September 6, 2022
LAWRENCE TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–On September 5, 2022, Lawrence Township Police Department arrested 21-year-old Lyon S. Ellerbe, of the 200 block of Northhampton Dr, Willingboro, NJ, and 22-year old Richard D. Rowe of the first block of Hewlet Lane, Willingboro, NJ. The arrests concluded a three-month investigation conducted by the Lawrence Township Police Department and the United States Postal Inspections Service.
Since June 2022, the Lawrence Township Police Department has received numerous reports from residents reporting check theft / fraud. In all of the cases, residents reported that they had placed their checks into the USPS mailbox outside of either the Circle Branch Post Office (2601 Brunswick Pike, Lawrenceville) or the Craven Lane Post Office (Lawrence Rd @ Craven Ln, Lawrenceville).
On June 27, 2022 at approximately 1:00am, Officer James Gorski was conducting patrol in the area of the Circle Branch Post Office when he observed a BMW sedan parked in the area of the outside mailbox. As Officer Gorski attempted to contact the occupants of the BMW, the car fled the area at a high rate of speed. The vehicle was later located and secured by Lawrence Township Police Detectives. A search warrant was executed on the BMW by Lawrence Township Detective Sean Kerins, multiple stolen checks, forged checks, forgery devices and several stolen credit cards were recovered.
On September 5, 2022 at approximately 10:00pm, Lawrence Township Police Detectives and Agents from the United States Postal Inspections Service were conducting surveillance in the area of the Craven Lane Post Office. Officers observed a male (Rowe) approach the post office and open the outside mailbox using a key. Officers also observed a vehicle parked on Craven Lane next to the post office. As officers approached the male at the mailbox, he fled on foot and was placed under arrest a short time later. The waiting vehicle also fled the scene southbound on Lawrence Rd and crashed at the intersection of Lawrence Rd and Denow Rd. The driver of the vehicle (Ellerbe) was placed under arrest at the crash scene. There were no injuries as a result of the crash.
Rowe was charged with: 6 counts of burglary, 6 counts of theft, possession of burglary tools, Trafficking in Identifying information of Another, multiple counts of receiving stolen property, forgery and resisting arrest.
Ellerbe was charged as an accomplice to the September 5, 2022 burglary to the mailbox, resisting arrest, and assorted motor vehicle violations.
Anyone who has information regarding this incident is asked to contact Lawrence Township Police Detective Sean Kerins @ 609-844-7121.