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Police Arrest Car Thief Who Targeted Auto Auctions

The Star-Leger via YellowBrix

June 20, 2011

FAIRFIELD, NJ — Authorities arrested a crew of thieves suspected of stealing seven vehicles from a Route 46 auto auction lot early this morning who then made a daring escape that left a Fairfield police officer injured, police said.

The thieves made their getaway from Skyline Auto Auction around 4 a.m. as police approached, Fairfield Deputy Police Chief Anthony Manna said. A 2002 Ford F-350 burst through a locked security gate, struck a marked Fairfield police vehicle and injured the officer inside, Manna said.

Officer Alex Cifelli was taken to Morristown Medical Center for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries.

Police said the Ford later became disabled, and officers chased down its driver, David L. Darby, 28, when he ran out of the truck.

Motorists in the other six vehicles fled west on Route 46, Manna said. Five of the vehicles were recovered in Parsippany, Livingston and East Hanover. One of the vehicles remains missing, he said.

According to Manna, five suspects have been arrested in connection with the theft, and four of them were charged early Sunday afternoon.

Joe D. Ocasio, 35, of Irvington; Dashir W. Donaldson, 24, of Irvington; and Willie Jackson, 28, of Newark; remained in custody today in lieu of $50,000 bail on charges of burglary, conspiracy to commit burglary, theft and receiving stolen property.

Darby, of East Orange, was charged with aggravated assault on a police officer, burglary conspiracy to commit burglary, theft receiving stolen property and eluding, Manna said. He was being held on $150,000 bail.

Police believe the total value of the stolen vehicles was about $150,000.

The investigation shut down Route 46 east for about eight hours this morning. The highway reopened early that afternoon, Manna said.

Police in Livingston and East Hanover assisted in the police pursuit, Manna said.

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