On Wednesday, at approximately 6:50 AM, police units were dispatched to 943 Route 166, Bombay Food and International Grocery, for a reported burglary.
Manager Mohamed Elgendy stated that upon opening for the day he discovered the rear door to the business had been pried open and three display cases containing $2700 worth of scratch off lottery tickets along with $500 of Marlboro cigarettes were stolen from the counter area.
While reviewing external surveillance video from Bombay and other adjacent businesses, both suspects Michael Morgan and Erika Cruz were identified by police and arrested hours later.
Further investigation revealed both Mr. Morgan and Ms. Cruz immediately cashed in tickets totaling $600 and attempted to cash in additional tickets at other local convenience stores but were unsuccessful as the lottery commission had already shut down the stolen tickets reported by Bombay Foods.
The success of this investigation was a direct result of the multiple surveillance cameras that were available to police that recorded the suspects and the crime in progress.
Detective Mark Bajada signed complaints against both Mr. Morgan and Ms. Cruz for burglary and theft. Mr. Morgan was housed in the Ocean County Jail and Ms. Cruz was released on her own recognizance.
“We encourage all residents and business owners who have surveillance cameras to register them with our Operation WatchDog program to continue to assist us in solving crime and forcing would be criminals to have second thoughts about committing crime in our community,” police said.