Gotcha! Ex-Con's Facebook, Instagram Pages Lead To Arrest In Lodi, Elmwood Park Armed Robberies

His social profiles helped investigators identify a convicted armed robber as the gunman who they said held up a convenience store in Lodi and pistol-whipped a Chinese restaurant worker during another robbery in Elmwood Park.

Michael Stuart
Michael Stuart Photo Credit: FACEBOOK / MUGSHOT

Michael Stuart, 48, used a revolver to rob a 7-Eleven on Route 46 in Lodi shortly before 2:30 a.m. on April 26, authorities charged.

Using the same gun, car and clothing, Stuart held up the Garden China Restaurant on Broadway in Elmwood Park on May 10, exactly two weeks later, a complaint on file in Superior Court in Hackensack says.

Stuart, most recently of East Orange, is seen on security video pointing the revolver at multiple victims, repeatedly demanding money and hitting one of them in the head, causing an injury, in that holdup, the complaint says.

The worker told police that Stuart hit her after she accidentally dropped the cash, leaving her with a gash on the back of her head. She declined medical attention, however.

Investigators also reviewed surveillance video in and around both businesses and checked area license-plate readers to home in on Stuart and his Honda sedan, the complaint says.

A check of Stuart's public social media pages found that he "fit the physical description of the suspect in both armed robberies," it notes.

Not only that -- the robber's voice recorded on the security footage is "strikingly similar" to Stuart's as it's heard in a public Facebook video posted on Oct. 19, 2019, according to the complaint.

Armed with a warrant, investigators traced Stuart's phone history between both robberies and what was then his Paterson neighborhood, it says.

They arrested him last Thursday on a host of charges -- among them, multiple counts each of robbery, aggravated assault and illegal weapons possession, including being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm.

A judge later refused to grant Stuart's release, keeping him in the Bergen County Jail.

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