Two New Jersey municipalities were hit by high-end vehicle car thieves during the weekend, prompting one mayor to call on the state to take a tougher stand.

A customer was assaulted in the parking lot of the Patel Brothers food market Saturday afternoon by three robbers wearing hoodies and face masks Edison police Chief Thomas Bryan told New Jersey 101.5.

Bryan said the victim was dragged out of his vehicle and assaulted in search of the key fob.  He managed to get away with his key fob still in his pocket, according to the chief.

Edison Mayor Sam Joshi challenged fellow Democrats to increase criminal penalties and toughen "accountability" for juveniles who are convicted of serious crimes including home invasion, robbery, and auto theft.  He would like to see repeat offenders detained, greater discretion for bail sentencing and a change in classification to increase the severity of these crimes.

Edison takes action

The mayor said his own township has installed 80 license plate readers, installed an advanced 911 system and hired 32 police officers in the past 18 months.

“Public safety is a collective responsibility. It begins with supporting our police officers and empowering our communities, which is why it’s imperative that we demand legislative action to punish juvenile offenders more severely. It's time to stop coddling criminals and start protecting our communities,” Joshi said.

Bryan said he and Joshi are meeting with Attorney General Matt Platkin on Tuesday to discuss these issues.

Joshi broke with Democrats over illegal immigration in November when a bus from the Texas border dropped off migrants at the Edison NJ Transit station. The intent was for them to continue into New York City to get around restrictions on the buses imposed by New York City Mayor Eric Adams.

Joshi instructed police to charter a bus and return any migrants who stayed in Edison back to the border.

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NJ Car Theft

Lock your house, doors, sliding doors and windows

Howell police said two high-end vehicles were stolen from two homes in the Barrister Court area early Sunday by three burglars who entered the homes through an unlocked garage door and rear sliding door. The burglars, dressed in all black, located the key fobs and got away with a 2024 Range Rover and a 2022 white Cadillac Escalade.

The Range Rover was later recovered in Jersey City, according to police. The suspects are still at large.

Police said that “organized crime groups” have stolen vehicles in a similar fashion all around the state since November and advised residents to lock their doors, sliding doors and windows.

"Technology from car manufacturers has made it much more difficult for criminals to steal vehicles without the keys. These organized crime groups will exploit any vulnerability in pursuit of obtaining the key fob," the department wrote on its Facebook page

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