BAYONNE — Local police were looking for more potential victims of an online scheme, involving cars stolen from several New Jersey towns then being sold to unsuspecting buyers.

A pair of 23-year-old New Yorkers from Staten Island was arrested Friday night, around 9:40 p.m. in the area of West 37th Street, Bayonne police said.

Bayonne stolen cars sold online (Canva, Townsquare Media) (1)
(Canva, Townsquare Media)

Devonte A. Thomas — also known as Alazim Odu — was linked to sales of several stolen vehicles in separate incidents in November and January.

The second man, Justin I. Wright, faced charges in one of the incidents, as of Monday.

Stolen NJ cars sold on Facebook Marketplace

Detectives had already been investigating the sale of stolen vehicles on Facebook Marketplace — several involving a seller named “Alazim Olasupo Odu.”

On Friday, one of the previous victims contacted Bayonne police, saying they thought they had found the same person who sold them a stolen car in the past, offering to sell a different car within the classified-ad section of the social network.

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Photo by Igor Stepanov on Unsplash
Photo by Igor Stepanov on Unsplash

After confirming that the vehicle listed for sale was reported stolen out of Newark, one detective went undercover as the buyer, with backup nearby.

Thomas and Wright approached the detective and opened the vehicle using a key fob, after which other police officers announced themselves and moved in — both men ran but were caught and arrested.

After he was in police custody, Thomas was found to own a U.S. passport under the name “Alazim Olasupo Odu.”

Inside the stolen vehicle was a fake New York State vehicle title, in the same name.

Other incidents connected to Thomas include:

⚫ Nov. 3, 2023 — A person reported buying a 2013 Infiniti from “Alazim Odu” via Facebook Marketplace for $5,150. The car was later found to have been reported stolen.

⚫ Jan. 16 — A person reported buying a 2019 Honda for $10,000 from Thomas — the car was found to have been reported stolen out of Newark.

⚫ Jan. 18 — A person reported buying a 2020 Honda from “Alazim Odu” via Facebook Marketplace for $11,500. It was later found the vehicle was reported stolen out of Elizabeth.

Bayonne police vehicle (Google Maps)
Bayonne police vehicle (Google Maps)

Thomas faces four counts each of forgery, wrongful impersonation and receiving stolen property, three counts of theft by deception and one count obstructing a governmental function.

Wright was charged with theft by deception, conspiracy and obstructing a governmental function.

Police believe that there are more victims of the same scam who have not yet come forward.

Anyone who believes they may have been victimized contact the Bayonne Police Detective Bureau at 201-858-6925 and report the incident.

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