A person who observed a man who came running out of the Route 9 Staples store helped police find him as he tried to get out of town with stolen items, police say.
The witness, who had a hunch the man had done something wrong, called police to report the Sept. 3 incident and provided them with a description of the vehicle the man entered, including a license plate number. He then followed the man in his own vehicle while he was on the phone to a dispatcher.
The vehicle belonged to an 83-year-old Seaside Heights man, Lacey cops say, but its occupant was identified as 39-year-old Edward Willette of Toms River.
"With the assistance of the witness, officers were able to locate and
stop the vehicle just before the Garden State Parkway entrance," Lacey police said in a statement.
Officers confirmed with Staples that a tablet computer had been taken from the store.
Police say Willette not only stole the Samsung Tablet from Staples, valued at $588,
but also stole a Sylvania Netbook valued at $99 and a carton of L&M
cigarettes valued at $68.00 from the CVS Pharmacy in Lanoka Harbor.
Willette also had separate warrants for his arrest from other jurisdictions totaling $1,500 bail, police said.
Willette was charged with 2 counts of shoplifting, possession of an
antishoplifting device, and possession of 50 grams or less of marijuana. He was transported to Ocean County Jail in lieu of an additional $1,000 bail.