FLEMINGTONNJ March 6 2017 - A Clinton man previously convicted for shoplifting and theft has been indicted by a grand jury on shoplifting and theft by deception charges, court documents show.
Howard Starkes, Jr., 53, was charged on Jan. 12 with shoplifting and theft by deception after being arrested by Raritan Township police for reportedly stealing a leaf blower from Lowe's and a television from ShopRite, police said.
He was indicted on Feb. 23 on third-degree shoplifting and four-degree theft by deception by a grand jury.
Police said officers were called to Lowe's off Route 31 on Nov. 22 for a reported theft by deception, it was previously reported. A loss prevention employee said that on Nov. 21 a man, later identified as Starkes, allegedly took a $259 Troy Built leaf blower from a shelf and returned it for store credit at the customer service counter, police said.
On Nov. 23, police were called to ShopRite off Routes 202/31 for a reported shoplifting. A loss prevention employee said a man left the store with a $699.99 Samsung television without paying for it.
An investigation, including a review of surveillance camera footage from each store, identified Starkes, police said.
Starkes was located by the Edison Township Police Department and taken into custody on Jan. 11, police said. He was held at the Middlesex County Adult Correctional Facility pending a court appearance.
The initial investigation was conducted by Officer Eli Walters with the follow up investigations and charges filed by Det. Geoff Benz.
According to court records, Starkes has served seven years in prison for six prior shoplifting convictions dating back to 2003 and 1 year and 32 days on various theft convictions.
In addition, he has served three years in prison on a burglary conviction and 10 years in prison for a conviction on manufacturing and distributing heroin and cocaine charges. Starkes also served three months in 2003 for making terroristic threats.