NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—On the morning of July 20, a city police officer was alerted to a nearby stolen vehicle thanks to a technological tool that is becoming more and more common in law enforcement.
At approximately 8:40 am, the license plate readers on an unmarked city cop car told Officer Adan Ramirez that he was in the vicinity of a 2000 Lexus 300 that had been reported stolen the previous day. That occurred near the intersection of Livingston Avenue and Elizabeth Street.
Ramirez called for backup and executed a "felony motor vehicle stop" near the corner of Joyce Kilmer Avenue and Suydam Street, according to authorities.
The driver was identified as 21-year-old Herbert Laws Jr. of North Brunswick. Both he and his passenger, 19-year-old Nadir Laws were taken into custody in a dramatic scene that unfolded.
Both men were charged with Receiving Stolen Property, according to the release.
The press release from the New Brunswick Police Department touted the ALPR systems, which are attached to both NBPD and Rutgers Police Department cruisers.
"The ALPR scans the license plates of both moving and parked vehicles and determines if the scanned vehicle has been reported stolen," reads the release.
The systems can also help officers identify vehicles with expired registrations. They have become increasingly common among law enforcement agencies since 2011.
Even the New Brunswick Parking Authority has explored the possibility of using ALPR systems for on-street enforcement. Fixed ALPR systems are built into several of the authority's structured parking facilities.
Charlie is the founder and editor of New Brunswick Today, and the winner of the Awbrey Award for Community-Oriented Local Journalism. He is a proud Rutgers University journalism graduate and a community organizer, and was an independent candidate for Mayor of New Brunswick in 2018.