A story in the Times Herald on Thursday reported that two Limerick men and one Douglassville man have been arrested in connection with a string of burglaries in the area in the last seven months.
The Limerick residents were identified as 28-year-old Michael R. Benner Jr. and 25-year-old Joseph A. Samsel Jr. The third man is named as Philip M. Becker, 27, of Douglassville.
The three men have allegedly stolen over $100,000 worth of items over the seven-month period.
The Times Herald reports that the investigation started on on January 3, 2013 when the Limerick Township police department was called to the scene of a burglary on Limerick Center Road.
The homeowner described a white male with a neck tattoo who he encountered in his home, and according to police that description matches Benner.
The homeowner also identified a blue Hyundai parked in his driveway, which was later found parked in front of Benner's home in Limerick.
Police surveilled the car and observed it backing into a driveway on Kurtz Road in New Hanover Township on January 17. After the car drove away, New Hanover police checked the house and saw a garage door that had been forced open, and that homeowner told police that items were missing from the home.
Limerick Township police stopped Benner that night and took him into custody.
Police say Benner and Samsel worked as a team, allegedly breaking into houses during the day. If confronted by a homeowner, police said, Benner would claim he was looking for someone who didn't live there, and would leave.
Benner and Becker allegedly committed one robbery together where $5,000 of jewelry was stolen.
The burglaries mainly took place in Montgomery County but two were in Berks County. Homes in Upper Salford, Salford, Lower Frederick, Limerick, New Hanover, Lower Providence, and Roberson townships were burglarized.
Limerick Township detective Matthew Daywalt told the Times Herald that police are reviewing pawn shop records that indicate the stolen items were sold.
According to documents filed with the Magisterial District Courts in Lower Providence and Collegeville, the suspects are facing multiple felony and misdemeanor charges.
Benner and Samsel were arraigned bfeore District Judge Cathleen Kelly Rebar. Benner's bail was set at $50,000 cash; Samsel's bail was $50,000 unsecured, 10 percent.
Becker, who was charged in the single burglary he allegedly committed with Benner, had bail set at $10,000 unsecured, 10 percent.
All three are currently in custody at the Montgomery County Correctional Facility pending a preliminary hearing on Tuesday, February 5 at 10:30am.