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Grenade found in Pringles can wasn’t a threat

More than 125 residents of Interfaith Apartments on Mill Street in Middletown were evacuated Tuesday night, July 12, after a grenade was found in one of the apartments.apartment

The grenade was determined to be an inert training device and was safely disposed of by a bomb squad with the Pennsylvania State Police, Middletown Police Chief John Bey told the Press And Journal.

The grenade was found in a can of Pringles potato chips that had been left in the apartment of a former Interfaith resident who had moved out. He is now living in a nursing home in the midstate and receiving hospice care.

The device, referred to as a “pineapple grenade” in a borough police report, was found in the can by an Interfaith maintenance man cleaning out the apartment who immediately called 9-1-1. Borough police were dispatched at 8:26 p.m. and arrived at the scene at 8:28 p.m.

A photo of the grenade taken by borough police was sent to state police, who responded with their bomb squad.grenade fixed

Police also evacuated the eight-story apartment building and blocked off traffic access to the surrounding area.

Interfaith has 135 residents living in 125 apartments, said Mary Martz, who has been manager of the complex for 16 years. This is the first time in her memory that the entire complex has ever had to be evacuated.

“I’ve been in this business for 30 years and I have never heard of anything like this happening,” Martz said. “It gave me a few gray hairs, I can tell you that.”

All but 10 percent of the residents are 62 years of age and older. About 60 percent have to use a walker to some degree, Martz said. Others are in wheelchairs. The oldest resident is 97.

“It was scary at first,” said Margaret Mesaric, who has lived at Interfaith for two years. There was a loud knock on her door, and when she answered a borough police officer told her she had to get out right away. “‘This is serious,’” she recalls the police officer telling her.

Nothing like this had ever happened before since she had been at Interfaith. Some kid had pulled a fire alarm by accident once, but no one had to evacuate.

A staging area for the residents was set up in the Amtrak park and ride lot across Mill Street. The Moose Club next to the lot was also opened up by two club employees who were working late. Residents were invited to go into the club if they needed to sit down or to get some water. Some residents went into the club while others preferred to wait outside, police said.

“They were good people over there,” another resident, Helen Wells, said of the Moose.

Wells has lived at Interfaith for 12 years.

Things could have been much worse. It was a pleasant summer night, with temperatures in the 70s.

“It’s good it wasn’t raining because we would have been drenched,” Mesaric said.

Martz said the residents fared well, under the circumstances.

“No one was afraid,” she said. “They were just curious” because a lot of them didn’t know why they were being evacuated, Martz added.

She and the residents are thankful to the police, the firefighters, and the people from the Moose for how they handled the situation.

“It went very smoothly,” and everyone seemed to know what to do, as if they had drilled for it ahead of time, Martz said.

The grenade was described as being made of metal, with a blue top and a pin through the handle. Bey said the device was found to be inert — not capable of exploding — and had likely been a training prop that the man living in the apartment had collected as a souvenir.

Police do not know how or when the man came to be in possession of the grenade, or how long it had been in the apartment, Bey said.

Residents of Interfaith told the Press And Journal that the man was known for going to Saturday’s Market. He would come back with his walker filled with all kinds of items he had purchased at the market.

Martz, the manager, offered another explanation. The former resident, known as “Gus,” had been in the Air Force and had gotten a Purple Heart — indicating he had been wounded in combat. Born in 1929, Gus was too young for World War II but he might have served in the Korean War.

Martz said she doesn’t know for certain. The man has no local family, which is why after several months it was left to the maintenance man to clean out Gus’s apartment. No one else was available to do it, Martz said.

Cleaning out the apartment took a lot of time because Gus was “a hoarder,” Martz said. Ten years worth of stuff had accumulated, since Gus lived here from 2005 until late 2015.

Martz believes the grenade may somehow be related to Gus’s combat injury, but she has no way of knowing for certain. There are some military-related documents that were taken out of the apartment that may also provide some clues, but no one has been able to go through all of this yet.

The man also had cartridges and shotgun shells that were found in a closet by a bomb-detecting dog provided by Harrisburg police. Police determine these not to be a hazard.

Five borough police officers, including Bey, were involved in the incident and were assisted by borough fire and emergency personnel.

Besides the state police bomb squad and Harrisburg police, Middletown police were also assisted at the scene by police from Steelton, Highspire, Lower Swatara Twp. and Penn State Harrisburg.

Police remained at the scene until 11:28 p.m. The grenade was taken away by state police and Bey said he does not know what they will do with it.

