St. Croix man arrested driving stolen car charged in connection to several burglaries
Published: March 7, 2014
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ST. CROIX - Police said Thursday that a homeless man arrested Monday after police said they found him driving a stolen minivan has now been charged in connection with a rash of burglaries at Christiansted businesses in the last two weeks.
Frank Coleman, 46, was arrested and charged in connection with several burglaries, including break-ins at Subway and McDonald's restaurants in Golden Rock and at the Purple Papaya on Strand Street in Christiansted.
The burglaries first were made public Feb. 19, when Collin Hodge, owner of Subway Orange Grove, reached out to the public asking for assistance to identify the man who had broken into his establishment earlier that day.
Hodge said the burglar broke the restaurant's glass front door and made a beeline directly over the counter to the cash register, where he took out cash that had been left in the register and fled.
Hodge said the entire break-in, theft and the suspect fleeing took less than a minute. He said multiple surveillance cameras on the premises captured the image of the man - now identified by police as Coleman - outside and inside the restaurant.
Hodge replaced the glass that morning, and the next day, when the store was opened, they found that the burglar had once again tried to gain entry and shattered the glass and then successfully broke into the McDonald's restaurant next door.
That same day, police had reports of a break-in at Purple Papaya.
On Monday, as police conducted an investigation into the sighting of a 2002 silver Honda Odyssey minivan that was stolen Feb. 27, they got a break in the case. Officers spotted the van parked in a lot just north of Five Corners intersection and conducted surveillance for several hours until a man - also identified by police as Coleman - got into the van and drove away.
Officers conducted a traffic stop, and police said Coleman told them that his friend, who is a drug dealer, gave him the van to drive and that he knew it was stolen.
Once in custody, investigators realized that Coleman resembled the person on the video surveillance and further investigation led to his arrests on the burglary charges.
Coleman is scheduled to be advised of his rights in Magistrate Court at 9 a.m. today.
V.I. Police Chief James Parris said Coleman may be linked to even more burglaries and asked anyone who may have been burglarized in the La Grande Princesse area or Christiansted town to contact detectives and make a police report.
In a written statement issued Thursday, Parris said "the arrest of this suspect will effectively close several burglary cases that have been pending."
- Contact reporter Fiona Stokes at 714-9149 or email email@example.com.