Eight Individuals Charged with Conspiracy to Resell Stolen Vehicles in Operation of Paterson “Chop Shop”
TRENTON – Acting Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin announced that eight defendants were indicted today on second-degree conspiracy and other charges related to the operation of a Paterson “chop shop” that possessed stolen vehicles and stripped them for parts. They were charged in a joint investigation by the New Jersey State Police (NJSP) and the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC).
The Division of Criminal Justice Specialized Crimes Bureau today obtained a 15-count grand jury indictment charging the following defendants with second-degree conspiracy to receive stolen property, tamper with public records, and operate a facility for the sale of stolen automobile parts:
- Eugene Coleman, 52, Paterson, NJ
- Eugeonce Coleman, 29, Paterson, NJ
- Kasaun Coleman, 38, Paterson NJ
- Jermaine Gray, 41, Paterson, NJ
- Allison Williams, 55, Newark, NJ
- Nyesha Coleman, 40, Paterson, NJ
- Linwood Bugg, 26, Newark, NJ
- Jhonatan Garcia, 35, Paterson, NJ
The indictment is the result of a joint investigation by the NJSP Gangs & Organized Crime North Unit, NJSP Motor Vehicle Crimes North Unit, and the MVC. It comes as New Jersey ramps up enforcement amid a spike in car thefts around the State. Last month, Acting AG Platkin announced that the State Police and Division of Criminal Justice are expanding the Auto Theft Task Force by adding more detectives and prosecutors and by partnering with additional police departments from around the state. And just last week, Governor Phil Murphy and Acting AG Platkin announced a ten million dollar investment in a statewide expansion of the Automated License Plate Recognition network that will help police quickly identify suspects and patterns in auto thefts and implement targeted prevention strategies and operations to enhance the safety of communities throughout New Jersey. Acting AG Platkin is prioritizing efforts to reduce auto theft as part of a larger strategy to reduce violent crime and protect the people of New Jersey.
“We’re targeting all criminal activity tied to auto theft in New Jersey, including putting an end to chop shops that serve as underground markets for stolen vehicles,” said Acting Attorney General Platkin. “Shutting down these illegal operations not only disrupts the larger stolen auto network, it cuts off a major source of income often used to carry out other criminal activities in New Jersey.”
“Chop shops are integral to the auto theft infrastructure, providing thieves with a way to hide the identity of stolen vehicles and quickly turn around stolen cars for profit,” said Director Lyndsay V. Ruotolo of the Division of Criminal Justice. “This indictment reflects our resolve to crack down on the rise in auto theft in New Jersey and hold accountable all those engaged in criminal activities that support it.”
“These eight arrests highlight our commitment to stopping auto thefts and the network of illegal chop shops who support criminals profiting from these crimes.” said Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “With the additional resources the New Jersey State Police and Attorney General’s Office are allocating to this problem, and the increased partnerships with law enforcement throughout the state, we will make a difference in our communities to reduce this growing trend.”
“MVC’s Security and Investigations team works closely with our state partners in law enforcement to fight fraudulent and criminal activity surrounding motor vehicles and licenses,” said Sue Fulton, Chief Administrator of the Motor Vehicle Commission. “We are proud of the diligence and skillful investigative work done by our team and partners that brought down this criminal network.”
The defendants are charged with conspiring in criminal activities tied to the chop shop from January 5, 2020 through June 5, 2020.
The alleged operators of the chop shop – Eugene Coleman, Kasaun Coleman, and Gray – are also charged with second-degree operation of a facility for the sale of stolen automobile parts. Police executing a search warrant at the facility, located at 358 Hamilton Avenue in Paterson, recovered numerous stolen ATVs and a stolen motorcycle.
During the course of the investigation, State Police detectives determined that Eugeonce Coleman was operating a red Dodge Caravan with an altered vehicle identification number (VIN) that had been reported stolen in Paterson in 2019. Working jointly with the MVC, detectives identified four other motor vehicles in possession of the defendants that been registered using the title papers and VINs of older and/or badly damaged vehicles of similar makes, models, and years – an illegal practice known as “re-vinning.”
Eugene Coleman, Eugeonce Coleman, Kasaun Coleman, Bugg, and Garcia are all charged with third-degree receiving stolen property in connection with the stolen vehicles.
Eugeonce Coleman, Kasaun Coleman, Nyesha Coleman, and Williams are charged with one count each of tampering with public records, filing a false motor vehicle title, and making a false statement to the MVC, in connection with the re-vinning of the vehicles.
Deputy Attorney General Matthew Lafargue is prosecuting the case for the Division of Criminal Justice Specialized Crimes Bureau, under the supervision of Deputy Bureau Chief Jacqueline Smith and Bureau Chief Erik Daab.
The investigation was conducted by the New Jersey State Police Gangs & Organized Crime North Unit, New Jersey State Police Motor Vehicle Crimes North Unit and the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission.
Second-degree charges carry a sentence of five to ten years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000. Third-degree charges carry a sentence of three to five years in state prison and a fine of up to $15,000.
The charges are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.