Police: Citizens help thwart W. Manheim Twp. TV thief
When a man carting out a 65-inch TV that he did not pay for from the West Manheim Township Walmart, customers took notice and jumped into action, according to police.
That action is what ultimately helped police arrest 30-year-old Joshua James Williams, officials said.
"We don't necessarily want to encourage citizens to take action," West Manheim Township Police Chief Tim Hippensteel said. He added that in this case, the department appreciates the assistance.
Williams, of no fixed address, was charged with retail theft, receiving stolen property, resisting arrest and false identification to law enforcement.
Incident: Hippensteel said Williams nearly made it out of the parking lot and onto Baltimore Pike before customers blocked him in with their cars about 8:50 p.m. June 4.
“At some point some people surrounded the cart so he couldn’t push it any longer," he said.
Williams tried taking off on foot with the TV and dragged it along the side of Baltimore Pike, according to the chief, but Officer Randy Wagner spotted him while he was patrolling nearby.
Williams dropped the TV and fled, all while refusing to obey commands from Wagner, police said.
Wagner caught up to Williams, but Williams continued resisting arrest, causing Wagner to use his Taser, which did not work, according to officials. Williams broke free, then scaled a fence and fled on foot, police said.
Wagner was able to take Williams to the ground, the chief said. An unidentified man was able to help Wagner hold Williams down until a Penn Township Police officer came to help place Williams under arrest, police said.
The department said in a Facebook post that Williams was on heroin, cocaine and ecstasy during the incident. He was taken to Hanover Hospital for treatment before being taken to the county's central booking unit for arraignment, according to officials.
He was sent to York County Prison in lieu of $20,000 bail. He does not have an attorney listed.
His preliminary hearing is scheduled for June 28 at District Judge Jeffrey Sneeringer's office.
History: Williams has a history of theft charges in the township. In August, West Manheim Township Police arrested him after he was found stealing from unlocked vehicles, officials said.
Last December, Williams pleaded guilty to theft from a motor vehicle and was sentenced to 10 to 23 months in York County Prison, online court records state. He received credit for time served.
He was released from prison April 30, according to prison records.
In September 2016, West Manheim Township Police charged him with stealing more than $10,000 in electronics from unlocked vehicles. He stole more than 800 Redbox DVD's and games, as well as computers, cash and other electronics from the vehicles, according to police.
Online court records indicate that Williams pleaded guilty to theft by unlawful taking, theft from a motor vehicle and tampering with physical evidence. He was sentenced to four years of intensive probation.
— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @YDDornblaser.