Man Mugged and Carjacked at Short Hills Station

Carjackers brandished weapons, stole Mercedes Benz and commuter's wallet, apparently fled through Maplewood and South Orange.

Millburn Police report that a commuter was the victim of a mugging and a carjacking at the Short Hills train station around 6:20 a.m. by men who had just stolen a Land Rover from a house on Slope Drive.

Two men in the Land Rover followed by two men in a 2002 Subaru pulled up to the Municipal Lot #3 at the Short Hills Train station, where, police said, they jumped from those cars and brandished firearms at a resident in a 2011 Mercedes Benz.

They demanded his wallet and his car and took off with both at high speeds and were witnessed by an off-duty police officer speeding through downtown Millburn a few minutes later.

The off-duty officer followed the cars and advised the police department of the whereabouts of the vehicles.

Lt. Peter Eakley, Public Information Officer with the Police Department, reported  that in the area of Millburn Avenue and Wyoming Avenue, “the Subaru experienced mechanical problems, resulting in the suspects bailing out and jumping into the other two stolen vehicles."

The cars were spotted by the an officer with the South Orange Police department, who lost them on North Wyoming Avenue in South Orange, Eakely said.

The case is now under investigation by the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office and will be assisted by the Millburn Police Department.

Patch will post more information as it becomes available.

In the comments section of this story, the wife of the victim said the carjackers held two guns to her husband's head and told him to lie on the ground while they drove his car away. "He is safe, and gave the robbers what they asked for, which was his Mercedes and cash."

She said police responded quickly. She and the owner of the stolen Land Rover, who also commented below, both said they would like to see better surveillance around town and at the train stations.

