Getting arrested was the best thing to happen to a burglar who was frozen underneath a pile of snow at a New Jersey mall.
George Pesavage Jr. of Flemington had just broken into the Viking Buy-Rite liquor store in Monmouth Junction at around 1:45 a.m. Friday before he hid in a snowbank when officers arrived, officials from the South Brunswick Police Department said.
Upon arrival officers noticed that the front door of the liquor store was smashed open and numerous items were stolen. Authorities said police searched the store for Pesavage but weren't able to find him.
The liquor store proprietor then showed officers surveillance video of Pesavage allegedly breaking into the store, police said. The video also showed him allegedly stealing liquor, cigarettes, a lighter and lottery tickets.
Half an hour after the alarm sounded, Officer Mike Urstadt was driving around the strip mall when he noticed the 47-year-old's head peeking from behind an eight foot high pile of snow.
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Police said Urstadt approached him and saw that he had frostbitten hands and was bleeding from cuts, authorities said. Pesavage's clothes were wet from hiding in the snowbank. At his feet were two bags full of liquor, cigarettes, a lighter and lottery tickets.
He then explained to the officer that he was freezing and he'd just blown his chances of winning the lotto before he was arrested by police for burglary and criminal mischief.
"The man was saved by being arrested. The freezing temperatures had already started to lower his body temperature when officers located him," said South Brunswick Police Chief Raymond Hayducka. "The officer's fast response and detailed search resulted in locating the stolen items and saving this man's life."
Authorities said Pesavage was taken to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, where he was treated for hypothermia and several cuts from breaking the glass door. Following his release, he was taken to police headquarters and processed.
The brazen thief stole over $650 worth of merchandise and created $2,000 in damage to the door.