CORTLAND - A local man was arrested late Tuesday night after police found him dressed in all black standing on a toilet while hiding in a stall in the women's restroom of a restaurant in the city.
Cortland police arrested Justin C. Reese, 25, of 300 Second St., inside the Four Star Diner at 168 N. Mecca St. The business had been broken into previously and officers had increased patrols around that area.
Reese is charged with two counts of breaking and entering, possessing criminal tools and complicity to breaking and entering. All of the charges are felonies.
His bond was set at $100,000 during his arraignment Wednesday in Central District Court. He pleaded not guilty.
He is due back in municipal court for a preliminary hearing at 9 a.m. Wednesday.
Officers said they noticed footprints and an unsecured door to the rear of the restaurant around 11 p.m. The footprints also led to a rear shed that appeared to have been broken into. Officers found a pair of bolt cutters and cut chain inside the door on a counter.
According to a police report, Reese said he couldn't enter the restaurant because it was secured. He told police he broke into the shed and removed the bolt cutter and other tools so he could enter the restaurant.
They said he admitted to taking $40 in quarters from the cash register. He told police he saw a flashlight beam and heard a police radio outside the building and ran into the bathroom to hide.
"The midnight officers did a great job of stepping up patrol on a business that had previously been victimized and making a quick arrest," Cortland police Chief Tom Andrews said Wednesday morning.
Police said Reese, a former employee at the restaurant, also implicated himself and another person in a break-in at the establishment within the past few months.
Trumbull County Common Pleas Court records show that in August, Reese pleaded guilty to burglary and safecracking related to a case in Warren. Earlier this month, he pleaded guilty in common pleas court to receiving stolen property and trespassing in connection with another case in Warren.