mom December 15, 2011 at 04:38 PM
@Really People--I do vote, and this parking deck has never been up for a vote, nor has the possibility of a new Town Hall. Does anyone know if there will indeed be a new Town hall built? The Township Committee will do nothing about reduced staff for police and fire, but will approve funding for a parking deck because they "can"? I think this should be stopped, end of story.
Leslie December 15, 2011 at 04:39 PM
The town has a right to conduct zoning hearings, but have you been following the endless saga that I mentioned? It's really absurd. They should just get on with making a decision already.
MarkDS December 15, 2011 at 04:47 PM
In order to have a rational discussion the myth that crime has skyrocketed from some idyllic past needs to be dropped. While there looks to be a spike in some areas in 2011 (car theft and burglary mostly). if you looks at crime over time there has been no increase and in fact from the 80's there has been a decrease in non violent crime. In Millburn in 1980 there were 827 property crime and 19 violent crimes. In 2010 there were 504 property crimes and 20 violent crimes. So over 30 years violent crimes are steady (and low) and property crime has declined significantly. Discussions should be based on facts not myths.
MOMSH December 15, 2011 at 04:53 PM
I think, as others have commented, that we should DEMAND to see a plan to address this continued crime spree in our town. There is definitely a trend here and being carjacked at gunpoint at 6:20am is not a good sign. Granted, outside of the mall carjackings, I believe this is the first one right here in town. But - there is no denying a trend of increasing violence. When do we see a plan... after someone is killed??? The idea of video surveillance is a good one. I would like our Town Council or Mayor to specifically address why this is not being considered? With today's technology, I have to believe the cost to set this up will not be out of our town's reach. Also, this video surveillance could serve as a deterrent. Hey - they have it in NYC, so why not here? Lot smaller area to cover.
MarkDS December 15, 2011 at 04:54 PM
Both sides have a right to present testimony. This is a heated case with money on both sides so there is a lot of testimony to hear. Because it is being contested so much the board has no choice but to hear everything. And the losing side has the right to go to court, and I would expect them to do so. The town then needs to participate in the court proceedings. This case will likely go to an appellate level as way. Due process is expensive but needs to be followed. The town can not simply "decide already".
Leslie December 15, 2011 at 05:00 PM
Actually, we have a bigger area per capita. Since a random car jacking can occur anywhere (people in this discussion thread have mentioned carjackings outside their homes) how could this possibly solve the problem? Perhaps at train stations and downtown, fine, but you can't wire up the whole town. I think the license-plate recognition cameras mounted on the police cruisers are a great idea because they result in traffic stops everywhere for stolen cars which is a prime way that criminals enter the town, and they can move to problem spots. I still think, however, that we need year-end crime statistics to draw a conclusion. Hopefully the MPD and TC will release those promptly in January so we can figure out if this past year has really been as bad as it seems.
MarkDS December 15, 2011 at 05:00 PM
"Granted, outside of the mall carjackings, I believe this is the first one right here in town. But - there is no denying a trend of increasing violence." Huh? You say this is the first and then you say there is no denying the trend? That makes no sense.
Leslie December 15, 2011 at 05:02 PM
MarkDS above posted the overall 2010 crime stats. Is someone from the Township or the PD reading this thread? Maybe Patch could inquire about preliminary crime figures for 2011 to see if we are on track to a significantly worse year. That's what we need to know.
Leslie December 15, 2011 at 05:04 PM
Article on 2010 crime stats (which reflected a drop from 2009 but robbery and vehicles theft were up): http://millburn.patch.com/articles/millburn-short-hills-crime-dropped-in-2010 This was published on Feb. 1. Can we get something sooner?
Jack Mierod December 15, 2011 at 05:11 PM
Leslie -- in this case, I agree, the smart thing to do was comply. But In other situations having a firearm could mean the difference between life and death. Just a few days ago, a carjacking suspect in Newark was shot when he tried to steal a car from an off duty cop. http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2011/12/10/officials-carjacking-suspect-shot-while-trying-to-steal-car-from-off-duty-newark-cop/ Now you may think that cops are magical beings and the only people responsible and capable enough to carry a firearm. That is simply not the case. Yes, of course, training should be required. I can assure you that many, many private citzens have as much training and proficiency with a firearm as your average police officer. The point is, that if I, as a law abiding citizen, am faced with a violent criminal threatening my life or the life of my family, the decision on how I should best defend myself should me my decision, NOT the state's. It's a system that works pretty well in virtually every other state in the union. Unfortunately, here in NJ. our nanny state has decided that its lowly law abiding subjects aren't trustworthy enough to exercise their fundamental rights.
Laura Griffin December 15, 2011 at 05:20 PM
FYI, I just posted a story from Montclair Patch about a carjacking there last night. http://patch.com/A-p21W
Thirty Four December 15, 2011 at 05:21 PM
Most armed robberies in the past have been to the business (banks and gas stations mostly). The new TREND is armed robberies to everyday people like us. Only in the past few months we have: - Carjacking at gunpoint at station in Short Hills - Carjacking at gunpoint at Short Hills Mall (victim badly injured) - Attempted carjacking at gunpoint at Livingston Mall. Victim escaped - Armed robbery at Livingston pond. Teen victim. Case solved. Four real crimes in the past few months. Do you need more evidence? Can you identify this type of robberies (except to the businesses) in 2010? Please tell me because I don't think we had that.
Scarlet December 15, 2011 at 05:22 PM
@Mark, Crime stats (UCR) can be managed, and they are to refleck positively on the community check calls for service. and compare that number to the 1980 number. Remember, even a non violent crime police call, such as an accident, or a non violent domestic violence call, disputes or even a burglar alarm or medical type call still takes an officer out of service leaving less available for serious calls.
Laura Griffin December 15, 2011 at 05:24 PM
Those are stats compiled at the end of the year, but I'm looking into see if anyone is working on them now.
Jack Mierod December 15, 2011 at 05:50 PM
And as I posted above, this carjacking at gunpoint, in Newark, a few days ago: http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2011/12/10/officials-carjacking-suspect-shot-while-trying-to-steal-car-from-off-duty-newark-cop/ Result: 2 criminals aprehended, one shot in the chest, victim unharmed. Of course, in this case the victim was an off duty police officer, one of the privileged few in NJ deemed worthy and responsible enough to defend himself. The rest of us can rely on our cell phones, whining on internet forums, and the mercy of predators.
