Friday, December 27, 2013

UPDATED: Pottstown shooting victim identified

By Caroline Sweeney

(UPDATED 2:25 p.m.) POTTSTOWN — The man who died in an overnight shooting in the borough has been identified.
George Hashimbey, 22, was found in a fifth floor apartment of the King Street Commons apartment building at 262 King Street around 12:30 a.m.
Hashimbey, according to the Montgomery County Coroner Dr. Walter Hoffman died of a gunshot wound to the stomach and chest area.
The autopsy was completed Friday and Hoffman said the manner of death was homicide.
According to the coroner’s office, Hashimbey did not live in the apartment.
Hashimbey was found dead at the scene, according to the Montgomery County District Attorney’s office.
His body was carried out of the building by officials from the Montgomery County Coroner’s office at 9:15 Friday morning.
The second male victim was transported by ambulance to an area hospital, according to the press release. The district attorney did not release the name of the second victim but said he is 23-years-old.
Several neighbors, who did not wish to be identified, said the sound of the gunshots woke them up.
Anyone with information should call the Pottstown Police Department at 610-970-6570 or the Montgomery County Detective Bureau at 610-278-3368.
Check back for more details.

POTTSTOWN — After an overnight shooting in the borough, one person is dead and one person is in the hospital.
Police responded to the 5th floor of the King Street Commons apartment building at 262 King St. around 12:36 a.m. Friday.
According to the Montgomery County District Attorney, the 22-year-old victim was pronounced dead at the scene.
The body of the victim was carried out of the building by officials from the Montgomery County Coroner’s office at 9:15 Friday morning.
Officials are still waiting to contact the victim’s family and will not release a name until they do so, the district attorney’s office said in a press release issued this morning.
The second male victim was transported by ambulance to a local hospital, according to the press release. The district attorney did not release the name or the age of the second victim.
Several neighbors, who did not wish to be identified, said the sound of the gunshots woke them up.
Investigators were still in the building at 9:30 a.m., documenting the crime scene.
The investigation is ongoing. 
Check back for more details.
Video and photos by John Strickler.

POTTSTOWN — One person is dead and one person is in the hospital after an early morning shooting in the borough.
The shooting occurred around midnight on King Street.

I will post more details as they become available.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Homeless man tased after running from Spring City police

By Caroline Sweeney 

Alex Hartzell

SPRING CITY — On Dec. 22, the subject of an investigation led police on a foot chase along the banks of the Schuylkill River, police said.
Alex Hartzell, 21, was found sleeping under a bridge that connects Spring City to Royersford, police said.
The bridge is located in Riverfront Park and, according to police, it is clearly marked with a no trespassing sign.
When an officer arrived to speak with Hartzell, he ran north down the river bank, police said.
In order to stop Hartzell, police said the officer involved used a Taser.
While police were searching the area where Hartzell was sleeping they found two Apple iPod classics, one iPod touch and marijuana, police said.
Hartzell was charged with multiple misdemeanors including receiving stolen property, escape and resisting arrest, according to court documents.
He is confined to the Chester County Prison in lieu of $2,500. His next appearance in court is scheduled for Dec. 26 at 9 a.m. in front of District Judge James. V. Deangelo.

North Coventry man accused of raping neighbor

By Caroline Sweeney 

NORTH COVENTRY — A man is accused of raping a neighbor while her toddler son was in the next room, police said.
Around 3 p.m. on Dec. 21 Wesley Darren Cross, 27, of North Coventry, allegedly told the victim he needed to borrow her cell phone then refused to give it back, police said.
According to police, Cross told the victim, “it would cost her” if she wanted her phone back.
When the victim told Cross it was her phone and it would not cost her anything, Cross allegedly forced the victim to perform sexual acts on him, police said.
During the alleged rape, the victim’s son was in the bathtub, police said. At one point, the boy walked into the room and started throwing water on Cross using a cup and water from the bath, police said.
While police were investigating the incident they found three children, all under the age of 10, alone in Cross’ apartment.
Officers said they found Cross in the parking lot smoking a cigar that tested positive for marijuana, police said.
Cross was charged with multiple felonies including rape, sexual assault, and aggravated indecent assault. He was also charged with endangering the welfare of a child, harassment and other related charges according to court paperwork.
He was arraigned on Dec. 22 by District Judge Lori Novak Donatelli, who set Cross’ bail at $500,000.

