A license plate reader provided by The Mall at Short Hills helped Millburn police identify the suspect in the theft of two Rolex watches last month.

Millburn police had responded to a call around 6:24 p.m. from the Ross Simmons store at the mall on Nov. 27, where a sales associate stated a man had just left the store with the two Rolexes.

The sales associate told police he showed the man two watches, one at a time. The suspect put one watch on his left wrist and walked to the mirror to see how it looked. When he returned to the counter, he grabbed the second watch and ran out of the store.

The two watches – one white gold and one rose gold -are worth of $78,100 combined.

Ross Simmons usually has a security guard at the entrance, but according to reports, the guard had just stepped out for his lunch break.

On Dec. 6, Millburn Police Department Detectives Collin McMillan and John Mendelsohn reviewed mall surveillance video of the four-way intersection near the mall from the day of the incident. The footage showed a newer model white Ford pickup truck enter the mall property shortly after 6 p.m. Just after the truck entered the deck, Millburn Police Officer Roberto Tellez entered the same deck in a police vehicle equipped with a license plate reader.

At about 6:24 p.m., the shoplifting suspect is observed running in the area of the intersection toward Canoe Brook Road. At the same time, the truck is observed emerging from the decks, then pulling out, abruptly causing a motorist to stop. The truck then speeds through the four-way intersection and out to Canoe Brook Road, where sight of the truck and the suspect is lost.

According to Public Information Officer Capt. Michael Palardy, the license plate reader records the license plate of every vehicle in the mall and also takes photos of the vehicles. If police have a vehicle description, footage from the license plate reader helps narrow it down.

The plate reader captured the truck’s license plate, and upon checking the vehicle’s New York registration, it was found to be a rental from Avis. A subpoena was granted for the renter’s information, contract and history with Avis. The vehicle was found to have been rented by Emanuel Acheampong, 28, of Mount Vernon, N.Y. He was found to have rented numerous vehicles from the company this year in New York and Connecticut, according to police.

A criminal history check conducted on Acheampong revealed numerous theft arrests in Florida and New York, including a Dec. 2 arrest in Clarkstown, N.Y., for theft.

Detectives were also informed Acheampong had been arrested with Charles Moye, 27, also of Mount Vernon, N.Y. After receiving booking photos for both individuals police reportedly determined Moye was the actor who stole the watches at the Ross Simmons store. Acheampong was most likely the driver, according to police reports, but police have yet to speak with him as he posted bail from the Rockland County Correctional Center.

Moye, who was still detained at the Rockland County Correctional Center, was visited Dec. by the Millburn detectives and charged with the theft of the watches.

Police reported that Moye and Acheampong fit the descriptions of other thefts of Rolex watches this November in Connecticut. Notification was made the those agencies and the investigation is ongoing at this time, according to police.

“It was just great police work,” Palardy told The Item of Millburn and Short Hills, noting the mall had purchased the license plate reader a few weeks ago, and it proved essential in investigation.

Police news is compiled by The Item of Millburn and Short Hills from information provided by the Millburn Police Department. The information is released to the press at the discretion of the police department and may not represent the total scope of police activity. All persons are presumed innocent unless proven guilty.

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