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Copper burglar suspect arrested

A man believed responsible for “the vast majority” of copper burglaries from vacant homes in Middletown over the past several months has been arrested by borough police — along with a woman who police say aided the man in at least one of the thefts.jamesgoodlingWEB2James Goodling

James J. Goodling, 43, of Caravan Court, was arrested on Wednesday, Nov. 9, and charged with four of the 14 copper burglaries that have occurred. He was placed in Dauphin County Prison after being unable to post $10,000 bail. A preliminary hearing is set for Nov. 18 before District Judge David Judy. 

Police believe Goodling will eventually “be linked to the vast majority” of the 14 copper burglaries, Chief John Bey told the Press And Journal on Nov. 10.

The four burglaries Goodling is charged with occurred on Aug. 8, Sept. 5, Sept. 19 and Oct. 21, according to online court records. All four were vacant homes in the north side of Middletown, according to a press release put out by borough police on Nov. 9. 

Goodling has not confessed to any of the copper burglaries involving homes south of Main Street in Middletown — one of which occurred at a home on Race Street just a few doors up from the police station at Race and Emaus streets.

The 14 copper burglaries are among over 20 burglaries of homes throughout Middletown that have occurred since June. Police are investigating whether any of these other burglaries — beyond the 14 involving the theft of copper from vacant homes — can be linked to Goodling.

Goodling committed the thefts to support his heroin habit, Bey said. He would get about $80 by pawning the copper that he stole from each residence, police said.

The copper burglaries — most of which Goodling has yet to be charged with — were occurring about once a week. Police believe that Goodling was breaking into vacant homes and stealing just enough copper piping to support his heroin habit for a week, before he would need to find another home to break into, Bey said.

Goodling did not have a vehicle and committed the break-ins on foot. He would place the stolen copper in a duffel bag that he carried around with him, Bey said.

Goodling’s alleged crime wave shows how much cheaper it is to support a heroin habit today than in the past. In this area today a heroin habit can be supported by just $10 to $20 a day, compared to as much as $100 a day years ago, according to Richard Brandt, who in July retired as police chief of Lower Swatara Township. 

Goodling may have only been getting $80, but the 14 break-ins have caused thousands of dollars in damage to the vacant homes, police said.

In just the four vacant properties that Goodling has been charged with, the estimated damage from the break-ins totals more than $12,000, police said.

Police had been investigating the copper thefts for months. Many of the thefts were discovered by police checking utility records and then going to vacant properties where the water and electricity had been turned off. In September, police announced a $2,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the copper culprits.

Police had several suspects, but the break leading to Goodling came after police received a report of a table saw being stolen Oct. 21 from a residence in the 300 block of East High Street that was being renovated to be sold. 

The saw was pawned at a pawn shop on Walnut Street in Harrisburg. Documents from the transaction identified the seller as Danae Leeann Fox, 48, of the first block of Hummel Lane in Middletown, whom police say drove Goodling to the pawn shop. Video surveillance from the pawn shop also showed Fox with an unidentified male who turned out to be Goodling, police said. 

A search warrant of Goodling’s residence uncovered evidence tying Goodling to the four break-ins. “More (of the break-ins) will be solved as detectives sort through the evidence collected” from Goodling’s residence, police said in the press release said.

Fox was also arrested on Wednesday, Nov. 9, and has been charged with conspiracy to commit burglary, receiving stolen property, and theft by deception. She was freed after posting $25,000 unsecured bail and her preliminary hearing is set for Nov. 28.

Otherwise, the investigation into the copper burglaries is still ongoing and the $2,000 reward is still available, Bey said. Anyone with information is asked to call Middletown police at 717-902-0627 or 717-558-6900.

Police also advise residents “remain vigilant in reporting any suspicious activity in neighborhoods containing vacant houses.”

Last Updated on Tuesday, 15 November 2016 15:06

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Man faces charges after owner catches him breaking into his car

A Lower Swatara Township was caught breaking into a car at Schiavoni Park in August, and now faces charges from the incident, police reported.

Shelby Miller, of the 400 block of Hollywood Drive in Lower Swatara, faces charges of theft from a motor vehicle, criminal mischief, disorderly conduct-hazardous/physically offensive conduct and public drunkenness.

Miller approached the car’s owner, who was preparing to take rafts on the Swatara Creek with his wife and sister at about 8:45 p.m. Aug. 14, according to the affidavit of probable cause. Miller asked to go along with them, but the car owner refused. 

The man said that when they got to Schiavoni Park, he heard his car alarm going off, and found his 2016 Honda Accord with a broken driver’s side window and Miller in the vehicle, rummaging through belongings, according to the affidavit. Miller was wearing the man’s sunglasses atop his head, the affidavit said.

The car owner confronted Miller and “became threatened,” the affidavit said. He then wrestled Miller to the ground, struggled with him, and then held him there until Hummelstown Police arrived at the scene, the affidavit said.