Cross is confined to the Chester County Prison in lieu of bail and his next appearance in court is scheduled for Dec. 26 in front of District Judge James V. Deangelo.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

East Pikeland police investigate string of thefts, burglaries

By Caroline Sweeney 

EAST PIKELAND  - Police are warning residents of a Grinch who is stealing from homes.
In less than 24 hours, two residents reported thefts on Wednesday night in the township, police said.
According to police, a resident reported a theft from the 100 block of Bimful Drive around 8 a.m. Police said tip money was taken from the top of a trash can.
Police said the witness saw a woman exit a white Chevrolet pickup truck take the money.
Around 7:15 p.m. that same day, officers responded to Winslow Drive after a gift card was taken from a mailbox, police said.
After the mail was delivered, police said, the mail box was opened and a $50 gift card was taken.
The resident said the mail was delivered between 1 p.m and 2 p.m. that day.
These two thefts follow two reported business burglaries that occurred on Dec. 16 and Dec. 17.
"We are looking into the burglaries and checking with other municipalities to see if they have had any crimes with the same motive," Police Chief James Franciscus said Thursday.
Franciscus said residents need to keep an eye out for any suspicious activity and alert police right away.
"We are utilizing the use of unmarked police cars and officers in plain clothes," Franciscus said.
Police are encouraging residents who want to tip their trash collectors to do so personally. They also warn residents to collect packages off their doors as quickly as possible.
"It seems Mr. Scrooge is still out there trying to steal Christmas," Franciscus said.


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Police investigate multiple burglaries in two days

By Caroline Sweeney

EAST PIKELAND — Township police are investigating two burglaries that happened in a span of two days.
Police said the cash register at Liki Sushi in the 200 block of Schuylkill Road was emptied some time between Dec. 16 and Dec. 17. The back door of the restaurant was pried open, police said.
Around 3 a.m. on Dec. 17, police responded to an alarm at Queen Appliance in the 700 block of Pike Springs Road, police said.
When officers arrived, they found the door was pried open and an unknown amount of money was taken from a small cash box, police said.
According to police, one or more suspects left foot prints in the snow in front of the store.

Anyone with information should call police at 610-935-0606.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Pottstown man charged after selling drugs to informant

By Caroline Sweeney 

POTTSTOWN — After an eight month investigation, a man is in jail after he was charged with multiple drug-related felonies.
Jamal Alexander Deleon, 23, of Pottstown, is confined to the Montgomery County Correctional Facility in lieu of $50,000 bail, according to court documents.
According to police, a confidential informant met with Deleon to purchase marijuana in March and April of this year.
Deleon was charged with multiple counts of intent to manufacture and deliver drugs, criminal use of a communication facility, and other related misdemeanors, court documents said.
He was arraigned on Dec. 12, by District Judge Scott T. Palladino. Deleon is expected in court again on Jan. 2, 2014.
Deleon was charged in 2009 with intent to manufacture and deliver drugs, according to court paperwork.

Police Briefs: Dec. 17, 2013

LIMERICK — Police charged a driver from Bridsboro for driving too fast after his car crashed on Route 422  on Dec. 14.
Erik R. Damgaard, 29, was driving his 2004 Mazda 6 east on Route 422 around 6:46 p.m. when his car left the road and hit a concrete median, police said.
Damgaard and his passenger, 31-year-old Christopher S. Luckey, of Birdsboro, were both wearing seat belts, police said.

SKIPPACK — A Pottstown man was charged with driving in the wrong lane after his car crashed on Dec. 12 around 6:46 p.m., police said.
Scott A. Aston, 48, was driving west on Route 73 when the driver’s side of his Volvo XC60 hit a utility pole, police said.
According to police, Aston’s car rolled over and stopped facing east in the right lane.
Aston was wearing his seat belt and reporting officers did not report any injuries, police said.  

WORCESTER — A Phoenixville man was charged with driving under the influence on Dec. 14 around 1:42 a.m., police said.
Austin Fitzgerald Carney, 23, was stopped by an officer with the Pennsylvania State Police near Berks Road on Route 73, police said.

UNION — Two students at Daniel Boone High School were cited with harassment after police responded to the school on Dec. 12.
According to police, a 14-year-old and 15-year-old male were fighting between the 12:56 p.m. and 1:38 p.m.

