Authorities are investigating whether a Mantua man who once wrestled as ‘Reckless Donnie Hart’ was involved with pharmacy robberies in Woolwich and Logan Twps.
By Matt Skoufalos
If there was an element of theater to the June 16 armed robbery of a Haddonfield Rite Aid by a man dressed in construction equipment and carrying a traffic cone, it may be because the suspect arrested in connection with the crime was a sometime semi-professional wrestler.
At 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Cherry Hill police arrested 27-year-old Donald Hart of Mantua for the alleged robbery and subsequent alleged carjacking of a priest in the borough.
Detectives from the Camden County and Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Offices are also investigating whether Hart is the same individual wanted in connection with the robberies of a Logan Township Rite Aid and a CVS in Woolwich Township.
Hart was located thanks to the efforts of a Haddonfield police officer who had been temporarily assigned to the detective unit for this case, said Haddonfield Police Chief Ted Stuessy.
The detective “had cultivated some intelligence,” and saw the vehicle believed to have been used as a getaway car in the Haddonfield robbery, Stuessy said. The detective then followed Hart to a convenience store parking lot in Cherry Hill, and waited for local police to make the arrest. Stuessy said Hart was taken into custody without incident.
DNA evidence in the vehicle matched Hart, according to a statement from the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office, and he was subsequently charged with robbery, carjacking, aggravated assault, and weapons offenses. Hart was remanded to the Camden County Jail in lieu of $315,000 bail.
“It was very good closure,” Stuessy said. “Our detectives never let the case go.”
‘A good kid with no direction’
Danny Cage, owner of The Monster Factory wrestling gym in Paulsboro, said that his organization hadn’t worked with Hart in a year or two because “he was having trouble listening to us and the direction we wanted him to take in pro wrestling.”
But as the man who gave him the nickname “Reckless Donnie Hart,” Cage said that the accused “was a little out of control.
“In the ring, he was reckless to the point where he was dangerous,” Cage said. “At heart he was a good kid, but he was just a kid, it seemed. I think he was more in love with the idea [of being a wrestler]than the work.”
Cage also offered another theory on the elaborate costuming that Hart is alleged to have worn in the robbery.
“I think he’s so big he had to cover up,” Cage said, “plus he has tattoos all over and a Mohawk. You’d have to put on the big raincoat to cover up the tattoos and all the other stuff.”
Cage also remarked that Hart had attempted to reconnect with him in the past month, but that they never solidified plans to meet up. He described Hart as “a good kid” with “no direction.”
Hearing the news of his arrest “was kind of a shock, but not a shock,” Cage said.
All persons charged with criminal offenses are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law. An arrest is not a conviction.