Vintage ‘Vette stolen in Toms River in February, recovered in Howell in May
Three months after being stolen from its Toms River owner, a vintage Corvette - and the trailer in which it was stored - surface beside a house in Howell Township, and the home's occupant is under arrest.
Thomas McNiece, 41, was arrested on two counts of receiving stolen property on May 18, according to Howell PD Sergeant Christian Antunez, who said that an anonymous tip led investigators to the 1977 Chevy treasure. McNiece was detained in the Monmouth County Correctional Institute in Freehold.
The car and trailer belong to Giuseppe Latronico of Toms River, who reported them stolen from the Playdrome lot in Toms River. Township police initiated the investigation. The unsolicited tip reached Howell police late on May 17, and detectives were able to match the information to the Toms River report.
Detectives Eric Encarnacion and Robert Ortenzi and Detective Sergeant Jack Headley followed up the data and apprehended McNiece, with assistance by Toms River Detective Louis Santora.
Police said that the 'Vette had a fradulent plaque and vehicle identification number attached, but otherwise had no overt damage, and that the trailer was disguised with a coat of black spray paint.
Charges are accusations. Defendants are presumed innocent unless, and until, found guilty in a court of law.