TRAPPE — Police are searching for a GPS unit that was taken from a car in the 500 block of Hagey Place.
According to police, the TomTom GPS unit was taken between Nov. 19 around 8 p.m. and Nov. 20 at 11 a.m.
Anyone with information should call police at 610-584-1250.

TRAPPE — A Trappe resident reported a box of work tools missing from a parking lot in the 500 block of Hancock Court on Dec. 11.
The victim told officers the box was unattended for 15 minutes between 6:45 a.m. and 7: 10 a.m., police said.
Anyone with information should call police at 610-584-1250.

Pottstown man charged with kidnapping, assault in Colebrookdale

By Caroline Sweeney  

COLEBROOKDALE — A man was charged with kidnapping after he allegedly kept a woman in her home overnight, police said.
James E. Crowder, 45, of Pottstown, was also charged with aggravated assault, simple assault, false imprisonment, and other related charges according to court documents.
The victim, according to police, came to the township police department on Dec. 13 around 5:50 a.m., approximately 30 minutes after Crowder let the woman out of her house.
Police said the victim had visible bruises on her right and left eye and cheek as well as scratch marks on her neck. Police also observed a bite mark on the victim’s back.
During the interview with police, the victim said in a written statement that Crowder came to the house on Ungers Lane around 5 p.m. on Dec. 12, allegedly threatening to hurt her. The victim told police Crowder pushed his way into the bedroom, and allegedly began punching her. While Crowder allegedly kept the victim in her bedroom, a child was in the living room, police said. According to the victim, the child did not see the alleged abuse.
According to the victim, Crowder allegedly took her cell phone and would not let her leave the room. She told officers Crowder allegedly went into the bathroom with her to prevent escape, police said.
Crowder allegedly kept the victim’s cellphone until 5:20 a.m. on Dec. 13, when she needed to leave for work, police said.
Crowder was arrested and arraigned on Dec. 13 by District Judge Michael G. Hartman. He is confined to the Berks County Prison in lieu of $200,00 bail. He is scheduled to appear in court again on Dec. 18.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Theft from vehicles: New Hanover

By Caroline Sweeney

NEW HANOVER - Police are asking the public for help in finding two men who are accused of stealing from cars in the 2600 block of Romig Road.

According to police, the two men were seen at a Wawa and a Wal-Mart using credit cards that were reported stolen.

The alleged thefts occurred in the early morning hours of Dec. 9, police said.

Anyone with information should contact Officer Dekkar Dyas at 610-327-1150.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Pottstown Week in Review: Nov. 30 - Dec. 6

Between Nov. 30 and Dec. 6, 24 crimes were reported in Pottstown. According to, there were 76 reported crimes during the same seven days from the end October into the beginning of November. 

  • Arson: 0
  • Assaults: 4
  • Burglaries: 3 
  • Disturbing the peace: 6
  • Drug/Alcohol violation: 1
  • DUI: 0
  • Fraud: 0
  • Homicide: 0 
  • Motor vehicle theft: 1
  • Robbery: 0
  • Sex crimes: 0 
  • Theft/Larceny: 5 
  • Vandalism: 2
  • Vehicle break-in: 2 
  • Weapons crimes: 0   

Breakdown of crimes in Pottstown by type

Breakdown of crimes in Pottstown by day. 

Friday, December 6, 2013

Coatesville police unveil app for tips

(This story is out of the Mercury's coverage area, but this is an interesting initiative from the Coatesville Police Department. Do you think a mobile phone app for anonymous crime tips would work in Pottstown?)

By: Michael N. Price 

COATESVILLE — The city’s police department unveiled a modernized anonymous tip system this week in an effort to improve the department’s communication with residents, especially those from younger generations.
Residents may now submit anonymous tips by sending a text message to 847-411 with the keyword “Coatesville.”
The Coatesville Police Department became the first law enforcement agency in the county to launch its own mobile phone application. Implemented through a partnership with the Minnesota-based firm Citizen Observer, the system allows the department to communicate with the public while allowing tipsters to remain completely anonymous.
“It’s just another way for the people to share information, and it’s another way for us to share information with the public and hopefully connect with a younger demographic,” said Sergeant Rodger Ollis, who runs many of the department’s community outreach programs.
The new program provides city residents with several options to submit anonymous tips to the city’s police department, including text messages, a mobile application, and a website accessible from the department’s new Facebook page. When a tip is submitted, the department’s senior officers and all shift supervisors receive an automated text message notifications on their cell phones.
The department’s officers are also able to respond to tipsters through the application.
“This is just another way to reach a younger demographic that always has a phone but who may not be willing to speak to someone on the phone, but they still want to submit a tip, this allows them to do that,” Ollis said.
The system also allows residents to sign up to receive alerts from the department, which police officials said will be used for road closures, weather alerts, and even notices of wanted persons.
Coatesville Police Chief Jack Laufer said he decided to pursue the new tip system because he felt the department could do more to connect with the city’s young people.
“I kind of felt like we were missing the boat on connecting with the younger generation who grew up with smart phones and other forms of technology,” Laufer said. “I felt that it had real possibilities for us in this city, I felt it was a great application to connect with people who aren’t comfortable with talking to someone on the phone.”
Laufer said he wanted to implement the system after observing the success other agencies had while using it, including the New Castle County and Newark police departments in Delaware.
Laufer stressed that the new system is not intended to replace emergency systems like dialing 911, but said it could become a valuable tool for both the police department and the general public.
The Coatesville Police Department Tips app can be downloaded online at the Google Play store, iTunes or by visiting the police department’s webpage at
Citizens can also send an anonymous tip to the City of Coatesville Police Department by texting the keyword of COATESVILLE and their tip to 847411. Anonymous web tips can be submitted from the Police Department’s webpage at
Follow Daily Local News staff writer Michael N. Price on Twitter @MikePriceWrites and on Facebook at

Police Briefs: Dec. 6, 2013

LYONS BOROUGH — A Boyertown man suffered minor injuries after a two-vehicle crash on Dec. 2 around 9:25 p.m., police said.
Floyd R. Lias, 43, was traveling west on West State St. in his 2005 Chevrolet Equinox while Kurt A. Reinert, 28, of Mertztown, was traveling east on West State St. in his 2008 Dodge Ram, police said.
According to police, Lias attempted to turn left into a driveway when the front end of his SUV was struck by Reinert’s truck.
Both Lias and Reinert told police they had a green turn arrow, however, no witnesses were around to corroborate the statements, police said.
Charges were not filed against either driver, police said, and both men were wearing their seat belts.

SOUTH COVENTRY — A Pottstown man was charged in connection with an act of harassment on Nov. 26, police said.
According to police, Daniel Lloyd Harrison. 34. was charged after police responded to a house in the 1100 block of Pottstown Pike around 9 p.m.
The victim told officers Harrison allegedly slapped her with an open hand pulled her hair, police said.

CHESTER COUNTY — Pennsylvania State Police said they arrested nine people for driving under the influence during a sobriety checkpoint on Nov. 29.
During the checkpoint, police stopped 135 drivers.
Along with the DUI arrests, police said they arrested one person for reckless endangerment and resisting arrest and one for underage drinking.
Police said 12 summary citations were written and nine warnings were issued.

HONEY BROOK — State police are investigating a burglary that occurred between Nov. 20 at 2 p.m. and Nov. 23 at 10 a.m. in the 2900 block of Cambridge Road.
Police said the 42-year-old victim reported an unknown number of suspects entered the house through the unlocked garage door and took a leaf blower.
The victim told officers the orange and white leaf blower cost $479, police said.
Anyone with information should call police at 610-486-6280.

EARL — Police are investigating a case of stolen identity.
According to police, Elizabeth Levan, 50, said her identity was used to open a credit card.
Anyone with information should call police at 610-378-4011.

LOWER POTTSGROVE — Township police arrested a man for driving under the influence after he was seen making an illegal turn, police said.
David Poley, 29, of Pottstown was seen making an illegal turn on red at the intersection of E. High Street and N. Pleasantview Road  on Nov. 16 around 11:11 p.m., police said.
Police are investigating the incident.

TRAPPE — Pennsylvania State Police charged a Pine Forge woman with driving under the influence on Nov. 14 around 11:20 p.m.
According to police, Rachel Amanda Lucas, 26, failed to complete field sobriety tests after a two-vehicle accident on Main Street and 7th Avenue. Lucas was taken into custody.

