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T.R. Police Investigation Cracks a Bi-State Home Invasion Ring

Armed Robbers, i – Stock Images, Townsquare Media

The probe of a 2012 armed home burglary in Toms River exposes a larger, darker scenario: six charged with savage robberies and kidnapping both here and in Pennsylvania.

Toms River Police Chief Mitch Little said the two Toms River victims were targeted by the robbery ring because they were regular sellers of antiques and jewelry at the Columbus Farmer’s Market and Flea Market. Little said the suspects followed the victims home to Toms River and cased out their Colonial Drive home for several days. Then on September 20, 2012 at around 11:15 p.m. the suspects forced their way into the home, armed with handguns, bound the victims with zip ties and ransacked the home for 45 minutes, making off with $17,000 in cash and an estimated $100,000 in jewelry.

Little said an 18 month cooperative investigation by Detectives Roger Hull and Louis Santora of the Toms River Police Department led to the arrests of Alexander Lora and Christopher Upshur of Trenton. Police were also able to identify four other suspects connected to the Toms River incident and also a Pennsylvania home invasion robbery on September 10, 2012.

Lora and Upshur are in the Ocean County Jail indicted in 2013 on first-degree robbery, first-degree Kidnapping and first-degree Burglary on $250,000 bail each for the Toms River incident. On october 4, 2012 Kathleen Meszaros of Trenton is charged with possession of stolen property. On April 1, 2013 lisa Meszaros of Bristol, Pa is charged with kidnapping, burglary and robbery and was released on $200,000 bail.

Additional suspects, Chris Rodriquez of Bronx, NY and Oliver Cabrera of Trenton were also arrested and charged with 1st-degree Kidnapping, 1st-degree Robbery and 1st-degree Burglary in the Toms River incident. Rodriguez was arrested on 4/7/2014 and is in the Pennsylvania State Prison on $250,000 bail and Cabrera was arrested on 1/14/2014 and is in the Mercer County Jail on $250,000 bail

All the suspects have also been charged by Pennsylvania investigators with numerous offenses including operating a criminal enterprise.

Chief Little also credits the following individuals and police departments involved in the investigation which includes: Det/Sgt. Kevin Zorn, Hopewell Twp. Police Department, Det. Shawn Gorlin, U.S. Marshall’s Service, Det. Steve Skwierawski, West Windsor Police Department, The Trenton Police Department Tactical Detective Squad, Det. John Cambell, Lower Makefield PA Police Department, Det. David Strother, Middletown PA Police Department, Det. Benjamin Gering, Princeton Police Department and Sergeant Al Hankinson, Bristol PA Police Department.

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