By JOHN T. WARD
A Little Silver burglary earlier this month led to the arrest last week of a Neptune Township man on charges he stole more than $1 million worth of goods from Monmouth County homes over the last three years, Little Silver Chief Dan Shaffery said Wednesday.
“Diligent work” by borough Detective Greg Oliva resulted in a “jackpot” discovery of stolen goods that included a $5,000 bottle of Scotch and a 24-karat gold Zippo lighter autographed by late comedian Bob Hope, Shaffery told redbankgreen.
Thomas “Tommy” W. Earls, 54, faces six counts of numerous counts of burglary, theft, receiving stolen property, shoplifting and one count of auto theft following his arrest on a warrant on December 10, Shaffery said. Additional charges are pending.
Shaffery said Earls was a suspect in four burglaries in the borough over the last year when a fifth, at a home on Mitchell Place, was reported on December 5. The investigation gave Oliva enough evidence to obtain search warrants in the case, Shaffery said.
Oliva, accompanied by police from Ocean Township, executed the warrants at Earls’ residence in Neptune, as well as on his vehicle and a storage unit, where the proceeds related to at least 20 active burglary investigations were discovered, Shaffery said. The crimes dated back to 2012, and had occurred in Eatontown, Freehold Township, Holmdel, Little Silver, Middletown, Ocean Township, Rumson, and Shrewsbury, he said.
Recovered from the storage unit were a bottle of Balvenie 40-year-old single-malt Scotch valued at $5,000; the gold lighter; numerous Rolex watches; vintage collector coin sets; Tiffany & Co. jewelry and other valuable jewelry items; electronics, computers, video-gaming systems, iPads, iPods, cellphones and other items taken from burglaries, with a value in excess of $1 million.
“It’s pretty much a jackpot,” Shaffery said.
Shaffery said Earls would generally commit burglaries in the evening hours, and during the commission at least two burglaries, stole vehicles from the victims.
Earls is believed to have used the stolen vehicles — an 2015 Audi A3 convertible and a 2007 Honda Odyssey minivan — to transport stolen goods to his own vehicle parked a short distance away from the scenes of his crimes, he said.
Earls is currently being held at the Monmouth County Correctional Institution, Freehold Township, on $437,000 full cash bail.
Oliva was assisted by detectives from the police departments in Eatontown, Holmdel, Neptune Township, Ocean Township and Shrewsbury, Shaffery said.
Shaffery said authorities have yet to identify the owners of many items, and encouraged area victims of unsolved burglaries to contact their local police so they might be reunited with missing valuables.