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TRENTON – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced that five defendants were indicted today on charges that they conspired to operate a Newark-based stolen auto trafficking ring that fenced stolen luxury vehicles. They were charged in an investigation by the New Jersey State Police Motor Vehicle Crimes North Unit and the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice (DCJ).
The DCJ Specialized Crimes Bureau today obtained a state grand jury indictment charging the following defendants with second-degree conspiracy to receive and fence stolen property:
- Kian Barber, 36, of Newark, N.J.
- David Manning, 29, of East Orange, N.J.
- Tytaneisha Wilder, 32, of East Orange, N.J
- Kasim Williams, 28, of Newark, N.J., and
- Tyshad Hawkins, 19, of Newark, N.J.
All of the defendants with the exception of Hawkins are also charged with second-degree receiving stolen property and second-degree fencing. In addition, Manning is charged with second-degree attempted theft; Hawkins is charged with third-degree receiving stolen property; and Williams is charged with third-degree escape from detention. After being placed under arrest on Sept. 23, 2020, Williams allegedly attempted to escape by running away from officers.
The defendants and other unidentified individuals allegedly conspired to possess and fence 18 high-end stolen vehicles valued at more than $1 million. Most of the vehicles were stolen in New York State and driven to New Jersey, where they most often were parked in the driveway of Barber’s residence in Newark. The ring allegedly used the driveway to “cool off” the vehicles and make sure they were not equipped with tracking devices that would lead law enforcement to them. Barber and Manning allegedly led the ring, with Williams, Hawkins, and others working under them. Wilder allegedly assisted ring members by driving them to New York State to commit thefts or driving the “follow car” to bring ring members home after they drove stolen vehicles out of state to be fenced.
“These defendants allegedly were trafficking stolen high-end vehicles, including Audis, Land Rovers, Mercedes, BMWs, and Maseratis,” said Attorney General Grewal. “This was big business for these alleged ring members, who are charged with trafficking 18 stolen vehicles worth more than $1 million in just over three months. By dismantling criminal networks like this one, we are reducing auto thefts and making our communities safer. I commend the New Jersey State Police and Division of Criminal Justice for their excellent work on this investigation and indictment.”
“Organized auto trafficking rings greatly incentivize stealing high-end vehicles, which can at times lead to dangerous confrontations between car thieves and their victims as well as law enforcement who encounter them on patrol,” said Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “The tremendous efforts of New Jersey State Police Motor Vehicle Crimes North Unit and their partners was the first step in dismantling this dangerous enterprise, and the indictment of the five defendants today was the critical second step to ensuring that those responsible for this criminal network are held accountable.”
The defendants were initially arrested on warrants issued in September 2020. Another lower-level ring member, Najai Diggs, 35, Newark, N.J., pleaded guilty in December to second-degree conspiracy and was sentenced on Jan. 28, 2021 to five years in state prison.
Deputy Attorney General Danielle Scarduzio presented the indictment to the state grand jury for the Division of Criminal Justice Specialized Crimes Bureau, under the supervision of Deputy Bureau Chief Jacqueline Smith, Bureau Chief Erik Daab, and Acting DCJ Director Annmarie Taggart. Attorney General Grewal commended all of the members of the New Jersey State Police Motor Vehicle Crimes North Unit who conducted the investigation.
Second-degree charges carry a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000, while third-degree charges carry a sentence of three to five years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.
The indictment is merely an accusation and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.
For Barber: Raymond P. Morasse, Esq., of West Orange, N.J.
For Manning: Undetermined.
For Wilder: Robert L. Klingenburg, Esq., of Morristown, N.J.
For Williams: Peter Liguori, Esq., of Elizabeth, N.J.
For Hawkins: Raymond R. Beam, Jr., Esq., of Bloomfield, N.J.