Floor Mat Leads Cops to Cell Phone Burglary Suspect | NBC Connecticut

Floor Mat Leads Cops to Cell Phone Burglary Suspect

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    Christopher Wantek, 35, of Vernon, is accused of smashing into a cellphone store and stealing $5,000 worth of goods.

    When you bring your car to the auto body shop, the white floor mat mechanics leave behind keeps your car clean.

    When that same mat is left behind at the scene of a crime, it means a mess of the legal sort for the person suspected of leaving it there.

    It was one of those mats that led police in Vernon to charge a car repair shop employee in the burglary of Express Wireless, a cell phone store at 435 Hartford Turnpike in Vernon.

    When the alarm went off at the shop, police responded and found the front door smashed in. Several cell phones appeared to be missing and left behind were floor mats similar to the type vehicle dealers and auto repair shops use.

    Police began searching the area. They spoke with other cell phone stores and witnesses and viewed the video from Express Wireless to narrow down their suspect -- Christopher Wantek, 35, of Vernon.

    The video showed Wantek smash his vehicle into the front door of the shop, enter the building and steal several items, police said.

    Police arrested Wantek at his house about an hour after the alarm first came in and found most of the stolen property in his vehicle, police said.

    Wantek was charged with illegal operation of a motor vehicle while license is suspended due to DUI, reckless driving, third-degree burglary, third-degree criminal trespass, criminal mischief and third-degree larceny. Bond was set at $100,000.