The trail of tens of thousands of dollars' worth of copper wire taken from a Toms River park leads police to a pair of suspected thieves found there in the middle of the night.

(L-R) David Smith and Patricia Staszewski
(L-R) David Smith and Patricia Staszewski (Toms River Police)

David Smith, 37, of Berkeley Township, and Patricia Staszewski, 31, of Tuckerton, were originally arrested on May 8 at about 1 AM in Winding River Park - Smith for a $500 warrant issued in Lacey Township, Staszewski for a $500 warrant in Howell Township.

They're now charged with theft and criminal mischief connected to the missing wire, valued at about $47,000, and damage to township property estimated at about $63,000.

Officer Michael DeRosa was part of stepped-up surveillance in the park and surrounding area, where copper wire had been disappearing from lighting polce, police said.

According to police, DeRosa noticed a Rottweiler near a light stanchion, then spotted Smith hiding behind an electric circuit box. After Officer Kyle Martucci arrived, they found Staszewski behind the park's rest rooms. Police say Smith had wire cutters, gloves, a ski mask and pieces of copper wire on him.

Detective Mark Bajada continued the wire-theft probe, gathering information that led to the new charges May 21. They were each released on $35,000 bail to await court proceedings.

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