SOUTH BRUNSWICK — A dry, warm jail cell never felt so good.

That's where 47-year-old George Pesavage Jr., of Flemington, will be spending a few days after police rescued the bleeding, freezing burglary suspect from an 8-foot snow pile.

Police say Pesavage broke into a Viking Buy-Rite Wine and Liquor on Route 1 about 1:45 a.m. Friday after the year's first major snow storm.

By the time the store owner and police rushed to answer the burglar alarm, the crook was gone.

About a half hour later, a police officer in his cruiser spotted a head poking out from a snow pile.

Police say it was Pesavage, who was soaking wet from the snow and had two bags at his feet with the booze, cigarettes, a lighter and lottery tickets that he had stolen.

Pesavage's frostbitten hands were bleeding from cuts he got from breaking the store's glass door, police said.

“The man was saved by being arrested," police Chief Raymond Hayducka said. "The freezing temperatures had already started to lower his body temperature when officers located him. The officers’ fast response and detailed search resulted in locating the stolen items and saving this man’s life.”

Police said Pesavage told them that he was freezing and that he "had just blown his chance of winning the lottery," according to a statement released Friday by the department.

Pesavage was hospitalized and treated for hypothermia and numerous cuts. He was then taken to the Middlesex County jail in North Brunswick after being charged with burglary and criminal mischief.

Police said Pesavage stole $650 worth of goods but the damage he caused to the store will cost an estimated $2,000.

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Sergio Bichao is deputy digital editor at New Jersey 101.5. Send him news tips: Call 609-438-1015 or email

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