WORCESTER — A Pottstown couple was stopped for speeding and arrested for disorderly conduct and driving under the influence, Pennsylvania State Police said.
Joseph M. Alba, 56, and Catherine Kelly-Alba, 52, were stopped on Germantown Pike near Valley Forge Road on Nov. 17 around 1:36 a.m., police said.
During the traffic stop, officers asked Alba to step out of the car where he was placed under arrest for DUI, police said.
According to police, Kelly-Alba got out of the passenger seat and began to walk toward officers, demanding to know what was going on.
Kelly-Alba was told to stop by the officers on scene, police said. When she did not, she was arrested for disorderly conduct.

SKIPPACK — A Creamery man was charged with driving under the influence after police responded to a one-vehicle accident on Nov. 19 around 12:40 a.m.
Alec Robert Masic, 20, was charted with DUI and other related charges, according to court documents.

PERKIOMEN — Pennsylvania State Police are looking for an unknown number of suspects after a Schwenksville man reported items stolen from his unlocked car.
Police said a GPS unit and two coin banks were taken from the car on Woodland Avenue some time between Nov. 14 at 8 p.m. and Nov. 15 at 7 a.m.
Anyone with information should call state police at Skippack at 610-584-1250.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Stolen HVAC units could stall move-in for senior center

By Caroline Sweeney 

POTTSTOWN — After three HVAC units were stolen from the new Pottstown Area Senior Center, the proposed move-in date is now in doubt.
Brad Fuller, the executive director at the center, said the units were stolen some time between Sunday afternoon and early Monday morning from 288 Moser Road.
“The contractors discovered they were missing,” Fuller said.
As of right now, the center hopes to move its offices into the building on Dec. 20, but the stolen units were used to heat that portion of the building, Fuller said.
The center is currently using the Berean Bible Church as a temporary space during the transition from its old space at the YMCA at 724 N. Adams St.
“I don’t have an exact total at this point, but it could cost between $8,000 and $10,000,” Fuller said of the cost to replace the units. “It could be more.”
Fuller said the money used to replace the units would have to come from elsewhere in the budget.
The units were approximately 15 years old, but still worked very well, according to Fuller. He is worried the cost of new units will not be covered by the insurance claim.
Fuller said that filing an insurance claim may not be financially feasible considering how old the units were.
After he was notified the units were missing, Fuller said he contacted local scrap metal shops. Unfortunately, Fuller said he was told most units are broken down into pieces before being sold.
“They took the biggest part of the unit,” Fuller said, “They cut pipes and cut wiring. There is nothing left but cinder blocks.”
The contractor for the building told Fuller to put security fencing around the new units. Although Fuller agrees with the idea, he does not want to make the space feel too industrial. But Fuller said he cannot afford for the new units to be stolen as well.
“It is unfortunate and discouraging,” Fuller said about the incident.
A police report about the incident was not available as of Wednesday.

Teen charged with theft from vehicles

By Caroline Sweeney 

LIMERICK — Police arrested a Schwenksville man who allegedly admitted to stealing from cars in neighboring townships after his car was pulled over on Dec. 1.
Tyler Hartner, 18, was stopped by township police on Ridge Pike around 1:30 a.m. after officers noticed a taillight was out on his 2001 Volkswagen Jetta.
According to police, multiple car stereos were in plain sight in the back of Hartner’s car.
When officers asked Hartner allegedly gave consent to have his car searched, police said. During the search, police said they found multiple GPS units, a paint ball gun, weapons and alcohol.
Police did not say how long Hartner had been allegedly committing the crimes.
Hartner was charged with multiple counts of theft by unlawful taking, theft from a motor vehicle, and receiving stolen property, according to court paperwork.
Police said they are working with departments from Upper Providence, Collegeville and Trappe in order to return the stolen items to victims. Residents who have been burglarized are asked to contact their local departments, police said.
“We encourage residents to avoid giving burglars an opportunity,” said Lt. Brian Skelton. He said the stolen items were taken from unlocked cars.
Hartner was arraigned in front of District Judge Andrea Duffy on Dec. 1. He posted 10 percent of $10,000 bail on Dec. 4, according to court documents.
He is expected in Walter F. Gadzicki Jr.’s courtroom on Dec. 20 at 9 a.m.