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Police Chief's Home Among Five Burglarized

One suspect broke into homes as driver waited street side to pull away with jewelry, cash.

Burglars looking for homes to break into yesterday managed to pick the chief of police's house.

Toms River Police Chief Michael Mastronardy's home in Toms River was robbed yesterday evening, and the chief said the break-in was brief and that his home was one of several hit.

Mastronardy said he was not home at the time. He received a call after 6 p.m. yesterday while he was at the township council meeting, with the caller reporting suspicious activity at the chief's home.

The chief said he installed video surveillance cameras at his home on Swain Avenue just two weeks ago, and that the suspect was caught on camera. One individual was believed to have broken in through a window.

"They were there for about a minute," said Mastronardy. "I'm fine, everything's OK."

In the video released to the media, the video shows the suspect being dropped off in a dark car then walking up to the front door of the Swain Avenue home. He rings the doorbell, then walks to the rear of the house and forces open a rear window. 

Mastronardy said the suspect was in the home for one minute before a family member came home.  The suspect then exits the front door and is picked up by the suspect in the car waiting down the street.  

In a phone call this afternoon, Mastronardy said he does not believe his home was targeted because he was the chief.

He said he thought surveillance cameras are a good idea for property owners to install, and mentioned Toms River has had a number of break-ins in the last couple months, and that further convinced him to have the cameras installed on his property recently.

Toms River Police are investigating five residential burglaries that occurred from noon to 6:15 p.m. Tuesday.

In addition to the chief’s Swain Avenue house, police believe the suspect targeted: a Fawn Drive home entered through the back door between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.; a Dickerson Road home ransacked between noon and 1 p.m.; a Hedge Street home entered between 1 and 2 p.m.; and a Central Avenue home where a screen was cut but no entry made, sometimes between noon and 4 p.m.

In all these burglaries cash, jewelry and prescription medicines were targeted by the suspects, said the chief in an email.

In a prepared statement, Captain Bruce Burgess, who is in charge of the investigation of these burglaries, said he is cautiously optimistic that the video will assist the Department in identifying the suspects, and that Toms River Police are constantly solving crimes by the use of the numerous  video surveillance system being installed throughout the Township.

Investigating these burglaries are Detectives Chris Fluck, Mark Bajada, John Bajcic, Sergeant Dave McCallum and Officers Thomas Dimichele and George Fernicola along with  Detectives from the Ocean County Sheriff’s Department and the Ocean County Prosecutors Office.

