💲 Juveniles are being paid big bucks to steal cars
💲 Criminal enterprises recruit juveniles
💲 Car theft pays more than the drug trade


While many communities continue to deal with an epidemic of vehicle thefts in New Jersey, it is unlikely to change anytime soon for one simple reason: it is big business.

The FBI says multiple criminal enterprises are operating large car theft rings in New Jersey.

In many cases, they are recruiting juveniles to do the dirty work of stealing cars.

That’s largely because there are few consequences for juvenile offenders if they are caught.

attachment-“Juveniles are being used by criminal enterprises to steal these cars, knowing that they would be difficult to arrest and be held accountable
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“Many times juveniles are being used by criminal enterprises to steal these cars, knowing that they would be difficult to arrest and be held accountable,” says James Dennehy, the special agent in charge of the Newark FBI office.

Dennehy, like many others in law enforcement, have become frustrated with the number of repeat offenders are allowed to remain free even after arrest.

READ MORE: Shocking reason for rise in car theft 

Its not just car theft

During a recent New Jersey 101.5 Town Hall broadcast on vehicle theft, a panel of law enforcement experts revealed the disturbing trend of home invasions linked to vehicle theft.

Monmouth County Sherriff Shaun Golden says more than half of all high-end vehicle thefts in the county are the result of home invasions. It was less than 20% in 2022.
“The trend is juveniles breaking into homes and taking the cars,” Golden said.

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Even more disturbing is the number of times the residents have been home when the car thieves break in looking for a key fob.

How much are juveniles paid to steal cars?

The amount of money juveniles are paid to steal cars is staggering.

“We know they are being paid 1,500 to 2,500 per vehicle,” says Sherriff Golden, “We know that's happening.”

Some juveniles can make $10,000 to $30,000 per month stealing high end cars.

The demand for high end vehicles is rising as they are increasingly being used to fund terrorist groups overseas.

New Jersey 101.5/Townsquare Media illustration
New Jersey 101.5/Townsquare Media illustration
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Stealing cars -vs- dealing drugs

Juveniles can make far more money stealing cars than they can make in the illegal drug trade.

According to the Prison Policy Initiative, low level drug runners and sellers barely make minimum wage.

At the top end, street dealers may make $50,000 to $70,000 per year. The job may also be considered more dangerous than stealing cars.

Peter Andreyev NJ PBA
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Although, with the increase in home invasions linked to vehicle theft, Sherriff Golden and other local officials worry about the increasing risk of a deadly confrontation.

Golden noted the increase in gun permits in Monmouth County and believes it is only matter of time before a home owner confronts a juvenile who is breaking into a home.

WATCH: New Jersey 101.5 Town Hall broadcast on car theft and home invasions

NJ teachers and educators caught in sex crime busts

Over the past several years, state lawmakers have dealt with accused child predators among ranks of teachers and educators.

The following individuals were arrested and charged in 2021 and several years earlier. Some were convicted and sentenced to prison.

Others accepted plea deals for probation and some cases were still pending.

Gallery Credit: Erin Vogt

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