On April 6, 2018, officers from the Manchester Police Department responded to a seasonal camping/hunting trailer located in the Brendan Byrne State Forest to investigate a report of an attempted burglary. This area, which is a very remote and heavily wooded section in the western-most portion of Manchester Township, is the same area where two other cabins and trailers had been burglarized during the month of March. During the investigation into those incidents, Ptl. Michael Guarino was able to develop photographs of a possible suspect as well as a suspect vehicle. The vehicle was identified as a silver, Chevrolet Colorado pick-up and the suspect was described as an older white male with a gray beard. Shortly after the initial incidents, those photographs were not only circulated to surrounding law enforcement agencies but also to the public via the department’s Facebook page.
While officers were on the scene conducting their investigation into this most recent attempted burglary, they observed a silver, Chevrolet Colorado pickup truck driving down a nearby wooded trail. Recalling the information disseminated by Ptl. Guarino, the vehicle was stopped by Patrolman Michael O’Hara and Ptl. Kyle Rickvalsky.
During the course of the stop, Ptl. O’Hara was able to positively identify one of the two occupants, 67-year-old, Raymond N. Harker of Pemberton Township, as the white male captured in the photograph from one of the previous burglaries. Mr. Harker was arrested without incident. The other occupant, 66-year-old, Samuel Lewis Jr., also of Pemberton Township, willingly accompanied the officers to police headquarters so that the incident could be further investigated.
At headquarters, Detective Adam Guker and Patrolman Guarino continued the investigation into the previous burglaries as well as the most recent attempted burglary. While doing so, they were able to recover all of the stolen property from three separate locations in Burlington County and return the items to their respective owners. Once the investigation was completed, Raymond Harker was charged by Ptl. Guarino with burglary, theft, defiant trespass, possession of stolen property, criminal mischief, possession of burglary tools, and conspiracy to commit theft. After being charged, he was released on a summons. Additionally, Samuel Lewis Jr. was charged with criminal trespass, theft, conspiracy to commit theft, and possession of stolen property. He, too, was released on a summons.