MERRICK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Footprints in the snow helped Nassau County police catch a man they say was breaking into cars.

Investigators say they found Gregory Jackson, 18, of Brooklyn, hiding behind a bush in Merrick.

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Police received a phone called early Thursday morning about suspicious activity on Central Avenue. The caller reported seeing the footprints around vehicles that had their doors open.

“Police officers did a phenomenal job. They were actually able to track this individual by looking at his footprints. They tracked him for hundreds and hundreds of feet — to the point that they found him,” Nassau County Police Lt. Richard Lebrun said.

Gregory Jackson

Gregory Jackson faces 13 counts of grand larceny and other charges. (credit: Nassau County Police)

When Jackson was arrested, he had stolen credit cards and driver licenses on him, police said. They believe he’s responsible for more than a dozen car and house break-ins since May from Merrick to Hicksville to Greenvale and Old Brookville.

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Jackson is charged with 13 counts of fourth-degree grand larceny, second-degree burglary, eight counts of petit larceny and third-degree criminal trespass. He pleaded not guilty.

According to court records, he admitted it’s him on multiple surveillance tapes. He says he was looking for money.

Grateful neighbors said it’s a lesson learned.

“I’m glad they got him. I mean I checked my cars, I was fine,” said one man.

Laura Asch said she sometimes leaves her car unlocked, but won’t be anymore.

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The humble resident who alerted police says it was just the right time for a snowfall and he’s glad he could help stop a one-man crime spree, with an assist from Mother Nature.