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South Brunswick Twp Police Department
Thursday May 9th, 2019 :: 01:08 p.m. EDT


Man Charged In Church Burglary - Stolen Items Recovered

Man Charged In Church Burglary. Stole Over $5,000 In Music Equipment.  All Of The Property Is Recovered!
South Brunswick Police Chief Raymond J. Hayducka announced the arrest of Brendan Wetzel, 24 year-old male of Morrisville, PA, for a burglary to a local church in which over $5,000 in music equipment was stolen. On November 6, 2018 at 10:34am Officers responded to the St. Mary’s Baptist Church on Broadway Road to investigate a burglary and theft.  Officers were advised that an unknown person forced entry into the church and stole numerous pieces of musical instruments that belonged to the church’s band members.  Within an hour of the report burglary and theft, Detective Sergeant Michael Pellino and Detective Monica Posteraro alerted local musical equipment stores and pawn shops about the crime. Church leaders provided detectives with a detailed list of the music instruments stolen. Detectives asked retailers of to be on alert for any suspicious pawns matching the stolen property from the church burglary. 
Within hours of the burglary, the Middletown Police Department in Pennsylvania was contacted by a music equipment store in their township for a suspicious male attempting to sell stolen music equipment. The music store had been alerted about the South Brunswick church burglary earlier in the day. The person attempting to sell the items left the store when police were called.  Middletown Officer Leonhauser stopped the suspect’s vehicle, driven by Brendan Wetzel, as it was leaving the store and discovered an array of musical equipment in the back seat.  Officer Leonhauser was then able to link a piece of musical equipment in Wetzel’s car as being previously sold to the St. Mary’s Baptist Church in South Brunswick Township.  Wetzel was arrested by the Middletown Police Department for receiving stolen property and was subsequently lodged at a correctional facility in Pennsylvania. Police recovered all of the musical equipment that were stolen from the church and returned them.
Detective Posteraro continued to work on the investigation and obtained a search warrant for Wetzel’s electronics. The Middlesex County Prosecutors Office Tech Unit Detectives Ben Klein and Ryan Tighe were able to recover photos taken at a park behind the church at the time of the burglary in addition to locations searched linking Wetzel to the church. Wetzel was charged with burglary, criminal mischief, and theft of movable property from a church. He surrendered to South Brunswick Police on Wednesday. He was released pending his first court appearance. 
Chief Raymond Hayducka praised the cooperation by the different law enforcement agencies as well as the business and faith community with recovering the stolen items. Chief Hayducka said, “This case came together rapidly and involved law enforcement from across State lines. I want to specifically thank the Guitar Center of East Brunswick for assisting in recovering the stolen items.” He added, “A house of worship is a special place and all our resources and partners were committed to finding who did this crime. It took hours to recover the music instruments and months to follow the electronic footprint to link the suspect to the burglary, but in the end we got him.”
Chief Hayducka reminded community members that South Brunswick Police Community Policing Division offers security assessments of businesses, houses of worship, and residences to help improve your security. Anyone looking to have a security survey done should call (732) 329-4000 extension 7469.


South Brunswick Twp Police Department
540 Ridge Rd
South Brunswick Township, NJ 08852

Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 732-329-4646

Sergeant Dennis Yuhasz
Patrol Division

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