On Thursday March 28, 2019 at approximately 1:45 AM, a male entered the 7-11 located at 260 Rt. 37 West, brandished a knife and demanded cash. The suspect left with an undetermined amount of cash.  Shortly  thereafter, a male entered the Rite Aid located at 220 Rt. 70,  also brandishing a knife and demanding cash, he also left without further incident.  The suspect in both incidents was described as being either a light skinned Hispanic or  black male who appeared to be in his late 20s or early 30s having a thin build and some facial hair,  wearing a hooded sweatshirt and sweat pants in both incidents.

On Sunday March 31, 2019 at approximately 4:00 PM police responded to a robbery at Anthony’s Liquors located at 1237 Rt.166.  Two males entered the store, one appearing to act as a lookout.  The second male approached the checkout counter and passed a note to the clerk demanding cash. Although the suspect did not show a weapon, he imitated he had one in his waistband.  The suspects fled the area on foot with an undetermined amount of cash.  One suspect was described as a white male between 20-30 years old and was wearing dark colored cargo pants, a windbreaker, and dark sunglasses with white frames.  The suspect who passed the note was described as a black male between 20-30 years old with facial tattoos, wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, black pants and black shoes. The scene was processed for forensic evidence and the note used was recovered and processed for latent fingerprints.

Toms River detectives made contact with detectives from Brick and Lakewood and operated under the belief that recent robberies in their respective towns were related to the three that had occurred in Toms River.  On April 4,2019 The Ocean County Sheriff’s Department was able to positively identify a fingerprint obtained from the note as a match for an individual named Luis Claudio, 35 of  Howell.  On April 5, 2019  Mr. Claudio was located by Lakewood Police in their town and arrested on an unrelated warrant.  He was transported to the Brick Township Police Department where he was interviewed jointly by detectives from all involved agencies. Mr. Claudio was subsequently charged with robbery and weapons offenses.  He was transported to the Ocean County Jail where he was held pending a detention hearing.

Having a strong working relationship with other agencies made this investigation seemless and move swiftly.  We would like to thank Brick Township Police Department, Lakewood Township Police Department, as well as the Ocean County Sheriff’s Crime Scene Investigations Unit and K-9 Unit for working together to apprehend the suspect.