ASBURY PARK – The wig didn’t fool anyone.
The brunette-turned-blonde-wigged bandit—who burglarized vehicles and tried to cash in on her spoils of fraud—was finally caught by police in Asbury Park Feb. 1.
Brooke B. Slade, 43, of Arizona, was apprehended by police on the 500 block of Asbury Avenue.
Observant bank staff at the PNC Bank at 810 Sunset Ave. alerted police of a woman driving a dark-colored Nissan sedan, attempting to make withdrawals from the drive-up window using fraudulent identification and stolen debit cards. Staff told police she appeared to be the same woman who had attempted to commit fraud in Wall and Toms River townships.
Asbury Park Police officer Lemar Whittaker arrived at the bank shortly after 4:07 p.m. Upon seeing the officer, Slade drove off and lost Whittaker.
Police received a call 15 minutes later reporting a female trespasser at 601 Heck Ave., the same area the suspect’s vehicle was last seen. Slade fled through the property’s parking lot on foot, but not before removing a license plate from a parked vehicle.
She was finally caught and brought into police custody. Slade was charged with criminally with eluding, two counts of receiving stolen property, possession of a controlled dangerous substance prescription drugs Xanax, trespassing and motor vehicle violations for reckless driving, driving without a license, two counts of failure to stop for a stop sign, fictitious plates, failure to signal and failure to maintain lane.
Slade is believed to be part of an organized crime ring in the state that burglarizes vehicles and uses that stolen property to commit fraud. She is being connected to such crimes throughout the region; a female matching her description broke into vehicles in Riverwood Park to steal purses, credit cards, cash, and check books.
Police took to social media for leads on finding the burglar.
“An alert bank teller recognized the woman from a saturation of police social media posts and cooperation from news organizations that publicized the investigation. In addition to the many Ocean and Monmouth County policy agency social media posts; Toms River alone reached 436,000 views on two posts that featured the wanted woman,” Toms River Police PIO Ralph Stocco said in a statement. “Social media is a powerful outlet that has developed into a valuable law enforcement tool. We want to take a moment and sincerely thank everyone who helped share our posts far and wide. We cannot be omnipresent in our policing and we value the efforts of citizen crime fighters who take the time to get involved; even if it is for a brief moment to like and share our posts. Your efforts have been successful time and time again in the apprehension of people determined to take advantage of innocent hard-working citizens.”
Police did not release what Slade’s actual hair color is.
Kimberly Bosco contributed to this report.