A Tulsa, Oklahoma man will be on his way back to prison after admitting in court this week that he robbed the Stride Rite shoe store in Toms River the day after he was released from prison – for robbing the exact same store 15 years earlier.
Christopher Miller, 41, entered a guilty plea Monday before Superior Court Judge James M. Blaney to a charge of second degree robbery, said Al Della Fave, spokesman for the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office.
Miller had been released from a South Jersey prison March 21, 2014 after serving a 15 year sentence for robbing the Stride Rite store in November 1999. After apparently taking a bus from Atlantic City to Toms River, he went right back to the store and robbed it again – even the same clerk who had been working there 15 years ago was in the store during the second robbery, according to officials.
“When he committed the most recent robbery on March 22, 2014 at the Stride Rite store, the clerk was able to identify him for police upon their arrival,” said Della Fave. “This same victim had recently been notified of the defendant’s release on parole supervision from the 1999 armed robbery.”
The prosecutor’s office will be asking Blaney to impose the maximum sentence – 20 years – for the most recent robbery, for which Miller would have to serve 85 percent of the time.
During the most recent robbery – like the first – Miller collected the store employees’ cell phones before forcing them to the back of the store while wielding the cash register drawer. Toms River police say he got away with $389. A police K9 found the employees’ phones stuffed in a downspout behind the shopping center.
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story said Stride Rite was located in the Ocean County Mall. Its correct location is on Hooper Avenue, several blocks north of the mall.