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‘Chasing New Jersey’ links two crucial stories in Northern N.J.

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On last night’s episode of “Chasing New Jersey,” host, Bill Spadea noted the rash of gas-station robberies in the state and a new method that police are able to predict, which are the ones most likely to be next. As Chaser Kate Mosso reported, about the “Route 21 Corridor Gas Station Robberies Geospatial Analysis.” This report produced by the New Jersey Regional Operations Intelligence Center named the five most likely to be robbed as:

  1. Lukoil 200 Spring Street, Elizabeth
  2. BP E Street & George Street, Roselle Park
  3. Gulf 381 Morris Avenue, Elizabeth
  4. Exxon 556 Westfield Avenue, Elizabeth
  5. Shell 580 Newark Avenue, Elizabeth

There were also nineteen more listed in Elizabeth and Roselle Park. Three days after the report was submitted; on April 23, the Lukoil was held up and on April 25, the Exxon was robbed. The analytics were based on two robberies that were held on April 18 & 19. Police believe they are related. Appearing on the show was former NYPD police sergeant Joseph Giacalone, author of “The Criminal Investigative Function.” He explained how law enforcement is using computer generated models. Apparently, these were not released to the public, and used for prevention and not apprehension. Chaser Sibile Marcellus, subsequently questioned the fact that it could open a can of worms, if the public found out the police knew these places could be robbed beforehand and questioned what legal issues could be involved. Bill countered stating maybe it was time to start arming the attendants, but Joseph deferred, stating that would only cause more violence; as crooks would just come in shooting, and police would rather avoid that at all costs. Bill asked if they should just leave the cash for them to take, knowing they are on the list to be hit next? Joseph countered with his statement that they have been robbing gas stations since they were invented and suggested that more surveillance tools like closed circuit televisions and cameras be used.

Chaser Rohan Mohanty was following the story about the Teaneck High School seniors who were arrested for pranks. Those over the age of 18 were subject to jail time. Sixty-three students were awaiting their fate for the Senior Prank they did on May 1. Desks were flipped over, hot dogs taped to lockers, streamers and balloons and what police claim was urine all over the hallways. Of the 63, 39 were juveniles, but 24 were over the age of 18 and face serious charges of criminal mischief and robbery. One parent interviewed believed they did a horrible thing, but he felt criminal charges were a bit much. Seniors have been doing pranks for many years. One student felt that community service should be performed and cleaning up the school. Then Rohan met with Captain Glenn O’Reilly, who he asked if any of the Teaneck policemen were Teaneck High School graduates? He replied that a few of them were, including himself. Over the weekend, school officials have responded; the superintendent said that there was no damage done at the facility, to furniture or equipment and no evidence of urine. It sounds like a he said/she said case that is far from over and begs the question – is this foul play or foul punishment?

Chaser Ronica Cleary stated that although she did not condone the prank, there are schools with the gun violence and students overdosing with heroin. She questioned if they were going to ruin these kids’ lives for a bad decision, that in no way hurt anyone? Kate Mosso chimed in with her opinion that if she were a janitor and had to clean up the hot dogs and possible urine, she would be angry and it is using taxpayer’s resources to clean up the place. Bill then stated, if your kids make a mess in the house – you make them clean it up. They made a mess in the house; so clean it up!

Rohan then related that the case is being transferred to the prosecutor’s office where it would be treated as one large case, and could get downgraded to a disorderly person's offense. He also stated that ten neighboring towns called in their police units in response to this prank. Bill irately reiterated that ten surrounding towns were called in because of a prank involving balloons and hot dogs. He then said to send a couple of those patrol cars to the gas stations in Elizabeth and do some good, on this episode of “Chasing New Jersey.”

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