An Egg Harbor Township man has been charged with criminal mischief, attempted theft, and possession of burglary tools after a foiled attempt to steal a catalytic converter from a vehicle belonging to a local church.
On Monday, December 14, 2021 at approximately 3:25 p.m., members of the Manchester Police Department responded to the parking lot of the Whiting Bible Church, located on Lacey Road for what was initially reported as a suspicious vehicle. The caller subsequently reported that he had observed a white male subject attempting to cut and remove the catalytic converter from the church’s Ford van. As the caller approached the suspect, the suspect entered a ford F150 and fled the area prior to police arrival.
Manchester Patrolman Brian Volk was in the area and arrived on scene within moments of the call. He immediately began checking the area for the suspect vehicle and additional information. During the investigation, Ptl. Volk spoke with a nearby resident who had observed the suspect vehicle in the area prior to the incident. The resident reported that he thought the vehicle looked suspicious and noted the vehicle’s license plate which he provided to Ptl. Volk. A motor vehicle inquiry revealed that the suspect’s vehicle was registered to an address in Egg Harbor Township.
Detectives Adam Guker and Victoria Raub subsequently responded to the Egg Harbor Township address along with detectives from the Egg Harbor Township Police Department. The detectives maintained surveillance of the residence until the suspect/ suspect vehicle arrived at the home. The operator was identified as Charles Robinson, age 35 of Egg Harbor Township. A search of the vehicle resulted in the recovery of numerous tools and cutting instruments which were determined to be used during the commission of the crime. Robinson was subsequently arrested and charged with criminal mischief, attempted theft, and possession of burglary tools. He was released on criminal summonses pending a future court date.
The Manchester Township Police Department recommend that all vehicle owners be aware of the increased risk of catalytic converter thefts. Catalytic converters from large gas engine vehicles, such as work trucks, recreational vehicles, box trucks and vans are commonly stolen, though ones from hybrid cars are also considered highly valuable. These catalytic converters are part of your vehicles emission system and are valuable in the second hand market. The damage from these thefts along with replacement costs can be in the thousands of dollars. Vehicles left unattended in lots, yards or clubhouses for any period of time are frequently targeted.
Residents are also reminded that anyone with information regarding any investigation are encouraged to contact the Manchester Township Police Department at 732-657-6111. As a reminder, anonymous tips can be submitted online at www.manchesterpolicenj.com. Tips may also be submitted through private messages on our social media pages (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tik Tok).