Vehicle Thefts In Reading At 10-Year Low

A decade after vehicle thefts became an epidemic in Reading, police say the crime is on a pace to reach a 10-year low.

As of the end of July, 170 vehicles had been stolen in the city this year, compared to 246 at the same point last year, said Officer Keith Merkel, one of three city policemen assigned full time to a state police regional auto theft task force.

But Merkel isn’t ready to pop champagne corks. He noted August and September were the busiest months for vehicle thefts in the city last year.

While auto thefts have declined locally and nationally in recent years, car thefts actually spiked in Reading in 2012.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=504178

Off-Duty Bethlehem Police Officer Charged With DUI After Crash

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northampton C...

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northampton County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

An off-duty Bethlehem police officer was charged Wednesday with drunken driving, six days after he flipped his sport utility vehicle and crashed into three parked cars, according to city police.

Richard M. Hoffman, 34, had a blood-alcohol content of 0.16 percent, twice the state’s legal limit to drive, and admitted he had been drinking before he plowed into the cars at East Broad and High streets, police said.

Although the crash happened early in the morning of Aug. 8, Bethlehem police officials released no details about the crash until Wednesday, saying they needed the complete accident report before filing charges.

Hoffman is on paid administrative suspension with the department pending the outcome of the criminal charges against him, which include the highest rate of drunken driving, drunken driving and careless driving, according to police Chief Jason Schiffer. Police are also conducting an internal investigation, Schiffer said.

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/news/breaking/mc-t-bethlehem-police-officer-dui-crash-richard-ho-20130814,0,542254.story#ixzz2bzsFJTlX
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Feds: Hughestown Cop Sold Drugs On Duty

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When federal agents confronted Hughestown police officer Robert F. Evans Jr. on Thursday about dealing powerful painkillers while on duty and in full uniform, he told them he wanted to cooperate.

Evans admitted obtaining oxycodone pills from a friend and through a prescription, selling the pills over the past year, and driving a client to Wilkes-Barre in a Hughestown police cruiser so the client could buy illegal drugs, according to an affidavit released Friday by the FBI after agents charged the officer.

Read the affidavit

“I dealt pills with a gun on my hip,” Evans told investigators, the affidavit said.

Read more:   http://citizensvoice.com/news/feds-hughestown-cop-sold-drugs-on-duty-1.1530751

Wernersville Man Killed In Shootout With Police

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A Wernersville man was killed Saturday night after a shootout with Western Berks Regional Police officers in the borough.

Trooper David Beohm of the state police identified the man as Jonathan David Rutkowski, 20, after contacting family this morning.  He was pronounced dead at the scene by members of the Berks County Coroner’s office.  An autopsy is scheduled for today.

The incident began just before 8 p.m. Saturday in the first block of East Washington Avenue when residents reported seeing a man walking in the street with two guns stuck in his pants.

After several encounters with police, Rutkowski did not comply with orders and continued to point the guns at officers, Beohm said.  He was fatally shot along the Norfolk Southern tracks off of South Church Street.

Read more:   http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=497135

Two Stabbed, One Critically, In Fight At Pittsburgh ‘South Side’ Bar

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its nei...

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its neighborhoods labeled. For use primarily in the list of Pittsburgh neighborhoods. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

An altercation at Levelz Sports Lounge in the South Side early today led to one man being critically stabbed and another having his hand cut when he tried to intervene, Pittsburgh police reported.

The suspect in the stabbings, Manuel Carde Freiria, 40, of South Side, was taken into custody by both on-duty and off-duty police officers, said police spokeswoman Diane Richard.

According to a criminal complaint, witnesses saw Mr. Freiria stab Jay Barbour, an off-duty Levelz employee, during a scuffle that occurred after Mr. Barbour asked Mr. Carde Freiria not to smoke inside of the establishment.  Mr. Barbour was stabbed in the abdomen so severely that witnesses saw him holding his entrails to his body.  He was transferred to Mercy Hospital in critical condition.

The second victim, Seth Edmunds, was stabbed in the right hand trying to break up the fight. He also was treated at Mercy.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/neighborhoods-city/two-stabbed-one-critically-in-fight-at-south-side-bar-697106/#ixzz2aIg5Scxn

Amity Police Officer’s Theft Case Moves To County Court

Location of West Pottsgrove Township in Montgo...

Location of West Pottsgrove Township in Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

POTTSTOWN — A suspended Amity police officer will head to Montgomery County Court after a district judge ruled there was adequate evidence to keep all three theft-related charges against the officer.

Glenn Oesterling, 35, a corporal with the Amity Police Department, was stopped on June 18 after allegedly trying to walk out of the Giant Food Store in Upland Square without paying for his groceries.

Oesterling was charged with one misdemeanor count of retail theft, one misdemeanor count of receiving stolen property and one summary county of retail theft.

