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Burglar arrested after hitting police chief's home

April 14, 2011 3:25:11 PM PDT
A burglar picked the wrong house when a security camera caught him in action at the Toms River Police chief's home.

"Our chief is a big fan of cameras," a Toms River Police Officer said.

Toms River Police have been plagued by a rash of burglaries; 34 last month, and 14 already this month.

So the police chief wanted to be safe at his home.

He lives in Toms River.

Two weeks ago he set up a camera over his garage, and wouldn't you know it, the burglar was caught in the act.

There were four burglaries in one day.

Former Seaside Park Police Chief Bill Beining went to the gym for one hour, left his front door open, and when he came back, he found his home in the process of being robbed.

"I believe I startled the burglar and he ran out the back door," Beining said.

He called Chief Michael Mastronardy to tell him what happened.

"He mentioned to me that doors should be locked, as we all know," Beining said.

But within two hours of that conversation, the chief's video camera caught the burglar in action, breaking into his home, miles away.

A short investigation later they had their man.

"We got him last night coming out of his house," the officer said.

25-year-old Justin Lovgren is now in custody along with a 19-year-old who was driving the get away car.

Maritza Ortiz lives next door to Chief Mastronardy.

She thought that made her safe, and is just glad the burglar in this case isn't the brightest bulb.

"I think he's an idiot and I'm glad he's caught. He probably feels that way too. He's very stupid," Ortiz said.

Lovgren has been charged with 4 counts of burglary, although police tell Eyewitness News they are trying to connect him to others.

As for the chief, he is out of town.

Over the phone he says some of his neighbors laughed at him when he put up the camera.

Now they think he's a genius, and that he should play the lotto.

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