A Beachwood man was arrested and charged with Lacey residential burglaries after an extensive investigation involving several Ocean County police departments.
Members of the Toms River Police Department arrested Nicholas Tracy, 22, on March 18 shortly after he burglarized a residence on Silverton Road, police said.
Tracy had returned to the scene of a Lacey burglary on March 8 at approximately 8 p.m. Lacey police had located a suspicious, unoccupied vehicle on Railroad Avenue in Lanoka Harbor.
Tracy identified himself as the driver of the unoccupied vehicle but was not found to be in possession of any stolen items. He provided police with inconsistent and suspicious statements and was considered a suspect in several burglaries, police said.
After having contact with Tracy, police developed a task force comprised of detectives and officers from the Sheriff’s Department, Beachwood, Berkeley Township, Brick Township, Waretown, Lacey Township and Toms River departments to conduct surveillance operations, which resulted in Tracy’s arrest.
A search warrant was obtained for Tracy’s home and a vehicle where numerous pieces of stolen jewelry were recovered. Since the seizure, three Lacey families identified pieces of jewelry.
Police also linked Tracy to a fourth Lacey Township burglary where no property was stolen, police said.
The combined value of Tracy’s alleged thefts from Lacey Township exceeds $100,000.
Lacey Township detectives charged Tracy with four counts of burglary, four counts of criminal mischief and three counts of theft. Although the investigation is ongoing, Tracy is being held at the Ocean County Jail in lieu of a combined bail of $375,000, which includes offenses in Lacey and Toms River.
The arrest occurred after a rash of residential burglaries took place throughout Lacey Township. Since Christmas Day in 2011, the township was hit with 19 residential burglaries involving similar methods of entry and types of property stolen, police said.
Many of the burglaries involved forced entry into a rear glass door by throwing an object such as a landscape rock or lawn ornament.
Once the suspect was inside, the master bedroom was ransacked. Items stolen primarily included jewelry and gold coins. A .38-caliber handgun was taken during one burglary, police said.
Many of the homes broken into were located in areas with backyards bordered by woods. Nine of the 19 homes were against the Lacey Rail Trail. Typically the entry took place during the late evening hours.
Several other townships were experiencing a high number of similar burglaries, police said.