F Crisp December 15, 2011 at 05:50 PM
@ Concerned Where are you getting these staffing numbers from? What do you mean there are supposed to be 54? Are there less? @ The Patch. Concerned posted some numbers on police staffing. Can you comment on or confirm any of concerned's facts? What about the Fire Department and Public Works? @ Leslie Your population numbers are interesting. Do you have any idea whet the daytime populations of both towns are when the office buildings and malls are open?
Leslie December 15, 2011 at 06:31 PM
Jack, In this case, it would result in a stolen gun and one more gun in the hands of the bad guys. I am not suggesting responsible people can't use guns in a responsible way, or that the constituion doesn't have something to say about it (though it was written in a time when mass-murder by assault rifles could not even be imagined). I think you can deal with some paperwork to make sure it is hard for the wrong people to buy guns. Look what happened in Arizona to Congresswoman Giffords due to a gun that was easily purchased with no waiting period. Like all things, we need moderation and balance. You sound like you've been able to obtain the protection you need.
Leslie December 15, 2011 at 06:34 PM
Jack, no one on this thread cares about crime in Newark. The whole point of the discussion has been to keep the crime *IN* Newark and out of the leafy suburbs. Get it?
Leslie December 15, 2011 at 06:35 PM
No, I don't. The population numbers are from the census. I just used Google.
Jack Mierod December 15, 2011 at 07:17 PM
I get it Leslie. My point is simply that, unless you are planning on building a fence around our leafy enclave, the crime ain't gonna stay in Newark and the sheeple in this town had best take a smidge more responsibility for their own safety. Personally, I would like to have the ability to carry a concealed firearm so that I at least have the option to defend myself, and that is currently an impossibility in this state.
Leslie December 15, 2011 at 07:30 PM
Didn't Livingston recently build a ridiculously expensive and grandiose Municipal Building? I drive by it all the time. If I remember correctly, their town officials were voted out of office because of that. If everything is so great and open there, how did that happen? "Grass is always greener."
MK December 15, 2011 at 09:37 PM
Well--here is one basic thing I would like to hear... What did the four perpetrators look like? Tall, short, fat, young, old, white, latino, black, chinese, tatoos, eariings, markings, dress....you get the point. It would help if we could at least be on the look out.
Blanket Jackson December 15, 2011 at 10:37 PM
Be on the lookout for a few black males in their late teens/ early 20's wearing dark clothing. Good luck with that. But if you do see a young black man walking down the street (or god forbid MORE than one) be sure to call the cops straight away so he/ they can't carjack anybody else! SAVE OUR STREETS!
Thirty Four December 16, 2011 at 12:02 AM
Leslie, no one in this forum has said what town is better than what town. There is no Livingston vs. Millburn contest here. There is no point to look at towns around us just for the sake of comparison. There are so many good points to look at town around us to see what works and if our town hasn't done so, should we try to?  Obviously, I provided a lot of information about Livingston as it is where I live so I have more details. It is in no way bragging or anything. I simply wanted to share for the benefit of all of us. Again, we are on the same boat here. Livingston has been hit with the increased amount and higher severity of crimes in similar pattern as Millburn (carjacking at gun point, armed robbery, school burglary). 
Thirty Four December 16, 2011 at 01:20 AM
As many have commented that it is a good idea to add new technology to help fighting crimes like mobile plate readers at patrol cars. I just showed and example of the success, not to brag, but to give an evidence so Millburn residents can try to convince stubborn town council and police department to move faster in their technology. Livingston was no different. The plate readers were not purchased by the initiative of town council or LPD. A couple who wanted to make a change brought the thing and donated to police to try it out. The town got to have a good excuse not to try that so they did install the mobile readers. Now it is an evidence that the technology did help the police. So now they can't be too stubborn about adopting new technology. These readers are now in about a thousand or so dollars. Not overly expensive. I don't think it is hard to get donations to buy this stuff to give to MPD to try. 
Joanne Smythe December 16, 2011 at 04:01 AM
This crime occurred an hour before sunrise. Was the Range Rover locked? Were the outside lights turned on at the house? As I look outside this evening at 11PM, all I see are pitch black houses and driveways. It's truly amazing to me that people are so naive and/or oblivious.
Joanne Smythe December 16, 2011 at 04:08 AM
mommakiddies, from The Item: Millburn Police are reporting a carjacking took place the morning of Dec. 14 at the Short Hills train station. According to police, around 6:15 a.m. a 2011 Land Rover was stolen from a Slope Drive residence in Short Hills. Seen leaving that scene, was a second vehicle, a 2002 Subaru. The two vehicles, driven by two black men and each with a male passenger made their way to Municipal Lot 3, Short Hills Train Station, where the men jumped from their vehicles and brandished two firearms at a township resident. Police report the men stole the victim's money and his 2011 Mercedes Benz. http://www.northjersey.com/news/135574498_Short_Hills_station_scene_of_carjacking.html
Jim December 17, 2011 at 05:21 PM
Let people carry. With ~1,600 civilians out of 8,700,00 residents allowed to carry a firearm in the state of New Jersey, there is a damn good chance that a criminal is going to walk away unharmed. It's not always wise to pull a gun, especially if there are multiple assailants. What we must look at, however, is that criminals pretty much know it's a total free for all in New Jersey. Car jackings are relatively frequent because they know there is very little risk of the soon-to-be victim posing any threat whatsoever. So I know how the anti-gun folk work. They are going to attack this comment with " oh it was 1 on 4 a gun wouldnt help" or "there was a school around"... Bottom line is that as long as criminals are aware that essentially nobody is going to be carrying a firearm, they will continue to operate with only the fear of being caught.
Matt Stewart December 18, 2011 at 12:13 AM
What exactly is an "out of town stranger"?...this takes xenophobia to a new level... is the room you are sitting in getting smaller? :) next we'll be worried about those darn folks from Summit...now those are some strange folk...what with their private property and their kids in school and the taxes they pay...perhaps we need to make Millburn a gated community?
Linda West Eckhardt December 25, 2011 at 03:59 AM
My my. those grocery shoppers are trouble every time. and if they're not bad enough, how about those box boys. always a detriment to a safe neighborhood. You'd rather have an empty store front. oh puhleeze.


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