Police nab suspect in Elkton-area deli burglary
ELKTON — Investigators are crediting store surveillance video — and the “distinctive” outfit worn by the suspect — for helping them identify a man who allegedly broke into a closed Elkton-area deli and stole more than 130 packs of cigarettes, according to the Cecil County Sheriff’s Office.
The investigation started at approximately 4 a.m. on Tuesday, when CCSO deputies rushed to Wright’s Country Deli in the 1800 block of East Old Philadelphia Road in response to an automatic burglar alarm, reported Lt. Michael Holmes, an agency spokesman.
Deputies determined that the burglar had entered the store by removing a window unit air-conditioner, causing about $300 in damage, and then climbing through the opening, Holmes said. They also determined that the burglar stole 132 packs of assorted brand cigarettes, which are valued at more than $1,200, and the fled, he added.
CCSO detectives watched store surveillance video taken at the time of burglary alarm and saw a man they believe to the suspect, according to police.
The suspect — who had a neon blanket wrapped around his upper body — was wearing a pair of shorts over gray thermal pants (long johns) and a black baseball cap, Holmes reported, noting that investigators believe the man later left his hat on a store shelf, where detectives recovered it as evidence. In addition, according to Holmes, the suspect was in possession of a red luggage bag with wheels and a black gym bag.
Later that morning, information gathered during the investigation led CCSO detectives to Peoples Plaza off Route 40 in Glasgow, Del., police said. As it turned out, the original lead that investigators followed did not pan out for them, police said. However, they still found a man fitting the description of the suspect at a nearby public bus stop at about 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, police reported.
“One of the detectives looks over and sees a man wearing the exact same clothing as the man seen in the video — right down to the neon blanket, the shorts over the long johns, the red luggage bag and black gym bag,” Holmes outlined, before commenting, “The suspect was wearing very distinctive clothing.”
At that point, investigators contacted Delaware State Police troopers, who, in turn, detained the man, whom they identified as Joseph Mika Johnson, 55, of no fixed address, police said. DSP troopers determined that Johnson had outstanding Delaware arrest warrants charging him with minor criminal offenses, and they arrested him, police added.
While searching Johnson’s gym bag, investigators found “97 packs of assorted cigarettes that are consistent with those stolen from Wright’s Deli,” according to Holmes.
On Wednesday afternoon, Johnson remained in custody in Delaware, where he will face the criminal charges in that state before extradition back to Cecil County, police said.
CCSO detectives have been issued an arrest warrant that charges Johnson with second-degree burglary, theft of more than $100 and less than $1,500, malicious destruction of property and fourthdegree burglary in the Cecil County criminal case relating to Wright’s Country Deli, police added.