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Cold case solved? Four charged in 2014 theft of drilling rig, truck

By Dan Miller

danmiller@pressandjournal.com

717-944-4628
Posted 7/17/19

Middletown police have charged four men — three from New Jersey — in connection with the theft of a drilling rig and truck in the borough five years ago.

The drilling rig and truck …

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Cold case solved? Four charged in 2014 theft of drilling rig, truck

Posted

Middletown police have charged four men — three from New Jersey — in connection with the theft of a drilling rig and truck in the borough five years ago.

The drilling rig and truck used to haul it were reported stolen from near a borough maintenance shed on July 23, 2014, according to arrest papers police filed with District Judge David Judy.

A former Middletown detective traced the stolen rig to  New Jersey and was trying to contact a New Jersey man reportedly in possession of the rig. The detective retired at the end of 2017.

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THE DRILL IS GONE: Big $300,000 rig is stolen from Middletown site

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The case went cold until February of this year, when it was re-assigned to new detective Wade Bloom.

Bloom in June made contact with Joseph Lockwood, who according to arrest papers had bought the rig for $10,000 and was trying to work out “a deal in trade” to transfer the rig to another company.

On Thursday, Lockwood, 48, of Bridgewater, New Jersey, was charged with one felony count of receiving stolen property.

Also Thursday, Richard Falcon, 51, of Iselin, New Jersey, was arraigned before Judy and charged with conspiracy to commit theft by unlawful taking — moveable property, theft by unlawful taking — moveable property, and receiving stolen property.

Bail for Falcon was set at $50,000 unsecured, and he is scheduled for an Aug. 5 preliminary hearing before Judy. Police said Falcon conspired to steal the truck along with Edwin Alfonso Cruz, 40, of Cumberland Road in Harrisburg.

Police said Falcon had a previous arrest in Dauphin County and was on probation for the theft of large equipment.

Cruz was arraigned before District Judge Kenneth A. Lenker on Friday and faces the same charges as Falcon.

His preliminary hearing is also Aug. 5. Bail was set at $25,000 unsecured.

Cruz according to arrest papers had told Falcon he did not know how to drive the truck to deliver it to New Jersey. Falcon then contacted Johnny Gonzalez of Jersey City, who had previously stolen a truck and delivered it to Falcon.

Gonzalez took a train to Harrisburg and met Cruz, who took him to the stolen truck and drill rig. Gonzalez drove the truck to a diner in Elizabeth, New Jersey, where he was met by Falcon, according to arrest papers.

Gonzalez, 48, was charged Thursday with conspiracy to commit theft by unlawful taking — moveable property, receiving stolen property, and theft by unlawful taking — moveable property.

Gonzalez had not turned himself in as of Tuesday and is wanted by Middletown police. He is believed to be in the New Jersey area.

Falcon told police the truck had been taken apart and the parts sold. The drilling rig appears to still be intact, but it was not clear from arrest papers if the rig had been returned to its rightful owners.