Police & Fire

Multiple Thefts from Newton High School Parking Lot Lead to Arrest

NEWTON, NJ - When Michael Fletcher, 25, of Branchville committed multiple burglaries of vehicles parked yesterday at Newton High School, little did he realize that the watchful eyes of one of the vehicle owners was on him, while Fletcher was in the process of committing the theft.

The Newton Police Department received the call from the vehicle owner at 1:26 p.m. yesterday, as Fletcher was burglarizing it and the owner was watching a sporting event at the school. The victim was able to provide a physical description of Fletcher and his getaway vehicle. 
The Newton Police Department responded quickly to the scene as Fletcher was leaving in his car. Officers apprehended Fletcher on Ryerson Avenue. After a search of his vehicle, officers determined that multiple thefts had been committed from other vehicles parked at the school as well. 
Fletcher was arrested and lodged in the Sussex County Jail with bail set by Judge John E. Mulhern set at $27,000, with no 10 percent option.

Though most of the items seized from Fletcher's vehicle have been reunited with their owners, police are still holding several items, as they seek the owners. 
The investigation is ongoing as the Newton Police Department continues to search for victims.
Officers who investigated this incident were:  Ptl. Daniel Finkle, Ptl. Jose Morales, Det. Joseph D'Annibale and Special Officer Don Donofrio.
Fletcher has been charged with three counts of Burglary (a third-degree crime) and three counts of Theft of Movable Property (a disorderly persons offense).

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