Thermal Imaging Camera Leads to the Arrest of Serial Car Burglar

Date: 5/20/20
Incident location(s): Hilltop West / 300 block of Richmond Ave Hilltop NJ
Case Number: 20-20963 / 20953
Investigating Detectives/Officers: Det. M. McDonnell / Det. M. McElroy / Ptl. S. Centrone

On 5/20/20, at approximately 0215 AM, Gloucester Township Police patrol officers and detectives were conducting enhanced patrol and plainclothes surveillance operations in reference to a series of unsecured vehicle burglaries that were occurring overnight in the area of Hilltop West Gloucester Township NJ.

K-9 Officer Ptl. S. Centrone #274, was utilizing his NOPTIC Spotlight System (Nighttime Optical Thermal Imaging Camera), equipped inside his patrol unit. The NOPTIC system is always on, ready for continual night vision surveillance, and able to capture thermal imaging at 250 to 300 meters out. Ptl. Centrone was alerted on his Mobile Data Terminal (MDT), two (2) subjects riding on bicycles on the Old black Horse Pike near Landing Rd where the series of vehicle burglaries had been occurring overnight. Ptl. Centrone activated his emergency lights and both subjects fled on foot. Ptl. Centrone deployed his K-9 partner, Zeus, on a tracking harness leading officers and detectives to a residence of interest on the unit block of West Collins Ct Blackwood.

A search of this residence on West Collins Ct led to the recovery of numerous stolen items belonging to various victims. The investigation led to the arrest of a fifteen year old juvenile male in possession of the stolen property and admitting to committing to several vehicle burglaries in the area of Hilltop West. The investigation is ongoing and the victims are being notified by detectives. If you believe you were a victim of these burglaries and was not reported, please contact our 24/7 Community Policing and Emergency Dispatch Center at 856-228-4500 or email us at to have your crime investigated by the Gloucester Township Investigations Bureau Criminal Investigation Unit (CIU).

The fifteen year old juvenile male was charged with Burglary (2nd degree), Possession of Weapons for Unlawful Purpose (2nd), Unlawful Possession of Weapons (2nd degree), Theft (3rd degree), Criminal Mischief (3rd degree), Possession of Burglar’s Tool (DP), Receiving Stolen Property (3rd degree), Obstruction (DP), Resisting by Flight (4th degree), and Violation of the Governor’s Executive Order (DP). The juvenile was transported to the Juvenile Detention Center in Blackwood pending a court appearance. The arrest of this individual is another example of the pro-active law enforcement campaigns targeting thieves who believe they can prey on our residents. Thieves may think they can continue this criminal activity, but eventually WE will find and ARREST you. The Gloucester Township Police Department will continue to attack criminal activity with new and innovative police strategies using modern technology.

Gloucester Township police are providing tips on how to prevent car burglaries and follow the 9 PM Routine of locking your vehicle every night. Get into the #9PMRoutine EVERY NIGHT by ensuring that your vehicles, residences doors, garages, windows, gates, sheds have been LOCKED.

By participating in the 9 PM Routine, residents can help reduce the opportunity for residential burglaries and thefts. Residents observing suspicious and/ or criminal acts in progress should call Gloucester Township Police at 856-228-4500. If you have Emergency CALL 911.A vast majority of burglaries happen to unlocked cars, so police remind residents to lock their car doors.

  • Don’t leave valuables in plain sight. Offenders will look into the vehicle first to see if it is worth breaking into;
  • Park in a well-lit area in the evening hours;
  • If you park in your garage, make sure you lock your garage; and
  • Call Gloucester Township Police if you see anyone suspicious in the area. It is always better to be safe than sorry. Residents can contact our twenty four (24) hour Community Policing Dispatch Center at 856-228-4500 or simply call 911.

Date of Media Release: 5-27-2020
Police Cases: 20-20963 / 20953
Media Release By: Lt. James Schriver #141

Media Release: 5-27-20 Thermal Imaging Camera Leads to the Arrest of Serial Car Burglar (20-20963-20953)

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