UNION COUNTY, NJ - A serial burglar has admitted to eight crimes taking place in five different Union County municipalities over the course of six months in 2016 and 2017, acting Union County Prosecutor Michael A. Monahan announced Friday.

Dawud Ward, 24, of Hillside Ave. in Plainfield, pleaded guilty earlier this week to one count of first-degree robbery, five counts of third-degree burglary, and two counts of fourth-degree criminal mischief.

The first burglaries took place on September 2, 2016 in Mountainside and on December 14, 2016 in Scotch Plains, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor Peter Benza, who is prosecuting the case.

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The second two burglaries occurred less than four hours apart, on January 12, 2017 in Union Township and Scotch Plains. The final burglary took place on January 20, 2017 in Cranford. During the course of committing these crimes, Ward stole jewelry, watches, cash, and electronics with an estimated cumulative value of tens of thousands of dollars.

The robbery occurred less than a month later, on February 17, 2017 in Linden, Benza said. At that time, Ward broke into a home on the 600 block of Ercama Street, entered the victim’s bedroom as she slept, and placed a pillow and sheet over her face when she awoke, holding an object she believed to be a gun to her side.  Ward threatened to shoot the victim if she screamed, then fled the scene.

His arrest in Linden occurred after police released a composite sketch of the accused suspect, and he was charged in connection with numerous burglaries and other related crimes in five New Jersey counties.  Police had credited the public, the media and the investigative work of Linden Police Detective Mikolajczk in securing an arrest in the case.

Sentencing has been scheduled for Friday, June 8 before state Superior Court Judge John Deitch, at which time the State will recommend a 15-year sentence. Upon the completion of his prison term in New Jersey, Ward will face an outstanding suspended sentence of 28 years in Virginia on a string of thefts and burglaries committed there.