An Essex County man today admitted assaulting and carjacking at knifepoint a U.S. Postal Service employee, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced.
Federal officials said Wallace Johnson, 32, of Newark, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge John Michael Vazquez in Newark federal court to an indictment charging him with carjacking and assaulting a federal employee.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Johnson admitted that on June 6, 2020, he walked up to a postal employee who was sitting in the car’s driver seat while on a break from delivering mail in Newark. Johnson held a box cutter against the postal employee’s neck and the box cutter’s blade pierced the postal employee’s skin, causing a small laceration. While Johnson held the box cutter against the postal employee’s neck, he demanded that the postal employee get out of the car and leave everything inside of the car. After the postal employee got out of the car, Johnson got into the car and drove away.
Shortly thereafter, law enforcement officers saw the carjacked car driving at a very high rate of speed and attempted to conduct a car stop, not knowing at that time about the carjacking. During a subsequent car chase, Johnson crashed the car and fled on foot.
Several minutes later, during a canvass of the nearby neighborhood, law enforcement officers found Johnson as he hid behind a parked car and then arrested him following a foot pursuit. Law enforcement officers recovered the postal employee’s cellular telephone and the boxcutter that Johnson used during the assault and carjacking.
The charge of assaulting a federal employee carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison. The charge of carjacking carries a maximum potential penalty of 15 years in prison. Each of these counts carries a maximum fine of $250,000.
Sentencing is scheduled for May 18, 2021.