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Press Release

Carjacker Identified Through Stolen IPhone Convicted At Trial

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Jersey

NEWARK, N.J. – A federal jury in Newark has convicted a carjacker identified after his victim used the “find my iPhone” feature on the phone also stolen during the gunpoint robbery, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Lee Caraballo, 28, of Newark, was convicted of both counts in the indictment against him: theft of a motor vehicle by force, violence and intimidation and use of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence. Following a three-day trial before U.S. District Esther Salas, the jury deliberated one hour before returning the guilty verdict.

According to documents filed in this case and the evidence at trial:

The government proved that, on Nov. 30, 2012, Lee Caraballo carjacked a Rutgers law student at gunpoint, in the driveway of the student’s home. After stealing the victim’s wallet and cell phone, Caraballo fled in the victim’s Toyota Corolla.

A Roselle Park police officer pulled over Caraballo later that day in a routine traffic stop, during which he was driving his own car. In that car, law enforcement found the victim’s cell phone and car keys as well as various items of clothing the victim later identified.

While Caraballo was in police custody, the carjacking victim located his phone remotely and called the police station. He later identified the defendant.

The carjacking charge carries a maximum potential penalty of 15 years in prison. The firearms charge carries a minimum consecutive term of seven years in prison and a maximum consecutive term of life in prison. Each charge also carries a maximum $250,000 fine. Sentencing is currently scheduled for Feb. 23, 2015.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited investigators and officers of the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Acting Prosecutor Carolyn A. Murray; the New Jersey State Police, Newark Police Department and Roselle Park Police Department for the investigation that led to the conviction.
The government is represented Assistant U.S. Attorneys Barry A. Kamar and Adam N. Subervi of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Newark.


Defense counsel: Gary Leo Cutler Esq., Newark

Updated March 18, 2015