Crime

ELKTON — A man is facing numerous criminal charges after he allegedly broke into a used automobile dealership in Elkton and stole several pieces of property — including car keys, a surveillance camera and a diagnostic machine used by auto mechanics, according to Cecil County District Court records.

Investigators identified the suspect as Frank G. Longacre Jr., 51, of Elkton.

The investigation leading to Longacre’s arrest started at approximately 11:50 p.m. on Sunday, when an Elkton Police Department officer went to the Judge Auto Group pre-owned vehicle dealership in the 200 block of South Bridge Street in response to a burglary-in-progress complaint, court records show.

When the officer arrived, he spotted a man — later identified as Longacre — running away from the dealership, police said. The officer caught Longacre and took him into custody, police added.

“While Longacre was running, he dropped a surveillance camera on the ground . . . along with a mechanical diagnostic machine,” according to the charging document, which indicates that the surveillance camera was inside a sealed box.

Moments later, while conducting a pat-down search on Longacre, the officer found and confiscated five keys, including four that were car keys with handwritten tags attached to them; a tire air gauge; electrical tape; a woman’s identification card; several hand tools and a “pocketful of change,” court records allege.

“During the search, Longacre (made) an unprovoked statement that he found the car keys inside the parking lot of the business and that he just needed the money to live,” according to the charging document.

Investigators later seized a “blue wax baggie containing a white powder residue” from Longacre during an additional search of the suspect while processing him at EPD headquarters, police reported. (Court records do not specify the substance inside that wax baggie, but do allege that it is an illegal drug.)

During his on-scene investigation, the officer determined that the side door to the dealership building had been pried open and that the glass door had been shattered, police said. The officer noticed vehicle keys hanging on two walls inside the dealership and handwritten tags — matching the ones affixed to the keys found in Longarcre’s possession — were attached to them, police added.

In addition, the officer found a small pry bar on top of a counter that is “just inside the side door that had been damaged and forced open,” court records show.

The business owner told investigators that it would cost approximately $1,750 to replace the damaged door, window and cabinets, according to police. The owner identified the boxed surveillance camera and the diagnostic machine that Longacre allegedly had tossed to the ground while running from the dealership and the items found in his possession during the pat-down search as property owned by his business, police reported.

Court records indicate that the business owner later provided investigators with video gleaned from a dealership surveillance camera that was operating at the time of the alleged burglary.

“The surveillance footage would show Longacre inside the building. It would also show Longacre removing the diagnostic machine (later found on his person) from a cabinet,” court records allege.

Longacre is charged with second-degree burglary and theft of property valued at more than $1,500 and less than $25,000 — both of which are felonies — and five misdemeanors, including malicious destruction of property valued at more than $1,000, fourth-degree burglary theft and possession of a controlled and dangerous substance, according to court records.

He spent two nights in the Cecil County Detention Center on no bond, before gaining his pre-trial release Tuesday afternoon on an unsecured $15,000 bond after his bail review hearing earlier that day, court records show.

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