During Oesterling’s preliminary hearing Thursday morning in front of District Judge Scott T. Palladino, two asset protection officers from the supermarket testified that they saw Oesterling placing grocery items in blue, resealable freezer bags on June 12 and June 18, then bypassing the check-out aisles and walking out of the store.

Read more:   http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130726/NEWS01/130729575/amity-police-officer-s-theft-case-moves-to-county-court#full_story

Fired West Reading Officer Cleared Of Harassment

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Former West Reading Police Officer Ronald E. Ladd has been cleared of a harassment charge stemming from the altercation last August that resulted in his firing.

The ruling, issued Friday by Berks County Judge Timothy J. Rowley, overturned Ladd’s November conviction, which carried a $300 fine and courts costs.

“I’m thankful,” Ladd said Monday of his successful appeal. “Very thankful for the judge to be able to look at this unbiased, and deep in my heart I knew that eventually justice would be served.  And I’m just very thankful.”

Despite the good news in court, Ladd remains without a job a week after West Reading’s Civil Service Commission upheld his November firing from the borough force.

Read more:   http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=494617

Teen Hero Chris Garcia On Rescue Of 5-Year-Old Abduction Victim: ‘My Mom Always Said To Help People’

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When Chris Garcia was younger, he wanted to be a police officer or an FBI agent.

“It’s really cool to crack cases and be a good person,” said Chris, who accomplished both feats July 11 when he helped save a 5-year-old girl after she was abducted from outside her grandmother’s home in Lancaster Township.

Now the 13-year-old has career aspirations that include being a pro football player or a mechanical engineer.

But he will always be a good person, thanks to his upbringing.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/874775_Teen-hero-Chris-Garcia-on-rescue-of-5-year-old-abduction-victim—My-mom-always-said-to-help-people-.html#ixzz2Zn78iZIZ

Panel Upholds Firing Of Ex-West Reading Police Officer

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It was quick, to the point, and for many in attendance at the West Reading Fire Department, it didn’t come as much of a surprise.

Following a hearing that began in February and concluded in May, a three-member Civil Service Commission ruled Wednesday night to uphold the borough’s November firing of former police Officer Ronald E. Ladd.

“I think the evidence in its totality convinced us,” commission member Stephen F. DeLucas said afterward of the decision.

DeLucas was referring to testimony and other accounts of the Aug. 31 altercation between Ladd and former police Chief Edward C. Fabriziani, whom Ladd is accused of assaulting in the chief’s office that summer day.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=493750

Amity Cop Charged With Stealing From Supermarket

Location of West Pottsgrove Township in Montgo...

Location of West Pottsgrove Township in Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  I hope this isn’t what it appears to be 😦

AMITY TOWNSHIP, PA — A township police officer has been suspended without pay after he was charged with retail theft for allegedly stealing more than $300 worth of food and merchandise from a Giant food store on two separate occasions.

Glenn Oesterling, 35, a veteran corporal with the Amity Police Department, reportedly walked out of the Upland Square Giant on both June 12 and June 18 without paying for the merchandise he allegedly put into blue reusable shopping bags in the shopping cart he was pushing.

According to a criminal complaint filed by West Pottsgrove Police, a loss prevention officer with Giant observed a man leave the store on June 12 without paying for six items worth $38.04 in the reusable bags.

The loss prevention officer used store surveillance footage to confirm what the items were and that the man “bypass(ed) all points of sale,” the complaint states.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130708/NEWS01/130709443/amity-cop-charged-with-stealing-from-supermarket#full_story

Man Found Shot To Death In Reading Alley

A man believed to be in his early twenties was found shot to death early this morning in a rear alley in northeast Reading by a city police officer who was investigating a report of a possible burglary, detectives said.

The officer went to the 1100 block of Birch Street just after 4 and found a broken window in the rear door facing the concrete alley that runs parallel to both Birch and North 12th streets, investigators said.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=491034

Reading’s New Spokes-Men: Police Expand Bicycle Patrols

Editor’s note:  We like this!!  Get those guys out there and visible.  It really is a crime deterrent!!

Six police officers in bright yellow shirts quietly pedaled through a courtyard toward Penn Street, emerging onto the sidewalk and startling pedestrians.

Several passers-by smiled at the men’s sudden appearance and one guy yelled out, “Hey, you look good!”

The officers were part of the Reading Police Department’s newly expanded bicycle patrols.

Eight officers were certified for the duty in May at the Reading Police Academy, bringing the total of certified bicycle officers to 30.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=490247

Charleroi Regional Ousts Police Officer

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Washington County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Washington County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Charleroi Regional Police Board on Wednesday terminated the employment of part-time police Officer Steve Kenyon, citing “conduct unbecoming an officer,” according to two board members.

Acting upon the recommendation of its personnel committee, the board ousted Kenyon behind a 6-1 vote. Kenyon will receive a letter informing him of the decision.

The board had removed Kenyon from the work schedule in May after his girlfriend was arrested and charged with possession of drug paraphernalia while parked in Kenyon’s private vehicle in Charleroi.

