An Erial man has been charged with committing eight robberies in seven South Jersey towns beween last Friday and Tuesday, when he was arrested in Cherry Hill.
Gloucester Township Police Deputy Chief David Harkins announced the arrest of the township man Wednesday afternoon.
Robert Ford, 43, of Breckenridge Drive, Erial, is accused of robbing the College Drive CVS on Friday and West Church Street's Sunrise Florist on Saturday. Both businesses are located in Gloucester Township's Blackwood section.
The Gloucester Township robberies late last week apparently emboldened the Erial man, who allegedly proceeded to commit robberies in Deptford, Bellmawr, Cherry Hill, Pennsauken, Voorhees, and Maple Shade. He was arrested shortly after he robbed the Carrabba's Italian Grill restaurant in Maple Shade, according to Harkins.
In each of the robberies, the suspect always demanded cash and threatened that he had a gun, but never showed the weapon. Investigators also determined Ford was driving his black 2001 Chevrolet Cavalier to commit the crimes.
Gloucester Township Police credited social media and license-plate-reading technology with Ford's arrest.
A Cherry Hill police officer got a "hit" for Ford's black Chevrolet on Tuesday, which marked the day the patrol car's license-plate reader was first activated, Harkins said. Cherry Hill police officers pulled Ford's car over on Route 38 and took the Erial man into custody.
Police received 15 tips identifying the robbery suspect as Ford, Harkins said, after posting images from the CVS robbery on Gloucester Township Police Department's Global Connect community notification system, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter pages.
A task force consisting of detectives from the towns where Ford had allegedly robbed businesses, as well as the Camden County Prosecutor's Office, formed after the Erial man was identified through Gloucester Township Police Department's social-media efforts.
Ford is charged with first-degree robbery in all seven towns, Harkins said, and is being held in Camden County Jail.