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Burglary of Police Chief's Home Caught on Video

Burglary of Police Chief's Home Caught on Video

A security camera at Toms River Police Chief Michael G. Mastronardy's house caught a suspect breaking into the home.

Asbury Park Press via YellowBrix

April 15, 2011

TOMS RIVER, NJ — Burglars hit five residences here Tuesday — including the home of the Chief of Police — and investigators are hoping a security video at the chief’s house will help them find the suspects who got away with jewelry, cash and prescription medications.

“We believe the burglaries are all related,’’ said Michael Mastronardy, the police chief.

All of the burglaries happened between noon and 6 p.m. on Fawn Drive, Dickerson Street, Central Avenue, Hedge Street and Swain Avenue. No arrests have been made.

Mastronardy, whose home is on Swain Avenue, was able to videotape the burglar as he came to his residence at 6:15 p.m. The video also shows a passing car that authorities believe is also involved. He said he installed the cameras two weeks ago because of a rash of burglaries happening in the town.

None of the other residences had video cameras.

“I was only one of many victims the other day,‘’ said Mastronardy, who has been burglarized at home in the past. "As a victim, I can tell you the comfort I feel being able to look at the video and see who it was who came to my house.’’

Officer George Fernicola is investigating the Fawn Drive burglary where the home was broken into through a back door between 1 and 3 p.m. Between noon and 1 p.m., another home was entered on Dickerson Street and ransacked; however, nothing was stolen in that burglary.

Between 1 and 2 p.m., a house on Hedge Street was entered and there was an attempt to enter a residence on Central Avenue between noon and 4 p.m. A screen was cut and removed from the rear of the Central Avenue home, but burglars were unable to get in authorities said.

Mastronardy said his residence on Swain Avenue was entered through a rear window.

In all these burglaries, cash, jewelry and prescription medicines were targeted by the suspects, he said.

In the video at Mastronardy’s home, a man gets out of a dark-colored car and then walks up to the front door. After ringing the doorbell, the man walks to the rear of the house and forces open a rear window.

The man is in the home for one minute before a family member comes home. The man leaves through the front door and is picked up by someone in the same dark-colored car.

Mastronardy said police are regularly solving crimes by the use of the numerous video surveillance system being installed throughout the township.

“We’re currently working with the vocational school and the chamber of commerce to get people with businesses to use video cameras and for homeowners to get them installed,‘’ he said. "I’m an advocate of video cameras being used for security.’’

Capt. Bruce Burgess, who is in charge of the burglary investigation, is using the video to identify suspects, Mastronardy said.

“We are cautiously optimistic that arrests are imminent,’’ he said.

The burglaries are under investigation by Detectives Chris Fluck, Mark Bajada, John Bajcic, Sgt. Dave McCallum and Officer Thomas Dimichele, along with detectives from the Ocean County Sheriff’s Department and the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office.

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