Saturday, October 6, 2012

Bucks man facing 7th DUI charge since 1993

Posted: Friday, September 21, 2012

Seven is considered a lucky number, but not for Richard Derik Collins.

Seven is the number of times the 41-year-old Yardley man has been charged with driving under the influence in less than 20 years.

Collins’ latest arrest was Aug. 31 in Bensalem, when he was stopped by Pennsylvania State Police on northbound Interstate 95 just north of the Street Road exit, police said.
Mug shots of Richard Collins for DUI arrests

Charges were filed Sept. 12 against Collins for DUI highest rate, meaning his blood alcohol level was above .16, two times the legal driving limit. He also was charged with five summary offenses, including driving while uninsured and speeding.
Court records show that Collins was convicted of DUI in 1993, 1994, 1995, 1999, 2005 and 2008.
Seven DUI arrests for one person might sound like a lot, unless you are Bucks County Deputy District Attorney Robert James.
“Unfortunately, not very (unusual),” he said, adding that prosecutors typically see one or two individuals with four or more DUI charges come before the court every three weeks.
Collins is serving his final year of probation stemming from his last DUI-related conviction for fleeing the scene of a two-car crash in 2007 on Route 413 in Middletown that sent three people to the hospital.
Witnesses told police that they saw the driver of the striking vehicle -- later identified as Collins -- get out, walk around the wreck, then run away.
Police apprehended Collins a short time later, walking along the road. Police said he smelled of alcohol, and he refused a blood test to determine how drunk he was. His driver's license had been suspended for DUI-related arrests at the time of the crash.
In November 2008, he pleaded guilty to drunken driving, aggravated assault by vehicle while DUI, hit and run, driving without a license and related crimes. Bucks County Judge Albert Cepparulo sentenced Collins to 18 to 36 months in prison and four years of probation and fined him $2,500.
At his sentencing, Collins apologized and said that he has not touched alcohol since the crash. His attorney, Ray McHugh, told the judge that his client completed an intensive alcohol rehabilitation program after his arrest.
Collins has been incarcerated in Bucks County prison since Sept. 4 on a detainer, according to online county prison records.
DUI is a misdemeanor in Pennsylvania, so Collins faces a prison sentence of 2½ to five years, if convicted.

