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.

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.

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.

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.


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