MORRIS COUNTY — Morris County Acting Prosecutor Robert J. Carroll, Morris County Acting Chief of Detectives Chris Kimker, and Chatham Township Police Chief Thomas Miller announce the arrest of an individual for a series of residential burglaries and vehicle thefts in Chatham Township.
During the month of September 2020, Chatham Township Detective Muta Blanford, with the assistance of the Morris County Auto Theft Task Force (MCATTF) began an investigation into a series of residential burglaries and motor vehicle thefts that occurred in Chatham Township. As a result of this coordinated investigation by the MCATTF, Elijah Lott was identified and subsequently charged with multiple offenses related to these incidents. Lott is alleged to have burglarized three residences in Chatham Township and stole items of value from the residences. In addition to the residential burglaries, Lott is accused of burglarizing vehicles at these residences, stealing items from the vehicles, as well as theft two of the vehicles themselves. Some of the residences were occupied by residents at the time of the alleged burglary.
The MCATTF developed Lott as a suspect using an intelligence-driven model of investigation, using shared resources, and a variety of investigative methods that corroborated initial information and ultimately identified him as the prime suspect in these criminal offenses.
Background on Morris County Auto Theft Task Force
During 2018, 2019, and 2020, Morris County Law Enforcement identified a significant increase in motor vehicle burglaries and thefts within Morris County. In total, there were 640 motor vehicles stolen in Morris County during this three year time period.
As a result of this crime increase, the impact on the community, and the potential for violent crime to be committed during the thefts or additional crimes committed using the stolen vehicles, the Morris County Chiefs Of Police Association, Morris County Prosecutor’s Office Intelligence Unit, and the Morris County Sheriff’s Office devoted significant investigative resources to develop intelligence and target the individuals responsible for victimizing property owners residing in Morris County.
As a result, the Morris County Auto Theft Task Force (MCATTF) was created, which is comprised of local and county law enforcement agencies. The MCATTF also works collaboratively with the New Jersey State Police Auto Theft Task Force to identify and focus investigative efforts into the organized criminal auto theft gangs that are negatively affecting the quality of life in North Jersey, including Morris County.
The arrest of Elijah Lott stems from the creation of this task force and as a result of their work, Elijah Lott, 22, was charged with the following:
- Six (6) counts of third-degree burglary;
- Five (5) counts of third-degree theft;
- One (1) count of second-degree theft; and
- One (1) count of second-degree conspiracy to commit burglary and theft.
Elijah Lott is currently lodged in the Bergen County Jail in accordance with the Criminal Justice Reform Act. Under the bail reform act, a motion for pretrial detention has been filed.
Acting Morris County Prosecutor Carroll stated: “The Morris County Prosecutor’s Office is committed to investigating and prosecuting burglars and thieves who prey on our residents and violate the sanctity of their homes.
Through the coordinated efforts of the Morris County Prosecutor’s Intelligence Unit, and the Morris County Auto Theft Task Force, and the Chatham Township Police Department, we pledge our commitment to assisting all law enforcement agencies within Morris County with the investigative and legal resources available to solve these types of crimes. The involved police departments and their officers are commended for their efforts and intelligence sharing, which led to this arrest and which demonstrates our collective commitment to keeping Morris County safe.”
Acting Prosecutor Robert J. Carroll also wishes to thank the Morris County Sheriff’s Office, Montville Police Department, Morris Township Police Department, Chatham Township, and the East Hanover Police Department for devoting resources and personnel to the Auto Theft Task Force.
Editor’s Note: An arrest or the signing of a criminal complaint is merely an accusation. Despite this accusation, the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until he or she has been proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.