Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina announced that a 44-year-old Westampton Township man has been indicted for breaking into the home of his elderly next-door neighbors last summer, attacking them in their bedroom and then driving off in their vehicle.
A grand jury returned an indictment yesterday charging Rhys R. Lershe with Attempted Murder (First Degree), Robbery (First Degree), two counts of Aggravated Assault (Second Degree), Burglary (Second Degree), Terroristic Threats (Third Degree), Burglary (Third Degree), Theft by Unlawful Taking (Third Degree) and Endangering Another Person (Third Degree).
The indictment was signed by Prosecutor Coffina. An arraignment will be scheduled soon in Superior Court. Lershe remains in the Burlington County Jail in Mount Holly.
The investigation began on August 4 when the couple called police at approximately 12:30 a.m. and reported the assaults and theft.
The investigation revealed that Lershe entered their residence through a second-story bedroom window and demanded the keys to their 2014 black Kia Optima. He then assaulted the couple before leaving in the car. The victims were transported to Cooper University Hospital in Camden and admitted for treatment.
Lershe was arrested the following day by the Millville Police Department at a residence in Cumberland County. He was still in possession of the stolen Kia when apprehended.
The incident was investigated by the Westampton Township Police Department and the Prosecutor’s Office, with assistance from the Moorestown Township Police Department, Mount Laurel Police Department and Willingboro Police Department.
The indictment was presented to the grand jury by Assistant Prosecutor Brandon Almeida.
An indictment is an accusation. Defendants are presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty.