Acting on a call from an alert resident reporting that a woman was acting suspiciously in a neighborhood where a break-in had occurred only two days earlier, Lawrence Township police last Thursday afternoon (Aug. 9) caught a woman who, they claim, committed both that crime and at least one other recent residential burglary in the township.
The suspect, Anna Baczyk, 28, of Hopewell Township, has been charged with multiple offenses, including burglary, theft and receiving stolen property, according to Detective Sgt. Joseph Amodio, a Lawrence Township police spokesman.
Baczyk is accused of burglarizing homes on Spring Beauty Drive on Aug. 7 and Denow Road on Aug. 8, he said.
Amodio said it was about 1:30 p.m. on Aug. 9 when township police received a call from a township resident who, concerned by the burglary on Spring Beauty Drive, reported that a woman – later identified as Baczyk – was acting suspiciously on Larkspur Lane, a small street that runs in a loop off Spring Beauty Drive.
That observant citizen, Lawrenceville Patch has learned, was Kris Palmer, a military veteran who has served as a volunteer firefighter in Lawrence Township for more than a dozen years and currently acts as president of Lawrence Road Fire Co.
During a brief interview with Patch, Palmer explained that he was on Larkspur Lane visiting a family member when he spotted Baczyk hanging out on the street. She was dressed in exercise clothing and had a bicycle with her, but was smoking cigarettes and looking around.
Palmer, who said he is familiar with all the residents of that close-knit neighborhood, did not recognize Baczyk. After observing her from a distance for a few minutes, he said he drove up to her and asked her if she was lost. Baczyk allegedly said she was looking for a particular address but Palmer said she appeared nervous when answering.
Feeling that something “just wasn’t right” with Baczyk presence in the neighborhood, Palmer said he called police as soon as he had driven away from her. He said he provided police with a detailed description of the woman and her odd behavior.
Police quickly arrived in the area and, based on the description given, located Baczyk nearby, Amodio said.
He said officers and detectives soon discovered that the bicycle Baczyk had with her had been . As a result, he said, Baczyk was taken into custody and later charged with receiving stolen property.
As police investigated further, according to Amodio, they found that a bag Baczyk had with her contained “burglary tools.”
A subsequent search of Baczyk’s home on Shrewsbury Court – located off Denow Road in Hopewell Township, just a few blocks from where the burglaries on Spring Beauty Drive and Denow Road occurred in Lawrence Township – turned up some of the jewelry that had allegedly been stolen from those two homes, Amodio said.
Stolen jewelry was also found at a second location, he said.
A total of more than $1,600 worth of jewelry was stolen from the two homes, he said, noting that only a portion has been recovered so far.
In the case of the Spring Beauty Drive break-in, the burglar gained entry to the house by forcing open a rear door, Amodio said. He said the point of entry in the Denow Road break-in was an unlocked window that had its screen cut away.
Amodio said detectives are still investigating and trying to determine if Baczyk was responsible for other recent burglaries in the township.
Baczyk, meanwhile, was lodged in the Mercer County Correction Center in Hopewell Township in lieu of $36,500 bail, with a 10 percent bond option.
Police ask anyone with information that might assist their investigation to call them at (609) 896-1111.