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Man charged in string of residential burglaries, motor vehicle thefts in Chatham Township

CHATHAM TOWNSHIP, NJ (Morris County) – A man has been charged in a string of residential burglaries, motor vehicle thefts in Chatham Township, according to  Morris County Acting Prosecutor Robert Carroll.

During the month of September 2020, Chatham Township Detective Muta Blanford, with the assistance of the Morris County Auto Theft Task Force (MCATTF) began an investigation into a series of residential burglaries and motor vehicle thefts that occurred in Chatham Township, Carroll said.

As a result of this coordinated investigation by the MCATTF, Elijah Lott, 22, was identified and is alleged to have burglarized three residences in Chatham Township and stole items of value from the residences, Carroll said.

In addition to the residential burglaries, Lott is accused of burglarizing vehicles at these residences, stealing items from the vehicles, as well as the theft of two of the vehicles themselves.  Some of the residences were occupied by residents at the time of the alleged burglary, Carroll said.

The MCATTF developed Lott as a suspect using an intelligence-driven model of investigation, using shared resources, and a variety of investigative methods that corroborated initial information and ultimately identified him as the prime suspect in these criminal offenses, Carroll said.

Elijah Lott, 22, was charged with six counts of third-degree burglary, five counts of third-degree theft, one count of second-degree theft; and one count of second-degree conspiracy to commit burglary and theft, Carroll said.

Lott is currently lodged in the Bergen County Jail in accordance with the Criminal Justice Reform Act. Under the bail reform act, a motion for pretrial detention has been filed, Carroll said.

During 2018, 2019, and 2020, Morris County Law Enforcement identified a significant increase in motor vehicle burglaries and thefts within Morris County.  In total, there were 640 motor vehicles stolen in Morris County during this three year time period. As a result of this crime increase, the impact on the community, and the potential for violent crime to be committed during the thefts or additional crimes committed using the stolen vehicles, the Morris County Chiefs Of Police Association, Morris County Prosecutor’s Office Intelligence Unit, and the Morris County Sheriff’s Office devoted significant investigative resources to develop intelligence and target the individuals responsible for victimizing property owners residing in Morris County. As a result, the Morris County Auto Theft Task Force (MCATTF) was created, which is comprised of local and county law enforcement agencies. The MCATTF also works collaboratively with the New Jersey State Police Auto Theft Task Force to identify and focus investigative efforts into the organized criminal auto theft gangs that are negatively affecting the quality of life in North Jersey, including Morris County.

“The Morris County Prosecutor’s Office is committed to investigating and prosecuting burglars and thieves who prey on our residents and violate the sanctity of their homes. Through the coordinated efforts of the Morris County Prosecutor’s Intelligence Unit, and the Morris County Auto Theft Task Force, and the Chatham Township Police Department, we pledge our commitment to assisting all law enforcement agencies within Morris County with the investigative and legal resources available to solve these types of crimes. The involved police departments and their officers are commended for their efforts and intelligence sharing, which led to this arrest and which demonstrates our collective commitment to keeping Morris County safe,” Carroll said.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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