2020 News Release

February 6, 2020

Public Information Bureau (609) 882-2000
Major Brian Polite - ext. 6514
Lt. Theodore Schafer - ext. 6515
SFC Jeff Flynn - ext. 6516
Sgt. Lawrence Peele - ext. 6531
Tpr. Alejandro Goez - ext. 6527
Tpr. Charles Marchan - ext. 6513

State Police Arrest Two for String of Commercial Burglaries and Car Thefts in “Operation Hellcat”

Investigation is Ongoing as Detectives Seek to Identify Additional Victims

North Brunswick, N.J. - The New Jersey State Police have arrested Leon Lowery, 42, of North Brunswick, N.J. and Ishawn Redd, 39, of West Orange, N.J. after troopers linked them to numerous commercial burglaries and car thefts in New Jersey and Pennsylvania during a 6-month investigation dubbed “Operation Hellcat.”

In March 2019, detectives from the State Police Strategic Investigations Unit Central along with members of the Howell Township Police Department began investigating a string of commercial burglaries in Monmouth County. The suspects allegedly targeted and broke into various check cashing facilities, scrap metal yards, and convenience stores in the area where they stole cash.

During the investigation, investigators identified Redd and Lowery as the suspects in the burglaries. Through various investigative means, investigators also linked them to additional commercial burglaries and car thefts in Monmouth and Middlesex Counties and in Pennsylvania.

On September 11, 2019, detectives from the Strategic Investigations Unit Central, Troop “C” Criminal Investigations Office, Interstate North Unit, T.E.A.M.S Unit, and NJSP K-9 Unit, along with members of the Howell and South Plainfield Police Departments obtained and executed search warrants at Lowery’s residence in North Brunswick and Redd’s residence in West Orange. As a result, troopers arrested Redd and Lowery and seized four stolen vehicles (Dodge Challenger Hellcat, Audi A7, Dodge Ram 3500, and a Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG), burglary tools, 169 THC vape cartridges, a .40 caliber handgun, a .45 caliber handgun, and more than $15,300 cash.

On September 13, 2019, detectives from the Strategic Investigations Unit Central along with members of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office and Paramus Police Department obtained and executed a search warrant on a storage facility, which was rented by Lowery, in East Orange, N.J. As a result, troopers seized a stolen Jeep Grand Cherokee, 4 ounces of methamphetamine, more than 500 grams of Xanax pills, more than 50 grams of marijuana, and ecstasy.

Leon Lowery was charged with the following:

  • Operating a facility for sale of stolen motor vehicle parts
  • Removal or altering of vehicle identification numbers
  • Receiving stolen property
  • Burglary
  • Theft
  • Unlawful possession of a weapon
  • Possession of prohibited weapons
  • Certain persons not to possess a weapon
  • Possession of CDS with the intent to distribute
  • Possession of marijuana

Lowery was lodged at the Middlesex County Jail pending a detention hearing. Ishawn Redd was charged with receiving stolen property and removal or altering of vehicle identification numbers and lodged at the Essex County Jail pending a detention hearing.

Detectives believe that Lowery and Redd may have committed additional commercial burglaries and thefts throughout New Jersey. Anyone who may be a victim is asked to contact the Strategic Investigations Unit Central at 609-584-5000, ext. 5351. Anonymous tips are welcome.

This case against Leon Lowery is being prosecuting by the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, and the case against Ishawn Redd is being prosecuted by the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office.

Charges are mere accusations and the accused are considered innocent until proven guilty.

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