Police: York thief targeted contractors at home-improvement stores
A York City man is accused of targeting contractors and stealing from their vehicles as they sat parked in home-improvement store parking lots, according to police.
Police departments from three different municipalities — Springettsbury Township, Spring Garden Township and West Manchester Township — say Felix Ramon Cruz, 48, took thousands of dollars worth of tools from the contractors and businesses.
Cruz, of the 1200 block of Elm Street, is charged with multiple counts of burglary, theft from a motor vehicle, receiving stolen property and trespassing.
He has nearly 20 active cases in York County.
Method: According to police, Cruz said he would take tools out of the vehicles and quickly sell them in York City.
He would target the vehicles in the late morning and early afternoon, and he would remove the tools from areas on the truck that were specifically designed to house tools.
“As soon as somebody would pull into a store, he would pull up and access those tool boxes," Springettsbury Township Police Sgt. Stefan Kochansky said.
In West Manchester Township, the alleged thefts were the first of the kind.
"This specific method of operation was unique in nature, and we have not had anything like this in (West Manchester Township) in my career, which stems 38 years," Detective Sgt. Jeffrey Snell wrote in charging documents.
Kochansky shared similar thoughts.
“That’s the first time I can remember in many years where they specifically targeted (contractors)," he said.
Thefts: In West Manchester Township, Cruz allegedly stole from trucks parked in front of the Lowe's at 1175 Carlisle Road in July.
According to police, he also stole from the trucks parked in front of the Home Depot at 2905 E. Market St. and the Lowe's at 2449 E. Market St., both in Springettsbury Township.
Kochansky said the alleged thefts in Springettsbury Township occurred between June and September.
“It was primarily tools, chainsaws — that kind of stuff," he said. Some of the tools were cheaper, whereas others cost thousands of dollars, Kochansky said.
Additionally, Spring Garden Township Police say Cruz forced himself into the Foreign Cars R Us at 400 N. Sherman St. on Sept. 17 and stole tools valued at more than $200. He admitted to selling those tools for money as well, charging documents state.
Cruz: When speaking with police, Cruz admitted to the thefts in all three municipalities, documents state.
He said he didn't have a drug problem but was trying to get money to feed and support his family since he was fired from his job and had no money coming in, police said.
A message left for Cruz's public defender was not immediately returned Wednesday, Oct. 11.
This is not the first time Cruz has been charged for burglary and theft.
According to online court records, Cruz pleaded guilty in Lebanon County to burglary in July 2012 and was sentenced to one to five years in prison.
In November 2014, Cruz pleaded guilty to theft and theft from a motor vehicle in Berks County and was sentenced to two to five years in prison plus two years of probation.
Cruz remains in York County Prison in lieu of $62,000 bail.
— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @YDDornblaser.