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Alleged “Ocean Grove” burglar caught


By Don Stine

Neptune police arrested an alleged burglar Thursday night that they believe has been a major source in a rash of recent break-ins in Ocean Grove.

Police report that Neptune resident Thomas Lockhart, 54, was arrested around 8 p.m. Thursday night after leading police on a foot chase to apprehend him.

In addition to suspicion of burglary, Lockhart was also arrested on other active warrants and is now also charged with resisting arrest and receiving stolen property.

Property found by police in Lockhart’s possession has been traced to a recent burglary in Ocean Grove. He has been sent to the Monmouth County Correctional Institution and is being held on $50,000 bail with no 10 percent option.

Lockhart led police on a foot chase in the Atkins Avenue area, where he lives, but he was quickly apprehended.

Deputy Police Chief James Hunt Jr. said that the police department has been working very hard on the rash of burglaries and that “the work finally paid off.”

“We had staked out his home and we were able to arrest him after a foot chase.

This was a group effort by many divisions of the police department- it really was,” he said.

Hunt said that Lockhart was a primary target in the ongoing investigation but he added that there may still be other suspects.

“We still urge residents to keep their homes and vehicles locked and contact us if you have information on Lockhart or any other suspicious activities. There may still be others out there although we do feel (Lockhart) is the main guy,” he said.

Residents should telephone Det. Jason Petillo, who is leading the investigation, at 732-988-8000, ext 419, if they have any information.

More than 30 break-ins and burglaries have been reported in Ocean Grove in the last three and a-half months and police have been actively investigating, as previously reported by The Coaster.

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