GLOUCESTER TWP — An alert store employee working late called police about a man on the roof of a shopping center early Christmas Eve day.

Officers arriving at the Laurel Hill Plaza before 2 a.m. on Sunday morning reported seeing someone on the roof dressed in all dark clothing with gloves and a mask, according to police. Rather than following the directions of officers on the ground, police say the man ran to the opposite side of the roof before trying to jump and elude authorities.

The man, identified by police as Dennis Niceler, 56, of Pomona, suffered a broken ankle after the jump, and was taken to Cooper Hospital. Niceler was found with a crowbar, a hammer a pair of screw drivers, and wire cutters when he was taken into custody, police said.

With the help of two neighboring fire departments officers went to the roof to ensure there was nobody working with Niceler, and did not find anyone there, according to police. There was also no damage to the building, "and it is believed that officers arrived on location before Mr. Niceler could access any businesses due to the quick actions of the employee who called 911," police said.

"The arrest was the result of our partnerships with local businesses and following the message of, if you see or hear something that doesn't seem right, say something by calling 911," police said. "With the assistance of our multi-agency partnerships, we were able to successfully take the suspect into custody before he could be a Christmas Grinch and steal from a business owner."

In addition to the incident on Sunday, police said Niceler may be connected to similar incidents in South Jersey. He was charged with trespassing, resisting by flight, and possession of burglar tools. He was released pending a future court date.

Police are asking anyone with information about the incident to call 856-842-5560.


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Contact reporter Adam Hochron at 609-359-5326 or

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