Finding people who don't want to be found

Posted: Sunday, January 30, 2011

Behind a Warminster industrial complex, a band of volunteers followed footprints into the snowy woods searching for suburban ghosts.
After five minutes, they saw what appeared to be a small shack of wood pallets covered with rubber tarps. The structure was the first solid evidence that volunteers have found that people in Central Bucks are living outdoors in the three years since the county started counting the so-called "unsheltered" homeless.
"Hello! Anybody home?" Ralph Nattans, a housing specialist with Bucks County Children and Youth Social Services, yelled as the group approached.
Deborah Perry Neidhardt writes a note to a shelter resident
No answer.
"We're here to help."
Every January, Bucks County sends employees and volunteers to count the homeless who live outdoors. The data, along with the number of homeless living in county shelters, are reported annually to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development as part of a national initiative to assess the extent and characteristics of homelessness in the U.S.      
Bucks County receives about $1.1 million annually in funding for the homeless, including federal and state emergency shelter grants and homelessness prevention programs. The homeless population here overall grew 17 percent (from 489 to 572) between 2008 and last year, according to county records.
But until three years ago, the county counted only the people who lived in emergency shelters and transitional housing programs.
Before 2009, the county relied on anecdotal information from social service agencies about the number of people living outside. Once teams started identifying the homeless living on the streets, the numbers reported to HUD jumped from four in 2008 to 34 in 2009.
The 2011 preliminary "unsheltered" count conducted last week found at least 29 people living outdoors - all but five in Lower Bucks - according to Deborah Perry-Neidhardt. She's the housing specialist for the county's behavior health office who led the Central Bucks survey team.
The number is the same as last year, but Perry-Neidhardt also pointed out that at least four homeless people have died since last year's count and one is in Bucks County Prison facing murder charges.
The number of unsheltered homeless appears relatively stable, said Scott Griffith of the county's Community and Business Development office. But no one knows every place where they congregate.
The suburban homeless don't want to be found, advocates say. They tend to camp in heavily wooded areas. They sleep in cars or train shelters. Their lives are littered with bad choices. Addiction, abuse, jail and mental illness are common themes.
"If you're spending all your energy out surviving, you don't have time to deal with getting welfare, Social Security, benefits or food stamps," said Keith Smothers, case management coordinator for Penndel Mental Health.
'Coming in'
Butch Huffman, who has been homeless for eight years, said the number living outside is closer to 40. A bread delivery guy whom Huffman calls "Stroehmann Dave" told him he drops off leftover loaves at six area camps.
On Tuesday, Huffman acted as a guide for Smothers and Allen Johnson, a facilitator with the Reach Out Foundation, a Morrisville drop-in center for people with behavioral health issues.
The Lower Bucks survey team started its search behind a Bristol Township shopping center, a trek that required trudging through calf-high snow, climbing up slippery and trash-packed hills and treading carefully between downed tree branches and sticker bushes.
Eventually, they reach a cement road that leads to the camps. Before long, the leafless trees revealed what appeared to be a tent.
"Coming in!" Johnson shouted as he entered the camp where Kim and Becky Olenchock had lived.
No answer.
For two years, Johnson had tried unsuccessfully to get the mother and daughter to seek shelter inside. Now Becky Olenchock, 24, sits in Bucks County Prison awaiting trial for allegedly murdering her 44-year-old mother in October. Prosecutors say the two had a falling-out after Kim refused to move to Tennessee with Becky.
Their once tidy multi-tent camp had deteriorated.
The glass top dining room table was gone, along with the set of Adirondack chairs, and propane-powered hotplate. The pantry shelves were facedown. Plastic storage bins were overturned and appeared to have been rifled through. Two tents were torn and had collapsed under snow.
No one lives here, Johnson concluded. The team moved on.
Nearby, the team found a small tent that was half collapsed. Inside was a bare mattress covered with a blanket of snow; there was also a pair of heavy boots, which Huffman said meant that someone is coming back, eventually.
Deeper in the woods were the remains of other camps, but no people were found.
At the next stop, Huffman knew someone was home.
Home For Now
The second camp is where Huffman lives and sleeps on the nights when the county has no Code Blue declaration. That's when designated Lower Bucks churches open to the homeless once the forecast calls for two consecutive days or nights of temperatures below 20 degrees.
So far this year, the county has declared four Code Blues; the most recent on Jan. 21 has been extended through Tuesday. Last week, at least 20 people a night sought refuge at the host church in Middletown.
About 20 people live in Huffman's camp, where at least a half-dozen tents and other structures dot the clearing. Not everyone was home when the counters called. And some people wouldn't come out of their tents.
The first person the team saw was John, a clean-cut man bundled in a heavy coat and purple Minnesota Vikings track pants. He has been homeless for about two years.
The survey team seeks basic information, including age, how long the people have been homeless and whether they have from medical problems. Names are optional. They also pass out information about social service programs and ask if the homeless would like food, warm clothes and/or shelter.
John refuses indoor shelter during Code Blue nights. He has a kerosene heater in his tent, so he says he's OK. The former fireman said he doesn't worry about the combination of flammable fluid in the enclosed cloth structure.
The camp is a good place for people like him, who are looking to start over, John said.
"It's a safe environment. It may not be the best environment, but to get back on your feet (it works)," John said.
Next the team meets Larry, who shares a one-room wood shack with his wife. The couple used to live near the Olenchocks, but moved into the larger camp not long ago.
How old are you, man?" Smothers asked as he jotted answers on a clipboard.
"Too old," Larry said.
"Do you consider this your home?"
"For now."
Bill Yates is 22. He has lived in the woods for two years, but goes inside on Code Blue nights. Before that, it was jail. Before that, it was foster care.
He told Smothers the court ordered him to take his medications, but he has no health insurance or money. Smothers told Yates he can help get him get the medications he needs.
Yates said he'd like to find a job, save money and get an apartment, maybe a mobile home.
"I don't care if it's a shed," he said. "It's something."
Someone is Inside
Back in the woods behind a Warminster industrial park, the Central Bucks team cautiously approached a wood shack. Ralph Nattans peeked inside.
He found a bare, dry, mattress topped with neatly laid blankets. Next to the mattress were pillows, clothing and a desk chair. A worn American flag hung in a tree that the small shack was strapped to.
The volunteers were sure someone is - or was - living here.
Perry-Neidhardt from the county's behavior health office, left a handwritten note explaining who the counters were, and why they stopped, along with a new blanket and a card listing local social service agency contacts.
Finding the homeless in Central Bucks is a challenge, county officials said. Usually the tips they get are dead ends. Last year, the Central Bucks team had no leads to investigate, so it surveyed people at the Lower Bucks Code Blue site.
This year, the team received four tips involving sightings of homeless people, including a man with a ponytail scavenging Doylestown Dumpsters for food.
Neighbors reported that a woman was living in a tent in the woods not far from the Bucks County Courthouse in downtown Doylestown. So for a second time Tuesday, the Central Bucks survey group navigated a snow-packed wooded lot, this time without a visible path to follow.
M.L.S. who has been homeless more than 15 years 
They wondered if it was another dead end. Then someone saw what looked like a small tent. Someone was inside.   
Slowly, volunteers approached the woman, who crawled out of the one-person tent packed tight with blankets. The volunteers identified themselves, explained why they were there. Can they ask her some questions?
The woman agreed, but wouldn't give her name. She did give her initials - M.L.S.
She is 51; homeless since she was 32. She grew up in nearby Chalfont. She's a Central Bucks graduate. Except for a couple of years in Arizona, she has always lived in Central Bucks. She has been in these woods on and off for years, she said.
She has no children. No health problems. She's a former client of the Lenape Valley Foundation, a behavioral health center.
Yes, she said, she was open to looking at alternative housing, but she wasn't promising anything. She's had bad public housing experiences in the past.
No, she told volunteers, she doesn't need anything. Neighbors bring her food, coffee and tea, too. She said she wasn't that cold, but accepted the blanket Perry-Neidhardt offered her.
"I feel sad for her," Perry-Neidhardt said.
"I can't believe she hasn't frozen," Nattans added.
Jo Ciavaglia can be reached at 215-949-4181 or Follow Jo on Twitter at

