Back in March, we heard the strange story of Christopher Miller, a 40-year-old NJ man who served 15 years in prison for robbing a shoe store and then attempted to rob that same shoe store the day after he was released from prison. Miller was charged with robbery and is now back in South Woods State prison in Bridgeton, NJ. He expects to cop a plea and serve another 6-7 years in prison. "I didn’t even realize it was the same store until after I got arrested," he explained to the Post from jail.
Miller said when he was released on March 21st, he was given two bus tickets and zero money, and was told to go to Red Bank to meet with his parole officer. He claims the two tickets weren't enough to get him there, and the parole officer was no help over the phone: "He started getting snippy with me. Once you do that, I’m the kind of person that I turn it off. At that point I decided to go look for a place to rob," Miller said.
Adding that he doesn't have any family or friends he's in contact with, Miller says he wandered around on foot for about 20 miles hoping to run into someone he knew. Eventually, he ended up at the Stride Rite shoe store in Toms River—the same place he robbed in 1999. "I hadn’t eaten from the time I left prison, so it was to the point where I was going to rob the place, get some money, get something to eat and a place to stay — or get caught," he said. "One of those two things."
It was the latter thing that happened: Miller ripped the drawer out of the cash register and took the $389 inside. When two employees, including one who was working the day he robbed the store in 1999, refused to go to a backroom or give him their car keys, he took their phones and ran. But because he had blisters on his feet from walking around all day, police caught up to him quickly.
Miller says he didn't realize it was the same place until police started questioning him in custody: "I didn’t recognize her right away," he said of the store manager. "I’m all up in the moment. The detective asked me later, 'Didn’t she look familiar?' I said, 'You know what, it did seem a little déjà vu-ish.'"
Go here to read more about Miller's story, which includes a lot of arrests for petty crimes such as burglary and shoplifting, and lots of time in and out of juvenile facilities and prisons. He says he expects to be in prison the rest of his life, one way or another.
"It was the easiest place to rob the last time, and I guess it was just the easiest place to rob this time," he added, referring to the shoe store. "It was pure coincidence. It seemed kind of funny afterwards."