MARLBORO – A Virginia couple has been arrested and charged with an attempted armed home invasion with a high-powered rifle, according to Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Raymond Santiago.
Early on the morning of Sept. 24, Marlboro police responded to a townhouse where a man armed with an AK-47 attempted to enter through the back patio door, Santiago said.
The man was seen fleeing around 5:30 a.m. in a dark Cadillac sedan with Virginia license plates.
A Marlboro officer located the sedan and began following it, but called off the pursuit because the high speed was a public safety risk.
Investigators determined that a 24-year-old woman, who was among several house guests at the time, texted her boyfriend to commit an armed robbery and robbery at the home with plans to detain the homeowner and steal valuables.
Lauren McNeil, of Newport News, VA, and Acori Knox, 21, of Hampton, VA, each face second-degree conspiracy to commit burglary, conspiracy to commit robbery and attempted burglary.
Knox was also charged with attempted first-degree robbery, second-degree eluding police and three counts of second-degree weapons offenses.
Both were taken into custody in Virginia on Wednesday and were awaiting extradition to New Jersey ahead of an initial appearance in Monmouth County Superior Court.
Santiago applauded the law enforcement agencies involved in tracking down the defendants, saying in a written statement, “This is also a clear example of how powerfully effective multi-agency collaborative efforts can be to ensure public safety in our communities. .”
“The Marlboro City Police Detective Bureau worked hand-in-hand with the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and the Newport News Police Department to quickly bring this investigation to a close,” Marlboro Police Chief Peter Pezzullo said in the same statement.
Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact Detective Aaron Shaw of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office at 800-533-7443 or Detective Edward Ungrad of the Marlboro County Police Department at 732-536-0100.
Anonymous tips can be submitted to Monmouth County Crime Stoppers by calling their confidential line at 1-800-671-4400, through the free P3 Tips mobile app or online.
Erin Vogt is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. He can be reached at email@example.com
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