Toms River, New Jersey – The day after he was released from prison after serving a 15 year sentence for robbing the Stride Rite shoe store police say a Tulsa, Oklahoma man got off a bus from Atlantic City in front of the same store – and robbed it again.
Police say Christopher M. Miller, 40, went to the store the afternoon of March 22 and demanded cash from employees. He eventually became agitated and removed the register drawer himself which contained $389 in cash, then demanded the store's two employees go to the back of the building and give him their car keys, according to Toms River police spokesman Ralph Stocco.
The employees, a 17-year-old male and 43-year-old female, refused to leave or give up their keys, so Miller took their cell phones and a store phone and fled on foot, Stocco said.
Patrol Officer Anthony Scali took the report at the store and broadcast a description of the suspect to other patrol units. A short time later, Miller was located by Patrol Officer George Fernicola on Feathertree Drive, where he was detained.
A police K-9, Cyrus, led by Officer Kyle Martucci, located the stolen phones in a garbage can and the cash hidden in a gutter downspout behind the shopping plaza, Stocco said.
Miller's latest suspected crime comes just one day after he was released from South Woods State Prison in Bridgeton, where he was serving a 15 year sentence for a 1999 robbery of the same shoe store.
In the 1999 robbery, Stocco said, Miller tied up store employees in a rear storage room and fled with cash before he was ultimately found by police and arrested.
He was released from prison March 21 – the day before the Stride Rite store was robbed again.
Miller is now being held in the Ocean County Jail on $100,000 cash bail. His last known address was in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
"The investigators continue their attempts to ascertain any local residential connection to Toms River," Stocco said.
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