EDISON — Edison police detectives arrested a 25-year-old township man who allegedly stole sprinkler valves from 18 homes in Edison, Metuchen and Highland Park, authorities announced Wednesday.
Michael Ruiz was charged with eight counts of theft in Edison, plus an additional eight counts in Metuchen and two counts in Highland Park, and was released on his own recognizance. The thefts left victims with repair costs of approximately $250 each. Police believe Ruiz was collecting $10-15 per valve by scrapping them in Newark.
“Through hard work and an extensive surveillance jointly coordinated between the Edison, Metuchen and Highland Park Police Departments, this thief will no longer be able to steal from our residents,” said Edison Police Chief Thomas Bryan.
On Monday, April 29, detectives from the Edison Police Special Operations Group were conducting a surveillance due to recent sprinkler thefts in the southern portion of the Township when they were alerted to a possible theft in progress on Hamilton Street at 1:15 p.m. The suspect had already fled the scene when police arrived.
Detectives stopped Ruiz at the Edison Train Station before he could board a train bound for Newark. He had three brass sprinkler valves in his possession at the time of the stop, which police say were stolen.
The Edison Police investigation was headed by DSGT. David Salardino and Det. Steve Todd and was coordinated with Metuchen Police DSGT. Bellucio and Highland Park Police Detective Peter Knoll. “I commend all the detectives involved for their efforts in cracking this case,” Bryan said.
The charges against Ruiz are merely accusations; he is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
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