Read more: http://triblive.com/neighborhoods/yourmonvalley/yourmonvalleymore/4225808-74/charleroi-board-officer#ixzz2WrvY0X7B
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Search For New West Reading Police Chief Continues

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The search for a new West Reading police chief continues, with borough officials confirming Tuesday that they’re reviewing applicants to fill the position left open by former Chief Edward C. Fabriziani’s move back to patrolman.

“We’re moving forward,” Council President Kevin M. Conrad said of the hiring process, which he refused to put a timeline on.

Borough Manager Richard J. Sichler declined to say how many resumes had been received.

However, when reached after the meeting, Sgt. Keith Phillips, acting police chief, said that he had interviewed for the chief’s position.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=485593

COPS Funds Pose Quandary For Reading Police Department

A big new batch of federal grant money is available to police departments that want to hire more officers, but the strings attached to it make it uncertain whether Reading will apply.
Reading Police Chief William M. Heim said the city is eligible to apply for Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) funds from the U.S. Department of Justice for the first time since 2009, when it received $1 million.

A review of grant program rules posted online indicates the city might be able to apply for partial funding of as many as eight police officer positions. Heim said he will be looking at the rules in the coming week.

Law enforcement funding was a big issue at the Berks-Reading crime summit in January, and the COPS application deadline is May 22.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=473304

BOSTON BOMB SUSPECT IS CAPTURED

BOSTON — The teenage suspect in the marathon bombings, whose flight from the police after a furious gunfight early Friday morning sparked an intense manhunt that virtually shut down the entire Boston metropolitan area all day, was taken into custody Friday night after the police found him hiding in a boat in the backyard of a house in Watertown, Mass., a senior law enforcement official said.

Two law enforcement officials said that the suspect, Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, 19, was found in a boat parked behind a house there.  It was not immediately clear what condition he was in.

A police officer at the scene said that the man was covered in blood when he was captured.  An ambulance was already there. The Boston Police Department announced on Twitter:  “Suspect in custody.  Officers sweeping the area.”  And Mayor Thomas M. Menino posted, “We got him.”

As around 30 law enforcement officers — wearing helmets — walked away from the scene of what had been a tense standoff only minutes earlier, neighbors who had gathered on an adjacent street applauded and shouted, “Thank you! Thank you!”

Read more:  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/20/us/boston-marathon-bombings.html?hp&_r=0

Chester Mayor Shakes Up Police Department

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Delaware County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Delaware County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  This will never happen in Pottstown, sigh…..

In something of a leadership shake-up, Chester Mayor John Linder has replaced three of his highest level police officers with three formerly lower-ranking lawmen.

In addition, the mayor announced Tuesday that he has created a police narcotics task force and beefed up highway patrol.

Linder, who also is the city’s public safety director, said the personnel moves are part of the changes and on-going assessment he vowed when he took office last year.

“I saw some areas I wanted to change, and the only way to change things was to move (personnel) around,” Linder said Tuesday.

Read more:

http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20130402_Chester_mayor_shakes_up_police_department.html

Fired West Reading Chief Coming Back As Patrolman, Sources Say

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  We think this is a bad idea…just sayin’.

West Reading’s fired Police Chief Edward C. Fabriziani will return to the force as a patrolman in a deal being ironed out by borough officials, borough sources said.

Fabriziani, who was fired in November, is listed on the patrol schedule starting in April to cover other officers’ vacations, according to borough sources.

Borough council is expected to vote on the matter either at its regular March meeting or at a special meeting.

Fabriziani could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=455592

 

Northern Berks Regional To Cut 1 Officer, Keep 2 Older Cars

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bowing to pressure to cut costs, the Northern Berks Regional Police Commission is going to trim one police officer and forgo plans to replace two of the department’s older cars.

The commission unanimously approved a $1.95 million budget Wednesday that keeps spending at 2012 levels and is nearly $290,000 less than the draft version presented earlier this month.

The police commission, composed of elected officials from Ontelaunee and Maidencreek townships and Leesport, said the municipalities could not afford to pay more for police coverage in 2013 and earlier this month asked the department to find places to cut costs.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=439234

Driver Killed In Reading Crash

A city man was killed Thursday when he drove through a red light on Schuylkill Avenue at Buttonwood Street while talking on a cellphone and his car was hit broadside by a work van, authorities said.

Jose E. DeJesus Garcia, 53, who investigators said lived in the northwestern area of the city not far from the crash site, was pulled from the car by a nearby resident as the vehicle caught fire following the 8:25 a.m. accident.  He died before police arrived.

Within minutes, police vehicles, firetrucks and ambulances filled a one-block area that was strewn with mangled vehicle parts.  Firefighters quickly put out the burning car.

City detectives and evidence technicians responded along with patrol officers.  The intersection was closed nearly four hours, slowing commuter traffic on other routes.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/Article.aspx?id=432081