LEWES — Delaware State Police arrested a Lewes man after an investigation into the alleged thefts of power tools from unsecured vehicles at several locations in the Long Neck, Lewes and Rehoboth areas.
Police said Tuesday Richard A. Rausch Jr., 41, of the 31,000 block of Dune Circle, Lewes, was charged with third-degree burglary, 17 counts of theft, criminal mischief and nine counts of criminal trespass.
According to police, power tools allegedly were stolen from unsecured parked vehicles, usually in parking lots of big-box stores.
Police said incidents investigated included:
• June 24: A Hilti power drill and laser measurement tool allegedly were taken at a Lowe’s parking lot.
• July 8: Police investigated a report of used power tools allegedly being sold to construction workers building houses in the Torrey Pines Place in the Villages of Red Mill Pond North development.
The vehicle from which the tools were being sold was described as a white Hyundai Accent.
• July 15: Troopers investigated a report of a white male attempting to sell a chop saw at a construction site near Lewes Crossing at Beaver Dam Road. The suspect vehicle was described as a white Hyundai Accent with a Delaware registration. The operator was described as a white male in his 40s with earrings in both ears. The suspect allegedly fled when an employee said he needed to talk to his boss before making a purchase.
• July 24: Troopers received another tip from a contractor who described a white male in a Hyundai Accent attempting to sell tools to his employees while at a construction site near the Coastal Club in Lewes.
• July 24: Troopers investigated a complaint that several tools allegedly had been stolen from a victim’s residence over a few months. The homeowner identified Richard A. Rausch Jr. as the primary suspect, according to police.
• July 30: Troopers investigated an alleged theft in the parking lot of Wawa in Longneck. The victim, who was completing repair work at Wawa, observed a small white car matching the description of the suspect’s vehicle pull up behind his truck.
The victim later discovered a Makita circular saw and cordless screw gun missing from the rear bed of his truck. Both tools were in cases and valued at approximately $550.
• July 31: At about 10 a.m. a white Hyundai Accent was seen entering the Lowe’s parking lot in Lewes, according to police. A white male matching the description of Mr. Rausch was driving and allegedly seen pulling up next to a white Ford F350 which had equipment in the rear bed.
The Hyundai’s driver, identified as Mr. Rausch, exited his vehicle and opened the rear driver side door of the Ford F350, according to police, and allegedly stole a Stihl chop-saw valued at $800. Mr. Rausch allegedly left the parking lot and headed southbound on Plantations Road.
Troopers were notified and conducted a traffic stop on the Hyundai when it made a left turn onto Shady Road. They took Mr. Rausch into custody, and according to police items retrieved from his vehicle included a Stihl chop-saw and Milwaukee sawzall, along with a Ritchie yellow jacket refrigeration service tool set.
Mr. Rausch was charged with third-degree burglary, 17 counts of theft, criminal mischief and nine counts of criminal trespass.
He was also wanted for failing to appear for Kent County Court of Common Pleas on traffic charges and Sussex County Court of Common Pleas on drug charges.
He was arraigned at Justice of the Peace Court 2 and committed to the Sussex Correctional Institution in Georgetown in default of $25,109.
Delaware State Police urge people to lock vehicle doors and roll up windows; don’t leave valuables inside or outside of your vehicle unsecured; and to report any suspicious activity to 9-1-1 immediately
If anyone has any information on these incidents or believe they may have been a victim they should contact Cpl. B. Haupt at 703-3286 or Delaware State Police Troop 7 at (302) 644-5020. Information also may be provided by calling Delaware Crime Stoppers at (800) TIP-3333, at www.tipsubmit.com or by sending an anonymous tip by text to 274637 (CRIMES) using the keyword “DSP.”