Franklin J. Kunkel III, 21, of 139 Tamanend Road, Quakake, is behind bars, charged with retail theft, receiving stolen property and criminal mischief, for walking away with just under $8,000 worth of portable electronics from the Hometown Wal-Mart Supercenter around 3 a.m. Thursday morning.
Items recovered from the early morning burglary were 10 iPod Touches, four iPads, 11 Nanos, two Apple Care Protection Plan DVD's, one video game and two Playstation video game controllers.
Photos of Kunkel and another man appeared in the TIMES NEWS and other media outlets after the Thursday morning burglary. This resulted in numerous tips, leading to the quick arrest of Kunkel.
Kunkel, who was on parole, has had multiple run-ins with the law, including other burglaries. The biggest incident was the burglary of Pieracini's Market and other businesses in Tamaqua in 2010.
During last year's incident, according to the report, Kunkel entered Pieracini's in the early morning after he jimmied open a window on the south side of the building. Once inside, he proceeded to take cigarettes, gum, candy and cash and placed the items in a bag. Total value of the stolen items during that burglary was listed over $4,000.
He was caught on video at this location as well.
He was a suspect in other similar burglaries, such as the Tamaqua Pawn Shop, Chili Dog, Tamaqua YMCA, Tamaqua Day Care Center, Grande Pizza and BRL Groceries, as these burglaries also took place around the same time frame last year.
"During Thursday's Wal-Mart theft, Kunkel was shaking the display case so hard that he broke the lock off. He was able to reach in and grab a lot of iPads and iPods," Said Corporal Duane Frederick, Rush Township Police.
"In the surveillance video, Kunkel could be seen stuffing his pants and shirt. He was barely able to bend his knees as he walked out of the store."
Frederick added, "All our officers, as well as surrounding departments, put a lot of time tracking this down."
"The department also expressed the appreciation of the numerous citizens who helped provide tips following the immediate media coverage.
Police said this was one of the biggest retail theft busts they can remember. They reported that another man was with Kunkel during the robbery, but no charges were filed against the second person as he did not steal anything and reportedly provided police with evidence against Kunkel.
Kunkel is committed to Schuylkill County Prison on a detainer for a parole violation and was arraigned by Magisterial District Judge Stephen J. Bayer, Tamaqua, in connection with the theft. Other charges are pending.