Footprints in fresh snow led Delaware State Police detectives to two men who allegedly committed four burglaries between Jan. 31 and Friday.
On Friday, shortly after 2:20 a.m., Troopers responded to a burglary alarm at the Shell Gas Station and convenience store on Christiana Road in New Castle. They discovered the front entrance door’s glass had been broken and several cartons of cigarettes and numerous other tobacco products had been removed. From the video surveillance footage, Troopers were able to determine that two suspects had forced entry into the business, removed the tobacco products, and fled on foot.
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Troopers were able to locate the fresh footprints in the newly fallen snow leading to and from the gas station and convenience store. They then followed the trail in the snow, leading them to a residence on the 100 block of Freedom Trail in Saddlebrook, New Castle.
Troopers say they found two men inside the home, identified as Brian L. Matthews Jr., 37 and Marquise J. Thomas, 22. Police later charged them with the the Shell Station burglary.
Detectives were also investigating other commercial burglaries with similarities in suspect descriptions and methods of operation. Detectives were able to connect Matthews and Thomas to all three burglaries, including two at the same Shell Gas Station and the other at the Library News and Tobacco.
The cartons of cigarettes and other tobacco products taken from the four businesses were valued at approximately $14,000.
Matthews and Thomas were taken into custody without incident. Police later recovered stolen property from the Shell Gas Station and several items of clothing and tools linking Matthews and Thomas to the other incidents, according to investigators.
Matthews and Thomas were charged with Third Degree Burglary, Possession of Burglar Tools and other related offenses. They were released on Unsecured Bond.