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Bait-shop owner reels in burglary suspect

By BRIAN IANIERI Staff Writer, (609) 463-6713
Press of Atlantic City


MIDDLE TOWNSHIP - A Rio Grande bait-shop owner spotted an alleged burglar outside her store as she opened Wednesday morning, and she did something even she can't believe: She invited him inside and locked the door. Then she called the police.

Middle Township police charged Michael P. Kelly, 30, of Lower Township, with burglary, theft, criminal mischief and possession of a controlled dangerous substance, according to police reports.

Val DiGiovanni, the owner of Rodia's Bait & Tackle on Route 47, saw the man outside her store holding bags of fishing reels by a broken window, police said.

Kelly told the woman a truck had smashed the window and he was cleaning up, police said.

So she played along, and the two went inside the store together as she called police. She also locked the door to keep him from escaping, she said.

Police arrived "in a matter of seconds" and arrested the man, she said.

"I never dreamed he would come inside. I just figured he would drop the reels," DiGiovanni said.

"I should never have done what I did," she said.

Family members, including her mother and husband, later scolded her for the brazen move, but it was a spur-of-the-moment decision, she said.

If robbed or burglarized, "We say we'll give them whatever they want and worry about it later," she said. "I just didn't act that way."

Police said the stolen property included fishing reels, cash, change, butane and gift certificates. All of the property was recovered.

Kelly was lodged in the Cape May County jail in lieu of $10,000 cash bail.
 

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Good job, Val! I know you had to be shaking in your boots, when you did what you did. A burgler here would meet with Mr. Knight (stick) and Mrs. Smith (&Wesson). I would love to break the hand of someone trying to steal what I worked my butt off for. I caught a 9 year old kid in my shop this year with about $40 worth of lures, a lighter, a knife, and bug spray in is pocket. I pulled him aside and asked him to empty is pockets. He was with another kid and his grandfather. I made him give me his mother's name and phone #, and I called her and talked to her. The grandfather of the other kid said he would take him home, because he didn't want a thief in his house. Should I have called to police? Maybe I should have... I have heard of so much robbery in the area the past two or three weeks, it's not even funny! Jeremy's rods & reels, eels from someones bait holder, kayaks from someomes back yard... How hard up do you have to have to be steal eels????? I am on alert for the thieves, as I am, every year @ this time. Sorry, if you think I am too wary or over cautious... but it happens all the time @ this time of year. Val, I'm glad you got this guy.
 

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I think if George catches anyone stealing they would hope he would call the cops :D I still remember the guy that grabbed the money off the counter,I don`t think he will try that again :eek: :eek:
Dr.Dickey,it`s Scott how the heck are you?
I was up at Kevin Bogan`s picking up my Rod and saw a poster for your boat,good luck with your charter Biz.
Cathy.you should have given that little kid to the Neighbors,they need meat for the freezer :D :D
 

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Scott, I forgot about that one!! LOL! That was one sorry dude!!! You know more of the crazy stories than I do, because I was always working @ the hospital when all the FUN(?) stuff happened. By the way I'll be doin' my usual three turkey Thanksgiving dinner, if you two want to stop by.
As far as the kid and the neighbors, you know anything caught on these, here docks is a keeper. And we 'et just 'bout anything. Aaarrr,matey. (Lucky kid)
And listen... I caught my first Striper chunking in the bay this year while I was fishing with Rut-Row. If you or Lampshade need any pointers, just stop over, and Rut row or I will be glad to explain it to ya.
 

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Originally posted by Sterling Harbor:
Scott, I forgot about that one!! LOL! That was one sorry dude!!! You know more of the crazy stories than I do, because I was always working @ the hospital when all the FUN(?) stuff happened. By the way I'll be doin' my usual three turkey Thanksgiving dinner, if you two want to stop by.
As far as the kid and the neighbors, you know anything caught on these, here docks is a keeper. And we 'et just 'bout anything. Aaarrr,matey. (Lucky kid)
And listen... I caught my first Striper chunking in the bay this year while I was fishing with Rut-Row. If you or Lampshade need any pointers, just stop over, and Rut row or I will be glad to explain it to ya.
:D
 

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Cathy,thanks for the Dinner invite,I am noy sure what we are doing yet but I will let you know.
You know dem dare neighbors don`t eat no Storebought Meat!
BTW Rut-Row is my main source of Fishing Knowledge,him and Biggest.
I almost forgot Fester :D :D
 

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Ya see the blind squirrle gets a fish in the pond with the rut now I am the only one on the planet without a striper in the dirty ditch :D

Got any crickets???? :D

[ 11-12-2004, 06:50 AM: Message edited by: THECHUMSTAIN ]
 

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I had my eels and minnows stolen numerous times a couple summers ago. I finally staked out the bait buckets. Here I am sitting there like a fool as an otter swims up to the bucket, opens it, and starts grabbing eels. Punk ate at least half of them before I figured out what was going on. He was grabbing them and eating them on a neighboring dock. Funny thing was the bucket had a "lock" on it, and he was able to open it.
 
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