Final day at Tent City: "This is not going to be pretty"

Posted: Wednesday, May 9, 2012 

Tempers flared, tears dropped and patience ran out Tuesday morning as marching orders were issued for the last residents of Tent City in Bristol, the county’s oldest and largest homeless camp.
As the day began, the work crews that had started clearing the land Monday for a planned 253,000-square-foot warehouse were about 100 feet away from the camp. Most of the camp would be leveled by the end of the work day.

“You can see the sunlight coming in,” said Jim Riley, as another nearby tree fell, exposing a section of the newly cleared woods.
Moving day at Tent City in Bristol Township, Pa.
The landscaper foreman said he has been patient with camp residents, but he and his crew have a job to do. He complained that some of the homeless purposely walked in front of the crew’s equipment in an attempt to delay the inevitable. But that only slowed the steady chomp, chomp, chomp of the machines. 
“The trees are already on my old flat,” said Jim Sandonato, who lived in Tent City for two months. “They’re cutting hard today.”
Sandonato had his belongings stuffed into two shopping carts. He planned to move to another camp, though he has bigger dreams.
“A house would be nice,” he said.
Around the mostly abandoned camp, hard decisions waited.
Do you take all the propane tanks, which can be refilled, or only the one with fuel? Take the canned food or leave it behind? Can you take all the blankets used to insulate the camping tent floors? Do you take plastic lawn chairs? What about the tables?
Phil DiNardo — better known as “Papa Bear” — wasn’t ready to make those choices, though he had packed most of his belongings in plastic tubs, cardboard boxes and garbage bags.
“This is not going to be pretty,” said Allen Johnson, who works for the Bucks County Department of Behavioral Health.
He was right.
A Bristol police officer with a K-9 arrived shortly after 10 a.m. “It’s time to go,” he told the remaining residents. “No more games.”
DiNardo, 63, protested. He barricaded himself in his tent, piling plastic tubs and bags of belongings and blankets in front of it. Then he began throwing items out of the tent and yelling obscenities.
“We need more time today,” he said. “We have no ride yet.”
But the officer said the marching orders were clear. The camp residents knew they had to leave Tuesday morning at the latest. No more excuses. The weeklong extension granted by the property owner was exhausted.
“Get your stuff and walk it to another area,” he said.   
Later, the officer said there would be no trouble as long as the residents continued moving out. If they tried to delay or if he returned to find them sitting around smoking, they would be arrested.
After the confrontation with the officer, DiNardo — a two-pack a day smoker — had a bad asthma attack. Johnson coaxed him out of the tent with reassuring words, telling him to calm down. Soon, his wheezing subsided.
With the clock ticking, Johnson, Shields and Sandonato wandered deeper into the now-cleared part of the woods to retrieve abandoned shopping carts to help DiNardo move his belongings.
Everyone wondered when the promised truck and help would arrive. Would it arrive too late?
About 10:30 a.m., members of the Widows Sons, an international motorcycle association comprised of Freemasons, finally arrived with a flatbed truck. The members went right to work dismantling and moving belongings.
Everyone who had to move has found a new home. Some entered shelters or entered treatment for mental health issues or substance abuse.
Most Tent City residents, including Scott Brookshire, simply set up camp elsewhere.
Brookshire, 51, said he once lived in Warrington, worked a retail management job and ran his father’s insurance business for a while. When he lost his last job, he moved in with his mother and worked jobs where he was paid under the table. His last full-time job was in a diner 18 months ago.
Then, his mother fell ill and moved into an assisted-living center. When the lease on her apartment ran out in February, Brookshire couldn’t afford the rent. At first, he lived with friends. Then, he found his way to Tent City. Brookshire said he wants a job and has been looking for one.
“The priority is a roof over your head, then being clean. That then gives you the ability to get a job,” he said. “If I don’t get a shower for a week and I don’t have clean clothes, how am I going to get a job?”
But Brookshire could have a home later this month.
On Tuesday, a new faith-based group, The Way Home, signed a lease with a Bristol landlord, said the group’s program director James Richardson, who once was homeless, too. The new home will house five former Tent City residents, who will contribute 30 percent of their income toward rent with the group subsidizing the rest with donations and grants.
As for DiNardo, he found a new home, too. But it’s not in the woods.   
A married couple who are Widows Sons members offered to rent him a room in their Bristol home, Richardson said.

