A man is accused of robbing a Toms River shoe store the day after he finished serving a 15-year prison term for the same offense.
Christopher Miller, 40, was initially sentenced in 1999 for robbing the Stride Rite located at 1358 Hooper Ave. He ordered the employees to a rear storage room and tied them up, then made away with cash.
Miller was released Friday from South Woods State Prison in Bridgeton. Police said he took a bus from Atlantic City to Toms River, then made a beeline for the plaza where the Stride Rite is located.
Miller allegedly went into the store around 4:15 p.m. Saturday and demanded money from two employees, a 17-year-old man and a 43-year-old woman. Police said he “became agitated” and grabbed the register drawer himself, snatching $389 in cash.
Miller allegedly ordered the employees to the back of the store, but they refused. Police said the employees also refused to turn over their car keys.
Miller took the employees’ cell phones and the store phone and fled on foot, according to investigators.
A patrol officer detained Miller several blocks away. A K-9 unit conducted a scent track that police said led officers to the phones and cash, which were allegedly hidden in a garbage can and a gutter downspout behind the shopping plaza.
Miller is charged with robbery and is again imprisoned at the Ocean County Jail on $100,000 bail.
Police said Miller lists his last address as a residence in Tulsa, Okla., and that investigators are still trying to “ascertain any local residential connection” he may have to Toms River.