MIC April 13, 2011 at 06:20 PM
I have mentioned the raising crime rate before, it’s a shame that this had to be a blatant example of this but maybe this will get the towns attention. TR needs more cops patrolling etc. How long will it take before citizens take actions into their own hands and get hurt?
Martin April 13, 2011 at 06:37 PM
Swain Ave., just off Rt. 9, north of 571/Indian Head. Wave to the camera as you go by!
MIC April 13, 2011 at 06:55 PM
Maybe someone should locate the A-Team
Tired of the status quo April 13, 2011 at 07:48 PM
Maybe the cops should be out on the street patrolling instead of sitting in your local 7-11 or Wawa.
MIC April 13, 2011 at 07:52 PM
I agree, although you see them mostly stcked in those location at night for street racing enforcement. I believe this happened just before dark. I may be wrong. It does seem in some cases the police resources could be better used. They should have someone studying the crime trends etc to figure how to be untize what they have.. Just my two cents
Richard Schiff April 13, 2011 at 07:52 PM
When the economy is a cruel to some as it has been there is always an increase in crime. Chief Mastronardy is a great guy for admitting this happened. Many in his position would rather keep that sort of thing quiet. Hats off to you, Chief!
Catherine Galioto (Editor) April 13, 2011 at 08:19 PM
As an aside, two 7-11s and a Wawa were each robbed this year, according to archive stories here.
Joanne April 14, 2011 at 10:30 AM
Maybe more police should be patrolling the streets instead of if you have a blown out tail light that you don't know about while traveling down Rt. 37 and they send 3 police cars .
BN April 14, 2011 at 11:04 AM
Is the perp in the picture a midget, or are criminals just getting younger?
Martin April 14, 2011 at 12:50 PM
"...the numerous video surveillance system being installed throughout the Township." The chief admitted "He thought surveillance cameras are a good idea for property owners to install, and mentioned Toms River has had a number of break-ins in the last couple months, and that further convinced him to have the cameras installed on his property recently." If the township isn't going to hire more police (to control taxes), and not everyone can afford to install cameras or alarm systems, then we residents have to help by looking out for each other's houses. Call 911 if you see a suspicious person in your neighborhood. The police would rather go on a wild goose chase once in a while if it prevents a burglary, instead of having neighbors ignore that stranger and then have to investigate a crime after the fact. If you don't have a formal neighborhood watch where you live, at least keep your eyes open. You'd want your neighbors to do the same for you. P.S. - With warmer weather, windows will be left open. Leave a radio or TV on if you go out.
LA RUE April 14, 2011 at 05:16 PM
Ok...Listen up everyone....Let's stop blaming the police for everything that goes wrong in t.r. or any place for that matter. If you think the police can stop a break-in at your house....your sadly mistaken. If you feel a officer should be watching every house for a robbery not to occur, by all means hire one at your expense. I don't have a problem with that. I also have a great idea! Get a security system installed in your home. I did.Stop blaming everything and everyone for things that go wrong and happen in life.Grow-up and be responsible for you and yours and stop looking to point the finger at someone else.The headlight attack, the 7/11 comment is way to old to use any more. I'm shocked no one thought of the donut thing as well.{ you all must be slipping} Above all......"Protect yourself"... Take part in your own security....Trust me.....It feels good!
LA RUE April 14, 2011 at 05:21 PM
Hey Martin! Now you have something intelligent to say. I toast to you .
Joanne April 14, 2011 at 10:23 PM
La Rue it was a taillight and it doesn't take 3 police cars to pull over a 40 yr old blond ok! I am really not a "dangerous criminal". Not the first time this has happened either. Was driving home from my daughters was on 37 at 1 a.m. was pulled over by one police car and asked why I was on the road so late the next thing I know there are 2 more police cars for what....???
Catherine Galioto (Editor) April 14, 2011 at 10:41 PM
Just got off the phone with the Chief and will have an update up shortly.
Mark April 14, 2011 at 10:42 PM
Reading through these comments my wife had a few similar episodes with the police as Joanne did. She was pulled over for no apparent reason and she said 3 0r 4 separate cars came. The officer "said" she did not use her blinker which she says she did but was issued no ticket. Only 4 police officers came for a blinker? "COME ON"! They were gawking, my wife is an attractive women. I think patrolling the streets would be a better idea.
LA RUE April 14, 2011 at 11:17 PM
For what joanne? They don't know you. put yourself in their position.What does a 40 year old blonde have to do with it? Their out there every day trying to protect "you"! And putting their own lives at risk.What's the big deal anyway? did you get arrested? did they abuse you? I quess the answer to those questions is "no".Be thankful their out there looking for the bad guy and stop focousing on your minor pull over.Grow-up and get over it already.
Joanne April 15, 2011 at 12:05 AM
La Rue we are talking about our homes and streets being protected. Your nasty comments are unnecessary you sound very frustrated yourself! Aren't you the one who always types in capital letters? I am entitled to my opinion. Don't you read no I wasn't arrested that's the point if you know how to read it was a taillight out and 3 police cars are not necessary end of story!
LA RUE April 15, 2011 at 02:16 AM
You are so right Joanne. I am so sorry for my {unnessary nasty comments}.You "are" entitled to your opinion.I'll work on learning how to read better. And thank you to the other writer that told me how to type. Between the two of you , I know I can become a better person.Thank you both so much.
barbara April 15, 2011 at 05:41 PM
We all need to use common sense. Lock your doors and windows! Cars, too! Don't be afraid to call police if you see suspiscious people/person. We have all gotten so used to sitting in our homes watching TV that we don't look around the neighborhood once in a while. Then you'll know who belongs and who doesn't. Don't have to be paranoid-just alert.
barbara April 15, 2011 at 06:00 PM
Then congratulations! You are among the few who do know and care. Wish there were more neighbors like you.
LA RUE April 15, 2011 at 07:10 PM
Amen Barbara! ignore scp's comment
LA RUE April 16, 2011 at 12:17 AM
Sorry scp for my comments and poor spelling..Between you and joanne, i hope to get it better and better every day.
Joanne April 16, 2011 at 01:29 AM
LA RUE you have some real issues are you on this forum to just sit and bad mouth people. I was originally commenting about the police and what happened to me. Its like you are turning this into a personal thing with people you know anything about so leave my name out of your lips! You are very sarcastic if anyone can "read between the lines " of you.
LA RUE April 16, 2011 at 01:43 AM
Thank you Joanne.
Joanne April 16, 2011 at 01:50 AM
No thanks necessary glad to help
LA RUE April 16, 2011 at 02:03 AM
I'm glad too.

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