Tent City residents say more moving in as they ready to move out

Posted: Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Phil DiNardo looked forward to his eviction on Tuesday. He was disappointed that it was postponed for a week.
“It’s still pressure. It’s a mental stress” said DiNardo, better known as “Papa Bear” by those in the county’s oldest and largest homeless camp, where he has lived for the last three years.
At 63, DiNardo is the oldest resident. He vows he’ll be the last to leave.
Phil "Papa Bear" DiNardo
His dissatisfaction at an unexpected 11th-hour reprieve for his fellow Tent City residents drew a quick reaction from Allen Johnson, who works for the Bucks County Department of Behavioral Health.
“Where were you going to go?” he asked DiNardo.
After a long pause, DiNardo — who has been homeless 11 years — conceded.
That reality has started sinking in for the remaining homeless in the camp, who say they’ve long grown accustomed to regular, but empty, threats of eviction. This new deadline, though, has created a new urgency among local county and private agencies and groups who’ve been working with camp residents to relocate them into temporary or permanent housing.
On Monday, Bristol Borough police Chief Arnold Porter announced that the property owner, JRZ LLC, has given the homeless a one-week extension to leave the campsite, which is located in woods behind Lower Bucks Hospital in Bristol.
“The property owner felt another seven days would be helpful to the homeless for them to move their property from that location,” Porter said.
But, he emphasized, the construction equipment will begin removing trees and what’s left of the camp starting May 7 to make room for a planned 253,000-square foot warehouse.
Tent City has quietly existed on and off for at least 20 years. But Bristol officials started searching for the property’s owner in 2010, after the hospital filed a complaint, citing concerns about patient and employee safety.
The homeless residents who live there occupy camping tents or large wood and tarp-covered structures. They use propane-fueled heaters, lights and stoves. Most say they rely on disability checks, charity and scavenging nearby shopping center trash bins.
Many have mental or physical disabilities, chronic health problems or substance abuse issues, all obstacles to finding decent housing.
Organizers of a new faith-based group called The Way Home say they’re making slow, but steady progress on their effort to secure subsidized supervised housing for some of the camp residents.
On Monday the group found out it was approved for federal nonprofit status, meaning it can start accepting donations, board member Clyde Beury said. It is also looking to find a local Realtor with a property and landlord willing to work with them.
The group’s plan is to provide subsidized supervised housing for four people at a time. Tenants will have to pass drug and alcohol, mental health and criminal background checks. They’ll also have to contribute 30 percent of their income toward rent.
“We are definitely hoping and continuing, as we have been for the last month, to locate places,” Beury added.
Some camp residents have managed to find new homes on their own. Over the weekend nearly half of the 16 residents left the camp, remaining residents and visitors said Tuesday. But many of those who moved on opted to set up tents in other nearby wooded areas.
Mitchell Lanier is 22. He left the camp Friday after securing a bed at a local halfway house. He lived in the camp about a month, after traveling by bus to Pennsylvania from South Carolina to seek new opportunities.
Mitchell Lanier
Lanier says he discovered the hidden camp when walking by nearby Silver Lake. He found a trail and followed it to Tent City, where he asked if he could pitch his tent. Sure, he was told.
“They are the nicest people out here,” he added. “They treat you good.”    
The nine or so holdouts have been mostly resistant or skeptical of outside offers involving area homeless shelters, substance abuse or mental health treatment centers, volunteers and advocates said.
“Sure, some people in the camp drink a lot, but what do you expect?” DiNardo asked.
“You get us out of the woods, you see how quick they clean up,” he added.
Tiffany Duffy is a regular camp visitor. Her cousin Billy lives there and has been watching over her dog, Dutch, until Tiffany and her husband can move into their new apartment.
“They don’t have anything, but they’ll feed you. They’re sweethearts. I love every one of them,” she said Tuesday. “It’s like one big family.”
And what worries people like Johnson is that while the camp is preparing to shut down, people continue moving in.
“They’re still coming,” he said.

