PATERSON, N.J. -- Two Paterson men joy-riding with a trio of 16-year-old girls in a stolen car were arrested by Passaic County sheriff's officers, authorities said Saturday.
Officers Joseph Parlegreco and Antonio Manente got an automatic license plate hit on the 2015 Nissan Sentra, which belonged to a 75-year-old Warren County woman, while crossing the Haledon Avenue bridge into Paterson Friday morning, Sheriff Richard N. Berdnik said.
They swung around and stopped it in the parking lot of a food mart at the corner of Straight and Lafayette streets, the sheriff said.
They arrested the driver, 22-year-old Francis A. Namier, on charges of receiving stolen property and having a small amount of marijuana and the passenger, Wellington Santana, 19, on charges of unlawful taking of means of conveyance.
Santana "initially claimed that he was the owner" of the Sentra "and the vehicle was not stolen," Berdnik said.
The three girls "had no knowledge" it was and were released to their parents, he said.
Namier and Wellington were given a Jan. 16 date in Superior Court in Paterson and released.