Bergen County Prosecutor Mark Musella has announced the arrest of 18-year old, Bayonne resident, Yassine G. Rahi on charges pf robbery, aggravated assault, leaving the scene of an accident which resulted in serious bodily injury, endangering an injured victim, and theft by unlawful taking.  According to the prosecutor, the arrest comes following an investigation by the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Unit and the Moonachie Police Department.

Prosecutor Musella lays out the scenario as follows:  At approximately 4:58 pm on Wednesday, March 20, 2024, the Moonachie Police Department responded to Avenue C in Moonachie following a reported hit-and-run.   Officers found a 22-year-old victim with serious bodily injury who was struck by an unknown suspect operating a vehicle that fled from the scene after robbing the victim during a pre- arranged Facebook Marketplace transaction.

After the Moonachie Police Department notified the Bergen County Prosecutor, a joint investigation with Major Crimes was put into motion.  Prosecutor Musella says the investigation revealed that the victim met with the suspect intending to purchase a PlayStation 5 video game console.

In a statement from the Prosecutor’s Office it was revealed that “detectives and the Moonachie Police Department identified a pattern of unsolved Facebook Marketplace robberies in northern New Jersey that involved fictitious Facebook accounts selling PlayStation 5 video game consoles. The user of these Facebook accounts would advertise a sale of the video game system and arrange a meeting. When it came time for the in- person transaction, the suspect would rob the victims of the money intended for the purchase of the video game console.  A coordinated effort involving multiple law enforcement agencies in northern New Jersey was led by the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office and identified Yassine G. Rahi as the individual who robbed the victim of $275 and struck the victim with his getaway vehicle while fleeing the incident in Moonachie.”

Rahi was arrested yesterday in Bayonne by detectives from the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office, the Moonachie Police Department, the Ridgefield Park Police Department, and the Guttenberg Police Department.

He has been charged with first-degree robbery; second-degree aggravated assault; third-degree aggravated assault; third-degree leaving the scene of an accident resulting in serious bodily injury; third-degree endangering an injured victim; and fourth-degree theft by unlawful taking.   Rahi wa alsos issued several motor-vehicle summonses and remanded to the Bergen County Jail.   He is awaiting a detention hearing.

This investigation, led by the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Unit, is continuing, and additional charges are expected to be filed in coordination with partner agencies for the robberies that occurred in other jurisdictions.

Prosecutor Musella stated, “I want to take this opportunity to remind all residents of Bergen County about the importance of exercising caution and vigilance when engaging in online transactions.  While various online platforms offer a convenient way to buy and sell property, they also present opportunities for exploitation by dishonest individuals. If you must use social media or an online platform to arrange a transaction, meet at a ‘Safe Exchange Zone,’ which is a designated area that is usually equipped with security cameras and may be offered at your local police department.”