“I’m sure they have a whole stash of those things,” Bey said of the state police bomb squad.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 19 July 2016 15:58

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Lower Swatara Twp. Police News: 7/20/2016

Following is a compilation of reports from the Lower Swatara Twp.
Police Department. Please be aware all those charged/cited
are presumed innocent unless proven otherwise in a court of law.


Cash stolen in burglary

Several hundred dollars in cash and a checkbook were reported stolen during a burglary at a business in the 2000 block of Spring Garden Drive.

AlliedSteel 7 5 16 Burglary

Police report the incident at Allied Steel took place some time between July 5 and 6. Investigators said $435 in cash and a checkbook were stolen from a desk in the business’s financial office. The money and book were in a locked desk that had been forced open, police added.
Police are asking anyone with information about the burglary to contact them at 717-939-0463.


Police are asking the public for help to solve an act of vandalism at a construction site in the 1000 block of Stonebridge Drive.
Investigators said someone drove a vehicle into a building some time on July 9-11, leaving tire tracks on the structure’s new floor. An estimate of damage was not reported to police.
The contractor working at the site contacted the owner about the incident.
Police are asking anyone with information about the vandalism to contact them at 717-939-0463.

Cited public drunkenness

Ashley M. Moyers, 33, of the 100 block of East Water Street, Middletown, has been cited for public drunkenness following an incident at 12:48 a.m. July 11 in the first block of Nissley Drive, police report.
Police were called to investigate a domestic disturbance, and Moyers was questioned by police. The accused had an odor of alcohol on her breath and a breath sample analyzed with a portable Breathalyzer showed the presence of alcohol, police said.
Moyers was taken into custody after arguing with police and taken to the Dauphin County Judicial Center, where she was held for several hours then released.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 19 July 2016 15:54

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Hicks receives probation for Youth Club theft, pays back $8,000

A Middletown woman who almost two years ago was arrested and charged with stealing more than $10,400 from the Middletown Youth Club has been sentenced to three years of probation.HICKS ElizabethWEB

Elizabeth A. Hicks, 33, of the 400 block of Aspen Street, on July 5 pleaded guilty in Dauphin County Court to one count each of theft by unlawful taking, theft by failure to make required disposition of funds, and access device fraud.

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 19 July 2016 15:07

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Lower Swatara Twp. Police News: 7/13/2016

Following is a compilation of reports from the Lower Swatara Twp. Police Department. Please be aware all those charged/cited
are presumed innocent unless
proven otherwise in a court of law.


Simple assault charge

Christian Cordero-Vega, 22, of the 2000 block of Georgetown Rd., Middletown, has been charged with simple assault, harassment following an incident at his home on June 24 at 8:02 p.m.

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 12 July 2016 15:30

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Lower Swatara Twp. Police News: 7/6/2016

Following is a compilation of reports from the Lower Swatara Twp.
Police Department. Please be aware all those charged/cited
are presumed innocent unless proven otherwise in a court of law.

Simple assault,
harassment charges

Marcus A. Adams, 28, of the 300 block of Grubb Street, Middletown, has been charged with simple assault and harassment following a domestic disturbance at the home of his ex-partner on June 27 at 4:38 p.m.
Police said the accused headbutted the 26-year-old township resident three times during an argument at a home in the 200 block of Selma Avenue. The investigating officer said the victim suffered bruising on the left side of her face and above her left eye. The victim told police she didn't want emergency medical services to examine her.
Adams was taken into custody and arraigned at the Dauphin County Judicial Center. He is to appear before District Justice Michael Smith on July 14 for a preliminary hearing.

Charged after crash

Charges have been filed against a Harrisburg man following a one-vehicle crash on June 27 at 1:34 a.m.
Police report Efrain Ramos Galvan, 37, of the 1000 block of Derry Street, Harrisburg, has been charged with DUI, reckless driving, driving without a license, violating a restriction on alcoholic beverage and failure to obey traffic control devices.
Galvan was driving a 2002 Toyota Sienna at a high rate of speed on West Harrisburg Pike and struck a curb at the intersection of West Main and Ann streets and lost control of the van. Galvan was not injured.
The investigating officer said he smelled an odor of alcohol from Galvan’s van. He also said there were several empty bottles of beer and a half-empty bottle of beer in the vehicle. Sobriety tests were given to Galvin but stopped because of the investigating officer’s concern for the accused’s safety.
 Galvin was taken to the Dauphin County Judicial Center on suspicion he was driving while under the influence of intoxicants. Police said Galvin refused to have blood drawn for tests to determine the possible presence of intoxicants.
 Galvin was arraigned and subsequently released on unsecured $5,000 bail. He is to appear before District Justice Michael Smith on July 21 for a preliminary hearing on the charges.

