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Man jumps on the hood of his SUV in attempt to stop thieves, left in critical condition


Police said they arrested two teens in a carjacking after the vehicle’s owner tried to stop the theft by clinging to the hood of his SUV as it zigzagged along several blocks in Belleville early Tuesday.

The 59-year-old vehicle owner fell from the SUV at Bridge Street, near Mill Street, leaving him hospitalized in critical condition with head trauma and a broken collarbone, according to a statement from town officials.

One of the suspected thieves, Lorenzo Esiahs, 18, of Newark, was arrested by Newark police following a brief car chase around 8:40 a.m., the statement said. Esiahs was charged with attempted murder, carjacking, burglary, theft and conspiracy.

Charges were also pending against a 17-year-old boy from Newark, officials said. His name was not released because of his age.

The two initially stole a 2016 Toyota Highlander and the keys to a Toyota RAV4 from a home on Prospect Street around 4 a.m., according to Belleville police spokesman Lt. John McAloon. Officers found the Highlander overturned in Newark about 40 minutes later.

Police said the pair returned to the block to try and steal the RAV4, but took off when the homeowner spotted them. After that failed theft, the two allegedly stole keys for a Lincoln MKC from a High Street home.

A resident saw the theft in progress and tried to block the escape before jumping on the hood of his Lincoln, according to authorities.

Video from a home security camera captured the dramatic scene as the man was hung on while the SUV fled the crime.

Belleville Mayor Michael Melham issued a statement urging residents to be vigilant and always lock their doors.

“This is a terrible community tragedy that we are all dealing with, our thoughts and prayers are certainly with the victim and his family.” Melham said of the injured resident.

Noah Cohen may be reached at ncohen@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @noahyc. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

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