Homeless again ... maybe

Posted: Sunday, April 29, 2012

Visitors keep telling Phil “Papa Bear” DiNardo that he and the others in Bucks County’s oldest and largest homeless camp must move out before Tuesday. But the Lord tells him something different.
“I ain’t gonna give it up,” he said Thursday. “Jesus is telling me to wait.”
DiNardo isn’t the only Tent City resident who isn’t convinced that bulldozers and backhoes will begin dismantling their homes in a few days to make room for a new warehouse. Even after an industrial-size trash bin recently appeared outside the encampment.
The people here say they’ve heard the same warning every month for the last two years.
Phil "Papa Bear" DiNardo
“When they bring the bulldozers, I’ll believe it,” one man said. 
But Bristol Borough Police Chief Arnold Porter last week confirmed that property owner JRZ, LLC intends to bring heavy construction equipment onto the 23 acres where the camp is located to start excavating the site. The borough council approved development plans for a 253,000-square foot warehouse in 2005.
“Everyone has been very patient with them,” Porter added.
Local churches, advocates for the homeless and social service agencies have been working with camp residents to relocate them into temporary or permanent housing, as well connect them with social services, drug or alcohol treatment.
A local faith-based group called “The Way Home” is working to obtain federal nonprofit status and hopes to secure housing for some Tent City residents, according to Don Richards, a member of the Advocates for the Homeless and Those in Need, which works with the Lower Bucks homeless.
The group’s plan is to provide subsidized housing for four people at a time, Richards said. As for the other camp residents, he isn’t sure what will happen to them.
“That is the question,” he added.
A Philadelphia homeless shelter offered to take some men, but no one wanted to relocate, said Keith Smothers, a case manager with Penndel Mental Health who is working with camp residents.
“This time it’s pretty serious. I think some folks are waiting to see what will happen before they move,” Smothers added. “They will stay there until they actually see someone come in and raise the place. I guess we’ll be there to pick up the pieces.”
Tent City, as it’s come to be known, has quietly existed on and off for at least 20 years tucked in the woods next to Lower Bucks Hospital in Bristol. In 2010, though, Bristol officials started looking for the property’s owner after the hospital filed a complaint, citing concerns about patient and employee safety.
Residents who live there occupy camping tents or large wood and tarp-covered structures. They use propane-fueled heaters, lights and stoves. They cook for each other, watch over belongings, attend Sunday church services, and share whatever they find.
Most say they rely on disability checks, charity, and scavenging nearby shopping center trash bins. Many have mental or physical disabilities, chronic health problems or substance abuse issues, all obstacles to finding decent housing.
Diane and Jim moved into Tent City about two months ago, after they were evicted from their Bristol Township apartment. They couldn’t afford the rent anymore, though Diane is on Section 8 subsidized housing. Social workers took her three girls, ages 14, 12 and 7, into foster care, Diane said.
Before they ended up at the camp, they slept in Jim’s car. He knew other people who’ve stayed in the camp, so one day they showed up. They’ve been there ever since.
They’ll be there Tuesday, though Jim says their belongings will be packed, just in case.
Papa Bear DiNardo in his tent

