SPRINGFIELD, NJ - The quick thinking of an off-duty Springfield police officer was instrumental in capturing a suspect.
According to a post on the Springfield Police Department Facebook page, Officer Luis Brito was off-duty and heading into work earlier today, (March 19) when he spotted a man matching the description of a suspect who was connected to several wallet thefts from office buildings in the area.
According to the post, officer Brito saw the person walking with a second individual along Morris Ave. in Springfield and immediately called into police headquarters. He trailed the two subjects until several other Springfield police officers arrived. At that point, the pair was detained.
The post continued:
Further on-scene investigation by Detective Sergeant James Mirabile and Detective John Patrick determined an additional wallet theft, which had not yet been discovered or reported to police, occurred moments before the suspect was spotted. The detectives were able to positively identify the detained individuals as the suspects involved in the current and previously reported thefts.
Two suspects were taken into custody at the scene. 54-year-old Anthony Smith and 49-year-old Cynthia Smith, both of Newark, were placed under arrest. The pair was charged with theft and trespassing in Springfield. Additional charges in other jurisdictions are now pending as well.
In a short quote in the statement, Springfield Police Chief John Cook praised the actions of the Springfield officers and reminded the community that officers are never really off-duty.
“Police officers have a higher responsibility to take action, even when they’re not working," Cook said. "It really is a 24/7 commitment, which is what we saw from our officer today…and it’s not the first time he solved a major case while off-duty.”
All suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.