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Barry J. Martin, ex-police officer, jailed in 2010 burglary, theft of jewelry

By Len Righi, WFMZ.com Reporter
Published On: Nov 16 2012 03:41:44 PM CST
Updated On: Nov 17 2012 11:09:45 AM CST

EASTON, Pa. -

An former police officer in New Jersey who has done time for forging prescriptions and theft was arrested for stealing $11,000 in jewelry from a store almost two years ago, officials said.

Barry J. Martin was arraigned Thursday morning for a burglary in November 2010 at Phyllis Vintage, 12 South Sitgreaves St., Easton, officials said.

Martin admitted in an interview with police at Warren County Prison on Jan. 24, that he entered the store after it closed on Nov. 23 and was found asleep on the floor the following morning by a store employee, officials said.

He denied stealing any jewelry from the store, even though he admitted taking jewelry from the shop owner's home, officials said.

In an interview with WFMZ.com on Friday afternoon, boutique owner Phyllis O'Donnell said she waited to contact police after Martin was found in her store because she believed his false "sob story" that his wife had kicked him out and he had nowhere to go and that he hadn't taken anything.

She said she had come to trust Martin because she had gotten to know him and his family over a couple of years. She even gave Martin a key to her shop because he was doing contracting work for her.

Several hours after he was found in the shop, Martin went to O'Donnell's home and was let in by her son and another contractor after telling them he was there to install a light, O'Donnell said.

Her son stayed with Martin most of the time, but in the 10 minutes he wasn't with him, Martin stole $60,000 in jewelry, including a $27,000 diamond "and all my gold," O'Donnell said.

Martin and O'Donnell met two days later at a bar in Easton, and he returned some of the jewelry and gave O'Donnell $900 in cash, officials said.

But one of the pieces Martin returned was a bracelet from her store, and that's when she knew Martin was lying, O'Donnell said.

After doing inventory, she realized Martin had been systematically stealing from her shop, O'Donnell said.

Martin was in jail in New Jersey for 19 months on charges connected to the theft of the jewelry from her home, and he was released on parole Thursday, O'Donnell said.

Martin, 42, is facing charges of burglary and theft and is being held on $10,000 bail in the Northampton County Prison, according to court documents.

Court papers list two addresses for him, 315 North 7th St., Manville, N.J., and 60 North Sussex St., Dover, N.J.

A preliminary hearing is set for 2 p.m. Nov. 21.

According to a 2005 report by the Associated Press and the Morning Call, Martin had been a member of the High Bridge police force for three years before resigning in 2001, after the Hunterdon County prosecutor charged him with official misconduct for stealing painkillers from two borough homes while on duty. Martin reportedly pleaded guilty in March 2005 in Northampton County Court to forgery and acquiring a controlled substance through forgery.