For three years, DiNardo has lived in Tent City. At age 63, he is the oldest of the more than dozen people who call the place home.
Before he landed in the camp, DiNardo said he rented a motel room. Before that he lived in his car for seven years. His family knows his circumstances, he said. He has worked as a truck driver and a cab driver. He owned a Warminster deli. He ran a video store for nine years.
But now DiNardo says he is too old and sick to pack up his life again.
If the bulldozers come on Tuesday, he’ll take what he can carry. He worries he’ll have to leave behind his collection of religious objects and Bibles he keeps inside his tent.
He explained that the Tent City is a place where people who have no place go. How many are still here? DiNardo started counting on his fingers.
“Two, four, six, nine, 10, 11, 12, 13, 15, we got 16,” he said. “And that is an off week.
Some people have already moved on, most taking their tents deeper into the woods. DiNardo likes it in the camp, though he doesn’t love it. He believes he landed in Tent City for a reason that only the Lord knows.
Last Christmas everyone was broke, so DiNardo made a sign out of a piece of scrap wood, writing in black marker: “Help Bristol’s Homeless, Please.” He stood outside a local shopping center and rang a little bell.
The money he collected he spent on presents for people in the camp, things like propane fuel and cigarettes. It was a good holiday, he said.
Many camp residents are known to local community groups. DiNardo and others recently helped with a spring cleanup at the Latino Leadership Alliance of Bucks County’s headquarters in Bristol.
“None of them would take a dime,” alliance President Theresa Conejo said. “They did it because they have big hearts and wanted to give back to the community and the kids.”
DiNardo hadn’t decided if he’ll refuse to leave Tuesday. But he’ll be there, on his porch with a cup of coffee.
“I never thought it would come to this day, and it still may not,” he said. “I’m looking forward to an exciting day.”

