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Be vigilant, but not fearful, Middletown: Editorial

Posted 12/27/17

Should we be concerned about the mini-crime spree of Dec. 17-18 in the heart of the borough? Of course. But that doesn’t mean we should panic.

Police are still seeking three suspects in two …

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Be vigilant, but not fearful, Middletown: Editorial

Posted

Should we be concerned about the mini-crime spree of Dec. 17-18 in the heart of the borough? Of course. But that doesn’t mean we should panic.

Police are still seeking three suspects in two robberies and a burglary that happened early along Union Street. The incidents are connected, according to the Middletown Police Department.

The burglary at Karns is disturbing enough in that it’s the second time this year someone has broken glass and entered the building to steal cigarettes. Police are not discussing how much was taken in the most recent case; in June, it was $2,000 worth.

But maybe more disturbing are the cases on the street tied to the burglary.

At about 6:45 p.m. Dec. 17, a black man approached a man exiting his vehicle in the 200 block of North Union Street and demanded money. The suspect ended up leaving empty-handed. Then, at 5:24 a.m. Monday, in the 400 block of North Union Street, a woman was attempting to get in her car when a black man approached and stopped her from closing the car door. The suspect demanded the victim’s purse, which he then took. There was a young girl in the car when this occurred. 

While these incidents didn’t happen in broad daylight (it was dark in both instances), that residents were approached on one of our main streets is unsettling.

Police also have not made an arrest in the June Karns case. That same night, J&J Pizzeria and Grille, 288 E. Main St., was robbed. Police said at that time there were two persons of interest.

Let’s not also forget a crime in the same area as Karns that did happen in broad daylight, behind M&T Bank at 120 S. Union St. on Nov. 4. A  manager of a Turkey Hill convenience store in Highspire was walking up to the rear entrance to the bank to make a deposit. A man approached the woman from behind, grabbed her by the shoulder, and took from her the deposit bag containing $12,000 cash. No arrests have been made.

We are not writing this as a laundry list of unsolved crimes. We have faith the perpetrators will be arrested. But it’s not a comforting trend.

Officer Mark Laudenslager offered solid advice when he told the Press & Journal that while residents don’t need to be overly nervous, they should be aware of their surroundings, and use extra caution and their best judgment. Call police immediately if suspicious activity is suspected.

These suggestions are always good to follow.

He also urged residents to call with tips, even if they seem insignificant. Don’t assume that someone else already has. They want to hear any details they can.

So as a reminder: The black suspect was wearing all black clothing that night, including a bulky coat (goose-down style). He appeared to have a large nose, which may be discolored, according to police. He is about 5 feet 8 inches tall and wearing a red bandana around his neck. The two white men appear to be of slender build. One appears to be wearing a gray sweatshirt.

Don’t forget about the reward: $500 is being offered for any information leading to the arrest of a suspect or suspects. Call the Middletown Police Department at 717-558-6900 with information.

We don’t need to panic or be fearful. But we do need to help the police catch suspects in all of these cases.

Be vigilant.