NEWARK, N.J. (PIX11) – Every car on the road has its destination. Every time a car is stolen in New Jersey, there’s a chance its destination is Port Newark.
“It’s pretty organized when they steal these cars to bring them to the port and get them shipped out,” said Hudson County Sheriff Frank Schillari.
Federal, state, and local officials meet at Port Newark to talk about combatting auto theft rings and the illegal exporting of those cars. Customs and Border Protection said thousands of stolen cars have recently been exported out of various ports around the Port of New York and Newark and are being shipped off to countries in Western Africa.
“The people that go and steal the cars are working for someone who gives them a list of what cars they want,” said Schillari.
Congressman Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ 5th District) helped bring these law enforcement officials together for a tour and roundtable discussion. While the meeting was closed to the press, police said it was a necessary meeting if they were going to better combat car thefts.
“With the combined efforts of all law enforcement and the federal government and customs, we are making progress,” said Schillari. “But like the Congressman said, it’s not enough progress.”
Officials said the bottom line is they need more help and resources to get a better handle on theft.
“We are fighting the fight,” said Schillari. “But we need federal help.”
That is what Gottheimer said he will do in Washington.
“We need more resources for broadband, more x-ray equipment, and more manpower,” said Gottheimer. “If we give them that, that will be very critical in helping stop more of the crime going on.”
Federal officials indicate progress is being made, saying auto thefts are down in new jersey by 26 percent. But preventing stolen cars starts at home, in your driveway.”As long as we are irresponsible, this problem is going to continue,” said Chief Robert Chamberlain of the Tenfly Police Department. “It’s a lucrative business, and if we make it easy for them, they’re going to keep coming back and keep shopping.”