WILDWOOD, NJ (WTXF) - The majority of beach homes are empty this time of year and police say one man used that to his advantage.
On a frigid late January day, the waves pound the sand of a deserted North Wildwood beach. The streets are empty, the homes dark, but all is not quiet.
"He makes pancakes with a spatula in your place and uses it to break into other homes?" FOX 29's Jeff Cole asked. "He did. We still don't know how he got into our house," property owner Kelli Martone said.
Martone and her family have owned two floors of a North Wildwood beach home at the corner of Ocean Ave and 5th for about a decade.
They own it, but police say, Peter Visalli has been living there using it as home-base for a crime spree. Police alerted Martone to the squatter.
"Our home had been broken into and somebody had been living there for ten days eating out food, using our shower, sleeping in my bedroom," Martone said.
Investigating a string of burglaries, police say they got their hands on security camera images showing Visali in the area and tracked him to Martone's place and arrested him. They believe he's responsible for 5 burglaries, 3 attempted burglaries and several thefts all done in the vacant beach homes.
Martone says police say Visali made himself fully at home—running the heat at 80 degrees and filling his belly.
"He made those pancakes and used that spatula to actually break in to the place upstairs and was in transit to move up there when he got caught," Martone said.