May 7, 2014

Neighbor’s Call Leads to Arrest Of Burglary Suspect

A suspect attempting to break in to a residence on Randall Road has been arrested by the Princeton Police Department. The suspect is being looked at in connection with other home break-ins in Princeton over the last two months.

Kenneth Nwachukwu, 19, of Juniper Row was charged with criminal trespass and attempted burglary after being apprehended following a call to the Police Department from a Randall Road neighbor reporting suspicious behavior.

Upon receiving notification, Patrolman Judd Petrone arrived at Randall Road and determined that Mr. Nwachukwu had attempted to enter the home. The officer placed the suspect under arrest at the scene. Mr. Nwachukwu was taken to Mercer County Corrections Center in Hopewell when he could not post $25,000 bail.

Last month, Town Topics reported that the Princeton Police Department was working with other area police departments with respect to a “rash” of daytime residential burglaries that had occurred in Princeton homes unoccupied at the time of the break-ins. After the arrest of two Ewing men by West Windsor police on March 25, Princeton police looked for a connection to burglaries in Princeton. Stolen property found in the home of one of the suspects was examined to see if any of it had come from the Princeton break-ins.

Interviewed Friday, Detective Sergeant Chris Quaste, in charge of the Princeton burglaries investigation, said that “there was no reason to believe that they [the two Ewing suspects] were tied to Princeton.”

“We looked into it and found that none of the stolen property found in the home of one of the suspects had any connection to the burglaries in Princeton,” he said.

Of the ongoing investigation into burglaries in Princeton and the arrest of Mr. Nwachukwu, Mr. Quaste commented that the suspect faces a second count of criminal trespass stemming from a burglary investigation in the 200 block of Stuart Road. “We believe this person is possibly responsible for some of the other burglaries, but as yet the investigation is ongoing,” said Mr. Quaste, who was unable to comment further.

The detective, a 26-year veteran of Princeton Police, went on to praise the vigilance of the neighbor who called the police.

“This arrest was made because a resident called us. Residents are our eyes and ears and we are always grateful when we get a call like this, resulting in an arrest,” he said.

To Foil a Burglar

Mr. Quaste reminds Princeton residents of the following anti-burglary tips:

• Call immediately to report any suspicious vehicle(s) and/or person(s) in your neighborhood. If possible, get a description of any suspicious person or vehicle (including a license plate) and the direction of travel, so as to advise responding officers.

• Notify the police immediately of any unknown person knocking on the front door. Be aware that knocking is a means to determine whether or not a house is occupied. Potential burglars might say that they are looking for someone or for a particular street, even for a lost pet. They might pretend to be a door-to-door salesman. If there is no answer to their knock, they will generally walk to the back of the house and use unlocked doors/windows to gain entry. If none are found, windows and doors have been forced open. Jewelry and silver are generally targeted.

• Report any suspicious activity immediately to your local police department, or in the event of an emergency for an incident in progress, call 9-1-1.

The Princeton Police Department also suggests that residents have digital photographs of their valuables as a way of helping the police in their attempts to recover stolen property. Practices that often prevent homes being targeted at least during daytime are the turning on of any alarm systems, and showing signs of occupation such as a car parked in the driveway, or a radio or TV left on inside the home.