On September 3, 2014 I, Officer deOliveira, was in full uniform and assigned marked unit 664 for the Somerville Police Department. At approximately 8:45 p.m., Officers
Browne and D’Amelio of the Somerville Housing Authority Police queried New Jersey license plate, assigned to a 2013 Hyundai Elantra red in color. The query via the Criminal Justice Information Services (C.J.I.S.) computer revealed that vehicle to be stolen. I responded to their location along with Officers Cicerone and Cabral, in marked unit 661, and Detective Lieutenant Hyde.
The vehicle was parked in the parking lot of Mystic Avenue, in the City of Somerville, which is an area of public access to vehicles entering and exiting, among other places, the Somerville Housing Complex. The vehicle was occupied by one black male in the driver’s seat, and parked adjacent to another vehicle, a 2014 VW Passat blue in color, bearing North Carolina plate CFF6686, occupied by a white male in the driver’s seat. Both vehicles were on, with the engine running. Both men were interacting with each other in conversation. A white female came out of apartment and joined the black male in the stolen red Hyundai. All individuals were detained; the white male and the white female were detained until we investigated their involvement with the individual in possession of the stolen vehicle.
We ordered both men out of the vehicles in order to conduct our investigation. The individual in possession of the stolen vehicle was identified as Lorenzo Hicks-Hinson the white female was identified as Emeli Cruz and the white male was identified as Jason Slamin). The query via the Criminal Justice Information Services (C.J.I.S.) computer revealed that Mr. Hicks-Hinson had his right to operate a motor vehicle revoked by the Registry of Motor Vehicles, and also had a straight warrant by the Milford District Court. The query via the Criminal Justice Information Services (C.J.I.S.) computer also revealed that Mr. Slamin had his right to operate a motor vehicle revoked by the Registry of Motor Vehicles for being a habitual offender.
Officer Browne relayed to me that they drove through the parking lot of Mystic Avenue en route to Memorial Road, which is a roadway of the Housing Complex. He took notice of the two vehicles and its occupants, parked alone in the parking lot, in the dark. Over thirty minutes later, they drove by again and still the vehicles were parked there, in the same manner. Officer Browne, with 21 years of experience in law enforcement, became suspicious of this prolonged, unusual activity and decided to query the plate, which returned stolen on the red Hyundai. That’s when he radioed in for a Somerville Police unit to back up.
The stolen vehicle was a Zip Car rental. We inquired all three individuals about the status of the vehicle, but received very evasive and implausible answers. We asked Mr. Hicks-Hinson if he was the person who rented the car; he said he was not. We asked him if his name was on the rental agreement; he said it was not. We asked him who rented the car, and he said it was a friend of Ms. Cruz, who let her borrow it to buy groceries. We then asked Ms. Cruz the same questions: if she was the person who rented the car; she said she was not. We asked her if her name was on the rental agreement; she said it was not. We asked her who rented the car, and she said it was her friend, who let her borrow it. I asked her for the name of her friend who had rented the car and let her borrow it, but she could not answer it; in fact, she told me she did not know her name. Mr. Slamin told me he had no information about anything concerning the vehicle, that he was just talking to the operator. Officers Cicerone and Cabral searched the vehicle looking for the rental agreement, but none was found. Additionally, we noticed that the “Zip Car” sticker which had been placed on the rear of the vehicle, as they usually do, had been removed, in an obvious attempt to hide the identity of the vehicle as a Zip Car.
The 2014 VW Passat was also a rental vehicle, registered to PV Holding (AKA Avis Rental Cars). Mr. Slamin told us that the vehicle was rented by him, but he could not prove it. He did not possess the rental agreement. Therefore, Sergeant Isidoro made the decision to tow the vehicle for safekeeping until we either got confirmation from Avis Rental Cars or Mr. Slamin provided the rental agreement. Officers Cicerone and Cabral searched the vehicle in accordance to Somerville Police Inventory Policy and could not locate the rental agreement.
Based on the facts mentioned above, Mr. Hicks-Hinson was placed under arrest and is charged with receiving a stolen motor vehicle and operating a motor vehicle with a revoked license subsequent offense. When I informed Mr. Hicks-Hinson of the charges, Ms. Cruz spontaneously uttered that Mr. Hicks-Hinson was not the driver of the vehicle, that she was the one driving it, and that she was the one who borrowed the car. With that, Ms. Cruz was placed under arrest and is charged as a joint venture with receiving a stolen motor vehicle. Mr. Slamin was also placed under arrest and is charged with operating a motor vehicle with a revoked license for being a habitual traffic offender. All three individuals were transported to the Somerville Police Department by Officer Soares.