Admitted burglar surrenders at Pa. TV station

August 31, 2012 (WYNNEFIELD HEIGHTS, Pa.)

Police in Upper Merion Township in Montgomery County had been looking for the man who had been burglarizing gas stations.

On Monday, 6abc aired surveillance footage of the crimes. Then on Thursday afternoon, a 41-year-old man came to the 6abc studios on City Avenue in Philadelphia, saying that he is the guy in the footage and wanted to turn himself in.

"I basically came here to turn myself in to the proper authorities because I did something and I'm regretting it," the man said.

His name is Anthony Thomas of the West Oak Lane section of Philadelphia. He says his mother was watching 6abc's Action News Monday and saw the surveillance footage of the burglaries from last week at the Gulph Mills Sunoco and the Exxon stations on Henderson and South Gulph Roads.

Police said the burglar smashed windows and stole cigarettes and lottery tickets.

Thomas says the guy in the video looked very familiar to his mother, and she called him to say so.

"My mother told me she seen it. And she told me that I better turn myself in because if I don't do so, she was going to do it," he said.

"I just want to apologize to the people of Upper Merion for the crime I did," he added, "And to my mother and my family for disrespecting them, disappointing them."

Thomas was asked why he did it.

"When you got these drugs inside of you, you're not thinking straight, you'll do anything for that," he said.

Before Thomas was taken into custody by police, he told us he's not a career criminal. Thomas does not have a record. He says he's a decent person with a drug problem. He showed off pictures of his favorite hobby, making sand sculptures down at the Jersey shore.

"I felt like coming in," he said. "Channel 6, it would be easier, maybe they'd get it, give people a chance to look at me and see something inside of me, other than this bad stuff."

Southwest detectives in Philadelphia interviewed the man and said he has, in fact, no criminal history, and that he is prepared to confess to Montgomery County detectives.

On Friday morning, Upper Merion police said Thomas had been formally charged with burglary, theft and related offenses.

Copyright © 2023 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.