Son of one of the Flight 93 heroes is facing criminal charges in Bucks County

Posted: Wednesday, September 12, 2012

On Tuesday, Joseph Nacke mourned the loss of his father — one of the Flight 93 heroes — as he does every Sept. 11.
Only on this year’s anniversary of the U.S. terrorist attacks, he did so while wearing a yellow Bucks County prison uniform and shackles.
Nacke, 28, who lists addresses in Clementon and Pittman, N.J., appeared before Morrisville District Judge Michael Burns for preliminary hearings on four criminal cases dating back to a 48-hour period at the beginning of last year.
Joseph Nacke
Police say Nacke allegedly entered three cars in Solebury and Lower Makefield on Jan. 22 and Jan. 23, 2011, and stole items such as credit and identification cards then used them to open lines of credit and to purchase thousands of dollars of items.
On Jan. 24, 2011, Yardley police alleged that Nacke used a gun to rob a Wawa on the 40 block of South Main Street shortly before 5 a.m. He entered a not guilty plea on that charge. 
While the charges against Nacke were filed in February and April 2011, he was not arrested and arraigned until June 14, according to online court records. He has been in Bucks County prison ever since in lieu of 10 percent of both $100,000 and $250,000 bail.
Nacke is the oldest child of the late Louis Nacke, 42, of New Hope, a KayBee Toys executive who was aboard the doomed United Flight 93 on Sept. 11, 2001.
Nacke is believed to be among the passengers who rushed the cockpit and foiled terrorist hijackers’ plans to crash the plane into an unknown target, possibly the U.S. Capitol or White House. They all lost their lives after the plane crashed in a field in Shanksville, Somerset County.
In the years since his father’s death, Joseph Nacke amassed an “extensive” criminal history in New Jersey, according to court documents. He is known to New Jersey law enforcement to steal from parked cars and commit identity and credit card theft, police said.
Solebury police said that Nacke admitted during a March interview at Camden County Correctional Facility that he entered two parked cars on Jan. 22 and stole identification and credit cards, which he used to obtain fraudulent charge accounts and buy items.
Louis Nacke
He also admitted to using the Pittman, N.J., home address of his girlfriend, Angela Ruggeri, to open fraudulent accounts and to using a victim’s identity during a traffic stop while driving his brother’s car in Cherry Hill, according to a probable cause affidavit.
Nacke told police that Ruggeri, 27, and Nacke’s younger brother, Louis Nacke II, 25, of Dundalk, Md., were with him when he made $4,000 worth of fraudulent purchases at a New Jersey department store, according to court records. He used another victim’s credit card to buy $100 worth of cigarettes at a Bellmawr, N.J., gas station, the court records show.
The third case involved a Lower Makefield resident who reported that someone entered his car Jan. 23, 2011, and stole a credit card, which was then used to make more than $1,800 worth of purchases between 1:25 and 6:35 a.m. according to court records.
For those three cases, Nacke is charged with multiple counts of forgery, credit cards stolen or forged, theft by unlawful taking, identity theft, receiving stolen property, conspiracy and access device crimes. Nacke waived those charges to Bucks County Court in Doylestown on Tuesday as part of an agreement to plead guilty.
In exchange, the District Attorney’s Office will drop multiple felony conspiracy charges against Louis Nacke II, prosecutor Matt Hoover confirmed. An arrest warrant was issued in April 2011 for Ruggeri on conspiracy charges, but she remains a fugitive.
After Tuesday’s brief hearing, Judge Burns also held Nacke for trial in the Wawa robbery on charges that included robbery with threat of immediate serious injury, a first-degree felony, and terroristic threats. The DA’s office dropped two other charges involving illegal firearms possession.
The prosecution’s lone witness, the Wawa employee working when the store was robbed, testified that the suspect entered the store about 4:40 a.m. Jan. 24, 2011, got a cup of coffee, paid for it, and then said he wanted to get more money to buy something else.
When the man returned five or 10 minutes later, the employee testified that he got a bad feeling and started writing down the man’s physical description and also removed most of the money from the register.
The suspect got in line to buy a Tastykake cookie bar and, as the employee rang it up, pulled what appeared to be a black handgun out of his pocket and pointed it at the store clerk’s head, he testified.
The suspect then demanded money, reached over the counter, took cash out of the open drawer and ran out of the store.
Shortly after the robbery, Yardley police received information from Lower Makefield police about a case they were investigating in which the suspect matched the description of the Wawa robber, according to court documents.
A couple of weeks later, the Wawa employee identified Nacke from a photo lineup, according to court documents.
On Tuesday, the worker testified that Nacke looks like the same man who robbed him that day, though he has gained a little weight.
After the hearing, Nacke’s attorney, John Fioravanti Jr., said his client didn’t commit the gunpoint robbery at the Wawa. He wasn’t there, he said.
Nacke family members, including his mom, who was divorced from Louis Nacke at the time of his death, attended the hearing. Afterward, his uncle Frank Alexander said that Sept. 11 is a tough day for the family, especially Joseph.
“He’s a great kid,” Alexander added. “He’s a father of two boys who miss him dearly.”
Joseph Nacke’s first child — Louis Joseph Nacke — named for his grandfather, was born six months after the terrorist attacks.
In a 2002 interview marking the first anniversary of Sept. 11, Joseph Nacke described himself as still in a daze after his father’s death.
“I live day by day,” said Nacke, who was 18 when his father died. “Some days are good. Some days are bad.”

Massive water leak leaves resident with $41K bill

Posted: Sunday August 21, 2011

Ruby Williams has known for a while she had an underground leak at her Bristol Township property, but now the $3,500 repair that she couldn't afford has turned into a $41,530.49 water bill.

Aqua Pennsylvania says the bill is the result of what it calls a "precedent-setting" water leak in Williams' portion of the water service line.

The leak was so massive that Williams used nearly three-quarters of a million gallons of water in 31 days last month, more than the amount needed to fill an Olympic-size swimming pool.

Ruby Williams ponders her $41K water bill
On Friday, Aqua Pennsylvania's manager for Eastern Operations visited the property and confirmed a "roaring" leak exists, most likely between the home's pantry and kitchen that gushed as much as 16 gallons of water a minute. The home's water service was temporarily shut off for the second time in less than a week.

A plumber and an Aqua maintenance crew were at the Williams property on Saturday and a new company service line was installed at a more accessible location. The new Aqua service line's location will save Williams plumbing costs related to the installation of her new customer water line, Aqua spokeswoman Donna Alston said Saturday.

"This is an extraordinarily unusual situation," Alston added. "We have never seen a leak this large on a residential customer property."

Bucks County Consumer Protection Director Mike Bannon agrees the situation is extremely unusual. But what he wants to know is why Aqua would allow a 23,000-gallon-a-day leak to go unfixed for months. His office is investigating.

