More catalytic converter thefts as Monmouth, NJ officials push for change
Ocean Township police announced the arrest of four Camden residents who took the drive north and stole several catalytic converters.
🚔 Car thefts and burglaries rising across Monmouth County
To date, there have been approximately 578 car thefts this year alone in Monmouth County, by far the most in recent memory.
Since the birth of bail reform in 2017, many in the law enforcement community have pointed to a rise in crime particularly here as it relates to rising car thefts and motor vehicle burglaries.
"There's statistical proof about bail reform and the failure of bail reform in this equation of stolen vehicles, and it's undeniable," Monmouth County Sheriff Shaun Golden previously told Townsquare Media News.
🚔 Bust in Ocean Township
In the early morning hours of Dec. 15 in Ocean Township, police officers pulled up to a parking lot along Kneeley Boulevard around 12:34 am and found a woman sitting in a parked vehicle while three men were heard and then spotted running through a nearby wooded area.
Police found several catalytic converters on the ground near vehicles along with saw blades as they searched the scene along with K-9 Skye and a Monmouth County Sheriff's Officer.
When officers found the men scurrying through the woods, they told police they ran out of gas and were looking for a can for their vehicle.
Police learned that 24-year-old Daniel Saniurio, 25-year-old Ramon L. Saldana, and 25-year-old Javier O. Moreno-Rivera went to the property and removed several catalytic converters from vehicles while 27-year-old Mariah L. Woodsruiz stayed in their vehicle.
All four Camden residents were arrested, brought to Ocean Township Police Headquarters for processing, and charged with theft, possession of burglar’s tools, criminal trespass and criminal mischief.
Police said that all four declined to speak with detectives at the station and were then brought to the Monmouth County Correctional Institution where they'll await an initial court appearance.
Golden, an elected Republican, and many others in law enforcement have been calling for change and pitching solutions for years to leaders at the Statehouse in Trenton and for the most part, proposals have gone unanswered.
"The leaders have spoken about this in the administration and the legislature, they know there's an issue, they haven't done anything to fix it upon our law enforcement requests -- the Chiefs of Police, the Sheriff's across the state of New Jersey -- all pointing to the fact that we are not keeping repeat offenders, repeat offenders in the jail awaiting trial and that allows them back out on our streets to do it over and over again," Golden said.
"We've given them ideas about legislative change -- let's go to a 3-strikes, if you want to give somebody a second chance, we're okay with that, but obviously if they're out 3-4-5 times -- there's a problem. Let's go to a 3-strikes on motor vehicles -- so, if you steal 3 vehicles, guess what, you're staying in jail until you're held for your trial. Let's start there."
A Monmouth County state senator has proposed a solution to the car theft and bail reform crisis in New Jersey.
In seeing what's been going on and listening to law enforcement and others concerns for car thefts, motor vehicle burglaries, and bail reform, state Sen. Vin Gopal, D-Monmouth, has introduced legislation to put into place a solution to alleviate all of these concerns.
The bill from Gopal would keep certain offenders in jail until trial particularly targeting repeat offenders.
Previous reporting by Dino Flammia was used in this article.