Tri-state stolen battery scam ends at Roxbury Twp. Walmart

ROXBURY TOWNSHIP, NJ (Morris County) – A tri-state stolen battery scam ended earlier this month with two men being arrested and a third man remains at large, police said on Monday.

On June 16 at 7:50 p.m., township police received a report of a suspicious vehicle in the parking lot of the Walmart, located on Route 10. The caller reported seeing a Hyundai Santa Fe with Indiana plates in the parking lot with shopping carts full of batteries, police said.

Sgt. Matthew Holland arrived on scene and observed two males, one later identified as Detrae Mcrae and one unknown at this time, loading car batteries from a shopping cart into the rear of a Santa Fe. As Sgt. Holland approached them, the unknown male immediately fled on foot across the parking lot towards Commerce Boulevard, police said.

While Sgt. Holland was detaining Mcrae, a male, later identified as Adarius Ferguson, exited the Walmart, saw Sgt. Holland and also fled on foot. Sgt. Holland was able to put out a description of both males over the radio. A Walmart employee exited the store and advised Sgt. Holland that the male who had just fled on foot, had also just attempted to return what they believed to be stolen car batteries, police said.

A short time later, Roxbury police officers Jon Edmunds and Scott Weaver, as well as, Mt. Arlington police officers Ptl. Shallop and Ptl. Parichuk responded to the area Ramsey Outdoors on the report of a suspicious male. Ptl. Parichuk advised units he observed a male fitting the description of Ferguson enter the Shoprite. The officers responded to the Shoprite and were able to detain Ferguson without incident, police said.

A quick and thorough investigation revealed that Mcrae, Ferguson and the unidentified male, allegedly traveled from Michigan to New Jersey to off-load stolen car batteries. It is alleged that the men purchased car batteries legally, and then would return the stolen batteries with the receipt they just received. They were found to be in possession of 5 stolen car batteries. The investigation later revealed that the males returned stolen car batteries at 10 Walmarts across Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey and were ultimately caught at the Roxbury Walmart, which was believed to be their last stop, police said.

Mcrae was charged with criminal attempt to commit theft, conspiracy to commit theft and receiving stolen property.

Ferguson was charged with criminal attempt to commit theft, conspiracy to commit theft, receiving stolen property, hindering, and obstruction.

Both were lodged in the Morris County Jail pending a bail hearing.

The unidentified male was not apprehended, however the Roxbury Police Department is aware of his identity through the investigation and future criminal charges are pending, police said.

“The excellent working relationship between Roxbury and Mt. Arlington in conjunction with solid police work led to the quick apprehension of these individuals,” Roxbury Township Police Chief Marc Palanchi said.

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By: Jay Edwards
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