State Police have accused a 16-year-old boy of stealing an unmarked police vehicle and taking it on a county-wide crime spree, pulling over and robbing motorists before ditching the troop car and evading capture for three days.
The police SUV was stolen right from the driveway of an unidentified state trooper’s North Brunswick home either late Saturday or early Sunday, police said.
The teen, who also was not identified because he is a minor, was captured Wednesday by detectives from the State Police and North Brunswick Police Department “after they developed a suspect based on forensic analysis of evidence recovered during the investigation,” according to a statement released Thursday.
Authorities now say the teen used the vehicle, which contained uniforms and two weapons, to pull over three drivers around Middlesex County, successfully robbing two of them.
In one instance, police said the teen pulled over a truck driver near exit 10 on the New Jersey Turnpike and “requested money from the driver as a fine for speeding.” The driver declined, and the teen drove off.
He allegedly had more success pulling over another trucker an hour later in South Brunswick and a cab driver at the Woodbridge Center Mall shortly after that, in both cases making off with an undisclosed amount of cash.
Police said no weapons were brandished during the robberies, though two were recovered when the teen was arrested in New Brunswick.
The teen also filled up the stolen SUV at a Colonia gas station, driving off without paying, police said.
The trooper reported the vehicle missing after realizing it was not in the driveway just after 9:30 a.m. The car was found in North Brunswick late Sunday morning.
The teen was charged with burglary, robbery and theft, as well as multiple counts of unlawful possession of a weapon and impersonating a law enforcement officer and was being held Thursday at the Middlesex County Juvenile Detention Center, police said.
State Police declined to identify the trooper involved, and it was not clear how the teen gained access to the vehicle or whether the trooper would be subject to disciplinary action.
“The matter is the subject of an ongoing investigation,” said Sgt. Jeff Flynn, a State Police spokesman. “We are not at liberty to release that information.”
State Police have not yet responded to an Open Public Records Act request filed by NJ Advance Media earlier this week.