Harassment citation

Chad S. Hastings, 34, of the first block of Nelson Manor Lane, Middletown, has been cited for harassment following a domestic disturbance at his residence on June 23 at 10:09 p.m.
Police said Hastings struck his girl friend in the head during an argument. Reportedly Hastings also suffered some minor injuries during the incident. Both the accused and the victim refused treatment by emergency medical services.

Public drunkenness citation

A citation for public drunkenness has been issued to Catherine J. Warren, 34, of the Woodbury Building, Village of Pineford, Middletown, police report.
 Warren was taken into custody following an investigation of a disturbance at a business in the 1000 block of AIP Drive. on June 23 at 8:09 p.m. Police said Warren was intoxicated and subsequently cited.

Two charged with theft
of leaf blowers

Charges of theft have been filed against two Middletown men involved in the theft of leaf blowers.
Timothy Alexander, 46, and Leslie J. Allen, 50, both of the 20 block of Astor Avenue, each have been charged with two counts of theft, police report.
Investigators said the accused stole Echo and Stihl leaf blowers on June 21 from a McDonald’s restaurant in the 2000 block of West Harrisburg Pike. The machines were owned by a landscaper who had been working at the local restaurant.
Police said the Echo leaf blower was found at the accuseds’ residence and returned to its owner. Reportedly the other machine had been sold by the accused.
Alexander and Allen are scheduled for hearings on the charges on July 28 before District Justice Smith.

Charges of false ID,
drug possession

A routine check of a car’s registration ended in charges of possession of drugs and giving false ID to police being filed against a New Jersey resident.
Police report that Maria M. Edelman, 53, of the 10 block of Country Pine Lane, Egg Harbor, was passenger in a Lincoln Continental stopped on June 19 in the 1000 block of South Eisenhower Boulevard because its registration had expired.
During routine questioning, police discovered that Edelman had given them a false name. Police added Edelman was in possession of several prescription drugs and was unable to prove the medications had been prescribed for her.
Edelman was arraigned during which unsecured bail for $10,000 was set. She is to appear before District Justice Smith on July 7 for a preliminary hearing on the charges.

Weed wacker stolen

A resident of a home in the 500 block of Lumber Street told police a Homelite weed wacker was stolen June 18.
The victim told police the machine, valued at $40, was in his home’s carport at the time the theft.
Police are asking anyone with information about the theft to contact them at 717-939-0463.

Indecent exposure and
public drunkenness charges

Police arrested and charged an area man based on allegations he was exposing his genitals to motorists traveling on South Eisenhower Boulevard.
Brian S. Steltzer, 26, of the 1000 block of Hunter Street, Harrisburg, was arrested and charged on June 16 with indecent exposure and public drunkenness.
Police had been called to the area of South Eisenhower Boulevard at Richardson Road at 9:26 p.m. to investigate a report that a white man was on the side of the road and exposing himself to motorists. While a suspect was not at the scene upon the local officer’s arrival, township police responded to a report of a naked man running from the scene of a single-vehicle crash on Toll House Road near the exit of Pennsylvania 283 in Londonderry Twp. Based on a description of the suspect, township police apprehended Steltzer at the scene. State Police are investigating the crash but have yet to release any details.
Steltzer is to appear before District Justice Michael Smith on July 28 for a preliminary hearing on the charges.

Assault charges

Two township men have been charged for their alleged involvement in an incident that began in Highspire Borough but ended with a traffic stop in the township.
Donyah T. McCalebb, 19, of the 1000 block of Jefferson Drive, has been charged with terroristic threats, conspiracy to commit simple assault and conspiracy to commit harassment, police report.
Police also report Devonte E. Watson-Rodrigues, 23, of the 1000 block of Jefferson Drive, has been charged with simple assault, harassment, careless driving, failure to stop at a stop sign and failure to notify change of address.
The arresting officer said Watson-Rodrigues was the driver of vehicle stopped on June 15 at 5 p.m. in the 1000 block of Market Street Extended. The traffic stop was prompted by police who were assisting Highspire Police in an investigation of a report of assault and threats in the borough. The arresting officer took McCalebb and Watson-Rodrigues into custody following an interview with them.
The accused are scheduled for preliminary hearings on July 27 before Justice Michael Smith.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 05 July 2016 15:54

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