Written by Eric Wise
Police have in custody a person of interest who might have been involved with recent daytime burglaries in Lower Swatara Township.
Those incidents could be related to similar crimes in Lower Paxton Township.
Someone entered a home in the 700 block of Fulling Mill Road sometime between 10:30 a.m. and 10:30 p.m. Sunday, July 24. The front door was forced open, the door frame was cracked and the home was ransacked. A laptop computer, a trumpet and a chest containing a record collection were stolen, said Robert Appleby, Lower Swatara Township police detective. On Wednesday, July 20, someone entered a home in the 700 block of Balls Lane, off North Union Street a little more than a mile away. They entered through an open door and took an Xbox One game system, controller and game. Appleby said it’s too early to know whether the burglaries are related, but Lower Swatara is interested in speaking to Manuel Alexis Ramos, who faces charges for 40 burglaries dating to 2013.
Lower Paxton Township police reported that Ramos was charged with six burglaries from July 15 to 22 in the township. He turned himself in July 25 and is being held on $200,000 bail in Dauphin County Prison.
Appleby reminded residents to be vigilant about keeping doors and windows locked, and to report unusual activity.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 26 July 2016 15:01
Written by Dan Miller
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.
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.
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
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.
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
Written by Dan Miller
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.
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.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 19 July 2016 15:07
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.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 12 July 2016 15:30