A New Jersey man was arrested after he and another person picked up a satchel filled with $150,000 beside an ATM machine, police are saying. Mahwah Police arrested Alton Harvey after tracking him via video recording and narrowing down license records of white vans. And even though it was relatively quick work, Harvey had already spent $46,000 on a brand new SUV by the time police arrived at his home in Hillside.
The Associated Press reported July 31 that Alton Harvey, 42, and Jamar Bludson, 35, picked up a bag of cash Monday left unattended by ATM workers outside a business in Mahway, which is northern New Jersey. The white van the two were traveling in was caught on surveillance video. Footage showed that the passenger, who police later learned was Bludson, reached out and grabbed the satchel containing $150,000.
A second surveillance video picked up the van at a nearby auto repair business. The occupants were seen allegedly stealing used tire.
Police later found the white van in Irvington and arrested Harvey on Wednesday. According to authorities, Harvey confessed to driving the van. As for the satchel and the $150,000, Harvey told investigators, according to a news release, he had purchased a Chevrolet Tahoe, listed at $46,000, just a few hours after picking up the bag. Police found the SUV parked near the van.
Police have issued a warrant for Jamar Bludson’s arrest. The Newark man is also wanted for a probation violation.
Harvey was charged with theft of mislaid property. It is unclear if the charge included the used tires.
Mahwah Police Chief James Batelli said Thursday, according to The Record, that the ATM workers realized their mistake roughly fifteen minutes after pulling away from the business and subsequently reported the cash missing. Police have not released the name of the company for security reasons, but the investigation did rule out employees’ involvement in the theft.
Batelli credited one of his detectives, Michael Grassi, as the investigator who located the white GMC Savana van. Grassi, he said, conducted a “laborious” search through a license plate records database, even though the van’s license number was unknown at the time. The detective perused hundreds of vehicles before homing in on a white work van in Irvington. Chief Batelli said the van’s owner apparently was unaware of the theft committed with his vehicle.
Batelli also noted that the investigation, which was overseen by Detective Lt. Guido Bussinelli, connected Harvey, who already has “ten felony arrests” and an extensive arrest record, to the van because of a past summons issued to him as a driver of the vehicle. Harvey then, according to Batelli, “admitted his role as the driver of the van and also informed detectives that the Tahoe was purchased with cash taken from the satchel.” The SUV was registered to Alton Harvey just a few hours after the pair made their ill-advised cash pickup on Monday.