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Java Joint Burglary: Suspect In Custody in Georgia, Wanted on Numerous Break-Ins

| August 8, 2015

java joint flagler beach

The Java Joint, a popular coffee house and restaurant, has been operating in Flagler Beach for a decade. (Sam Feltus)

A 52-year-old resident of Jacksonville who’s been sitting in a county jail in Georgia on a burglary charge for the past 39 days was tied to a burglary at Java Joint, the restaurant in Flagler Beach, in late June. County Judge Melissa Moore Stens on Aug. 5 issued a warrant for the arrest of Joseph C. Hodge, who’s wanted in numerous jurisdictions for burglaries.

Hodge was jailed in Ware County, Ga., on June 30, on $20,000 bond, nine days after the Java Joint burglary, on a second-degree burglary charge, as well as on a burglary charge stemming from an incident and an arrest warrant issued by Charlton County, Ga. Hodge is also considered a suspect in burglaries in Jacksonville Beach, Gainesville, Nassau County (in Florida) and Camden County, Ga., according to the Flagler Beach Police Department.

Joseph C. Hodge

Joseph C. Hodge

The Flagler Beach Police Department had issued a bulletin seeking information on a suspect caught on surveillance cameras at Java Joint.
“Captain Jones from Charlton County (Sheriff’s Office), Georgia contacted our agency and advised that he’d seen our bulletin and believed that our suspect was in custody in Ware County,” Flagler Beach Police Capt. Matt Doughney said in a release issued by his agency. “The investigation progressed after hearing from Captain Jones and we’re thankful to all of our Law Enforcement partners for helping us with this case.”

Hodge’s arrest mugshot in Georgia showed him with a pair of glasses slung on the neck of his t-shirt–a pair similar to the one the suspect appears to have slung on his shirt in the surveillance images from the Java Joint burglary.

The previous story is below.

Java Joint in Flagler Beach Struck in Midnight Burglary, Losing $1,000 and Cash Register

June 23–When Java Joint owner John Zappas got to work early Sunday morning, the front door to the popular beachside coffee house and restaurant in Flgler Beach was open, and the cash register was missing. So was just over $1,0000, not counting the value of the $250 register.

Some $50 of that missing cash was in a doggie donation box by the front door. The rest of the money was taken from a hidden lock box.

Security cameras captured the burglary, which took place, according to the time stamp on the video footage, at 11:53 p.m. on June 20 (Saturday). The footage shows a white male at the front door of Java Joint,  wearing a light-colored t-shirt,  dark shorts and sneakers. He had short hair, looked about 250 pounds, and had what appears to be reading glasses hanging on the collar of his shirt. (See an image of the suspect in the flier embedded at the foot of the story.)

The suspect is seen in the footage looking into the Java Joint before reaching under his shirt and pulling out a black pry bar about a foot long, according to a Flagler Beach Police Department incident report. He then starts prying at the door. Every time a vehicle drove by on State Road A1A, the man crouched. (The Java Joint is about a floor higher than street level, accessed through a wooden ramp.)

java joint burglar

The burglar. See more images below. Click on the image for larger view.

The burglar is eventually able to pry open the door, and when he enters, he heads straight for the cash register, suggesting that he may have been familiar with the coffee house. He tries to open the register, fails, then reaches for the lock-box, opens it, and removes its contents before rummaging through several drawers next to the cash register. He then picks up the register and the doggie donation box, walks out the front door, walks south then west, toward the back side of the business.

A Flagler Beach police officer was able to lift eight latent prints off the outside and inside of the front door of the business, but was unable lift usable prints off the lock-box or any other items that the suspect touched while in the Java Joint. “A canvass of the surrounding area and beach yielded negative results for any further information,” the officer reported. “I also spoke with several neighbors in the surrounding area who did not have any further information or see any suspicious activity.”

The Java Joint opened under different ownership in June 2005 and has been operating at 2201 North Ocean Shore Boulevard since.

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8 Responses for “Java Joint Burglary: Suspect In Custody in Georgia, Wanted on Numerous Break-Ins”

  1. Bob says:

    Doesn’t look like a typical thief. Probably some guy who lives in the neighborhood trying to pick up a little extra cash.

    • The Geode says:

      …and WHAT does a “typical thief” looks like and WHY does this particular guy gets a pass in the form of “trying to pick up a little cash”? Take your time, I’ll patiently await your answer. (even though I think I know why)

      • Geezer says:

        He wasn’t expecting a chubby, paunchy grandpa type for a perpetrator.
        Maybe he was expecting Cary Grant as a cat burglar.

        A tux would have been nice.

  2. blondee says:

    Offer enough of a reward and his own buddies will probably turn him in.

  3. NortonSmitty says:

    As long a we hav walked uright we have had petty theft and always will. Sory for your loss, will try to get up the ten blocks to mitigate your loss. But this is not news. Well, not new anyhow.

  4. Roscoe says:

    From the looks of that guy, I would of figured he would have headed to the freezer for cases of steaks and hamburgers…Then we could have called him the ” Hamburglar ” !!!!

  5. Gkimp says:

    Good job FBPD!

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