Police say Elizabeth is accused of stealing a Mercedes for $1,700 in cash

Acting Attorney General Matt Platkin announced Friday that a 22-year-old man in Jersey City faces first-degree auto theft and other charges of holding a married couple at gunpoint and stealing a Mercedes-Benz and $1,700 in cash outside a restaurant in Elizabeth.

Ramil Bell has also been charged with theft, conspiracy, evasion, assault of a law enforcement officer, weapons and other crimes stemming from the incident this spring, with police chasing Bell by car and on foot before arresting him.

The indictment of 15 counts was obtained by the Criminal Justice Division’s Specialized Crime Bureau on August 11.

On April 23, the couple were sitting in a late Mercedes-Benz waiting to receive food from a restaurant on Morris Street at about 7:30 p.m. when two masked men got out of a car behind them and walked away, according to prosecutors.

According to officials, one of the men pointed a laser pistol at the couple and ordered them to get out of the car while demanding their keys, cell phones and other valuables.

Officials said the couple handed things over — including nearly $1,700 in cash — and the gunman got into the car and drove off.

Later that night, a Newark police officer saw the stolen Mercedes on Elizabeth Street in Newark and chased it, before losing sight of the car on Route 78.

Then a Newark Police flying unit tracked her to Jersey City, where the driver eventually abandoned the car and fled, according to officials.

Jersey City Police, with help from the Newark Police Aviation Unit, found Bell and after a struggle, arrested him.

A gray pistol with a green laser was found in the bushes next to Bill, who also had in his possession approximately $1,700 and the master key to the stolen Mercedes.

Police said Bell was also wearing sneakers that matched the description of the auto theft accused.

“Kidnapping victims at gunpoint on a busy street in broad daylight is the most serious form of auto theft we are fighting in New Jersey,” Platkin said in a written statement Friday.

“We have dedicated additional personnel, resources and technology to put an end to atrocious crimes like this. We will continue to work with law enforcement authorities across the state to investigate, arrest and prosecute the individuals responsible.”

In addition to two counts each of auto theft, first-degree theft and third-degree arrest, Bell faces second-degree counts of conspiracy to commit auto theft, illegal possession of a weapon, illegal possession of a weapon and evasion.

Bell also faces fourth-degree charges of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, resisting arrest, and receiving stolen property and prohibited weapons and equipment.

He was being held in Essex County Jail, awaiting trial.

If convicted, Bell could face 10 to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $200,000 on first-degree charges alone.

Erin Vogt is a reporter and broadcaster based in New Jersey 101.5. You can reach her at [email protected]

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