Selbyville police arrested Jeffrey Paddock, 49, of Ocean View on Wednesday, Nov. 23, for his alleged involvement in a string of local burglaries.
According to the Delaware State Police, Paddock “would pry open a door of the business and, once inside, would remove or attempt to remove cash before fleeing.”
Paddock was apprehended following a break-in at the Cactus Café on Route 113 in Selbyville.
“We took the call for a burglary that had just occurred,” explained Selbyville Police Chief W. Scott Collins. “When we responded, the owner of the restaurant, the Cactus Café, was able to provide a vehicle description and provided the last four digits of the tag. One officer stayed on scene and began processing and actually discovered a cell phone that was actually ringing while he was there.”
Collins said that his department was able to identify the vehicle’s full tag number and searched the surrounding areas.
“We searched the area and ended up a half-mile from the restaurant, at a local apartment complex. We located the car parked outside of an apartment.”
Collins added that physical evidence was gathered from within Paddock’s vehicle that tied him to other burglaries.
Paddock had previously been arrested on Nov. 16 by the Selbyville Police Department for burglarizing the Cactus Café.
In all, Paddock allegedly robbed 13 area businesses and non-profits between Oct. 21 and Nov. 14. The burglary targets included the American Legion in Dagsboro; the Fractured Prune and Millville Pet Stop in Millville; and Caruso’s, the China Café, Luna’s Cactus Café, the West 54 Café, Sweet Disposition, Samaritan Thrift Shop, New Face in Town, Fenwick Floators, Seasonal Solutions and Hawaiian Crab Bar and Grill, all in the Fenwick Island and Selbyville areas.
Paddock was charged with 72 total offenses, including burglary, attempted burglary, theft, criminal mischief and wearing a disguise during the commission of a felony. He was committed to Sussex Correctional Institute for lack of $63,000 secured bail. Paddock is not suspected in any other burglaries in Selbyville, according to Collins.
Collins said that area businesses can take simple, effective steps to help safeguard their stores.
“The best things are the simple things: good lighting, a good security system, a good alarm – a good audible alarm that will get people’s attention if it’s set off. Little things like that will go a long way,” he said, adding that good video surveillance is critical in the prosecution process.
Collins noted that he hopes businesses will take added precautions, given the upcoming holiday season.
“I’m glad we were at least able to put an end to this one. Unfortunately, with the holiday season coming up, we hope that people will take those simple precautions and, hopefully, we can avoid or reduce some of the problems we normally have.”