It’s standard practice this time of year to load the family into the car and head for the mall. It is not standard practice to load them into a stolen vehicle for the outing — an outing about which police had separate suspicions.
On Dec. 17, at 2 p.m., Officers Frank West and Tom Bannon were on patrol in the area of Walmart on Harrison Ave. as part of the Kearny Police Department’s safe holiday shopping initiative when each of them took notice of a certain vehicle: a U-Haul pickup truck.
The truck, Chief John Dowie reported, 1) bore Arizona license plates, 2) had five people jammed into it, and, of particular import, 3) appeared to be “trolling” the Walmart parking lot.
The cops ran the plate, and the vehicle came back as stolen, Dowie said.
The truck’s occupants were identified as driver Patricia Mitchell, 46, of Newark; passenger Michelle Tenet, 22, of Chelsea, Mass.; and Mitchell’s three children: a 14-year-old boy and two girls, one age 17, one age 9.
Both Mitchell and Tenet were charged with “unlawful taking of a means of conveyance.”
Additionally, Mitchell was accused of receiving stolen property.
The juveniles were transported to police headquarters, where the Juvenile Unit is handling the disposition of the case.