Police: West Manchester Twp. burglar texted girlfriend with stolen phone


Police say they tracked down a man who burglarized a West Manchester Township home because he used a phone he'd just stolen to text his girlfriend.

Nelson Ruiz-Martinez, 36, of 501 E. Philadelphia St. in York City, has been charged with burglary and theft, according to the criminal complaint against him on Saturday.

West Manchester Police on Tuesday morning were called out to a house in the 1600 block of Altland Avenue where the homeowner said someone had entered their home during the night and stolen phones, a laptop, keys and wallets before using the newly acquired keys to take a GMC Safari van from the driveway, according to charging documents.

The residents did have several security cameras around the house; when they and police eventually figured out how to retrieve the footage from the home's DVR, they saw a man in a Yankees hat and Aeropostale shirt open up a window at about 4:26 a.m., crawl into the house and then use the back door to leave the house and then come back in a couple of times over the next 20 minutes, the documents state.

At police officers' behest, the homeowners went online to check their phone records and found that someone had send eight text messages shortly after 6 a.m. that morning, according to documents.

Officers tracked down the owner of the number that had received the texts, who said she had indeed received a few texts and a call that morning from an unknown number as she was getting ready for work, police said. The woman said the call and texts came from her boyfriend, who lived down the street and had been dating for a few months; she figured he'd been using a friend's cell phone, and he told her not to call it back, police say she told them.

When shown the security footage, the woman said the man in the footage was "definitely" her boyfriend, Nelson Ruiz-Martinez, according to police; she told them that in the past she'd seen him wearing the Yankee's cap and Aeropostale shirt depicted in the footage.

Police allege Ruiz-Martinez, who they say has an "extensive criminal history in multiple states," admitted to them he'd committed the burglary. In Pennsylvania he's previously pleaded guilty of on two separate occasions each of robbery and of assault, and has faced various other charges, according to online court records.

He remains at York County Prison in lieu of $200,000 bail, according to the York County Sheriff's Office.

— Reach Sean Philip Cotter at