I’m going to skip around on this one. Let’s start with Millburn Mayor Sandra Haimoff’s comment after learning that an as-yet-unidentified 30-year-old Hudson County man was shot dead during a carjacking at the Short Hills Mall. “Our police department is out there and I’m sure they’re doing everything that needs to be done. But it is upsetting and it’s unfortunate that this happened.” Yes the Millburn, New Jersey police force are out there, somewhere. Thanks to New Jersey gun laws, the police are, in effect, the only legally armed civilians in the Garden State. And I guess it’s just “unfortunate” that they weren’t on level three of the parking lot when this happened to happen . . .
[Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn] Murray said the shooting occurred at about 9:10 p.m. She said the victim had been out with his wife shopping and they were returning to their vehicle when they were confronted by two men. She said the husband had opened the door for his wife and was getting into the driver’s side when he was shot. Murray believed multiple shots were fired.
Authorities believe the two assailants fled in the Range Rover and headed east on Route 24.
“We do not know why that car (was targeted), but it obviously was a car with some value,” said Murray.
Ms. Murray’s comment seems to hint that there may have been more in play here than a “simple” car jacking. Which would be reassuring to the wealthy individuals who shop at the mall’s upscale shops: Channel, Michael Kors, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Tiffany, etc. Only . . .
While shoplifting is a constant issue at the mall, violent crime is rarely reported, but there have been a number of carjackings over the years.
In September 2009, a Hillside man was charged with attempted kidnapping, carjacking and robbery after he was arrested for allegedly forcing his way into the car of a 56-year-old woman from Randolph who had been shopping at the mall, pulling out a knife and demanding money, police said.
After the woman turned over cash and jewelry, he told her to drive to an ATM. Instead, she opened her car door and ran.
In February 2006, two women were carjacked at gunpoint outside a mall restaurant, Joe’s American Bar & Grill. The two were getting into a silver 2004 Jeep Liberty when they were approached by two men. One had a gun, told the women to get out of the car and leave the keys inside the vehicle.
And in October of 2002, a 76-year-old woman from Caldwell returning to her car was robbed by a man who forced his way into her Cadillac parked near the Saks Fifth Avenue department store and stole her cash and jewelry, police said.
The man told the shopper he had a gun, but she never saw one, police said. He robbed her of her wedding and engagement rings and a bracelet.
This report could have been filed under This Is What Happens to a Disarmed Populace. But had the victim been an armed civilian who knew about the mall’s carjacking history, or simply maintained situational awareness, he would have had a chance to be celebrating Christmas this year. And now, doesn’t.
What will it take for Garden State voters to save themselves from themselves? I’m not sure I want to know.