EDWARD P. BUTTIMORE
It came in to the Newark Police dispatcher as a frantic 911 call. The caller said he had just been the victim of a carjacking at the intersection of William and Halsey Streets by a man armed with a gun. Units from Newark Police Department were immediately dispatched to the scene, given the serious nature of the call. When police arrived, the victim excitedly described in detail the armed and dangerous carjacker, how he stuck the gun in the victim's face, how he took his car.
A witness also volunteered that he had seen the whole thing, confirming the car owner's story. Despite a diligent search, the Newark Police could not find the owner's car or the carjacker. Later, the owner, a computer programmer for a major corporation, filed a theft claim with his insurance carrier for the total theft loss, and the carrier paid more than $16,000 on the claim.
Only there was no carjacking, and the owner was no victim at all. He was a thief, who faked the entire carjacking scenario with a friend in order to file a fraudulent insurance claim. How did the authorities know? Because the car had been in the possession of state investigators from the New Jersey Attorney General's Office for six full days at the time the owner reported the carjacking. The car had been purchased from a street-level middleman during Operation Give and Go, a proactive undercover ...