GALLOWAY — Police say their township's crimefighting mayor helped nab a burglar who had broken into the politician's two restaurants on two nights in a row.

Anthony Coppola's restaurant, Fred and Ethels Lantern Light, was broken into Tuesday. The next night, a thief broke into his other restaurant, the Smithville Inn.

Police said the staff recognized the burglar as the same one from the night before. They said thief had stolen the master key for several businesses.

Coppola told 6 ABC Action News that he caught up with the burglar after he jumped a fence and ran onto Route 9. Coppola found the keys and held him for police after calling 911.

It was the "Loser" logo on burglar's jacket's that Coppola recognized from surveillance that prompted him to chase the suspect, later identified as George Dean Jr., of Port Republic.

Police said Dean was also responsible for the burglary of a Spirit gas station the weekend before.

Police said in a statement that they were grateful for Coppola's involvement, which "no doubt saved the police and other local business from a pre-holiday crime spree." However, they do not expect residents to risk their safety.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

More from New Jersey 101.5