NEWARK, NJ — On Aug. 5, acting Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin announced prison sentences for the last three defendants convicted in a Newark-based stolen auto trafficking ring that fenced stolen luxury vehicles worth more than $1 million.
The trio, who all pleaded guilty to second-degree receiving stolen property in connection with the high-end auto thefts, appeared before Superior Court Judge Harold W. Fullilove Jr. in Essex County at various times in recent weeks and were sentenced as follows: Tytaneisha Wilder, 33, of East Orange, was sentenced to three years in state prison; Kian Barber, 37, of Newark, a leader of the ring, was sentenced to nine years in state prison; and David Manning, 30, of East Orange, also a leader of the ring, was sentenced to seven years in state prison.
The sentences announced Aug. 5 wrap up the prosecution of a criminal ring charged with conspiring to possess and fence 18 high-end stolen vehicles valued at more than $1 million, including Audis, Land Rovers, BMWs, Mercedes and Maseratis. Three other defendants in the case pleaded guilty and were sentenced in earlier hearings before Fullilove. Najai Diggs, 37, of Newark, pleaded guilty to second-degree conspiracy to receive stolen property and was sentenced to five years in state prison; Tyshad Hawkins, 20, of Newark, pleaded guilty to third-degree receiving stolen property and was sentenced to three years in state prison; and Kasim Williams, 29, of Newark, pleaded guilty to second-degree receiving stolen property and was sentenced to six years in state prison.
The convictions are the result of an investigation by the New Jersey State Police’s Motor Vehicle Crimes North Unit, the Division of Criminal Justice’s Specialized Crimes Bureau, and the Auto Theft Task Force, which was expanded in March.
The investigation revealed that the defendants conspired to possess and fence 18 high-end, stolen vehicles valued at more than $1 million. Most of the vehicles were stolen in New York State and driven to New Jersey, where they most often were parked in the driveway of Barber’s residence in Newark. The ring allegedly used the driveway to “cool off” the vehicles and make sure they were not equipped with tracking devices that would lead law enforcement to them. The investigation further revealed that Barber and Manning led the ring, with Williams, Hawkins, Diggs and others working under them. Wilder assisted ring members by driving them to New York State to commit thefts.
“Stolen autos are often used in the commission of more serious crimes, like the one used to carry out a mass shooting that injured nine people in Newark recently,” acting Attorney General Platkin said. “That is why we have made prosecuting auto thefts, and especially enterprises like the ring here, a vital component of our larger strategy to reduce violent crime in New Jersey.”
“Our success in securing prison terms for everyone involved in this fencing ring demonstrates our resolve to investigate and aggressively prosecute those responsible for New Jersey’s alarming spike in auto theft,” Division of Criminal Justice Director Pearl Minato said. “We will continue to work with the New Jersey State Police and other partners in the Auto Theft Task Force to put a stop to this crime and protect our communities from the ripple of violence it creates.”
“These sentences validate all the countless hours of hard work that the New Jersey State Police Motor Vehicle Crimes North Unit and our law enforcement partners dedicated to this investigation in order to apprehend these criminals,” said Col. Patrick J. Callahan, NJSP superintendent. “I would also like to recognize the efforts of the office of the attorney general and Division of Criminal Justice to prosecute and obtain the lengthy sentences that reflect the serious nature of these crimes. Anyone who decides to steal a vehicle, our troopers will be ready to investigate and ensure they face the fullest extent of the law.”
The defendants were initially arrested on warrants issued in September 2020 and were indicted on June 16, 2021. Another lower-level ring member, Najai Diggs, 37, of Newark, pleaded guilty to second-degree conspiracy in December 2021 and was sentenced the following month to five years in state prison.