After spending 15 years in prison, a 40-year-old New Jersey man returned to the scene of his crime and apparently tried to recreate the initial experience.
Christopher Miller was 25 when he robbed a Toms River shoe store in 1999. Reports indicate he tied up the staff and made off with all the cash he could find.
Upon being apprehended and convicted, he was confined to South Woods State Prison until his release just days ago. Unbelievably, police say his first act as a free man was hopping on a bus in Atlantic City and heading directly to Toms River.
Miller reportedly entered the same Stride Rite shoe store and attempted to force its two employees into a back room. According to the staff members’ testimony, they both refused, and the repeat robber quickly became upset.
He reportedly settled for the victims’ cell phones and nearly $400 in cash from the store’s till.
Miller then fled on foot, though there is no indication he grabbed a pair of running shoes for his getaway while he was there. He was caught just a few blocks away after he reportedly hid the stolen cash and electronics in a nearby gutter and trash can.
While it might seem he has some insatiable animosity toward this particular retailer or is trying to act out a criminal version of ‘Groundhog Day,’ his actual motivation is likely less specific. In fact, there is no indication the former Tulsa, Okla. native has any ties to the New Jersey town or the shoe store itself.
Toms River Police Chief Mitchell Little believes the criminal was just looking for a familiar route back to jail.
“Maybe that’s the only life he knows,” Little explained, “and the only thing he could think of was going back to the same store and doing the same crime again, getting caught and going back where he was taken care of and told what to do and getting meals and shelter and everything else.”
If that was his goal, it was a success. He is now being held on $100,000 bail and faces a brand new count of robbery.
–B. Christopher Agee
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Photo Credit: John Phelan (Creative Commons)
This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom