Wild run of crimes, standoff ends with man pantless in SWAT custody
LINDEN — A Newark man is facing carjacking, robbery and weapons charges in connection with the hectic series of events that led to a standoff with police on Sunday.
Willie S. Wright, 50, attempted to escape from the Shop Rite supermarket in Aviation Plaza on Routes 1 & 9 after committing an attempted robbery around 9:15 a.m., according to acting Union County Prosecutor Michael A. Monahan. Wright demanded a 69-year-old man surrender his wallet and car, the prosecutor said. When the man refused, Monahan said Wright hit the man in the head with a handgun and made his escape in another unoccupied vehicle.
Monahan said Linden police chased Wright north on Route 1. During the pursuit, Wright lost control and hit a curb and a utility pole before slamming into the back of a van, the prosecutor said. Wright got out and attempted to carjack the van at gunpoint but ran off when the driver wouldn't give up his van, according to the prosecutor.
Wright broke into the basement of a home in the 600 block of South Park Avenue and held police off in a standoff. Monahan said the Union County Emergency Response Team SWAT negotiated with Wright before entering the home and taking him into custody peacefully around 2:30 p.m.
A woman and her son who live in the home told News 12 New Jersey they got out wearing their pajamas after watching Wright jump over a fence and kick in the basement window police on their video surveillance system.
The video showed Wright being taken into custody without pants or underwear. Monahan did not disclose what happened to Wright's clothing.
Responding agencies also included the Union County Police Department, Union County Prosecutor’s Office, Union County Sheriff’s Office, Elizabeth Police Department, and Roselle Police Department.
Wright is charged with first-degree robbery, first-degree carjacking, a first-degree weapons offense, second-degree burglary, second-degree eluding police, three second-degree weapons offenses, third-degree burglary, third-degree hindering apprehension, fourth-degree obstruction of justice, and criminal.
He is being held at the Union County Jail pending a detention hearing that has not yet been scheduled.