South Brunswick police say officers surprised the alleged burglars at Big Ed's Restaurant on Route 130 Sunday night. But when they went inside to investigate, three suspects fled the scene.
Two eventually were caught with the help of state police and officers from neighboring Cranbury.
But two hours later, officers searching the restaurant's basement found - or rather, heard - 35-year-old Israel Cortes of Ewing sleeping and snoring on top of a large refrigeration unit where he apparently had been hiding.
Police say the suspects had targeted the restaurant to steal its copper pipes.
All three were charged with burglary and related crimes. A fourth suspect remains at large.