BRANCHBURG TOWSNHIP, NJ (Somerset County) – An Essex County man that crashed a stolen Jeep in Newark last week is now being sought in connection with the use of stolen credit cards, according to Acting Somerset County Prosecutor Thomas Chirichella.
On March 20, at around 6:33 a.m. a Kenbury Road resident of Branchburg Township reported that someone had stolen her Jeep which had been parked in her driveway, Chirichella said.
Then on March 21, a follow-up investigation by Branchburg Township police detectives determined that the stolen vehicle had been frequenting a specific area in Newark. Detectives then contacted the Newark Police Department and requested assistance in locating the stolen vehicle, Chirichella said.
Then at around 10:35 a.m., a Newark police officer located the stolen vehicle traveling on Avon Avenue, the officers attempted to stop the vehicle. The driver of the stolen vehicle, Elijah Harden, 31, of East Orange, lost control and struck an unoccupied parked vehicle on Avon Avenue while attempting to flee, Chirichella said.
Harden was apprehended after a brief foot pursuit and was charged by the Newark Police Department with receiving stolen property and resisting arrest. He was subsequently released on his own recognizance pending a court appearance, Chirichella said.
A search of the vehicle by Branchburg detectives revealed 6 credit cards belonging to a North Branch resident and 1 credit card belonging to a resident of Bridgewater Township. Detectives also verified that one of the credit cards had been used to make an unauthorized purchase, Chirichella said.
On March 24, Harden was charged by Branchburg Police with fourth-degree fraudulent possession of a credit card, third-degree fraudulent use of a credit card, and fourth-degree unauthorized use of a credit card. He has not yet been apprehended on the Somerset County charges and has been placed as wanted in the National Crime Information Center, Chirichella said.
Harden is described as about 5-foot 6-inches tall, and weighing about 180 pounds, Chirichella said.
Anyone with information relating to the whereabouts of Harden or this incident to contact the Branchburg Township Police Department at 908-526-3830 or via the STOPit app. The STOPit app allows citizens to provide anonymous reports including videos and photos. STOPit can be downloaded to your smart phone for free at the Google Play Store or Apple App Store, access code: SOMERSETNJ. Information can also be provided through the Somerset County Crime Stoppers’ Tip Line at 1-888-577-TIPS (8477). All anonymous STOPit reports and Crime Stopper tips will be kept confidential.
The Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office and the Branchburg Township Police Department urge all township residents to lock their vehicles, remove all key and key fobs, and if they observe anyone suspicious to call 911 immediately.