorcycles in the states of Pennsylvania, New York, Virginia, Delaware, Georgia and California.
Additionally, investigators recovered two stolen vehicles, a 2004 BMW X5 SUV, a 2005 Chrysler Cross-Fire and a .380 caliber handgun. The estimated value of the two recovered vehicles is $100,000.
Investigators are continuing to determine if purchasers of the stolen motorcycles were aware that they had been stolen.
Those named in the investigation include:
Torray Murphy, 29, 3rd Degree Rec Stolen Property; Kyle Bunn, 27, 3rd Degree Rec Stolen Property; Ronald R. Crosland, 27, 3rd Degree Rec Stolen Property; John E. White, 21, 3rd Degree Rec Stolen Property; Gregory C. Haygood, 23, 3rd Degree Rec Stolen Property;
Jamar L. Doggett, 25, 3rd Degree Rec Stolen Property; Rodney M. Butler, 30, 3rd Degree Rec Stolen Property; Jaesen R. Hensley, 23, 3rd Degree Rec Stolen Property; Kevi C. Williamson, 29, 3rd Degree Rec Stolen Property; Randolph L. Brolo, 27, 3rd Degree Rec Stolen Property; Quentin O. Durden, 27, 3rd Degree Rec Stolen Property;
Aaron K. Auten, 30, 3rd Degree Rec Stolen Property; Anthony B. Angelone, 27, 3rd Degree Rec Stolen Property; Cory J. Carthan, 31, 3rd Degree Rec Stolen Property; Floyd B. Robertson, 33, 3rd Degree Rec Stolen Property; Rodney J. West, 31, 3rd Degree Rec Stolen Property; Johnnie E. Kennedy, 24, 3rd Degree Rec Stolen Property;
Janine C. Barnes, 21, Conspiracy/3rd Degree Rec Stolen Property;
Anton S. Hall, 26, 3rd Degree Rec Stolen Property/Poss of Veh w/altered VIN.
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