Lehigh Valley

State police link 19-year-old to Lehigh County burglary spree

Break-ins happened in Upper and Lower Macungie

Authorities allege a Monroe County man is linked to nearly a dozen burglaries in Lower and Upper Macungie townships in which he allegedly stole everything from liquor to hoverboards to firearms.

Justin J. Perez, of Middle Smithfield Township, faces more than three dozen charges in connection to the alleged burglary spree that saw him break into 11 homes earlier this year. Pennsylvania State Police said the 19-year-old confessed to the crimes in August after investigators discovered his fingerprints at two of the homes.

State police with the Fogelsville barracks said Lower Macungie Township homeowners reported 20 burglaries between Jan. 3 and July 17. Investigators said eight of those break-ins were similar in that the burglar broke a window to get into the house. Police also noted they all occurred within a 2.5-mile radius, making the burglaries easily within walking distance.

During the investigation, state police said they learned of similar burglaries in Upper Macungie Township.

After allegedly finding Perez’s fingerprints at two of the break-ins, police interviewed him on Aug. 1. He reportedly confessed to 11 burglaries and took police on a tour of the homes he burglarized.

The homes that Perez allegedly burglarized were located on:

  • Max Way at the Green Acres Mobile Home Park in Upper Macungie Township, where police allege he stole more than $4,300 and two watches;
  • Shephard Hills Avenue in Lower Macungie Township, which was burglarized twice; three handguns – a 9mm Glock, .45-caliber Glock, .40-caliber Smith and Wesson – were stolen along with a tablet, money, a watch and magazines for the handguns;
  • Fairway Lane in Lower Macungie, where the residents were home at the time; nothing was taken from the home, and a neighbor called police to report a burglary in progress;
  • Covenant Lane in Lower Macungie, which was burglarized twice; nothing was stolen, but Perez allegedly caused about $800 worth of damage;
  • Truth Place in Lower Macungie, where Perez allegedly stole about $370 in quarters, twenty silver dollars and two bottles of Irish whiskey;
  • Somerset Lane in Lower Macungie, where police allege Perez stole a semi-automatic M4 rifle with three 30-round magazines and ammunition;
  • Rainbow Court in Lower Macungie, where cash and gift cards were stolen and two laptop computers smashed;
  • Hanover Drive in Lower Macungie, where Perez allegedly stole two hoverboards from an open garage;
  • Breinig Run Circle in Upper Macungie, where Perez allegedly threw a brick through a window; the homeowner reported nothing missing from the home, but Perez said he broke in to steal drugs.

In all, investigators allege Perez made off with more than $11,300 worth of merchandise, cash and gift cards.

Police charged him with 10 counts each of burglary and criminal trespass, 11 counts of criminal mischief and seven counts of theft. District Judge Donna Butler arraigned Perez Monday night, setting bail at $200,000.

After failing to post bail, he was sent to Lehigh County Jail to await a preliminary hearing scheduled for Dec. 26.

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