Accused Burglar Had Gambling Habit
Jorge Dandrade gambled away $53,000 at Sands since September, now charged with stealing more than $40,000 in jewelry, electronics.
A Bethlehem man who was wanted for 14 separate burglaries in the city and Bethlehem Township might have been stealing to feed a gambling habit, according to court papers.
Jorge Dandrade Sr., 41, of 428 Hayes St., lost more than $53,000, while making more than 100 visits to the Sands Bethlehem Casino since September, according to an arrest warrant. That same warrant accuses him of stealing more than $40,000 in merchandise – mostly jewelry and electronics in a November burglary spree.
Dandrade was preliminarily arraigned Tuesday on multiple felony counts before District Judge Nancy Matos Gonzalez and committed to Northampton County Prison in lieu of $250,000 bail.
The suspect was arrested on December 7 at Newark Liberty International Airport trying to hop a flight to Puerto Rico to evade police capture. A day earlier, Bethlehem police asked for the public’s help in finding Dandrade.
His alleged victims include his ex-wife, his former father-in-law, two former friends and 10 residence units in three different Lehigh University sorority houses.
Dandrade had once been employed as a janitor for a cleaning contractor that worked in Lehigh residence halls and the suspect knew how to get around the dorm security systems, according to the affidavit.
The burglaries were all committed during November. All 10 of the sorority house burglaries happened over Lehigh’s Thanksgiving break – between November 22nd and 27th.
The affidavit of probable cause says that Dandrade’s live-in girlfriend told them she started to get suspicious because he would go out at night wearing dark clothes and muddy work boots without explanation. And though she knew he had no job, he would often come home with items like jewelry and electronics that she knew he could not afford.
She also told police that she knew he was spending a lot of time at the casino.
A police detective talked to Dandrade on the telephone while conducting a search of his home and interviewing the girlfriend and his son on December 1. The suspect promised to visit Bethlehem police headquarters the next day, but never showed.
Dandrade is charged with 14 counts each of burglary and criminal trespass and one count each of theft and receiving stolen property – all felonies.