Police find $1M in stolen goods, arrest accused burglar – Asbury Park Press
LITTLE SILVER – Tiffany jewelry, Rolex watches, a $5,000 bottle of scotch – police say they recovered more than $1 million in stolen goods after arresting a “professional burglar” they accuse of several Monmouth County break-ins dating back to 2012.
Thomas “Tommy” W. Earls, 54, of Neptune Township, was arrested on Thursday by Little Silver Police Detective Greg Oliva, Ocean Township Police Detective Sgt. Tom Burke and other Ocean Township police detectives in connection with a residential burglary in Little Silver on Dec. 5, according to a release.
As part of an investigation that spanned several departments that began in June, Earls was identified as a person of interest in a string of burglaries.
Earls was accused of six counts of burglary, six counts of theft, six counts of receiving stolen property, one count of criminal mischief, one count of shoplifting, and one count theft by unlawful taking means of conveyance, the release said.
A man with the same name and age previously served 644 days in jail for a conviction of receiving stolen property, according to DataUniverse.
Shrewsbury Borough Police Detective Sgt. James Ramsey described Earls’ technique.
“He would park a car sometimes up to a mile away from the home he was going to burglarize,” Ramsey said, “Walk around and walk up to the home. He had different methods of breaking into homes. One method would be, if a dog was barking and no one was telling the dog to be quiet, he knew no one was home. He kept dog treats in his pocket and would burglarize the home. Then he would load the merchandise from the burglary into your car, steal your car and drive it back to his car and unload it.”
During at least two burglaries, he stole cars, including a 2015 Audi A3 convertible and a 2007 Honda Odyssey minivan.
Following his arrest, investigators searched Earls’ home in Neptune, his car, and a storage unit. Police found the proceeds of at least 20 active burglary investigations dating back to 2012 in Eatontown, Freehold Township, Holmdel, Little Silver, Middletown, Ocean Township, Rumson, and Shrewsbury.
“…He just complied everything,” said Little Silver Detective Gregory Oliva. “And something that none of us have ever seen before in our experience, where all the stuff was hoarded in different locations and it wasn’t sold off immediately as in most cases.”
The release said goods recovered from the storage unit included a bottle of Balvenie 40-year-old single malt Scotch valued at $5,000, a 24-karat gold Zippo lighter autographed by Bob Hope, numerous Rolex watches, vintage collector coin sets, Tiffany jewelry, other valuable jewelry items, electronics, computers, video-gaming systems, iPads, iPods, cell phones and other items taken from burglaries, with a value in excess of $1 million.
The goods filled more than half of the evidence room at the Little Silver police department. They ranged from luxurious to mundane like a pull-up bar or a collection of pots and pans. Among the pile of stolen goods was a home security system yard sign.
Earls was taken to Monmouth County Jail in lieu of $437,000 cash bail.
By Wednesday evening, some of the stolen goods had already been returned to the rightful owners, including the bottle of scotch.
Oliva offered tips to help prevent a burglary:
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