Two charged with more than 1,000 car burglaries

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Pair stole more than $10,000 in items over six months

UPPER TOWNSHIP – A months-long spree of burglaries centered in Upper Township was brought to an end this month when State Police arrested two local men and charged them in connection with more than 1,000 car break-ins.

The burglaries occurred in Upper Township, Dennis Township and Middle Township, along with home and car burglaries in Somers Point, said Det. Mark Devine. State Police have been investigating the burglaries since June, he said.

More than $10,000 in electronics, cash, credit cards, purses, guns and other items was recovered, according to police.

Vincent Larcombe, 25, of Vineland, and Christopher Mander, 23, of Seaville, have been charged with multiple counts of burglary, theft, and unlawful possession of a handgun. Devine said the handgun charges result from a home burglary in Upper Township where the two men stole firearms.

Devine said the men admitted to a number of burglaries. They admitted to selling some of the stolen items to support their heroin habit, he said.

Upper Township residents have dealt with a series of car burglars over the years, but this duo was one of the most successful. Starting with reports of car burglaries here in June, State Police have been investigating the case.

For some residents or summer visitors, the car burglaries became so routine that they never even reported them, said Devine.

“These two guys may not have been responsible for all of it, but they were responsible for a lot of it,” he said. “They’ve admitted to numerous, numerous burglaries.”

Devine said Larcombe and Mander would scope out neighborhoods in the early morning hours, between 1 and 3 a.m. One person would get out of a car and walk down a street, checking car doors to see if they were locked.

Cars that weren’t locked were burglarized, said Devine. Cars that were locked but had an item the pair wanted had their windows broken with a baseball bat.

“If they saw something expensive that they wanted they would break into a car,” said Devine. “On most cases the doors were unlocked.”

The pair also broke into four homes, he said.

Larcombe and Mander were arrested and charged with the burglaries on Nov. 16. State Police held a press conference announcing the charges last week after this paper’s deadline.

The arrests were made based on information provided to police in Somers Point and Middle Township, which identified Larcombe and Mander. Devine would not describe the type or source of the information.

Both men were held in Cape May County hail last week on $100,000 bail.

Many of the stolen items have been returned to their owners, said Devine. The items were found in the basement of Mander’s Upper Township home, he said.

Those seeking to recover stolen property can contact State Police at 861-5698.

Police said both men were unemployed, though Mander was an assistant hockey coach for a Middle Township ice hockey club.

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