Police in two counties have arrested a couple of alleged jewelry thieves from the Northeast who may be responsible for stealing merchandise worth more than $100,000 from suburban department stores. Meanwhile, a third alleged conspirator remains on the loose.
Bensalem Township cops are leading the investigation into a series of brazen heists at area stores late last month. On Feb. 25, the crooks struck at Sears at Neshaminy Mall when one of the men went to the jewelry department, cut a cable attached to a counter-top display case, placed the case into a shopping cart and walked out of the store to a waiting pickup truck.
Similar thefts occurred on Feb. 25 at Kmart at 176 W. Street Road in Feasterville and on Feb. 27 at Sears at Oxford Valley Mall in Middletown Township. According to news reports, another jewelry theft occurred at a Walmart in Philadelphia, perhaps on Feb. 19, but police have not confirmed the specific location. In several of the incidents, the crooks were seen operating a red pickup truck, possibly a Nissan with a license plate starting with “ZC.”
On March 5, Bensalem police reportedly arrested Mark Donato, 27, in connection with the thefts. They did not specify the circumstances of the arrest. That evening, Philadelphia police spotted a truck matching the description of the crooks’ vehicle near Aramingo and Castor avenues in Port Richmond. Chief Insp. Scott Small said that there were two occupants of the truck. As officers tried to stop it, the driver sped away.
After a short pursuit, the truck stopped on the 2300 block of Cambria St., where the occupants exited the vehicle and ran. One of the suspects got away, but police caught the other one, who was identified as James McGrath, 40.
As the Northeast Times went to press, formal charges had not been filed against either man, who were being held in Bucks County Prison without bail. ••