A Union County man was arrested Wednesday in connection with the theft of multiple motor vehicles stolen this February in Hillside.
According to police, Mr. Rafael T. Miranda of Hillside, 23, is charged with four counts of third-degree theft, one count of third-degree criminal attempt (theft), one count of third-degree burglary and one count of disorderly persons receiving stolen property.
Officials said in a statement Hillside Police officers took motor vehicle theft reports on February 5th, 8th, 11th and 23rd, all from the 1100 block of Liberty Avenue. The victims in each case stepped away from the motor vehicle while leaving the key inside with the engine running. The suspect then entered the running motor vehicle and fled the scene.
According to Hillside Police, on February 25, in the 1100 block of Liberty Avenue, detectives observed a suspect, later identified as Miranda, attempt to steal a motor vehicle. Mr. Miranda was arrested and transported back to police headquarters, where he was found in possession of personal property belonging to one of the previous victims of motor vehicle theft.
Police say they charged Miranda then released him on a complaint summons with one count of third-degree criminal attempt (theft), one count of third-degree burglary and one count of disorderly persons receiving stolen property.
Further investigation led to a warrant being issued for Mr. Miranda in connection with the earlier motor vehicle thefts from February 5th, 8th, 11th and 23rd. On March 3, 2021, Hillside Police detectives arrested Mr. Miranda on the outstanding warrant. He was processed and lodged in the Union County Jail pending a first appearance.
Chief Vincent Ricciardi said, “I commend our detectives who, through their diligence and commitment to protecting our community, has brought to justice a subject who persistently victimize innocent people. Our Criminal Investigative Division is truly a credit to the Hillside Police Department.”