Monday, July 15, 2013

MD officials apologize Bucks murder suspect's release, blame 'data entry' errors

Posted: Monday, July 15, 2013
Dale Wakefield following his arraignment 

The Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services on Monday apologized for releasing a Bucks County murder suspect, blaming the mistake on a “data entry” issue and “complications” involving out-of-state warrants and detainers.

Doylestown resident Dale Wakefield, 21, was free for about four hours Thursday after he was released from a Baltimore jail where he was in custody and awaiting extradition to Bucks County to face murder charges in the July 3 stabbing death of George Mohr, 71.

“The Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services regrets the data-entry issue that led to the mistaken release of Dale Wakefield,” acting spokeswoman Erin Julius said. “Complications arose due to the nature of out-of-state warrants and detainers.”
Julius did not elaborate on what errors or complications occurred. The prison department is evaluating its processes and it expected to take “appropriate disciplinary actions” in light of the error, she added.
Bucks County District Attorney David Heckler, who initially called the prison “inept" and "irresponsible” for releasing Wakefield, said he is satisfied with the apology.
“Fair enough — no question, they screwed up,” he said. “I’m willing to believe it was a mistake, but it was more than a mistake, it was sloppy, sloppy work.”
Heckler added he hopes the prison will pursue a deeper investigation into what happened. He has left messages with the Baltimore District Attorney’s office, but he has not received a return call, Heckler said. He also plans to forward the Bucks County Detectives' full report on the mistaken release to the Baltimore DA.
The Baltimore City Detention Center released Wakefield early Thursday morning, citing a judge’s order the previous day. The order, however, also required the jail to hold Wakefield if there were any other charges against him.
Bucks County had filed an arrest warrant on July 4 charging Wakefield initially with attempted murder and related crimes and he was arrested that day in a Baltimore hotel. The charges against him were upgraded to first-degree murder on July 10 following the death of Mohr, who spent time in Philadelphia and Doylestown.
Dale Wakefield 
Wakefield waived extradition in the case on July 8, essentially agreeing to return to Bucks County, according to officials. Heckler said the order included wording that Wakefield should be held until July 18.
But Maryland District Court Judge C. Yvonne Holt-Stone ordered Wakefield released Wednesday morning, according to a copy of the order obtained by the Baltimore Sun newspaper. The bottom of the order reads: "NOTE: This release applies only to the case listed above. Before release, check for detainers. If Defendant is committed for any other reason, hold Defendant pursuant to that commitment."
There was no further explanation on the order, and staff said last week the judge is on vacation.
Sometime after 2 a.m. Thursday, Heckler said a newly released Wakefield called his mother and said he was going to his sister’s dormitory at Coppin State University in Maryland. Wakefield's sister had contacted police after her brother allegedly called her and confessed to the slaying July 3. Wakefield had been living at a South Clinton Street apartment his sister rents.
Wakefield’s mother immediately called Bucks County Detective Martin McDonough and told him that her son was freed and headed to his sister's, according to authorities. McDonough contacted the Baltimore homicide unit which re-arrested Wakefield about 6 a.m. in the area of a Coppin State dorm elevator, according to police.
Wakefield is in Bucks County prison without bail awaiting a preliminary hearing tentatively scheduled for Aug. 21. Bucks County Detectives say Wakefield stabbed Mohr near the Doylestown train station at least 70 times.
Heckler believes the Philadelphia Medical Examiner’s office has released Mohr’s body, but he is unsure what arrangements his family, which lives in Connecticut, has made.

Man charged in Doylestown homeless stabbing had prior knife-related arrest

Posted: Sunday, July 7, 2013

The man accused of stabbing a homeless man more than 70 times was released from a Carbon County jail earlier this year after pleading guilty to hitting and shooting his mom with a BB gun and holding a knife to her throat.
Dale “Bugsy” Wakefield Jr. — who turned 21 the night before he allegedly stabbed George Mohr, 71, near the Doylestown train station — had been sentenced to seven to 23 months in March as part of the negotiated plea deal that dismissed most charges against him in the attack.

