SOUTH BRUNSWICK – South Brunswick police apprehended a serial shoplifter who had allegedly stolen more than a thousand dollars’ worth of alcohol in the past week from liquor stores in the township.
At 4:30 p.m. July 21, police were called about a shoplifting in progress at Viking Liquors at 4095 Route 1. The caller said the suspect, later identified as a 54-year-old male from Trenton, was the same person who had stolen from the store a week earlier. As the caller contacted police, the man reportedly began to flee the store. A patron of the store witnessed the theft and began to chase after the suspect, according to reports.
As Officer Mike Leung arrived, he reportedly observed the witness running after the suspect, who was still trying to conceal alcohol bottles in his pants as he ran, according to police. Leung ordered the suspect to stop, but he reportedly continued to flee. Leung chased him across the strip mall and captured him in the parking lot, according to reports.
The suspect was charged with stealing from Viking Liquors on three occasions from July 14-21 and stealing on one occasion from Liquor City at 3790 Route 1 on July 14.
Police Chief Raymond Hayducka credited citizen involvement and a quick police response with capturing the suspect.
“The suspect had targeted local business owners over the past week. Officer Leung arrived in less than a minute after the call and clearly saw the suspect who was running away from [the witness]. The team effort put an end to a series of crimes,” Hayducka said.
The suspect was processed and released pending his first court appearance.
He was linked to similar cases in East Windsor and Hamilton over the past month, according to reports.