Dropped Folder Leads Police to Suspected Burglar
Officers say he confessed to entering Plymouth Meeting home.
Police have arrested a 20-year-old man they believe twice burglarized a Plymouth Meeting home, after they say he dropped a folder with his name on it near the crime scene.
Eric Anders Viola, of the 700 block of Erlen Road, Plymouth Meeting, was taken into custody on Saturday, Aug. 25, and charged with multiple felony counts of burglary and trespassing after police say he entered a home on the 800 block of his own street. Court records show that this is the third time Viola has been arrested on burglary or theft charges, and that he was out on bail when the alleged crime occurred.
At approximately 7:47 p.m. on Aug. 25, a female resident of the burglarized house called police after she returned home to find a window removed from her garage and heard noises coming from the back of the house. A Plymouth police K9 unit responded to the scene and searched the residence, and also followed a scent trail from the home to Virginia Road, where it ended.
In an ensuing investigation, police determined that a silverware set had been removed from the dining room area and found a fork on the floor of the kitchen, and also discovered that items had been removed from an upstairs bedroom. Police also learned that the home had previously been burglarized in 2011. Upon searching the exterior of the house near the likely point of entry, police say they found a school-style folder that contained a number of documents with Viola's name.
Police then went to Viola's residence, where they began to speak with Viola and found him to be extremely nervous. Viola's mother shortly arrived at the residence, and gave officers permission to search the home, although Viola then told them they could not, police said. Due to the dispute, police secured the home as a detective prepared a search warrant, which was signed by district justice Henry Shireson.
Police say that Viola was given the opportunity to show police any items stolen from the burglary, but pointed to a silverware set that his mother stated was hers. Upon a further search of the house, police say they found the following items in Viola's bedroom:
- 7 sterling silver spoons
- 8 sterling silver dessert forks
- 8 large sterling silver spoons
- 8 small sterling silver spoons
- 8 sterling silver knives
- 3 sterling silver serving spoons
- 3 sterling silver dishes
- 1 silver bracelet
- 1 gold ring with a red stone
- 1 gold ring with a blue stone
- 1 gold ring with a white stone
- 1 gold bracelet with two gold charms (one etched with "John Frederick 8/14/65")
The victim later identified all but two of the items as belonging to her, including several that had disappeared after the 2011 burglary of her home. The woman did not say that silver dishes or the gold ring with a white stone were hers.
Viola was taken into custody at the scene. During an ensuing interview, police say Viola admitted to entering the home, taking the items, and then fleeing through the rear parking area of the Valley Shopping Center upon seeing the headlights of the victim's vehicle.
According to court records, Viola was charged with burglary, two counts of felony criminal trespassing, theft by unlawful taking, and receiving stolen property. He was then committed to Montgomery County Prison after he was unable to post a $75,000 bail.