ELKTON — A man allegedly stole a cell phone from an acquaintance during a purported robbery at an Elkton motel and then fled the scene, police reported.
As it turns out, according to Cecil County District Court records, that stolen cell phone played a key role in Elkton Police Department investigators tracking down the suspect – Josh P. Garcia, 24 – by way of GPS and arresting him.
“I was able to locate her cell phone on my MDT (mobile data terminal) and had officers respond to that location,” EPD Pfc. Michael Walczak explains in his written statement of probable cause.
The tracking device led investigators to an address in the 100 block of Tartan Drive in Elkton, where Garcia walked out the back door of that residence while an EPD officer was speaking with a woman at the front door, police reported.
“Officers were in the back yard as he was walking out the back door. Officers then noticed Garcia flee after he was advised to stop. Garcia took officers on a rapid foot chase through various yards from South Tartan (Drive) to the rear of North Tartan (Drive), which is a few streets away. Officers were able to apprehend Garcia and place him into custody,” court records allege.
Garcia allegedly robbed a 29-year-old woman at approximately 10 a.m. on Thursday at the Sun Rise Inn in the 200 bock of Belle Hill Road, off Route 279, during an argument in which Garcia purportedly slapped her face after spitting in it, police said. Garcia stands accused of stealing the woman’s cell phone and a bag of clothes, before fleeing, police added.
(The woman told investigators that she had been staying with Garcia and another man as motel guests in Room 225 when the incident occurred, police noted.)
After speaking with the alleged victim at the motel, shortly after the robbery had occurred, EPD investigators used GPS to track down the woman’s stolen phone to an address in the 100 block of Tartan Drive, which is where they also found Garcia, court records show.
While in that Tartan Drive area, investigators also were able to locate the property that Garcia allegedly stole from the woman, police said. In addition to using technology to find the stolen cell phone, EPD officers retraced the path of the foot chase that preceded Garcia’s arrest to locate other stolen property, police added.
“Garcia had discarded (the woman’s) phone in the rear yard, which was located by pinging the phone with an alert location tone. I was able to retrieve the phone and located another phone that belonged to Garcia. While canvassing the rear yards for any other property, officers came across two black bags . . . One had belonged to (the woman),” according to charging documents.
Inside that bag, officers found clothing, cosmetics, an I-Phone box, chargers and other property belonging to the woman, police reported.
Court records indicate the stolen property, which the alleged victim reclaimed at EPD’s headquarters later that day, had a total value of $1,700.
Garcia is facing six criminal charges, including two felonies — robbery and theft of more than $1,500 and less than $25,000, according to court records. His four misdemeanor charges include two counts of second-degree assault, court records show.
Scheduled for a July 22 preliminary hearing, Garcia remained in the Cecil County Detention Center without bond late Monday, after his bail review hearing earlier that day, according to court records.