Gang Members Convicted For Elizabeth Robbery Spree

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Tony Canty

ELIZABETH — Two members of the Crips street gang were found guilty on Thursday afternoon on 16 counts of first degree armed robbery and 16 counts of weapons offenses stemming from an hour-long crime spree that victimized nearly a dozen people throughout Elizabeth, according to Union County Prosecutor Theodore J. Romankow.

Jacquan Lee

Tony Canty, 29, and Jacquan Lee, 22, each face up to life in prison when they are sentenced on Sept. 2, said Assistant Prosecutor Joshua McMahon, who prosecuted the month-long case.

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According to the investigation, shortly after midnight on July 30, 2007 Canty, Lee and a third, unknown male, were driven through the streets of Elizabeth by Lee’s girlfriend. At several points during the spree, the car would approach groups gathered on street corners, stoops, and outside bars.

The men would exit the White Toyota Corolla, owned by another of Lee’s girlfriends, and armed with two loaded sawed-off shotguns would surround the victims demanding cash and other items, including cell phones and iPods. Witnesses and victims told police that that the men would shout gang slogans related to the Crips as they fled the scene, said McMahon.

“The youngest victim was 14-years-old, the oldest was 21-years-old,” said McMahon. “Canty and Lee would point these weapons directly at the victim’s faces.

During the third robbery, one victim was able to memorize the license plate and relayed the information to police, said McMahon. The Elizabeth Police Department broadcast the information to all units and several minutes later, Officers Guillermo Valladares and Jose Torres spotted the vehicle on 3rd Street and Bond Street. Lee and Canty were arrested at the scene without incident. The unknown male and the female driver fled the scene, said McMahon.

She was later identified and arrested by Detective Joseph DeBiase of the Union County Prosecutor’s Office. The woman cooperated with authorities and testified against Canty and Lee during the trial. The unknown third suspect remains at large.

The jury deliberated for two days before returning the unanimous verdict. The trial was held before Union County Superior Court Judge Miriam Span.

“This was a multi-agency effort that resulted in a successful prosecution and the further removal of two violent gang members from the streets,” said Romankow.

(Photos courtesy of the Union County Prosecutor’s Office)


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