Police Blotter: Overseas Scam Targets Local Woman, Teen Auto Thief Caught, Shoplifting Turns Into Robbery...
Here's a roundup of notable police activity in Lawrence Township from Dec. 7 through Dec. 12.
A Lawrence Township woman was recently bilked out of $1,675 by a con artist working from overseas, according to township police spokesman Lt. Mark Ubry.
It was on Tuesday, Dec. 11, that the 44-year-old woman and her husband contacted police to report the crime.
The woman told police she had received a phone call from an “Arab-speaking male” who advised her that she had won a $50,000 prize but that, in order to collect the jackpot, she first needed to send a payment of $475 to an address in the city of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, according to Ubry.
After the woman wired the money to Dubai via Western Union, she received a second call from the same man who told her that an additional wire transfer of $1,200 was needed, Ubry said.
After the woman sent the additional money, she received a third call from the man requesting even more money – $2,500. It was at that point that the woman advised her husband what had happened and the couple notified police, Ubry said.
Officer Shawn Sudol is investigating.
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At 5:35 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 11, police were notified that a Ford van was stolen from the parking lot of the Family Care Physicians office in the 1900 block of Brunswick Pike (Business Route 1) sometime between 1:15 and 5:15 p.m. that day.
Detectives Dave Burns and James Smith investigated and learned that the keys to the vehicle had been removed from the medical office and the vehicle stolen by a 17-year-old boy from Burlington City, Ubry said.
He said the detectives located the stolen van the next morning at Burlington City High School and arrested the 17-year-old suspect on a charge of motor vehicle theft.
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Detective William Chester and Officer Marc Caponi are working to identify three people – two men and one woman – who stole property from the J.C. Penney department store at Quaker Bridge Mall on Route 1 and assaulted a store employee who tried to stop them, Ubry said.
The crime took place about 9:35 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 12. Ubry said the trio – detailed descriptions of whom were not available – selected items of clothing, including shirts and a jacket, and went to leave the store without paying. They were confronted by a female J.C. Penney employee, who was punched in the right cheek by the female shoplifter, Ubry said.
The three were last seen fleeing the mall in a blue Hyundai Santa Fe that had been reported stolen from Hamilton Township, according to Ubry. Because force was used during the crime, it is considered a robbery under the law, he added.
The J.C. Penney employee who was punched declined medical treatment.
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Additional Charges Filed
Lawrence Township police this week filed additional charges against Harper Williams Jr., 49, of the 300 block of Mulberry Street, Trenton, in connection with several recent burglaries.
Williams and another man, Terrance J. Patterson, 36, of the 800 block of Southard Street, Trenton, were arrested last month after police allegedly caught them in possession of property that had been stolen in one of the burglaries. At that time, they were each charged with receiving stolen property.
On Tuesday, Dec. 11, Williams, who was free on bail, was taken into custody again and charged with six counts of burglary and six counts of theft in connection with break-ins of the Hub Leasing Inc. property in the 2800 block of Route 1, two vehicles at the Comfort Inn in the 3200 block of Route 1, a vehicle and a landscaping trailer at Superior Chevrolet on Renaissance Boulevard, and the CM Worrall Inc. property in the 2600 block of Business Route 1, according to Ubry.
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Detective Robert Potter and Officers Marc Caponi and Adam Kowalczyk are investigating two incidents that took place at the Public Storage facility in the 2600 block of Brunswick Pike (Business Route 1).
In the first incident, reported to police at 3:34 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 11, locks were cut away from three separate storage units but nothing was stolen, according to Ubry. In the second incident, reported at 3:09 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 12, the locks on three more storage units were found to have been cut but not removed from their hasps. Again, nothing was missing.
It is unclear at this time if the motive for the crimes was burglary or vandalism.
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Driving Under the Influence
Stephen Dawson, 26, of Tar Heels Road, Hamilton Township, was arrested about 1:15 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 7, and charged with driving under the influence, reckless driving and five related offenses after the vehicle he was driving was stopped on Brunswick Pike (Business Route 1) near Hope Street by Officer Andres Mejia, Ubry said.
Mejia, who was working supplemental DUI patrol, initiated the traffic stop after he observed Dawson turn onto Brunswick Pike from Whitehead Road with his vehicle’s headlights off, Ubry said, adding that Dawson was taken into custody after he performed poorly on field sobriety tests.
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Three residents of Bridgeton in Cumberland County – Sade L. Davis, 25; Rasheena D. Jefferson, 26; and Martin L. Stevens, 19 – were arrested after they allegedly tried to steal 91 items worth a total of $2,634.88 from the Victoria’s Secret store at Quaker Bridge Mall about 5:20 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 12, Ubry said. He said they were taken into custody after they led officers and mall security officials on a brief foot chase.
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At 9 a.m. on Sunday, Dec. 9, township police were notified of a “criminal mischief” incident in which a mailbox was ripped from its post, a stop sign was unbolted and taken down from a street pole and bags of leaves were emptied onto a lawn on Berwyn Place sometime during the overnight hours, Ubry said. Officer Richard Laird III is investigating.
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Officer Robert Loveless is investigating an incident in which someone slashed two tires on a Chrysler Pacifica while it was parked in a space outside one of the buildings on Town Court North in the Avalon Run apartment complex sometime between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 8, Ubry said, noting that damage was estimated at a total of $160.
Anyone with information about any of the above crimes is asked to call Lawrence Township police at (609) 896-1111.
A copy of Lawrence Township's police dispatch log for Friday, Dec. 7, through Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012, can be viewed from the PDF box above. This log lists all significant calls for service and incidents for which officers filed a written report. Routine administrative assignments are omitted. Some data has been redacted to protect the identity of crime victims.