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Newark Officials Want Max Penalty For Carjackers

Jequele Mckenzie, Reginald Anderson, Wayne Lewis (Handout)

Jequele Mckenzie, Reginald Anderson, Wayne Lewis (Handout)

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NEWARK, N.J. (1010 WINS/WCBS 880) – Enough is enough, Newark officials said.

Acting Essex County Prosecutor Bob Laurino said the armed carjacking thugs that have plagued Newark over the past few months stole cars for the thrill.

“Three separate groups of juveniles involved in numerous carjackings. Armed with handguns and rifles, they’ve confronted innocent citizens,” Laurino said.


 LISTEN: 1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg reports


 LISTEN: WCBS 880′s Levon Putney reports

Essex County saw about 70 carjackings from mid-December until the Dec. 23 when investigators began arresting those involved. But the numbers were far too high, Michael Ward, of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, said.

“When people are unable to drive from point a to point b without having someone come and stop them and put a gun in their face, then it does terrorize the community,” Ward said.

Officials plan to try the juveniles as adults-some in federal court. If guilty they could face up to 30 years in prison. That’s exactly what Newark Mayor Cory Booker hopes will happen.

“I will do everything in my power to make sure that is the case. We want these people off the streets. We want them behind bars and never to visit the terror on our streets again,” Booker said.

Police Director Gary McCarthy said the spike had nothing to do with the recent layoffs.

“People want to draw those correlations. A lot of it is agenda-driven and it’s too soon to make correlation between crime rates and layoffs.”