"You've got to fix this problem, not run up the bill," Bannon said.

But legally Aqua cannot enter or inspect a customer's property unless a leak is found on its side of the water service line or water is surfacing and damaging its portion of the line, Alston said. Customers are responsible for maintaining the water service lines that run between the curb box and the meter, as well as internal plumbing, according to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.

Even if Aqua notices a customer is using an extraordinary amount of water, such as the Williams case, it cannot take action as long as the bill is paid on time.

"As curious as we might be, we have no right to call the customer or inquire about how that water is being used," Alston said. "We could have wondered all day long. We don't have the right (to interfere)."

Aqua says its customer records show Williams received a "High Bill Alert" notice on her March 31 water bill; the special message appears on bills if the water usage amount reaches 300 percent of their average usage.

In early April, Ruby Williams called to say she received a $7,219.15 water bill, Alston said. At the time, Williams acknowledged she was aware of a leak on her side of the water service line and says she indicated it would be fixed, Alston said.

Williams, 78, admits she knew the home, which she shares with her daughter and granddaughter, had an underground leak, and two plumbers confirmed it. But she didn't have the estimated $3,500 to fix it immediately, something she said she told Aqua's billing department.

Until last year Williams said she worked part-time for No Longer Bound, a local social service agency; her daughter and granddaughter, who live with her, both work full time, she said. The home's water bill is under the name of her daughter, who lives with her.

Alston, though, says records show Williams informed Aqua in April and May that she was going to fix the leak, and that she reported on June 8 that the leak was fixed.

Williams adamantly denies she told Aqua the leak was repaired. A copy of her water bill for July through August appears to support her claim. It shows the average daily water use at the property was 23,432 gallons or 726,400 gallons in 31 days, according to a copy of her most recent water bill.

The typical residential water user in Williams' area uses about 4,500 gallons a month, Alston said.
Aqua workers checked the property water meter on March 3 and Aug. 5, and no problems were found with the meter, Alston said.

When a customer suspects a leak, Aqua will send workers to check its side of the service line and if none is found there, as happened with Williams, the customer is informed the leak is on their side of the property, Alston said. Aqua workers checked the service line in April and May and found no problems on its side, she added.

An auditor with the company's Helping Hands program for low-income customers who have defaulted on payment arrangements conducted an "audit" Friday that found no evidence of water surfacing in or around the property, Alston said.

Where such a large volume of water could be draining remains a mystery, though Alston said there are only two places it could go: an underground water table or a sewer system.

Mike Becht, a master plumber and manager of Benjamin Franklin Plumbing in Bristol Township, said water meters are typically accurate, but a leak producing 23,000 gallons of water a day on a residential property doesn't seem feasible.
Ruby Williams 

To use that volume of water, a A-inch pipe would have to be completely sheered off, Becht said. He added that amount of water flowing into the ground likely would leave behind evidence of property damage.

As her water bill hit the five-digit mark, Williams said she made payment arrangements with Aqua to pay down the growing balance. Alston confirmed that the company approved a payment schedule for Williams in April.

Williams says she has made regular payments toward the balance. A copy of her Aug. 3 water bill shows she paid $200 towards her $34,322.51 balance the previous month. Alston confirmed a $350 payment was made on Aug. 15.

Aqua says its records show Williams has not been "current for some time" in her payments, but Alston said that most of the $41,000 outstanding balance had accumulated since March, when the water usage skyrocketed, Alston said.

On Wednesday, Aqua shut off water service at the home "primarily" for nonpayment, Alston confirmed. 

The water was turned on again Friday morning, but shut off a few hours later after Aqua confirmed the leak was not repaired and so large it required further action on the company's part, Alston said.

Generally, water service cannot be terminated to a home, if a formal payment arrangement exists and the customer is meeting the payments, Public Utility Commission spokeswoman Jennifer Kocher said. 

Absent a formal arrangement, the water company can cut off service for nonpayment.

Aqua has gathered information for a local social service agency that may be able to provide Williams financial assistance for the leak repair.

Alston added that the $41,000 outstanding balance will be modified - in Williams' favor - though she could not say by how much it will be, but she suspects it will be "far lower" than what it is now.

"Because we are going to make an adjustment on her account, when the service is restored today she will continue to have water," Alston added. "Hopefully, we will come to an agreement to an adjustment and a future payment arrangement so she can have service into the future."