Matawan Police have arrested a 21-year old man who they say went on a crime spree Sunday night in the borough.
James J. Jeffrey of State Route 812 in Harrisville in northern NY and a former resident of Cliffwood Beach in Aberdeen, is accused of burglarizing the Quick-Chek on Main Street in Matawan around 11:30 p.m. Sunday night. "He got behind the counter and grabbed the attendant," said Matawan Police Lt. Ben Smith. "He put the knife to her neck, and she complied," he said. Jeffrey fled with $550 in cash.
Police said he re-surfaced a few hours later when he allegedly tried to break into a house on Angelica Court around 5 a.m. Monday morning. "The residents heard glass break, and they woke up, went downstairs and observed the window in the kitchen was broken," Lt. Smith said, but they did not come in contact with Jeffrey.
Around noon Monday, a motorcycle reported stolen from the Tree Haven 2 apartment complex on Ravine Drive crashed in the Belford section of Middletown after an officer attempted to stop the driver for a violation. Jeffrey was the operator. He was taken to Bayshore Community Hospital and released, said Lt. Smith.
Detectives Joseph Lovallo and Steve Sakowski, who had developed information on the identity of their suspect through witnesses, video surveillance tape from Quick-Chek, the motorcycle registration and other police work, made the arrest Monday.
Lt. Smith said that when police arrested Jeffrey, he admitted to the armed robbery and break-in.
“It's an interesting case," said Smith. "He definitely went on a crime spree. We’re glad nobody got hurt in this, because that's where it was going."Jeffrey is charged with robbery in the first degree, possession of a weapon (knife), and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose. Additional charges are pending related to the house burglary and theft of the motorcycle, said Lt. Smith.
Jeffrey currently in the county jail, being held on $272,500 bail, no ten percent option, set by Judge Linda Grasso-Jones. His is expected in court on April 21.
Matawan Police do not believe he is the same person who burglarized the Shell Gas Station in nearby Keyport on April 7.
An investigation by Old Bridge Police into an armed robbery of the 7-11 on Morristown Road, near the Matawan border, is still ongoing. Police received a call on Monday around 6:14 a.m. that a masked man with a 3 or 4 inch folding knife was on the premises.
Regardless of the charges, an arrest is not a conviction and every defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.