TABERNACLE — A Burlington County man has been charged with the murder this weekend of a 49-year-old businessman inside his own home

David M. Stead, 42, of Pemberton, was charged Monday with the grisly shooting death of Thomas Wright II on Friday morning.

Wright’s body was found by his father Friday afternoon. Wright was shot multiple times in the head and neck, said Burlington County Prosecutor Robert D. Bernardi.

Prosecutors said Stead in the past had worked for Wright, who operated Artisan Building Creations out of his home in this township’s wooded Patty Bowker Road.

Authorities said Stead went to the home with the intention of robbing Wright. For some reason, Stead shot Wright to death and then fled with a small amount of cash in a white pick-up truck that Wright had rented.

Thomas Wright (Silvia Poloni via Facebook)
Thomas Wright (Silvia Poloni via Facebook)

State Police had asked the public on Sunday to help find the vehicle, which eventually was discovered later that day less than a mile away on Coleman’s Bridge Road.

Wright’s father had gone to his son’s home after Wright unexpectedly failed to show up at a job site. He called State Police after finding his son’s lifeless body on the floor.

Stead was charged with first-degree murder, first-degree felony murder, first-degree robbery, second-degree unlawful possession of a weapon, second-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, and third-degree theft.

Authorities did not say how Stead came to be in custody. A spokesman for Bernardi’s office declined further comment.

Stead was being held Monday at Burlington County Jail awaiting trial. Bail was set a $1 million with no 10 percent option. He was scheduled to make his first appearance Tuesday. It wasn’t clear Monday whether he had an attorney.

Sergio Bichao is deputy digital editor at New Jersey 101.5. Send him news tips: Call 609-438-1015 or email

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