YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: A feisty Englewood cab driver fended off attempts to strangle him and then surrendered his taxi at knifepoint to a 22-year-old city man who was arrested after detectives tracked the vehicle through GPS, CLIFFVIEW PILOT has learned.
Jamel Thomas got into the cab, directly behind the driver, at the Coriander Way apartment complex in Englewood’s 4th Ward just before 12:45 yesterday afternoon, Detective Capt. Tim Torell said.
Before they’d even left, Thomas “pulled out a rope and wrapped it around the cab driver’s neck and began strangling him,” he said.
“The driver put up a good fight in the cab and was able to slip out of the rope and through his door,” Torell told CLIFFVIEW PILOT .
The battle continued into the driveway of the complex, with Thomas struggling to get into the driver’s seat.
When the driver tried to stop him, “he was threatened with a knife,” the captain said.
Thomas sped off, leaving the driver with an arm injury, he said. In the cab was his iPad, wallet, cell phone and other personal property, Torell said.
Finding the taxi was easy.
“Many cab and livery service companies now routinely install GPS units in their fleet, mostly for their drivers’ protection,” Torell explained.
Within minutes, detectives and uniformed officers flooded the area of a William Street housing complex, where they found the car abandoned.
Detectives Chris Kedersha and Carlos Marte set up nearby, waiting. A little over an hour and a half later, Thomas showed up, Torell said.
The detectives immediately grabbed him as he tried to get into the cab, he said.
Thomas was carrying some of the items left in the car, as well as a hypodermic needle.
Detectives obtained a search warrant for his apartment and turned up most of the rest of the items, as well as the knife believed used in the carjacking, Torell said.
Presiding Bergen County Superior Court Judge Liliana Deavila-Silebi set bail at a full $300,000 for Thomas, who was held in the city lockup overnight before being transported to the Bergen County Jail early this afternoon.
He is charged with first-degree carjacking, aggravated assault and various drug and weapons offenses.
MUGSHOT: Courtesy ENGLEWOOD PD
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