Police found Miller was carrying two Samsung Galaxy S6 phones valued at $699 each, $26 cash and a pair of sunglasses valued at $17. The car owner’s wallet was not located. Police said there was a minimum of $1,000 damage to the car, including the broken window, dented door and fender. 

Miller is scheduled to appear for a preliminary hearing on the charges at 10 a.m., Nov. 23 before District Judge Michael Smith.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 08 November 2016 16:29

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Police roundup: Borough man charged with domestic assault, items stolen from cars

The following is a compilation of major criminal activity reported by Middletown Police Department, based upon the incident log for the week of Oct. 27 to Nov. 2. Some of the information also comes from criminal complaints obtained through the office of District Judge David Judy.

A total of 140 incidents were reported by police for the week, among them 16 traffic stops resulting in an arrest or citation, including two DUI arrests.

Police also reported three cases of criminal mischief, four cases of harassment, two cases of disorderly conduct, two reportable accidents, and two cases reported of suspected child abuse. 

Police reported five separate residential burglaries, all related to the ongoing investigation of copper thefts from vacant homes in the borough, according to Police Chief John Bey.

The residential burglaries were reported in the 200 block of Adelia Street on Nov. 1, in Genesis Court on Nov. 1, in the 500 block of North Spring Street on Oct. 31, in the 900 block of Vine Street on Oct. 27, and another in the 200 block of Adelia Street on Oct. 27.

Man charged in domestic assault

Anthony Daniel Seitz, 28, was charged with aggravated assault, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person, and criminal mischief after he allegedly assaulted a woman at a residence in the first block of Caravan Court on Nov. 1.

The fight stemmed from a dispute over not paying a delinquent electric bill to the borough, according to arrest papers filed by borough police. 

Seitz was placed in Dauphin County Prison on $100,000 bail. A preliminary hearing is set for Nov. 14 before Judy.

Theft from car

Personal checks and other papers were reported stolen from inside a car that was parked in the 300 block of Conewago Street. The theft was reported to police shortly before 6:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 31.

Man charged with stealing iPod

Brandon Brooks, 34, of the 3500 block of Fifth Street in Harrisburg, was charged with theft by unlawful taking and theft by deception related to the theft of an iPod from a residence in the first block of Vagabond Road on Oct. 30.

A preliminary hearing is set for Nov. 28 before Judy.

Items stolen from unlocked car

Various tools and a pair of Oakley-brand sunglasses were reported stolen from a victim’s unlocked car in the 400 block of South Catherine Street on Oct. 29. 

The driver’s side door was unlocked, police said.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 08 November 2016 16:16

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Police file charges for car break-ins

Reid EndreaPolice charged Endrea John Reid, 19, of Harrisburg, with theft from auto, false identification to law enforcement and loitering and prowling. 

Reid was caught entering an unlocked car at 2:30 a.m. Oct. 19 at the 500 block of Mountainview Road in the Rosedale complex, according to Lower Swatara Police.

Detective Ryan Gartland worked a detail that night to snare a thief who had been entering cars late at night. He caught the Reid in a resident’s car wearing gloves, carrying three charging cords, a paracord bracelet, a black iPod Nano, iPhone 6 and a case for glasses. Reid was also carrying $23 cash and $1.03 in Canadian coins.

Gartland reported that the man confessed to several thefts in Lower Swatara Township and Highspire borough.

Reid was arrested in October on outstanding warrants while police developed the case for theft from a vehicle. Harrisburg police charged him with aggravated assault, robbery and other related crimes in March. Bail for the Harrisburg charges was set at $75,000. 

Last Updated on Friday, 04 November 2016 11:50

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Police: Caller is making threats to lottery because they aren’t winning

A caller has repeatedly contacted the Pennsylvania Lottery’s headquarters in Lower Swatara Township and left profanity-laced messages that threaten employees because they are not winning its games, according to authorities.

Detective Robert Appleby of the Lower Swatara Police Department said police are developing a suspect in the case in the Philadelphia area. 

“We had a similar incident a few years ago at the Pennsylvania Lottery, but it is not a common occurrence,” Appleby said.

All of the suspect’s calls — there have been eight — were recorded messages except for one, when the person harassed an employee on the phone. 

The calls are all of the same in nature, cursing the lottery and making threats, as well as vicious name calling.

The caller complains that they are playing “hard” but failing to win. The caller is extremely mad that their numbers hit on the days they don’t play them, and that the lottery is doing it on purpose, Appleby said.

The caller wants their money back or some scratch-off tickets, he said.

Lottery officials notified police on Oct. 21. They became concerned when the caller ramped up the calls and threatened the lives of employees, police said. 

Investigators reported the caller said they would find where the employees lived and harm them.

Appleby said the incidents could lead to charges of terroristic threats and harassment.

“Gambling is an addiction, and gamblers can exhibit the same irrational, criminal and desperate behaviors that people addicted to drugs do,” he said.

Pennsylvania Lottery spokesman Gary Miller said the organization has no comment on an ongoing investigation.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 01 November 2016 15:21

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