A Princeton man admitted that last year, he stole two cars in Warren County—one with two kids inside.
Justin Mercer, 31, pleaded guilty on April 25 to carjacking, a first-degree crime; eluding, a second-degree crime; and theft, a third-degree crime. If he receives the maximum sentences, he could serve a total of 26 years in New Jersey State Prison. Sentencing is currently scheduled for June 8.
Mercer admitted stealing a vehicle on Oct. 1, 2011 belonging to a driver who stopped to help him on Route 80 in Allamuchy Township, after Mercer was involved in a crash, Prosecutor Richard Burke said.
The vehicle he stole, Mercer admitted, had two children in it, according to Burke. Mercer drove the car into Hackettstown, where he abandoned the vehicle behind a business, Burke said.
Mercer admitted he then stole a second car that was unlocked and running at the Quick Chek store at the intersection of Route 46 and Stiger Street, Burke said.
Mercer then got back onto Route 80 and headed east, where he fled from the New Jersey State Police at a “high rate of speed,” Burke said. The pursuit went through Morris County and into Essex County, where Mercer lost control of the car and crashed it on the exit 7 off-ramp of Route 280, Burke said.
The New Jersey State Police arrested Mercer, and investigated the carjacking and eluding offenses. The theft offense was investigated by the Hackettstown Police Department.
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