A Sunday evening of shopping ended in horror for a New Jersey couple when a lawyer was shot to death in a mall parking garage as his wife looked on, reports the Associated Press. The two assailants drove off in their luxury SUV. The stolen Range Rover was recovered yesterday in a residential neighborhood in Newark, about 10 miles away from the Mall at Short Hills. The two carjackers were at large, and an anti crime group offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to their arrest and conviction.
The crime was the latest in a troubling pattern in Essex County, which borders crime-plagued Newark. Carjackings have risen steeply in the past several years, prompting creation of a multi-agency task force after a spate of crimes that included brazen daytime attacks and the carjacking of a snowplow two days after a Christmas blizzard. The partnership succeeded in arresting and prosecuting three groups responsible for most of the carjackings, and the crime rate fell temporarily. Since then, it has ticked up, with 416 last year in Essex County, a 44 percent increase from 2010. Nearly 300 carjackings were reported through July this year.