On Oct. 26 at approximately 1:30 a.m., Madison police received a call claiming that a vehicle had driven away from a gas station without paying for gas. The vehicle was reported to be traveling north on Greenwood Avenue. Police later stopped a car near Florham Park. It was not stated what information may have led police to stop the vehicle. However, both of the car’s occupants now face criminal charges.
The 22-year-old driver of the car is accused of theft of services for reportedly taking the gas. He was not arrested but has a pending court appearance. Police claim that the 18-year-old passenger in the vehicle had marijuana, suboxone and lorazepam in her possession. She is accused of possession of a controlled dangerous substance and possession of marijuana in addition to the theft charge. The female was arrested and taken to the Morris County Correctional Facility. She is being held pending the payment of $5,000 bail.
Readers may wonder how a passenger in a car may be charged with theft of gas when not in control of the car. The law allows a person who intentionally assists another in committing a crime to be charged with the same offense. However, they must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the person intended to assist with the crime.
To stop a vehicle, police must have probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed. Before an officer may search a vehicle or its passengers, there must be an articulable belief that evidence of a crime will be found. When police search a vehicle or an individual without consent or a search warrant, an attorney may be able to move to suppress evidence.