A Newark woman was caught with crack cocaine and stolen jewelry after being interrupted during the preliminary steps of a burglary attempt, police say.
According to a Springfield police department press release, Maria Circelli, 37, rang a doorbell on a Colfax Road home shortly before 6 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 8. A neighbor reportedly saw Circelli ring the doorbell than walk around the house into the home’s backyard. Knowing that the house’s owners were away, the neighbor confronted Circelli by the rear door of the house. Police say Circelli claimed she was lost and was looking for Morrison Road before quickly walking away.
Detective Lieutenant Judd Levenson said that the woman likely rang the bell to test whether anyone was home.
“The type of behavior exhibited by the female is consistent with the usual method of operation of persons who seek to break into residential dwellings,” Levenson said in an email. “Burglars will initially ring the door bell on a house that appears to have no one home and when this is verified the burglar will then go to the rear of the house in order to break in and not be seen from the street. As the police are well aware of this, multiple officers immediately started searching the area for the female based upon the description given by the caller.”
The neighbor called the police. Springfield Officer Anthony Reimer reportedly quickly found Circelli on the adjacent street of Severna Avenue shortly after the call. Police say Circelli told the officer that she was lost but she denied being the person on Colfax Road. Two residents reportedly identified her. Police say Reimer saw an open bottle of cognac in the car. In a search of the car, Reimer reportedly found prescription drugs, vials of suspected Crack Cocaine and drug paraphernalia.
After her arrest, the female was searched by Officer Melissa Esteves at police headquarters where it was found that the subject had 6 vials of Crack Cocaine concealed in her bra and a ziplock plastic bag containing 19 assorted pieces of jewelry concealed in her pants.
Circelli was charged with the Possession of Cocaine, possession of prescription legend drugs, possession of drug paraphernalia and the possession of stolen property due to the jewelry. A follow-up investigation by Detective Keith Doherty found that most of the recovered jewelry had been stolen from a house burglary committed in Maplewood earlier that day. Additional charges for burglary are pending by the Maplewood Police Department.
Springfield Chief of Police John Cook not only commended the actions of both his patrol officers and detectives for their efforts in this case but also said
“This arrest not only solved one or more crimes in Springfield and other towns but also prevented a home from being broken into in Springfield on Oct. 8,” Cook said in an email. “This is all due to residents both seeing something that they deem to be suspicious and then relaying their suspicions to the police department.”