He was released on March 25 for time served after spending 199 days, or just under the minimum seven months, in jail, according to the Carbon County Jail records.
Dale Wakefield
Wakefield had been incarcerated in the northeastern Pennsylvania county jail in lieu of 10 percent of $75,000 since his arrest in September on 12 charges including simple assault, terroristic threats, recklessly endangering another person, and unauthorized use of a vehicle.
On Thursday, Baltimore police took Wakefield into custody at a hotel room in Maryland where he had fled after allegedly stabbing Mohr, a U.S. Army veteran, who suffered critical, life-threatening injuries in the attack early Wednesday.
Wakefield is expected to be extradited back to Pennsylvania to face charges that include attempted murder, aggravated assault and possession of an instrument of crime.
Why Wakefield attacked Mohr remains a mystery, though Heckler said that he had been drinking and was intoxicated, a violation of his probation. Court records in Carbon County and Connecticut, the former where Wakefield lived until earlier this year and the latter where he attended school, show a violent past.
In January, Wakefield pleaded guilty to a single charge of simple assault and terroristic threats in the Sept. 2 attack on his mother at their home; the other counts and charges, including reckless endangerment, were dismissed under the plea agreement.
Pennsylvania State Police at Fern Ridge arrested Wakefield after he attacked his mother because she refused to give him the keys to her car, according to a probable cause affidavit. Wakefield had a suspended driver’s license from an earlier DUI conviction, court records show.
Wakefield became “enraged,” and pulled his mother’s hair and threw her against a wall, according to court records. Next he took out a BB gun and pointed it at her face, then used it to strike her in the head, left chest area and arm, police said.
Wakefield then shot his mother in the right thigh, leaving a bruise, according to an affidavit.
His mother, who was widowed in January 2011, ran from the home and flagged down a car whose driver took her to a nearby fire company where she called police, according to police documents in the case.
Wakefield fled the house, but an hour later, state police returned to the family’s home after he assaulted his mother a second time, this time holding a knife to her throat, police said.
After using his house key to enter the home, Wakefield confronted his mom and told her he saw that police were here "and he was angry," the affidavit said. Wakefield told his mother he wanted the money she owed him and the keys to her car.
"He then pulled a knife. At that time, the victim ran down the hallway in an attempt to get to her bedroom. The defendant ran after her and pushed her onto the bed face down. The defendant had the knife to her back and then held the knife to her throat,” according to the affidavit.
Again, Wakefield demanded money and her car keys. His mother told him the money was in the car and they went to the car. At one point the mother tried to get in the car and drive away, but Wakefield pulled her out of it by her hair, police said.
His mom then threw the keys onto the front seat of the car, ran into the house and called police. Wakefield got into the car and drove away.
State police caught and arrested Wakefield, who three days after the attack while being transported to Carbon County jail escaped from the patrol car, but was caught after a brief foot chase, according to press accounts. Wakefield also pleaded guilty to the escape charge.
Carbon County Judge Steven Serfass ordered a pre-sentencing investigation report, but information in the reports is confidential, according to the Carbon County Clerk of Courts.
At sentencing the judge imposed zero tolerance on drug and alcohol use and ordered Wakefield to undergo a mental health, drug and alcohol evaluation and complete anger management counseling, according to court records. In addition to a jail sentence, Wakefield was sentenced in March to 24 months of probation on an escape charge.
But Wakefield’s legal problems go even further back.
In February 2012, Wakefield caused an entire Connecticut technical school to go on lockdown after making threats and trashing a dorm lobby.
Suffield police Sgt. Ryan Burrell remembers the then-19-year-old Wakefield being plain-faced as Burrell arrested him.
During the night of Feb. 6, 2012, Wakefield, apparently intoxicated, began throwing chairs and smashing tables in the lobby of his Lincoln Tech Institute dormitory Burrell said. A verbal altercation with a school security guard ensued, according to police. He made hand gestures suggesting he was going to get a pistol and then pulled a fire alarm, Burrell said.
In the ensuing confusion, Wakefield fled campus. Burrell said SWAT officers rushed to the school, which was placed on lockdown because of the gun threat. Police were able to get into contact with Wakefield as late night turned to early morning and ended the lockdown when they realized his cell phone was off-campus.
About 6 a.m. Feb. 7, Burrell and another officer spotted a young man walking along the roadway in a hooded sweatshirt and realized it was Wakefield, police said. Wakefield started to run and tossed a buck knife into a nearby stream before police were able to arrest him at gunpoint, Burrell said.
“We were trying to get him to turn himself in, we wanted to resolve this with no harm to him,” Burrell said. “And his response was basically just, ‘F- you, pig.’”
Wakefield didn’t have a gun, police said. He was charged with a felony count of criminal mischief for the damage to the lobby, and misdemeanors of threatening and breaching of peace. Connecticut court records available online do not show what the resolution of the case was. Police said the charges against Wakefield don’t normally result in a prison sentence.
Two years earlier, Wakefield, then 18, pleaded guilty in Carbon County Court to summary charges of escape and harassment in connection with a December 2010 incident with his sister Wendy, who rented the apartment where Wakefield recently lived. He was placed on six months of probation and ordered to undergo drug and alcohol and mental health evaluations. He was also fined $300 for the harassment charge.
Since moving to Bucks County, Wakefield appears to have mostly stayed out of serious trouble.
Warwick police cited Wakefield twice in August, once for noise-related disorderly conduct and he pleaded guilty, online court records show. A summary charge of purchasing alcohol as a minor was later withdrawn, records show.
Where stabbing occurred July 3, 2013
Bucks County detectives accuse Wakefield of attacking Mohr, also a Villanova graduate, stabbing and beating him, and leaving him unconscious. Mohr was found lying on South Clinton Street — a block south of the apartment where Wakefield was staying — in front of a bus kiosk near the Doylestown train station about 2:45 a.m. Wednesday, police said.    
A Temple University doctor treating Mohr told police that he had multiple stab wounds and blunt force trauma to the head that resulted in numerous facial fractures and brain injury, according to an affidavit of probable cause.
Wendy Wakefield, Dale's sister, called an emergency tip line created after the attack, early Thursday morning and said her brother had called her Wednesday and told her he was in trouble, according to court documents. He had stabbed someone and “may have killed him,” the affidavit said.
Wakefield told his sister he had the pocket knife used in the attack, but left his bloody clothes and shoes at her apartment. His sister said that she had not been to the South Clinton Street apartment in two weeks, police said.
He also told his sister he planned to escape to North Dakota, but that he was currently at a hotel in Baltimore.
Heckler said that investigators have information that others were with Wakefield the night of the stabbing but they don't know if anyone was with him during Mohr's attack. Heckler also said Wakefield's drinking on his 21st birthday was a violation of his probation and, at least initially, Baltimore authorities held Wakefield on a probation violation while authorities in Bucks County filed the attempted murder warrant against him.
Investigators believe Mohr took the train from Philadelphia to Doylestown Tuesday. His last known address was in Phoenix, Ariz.
Authorities said they do not know of any friends or family he has in the area. Heckler said authorities have been in contact with Mohr’s family, some of whom are currently at the hospital.

21-year-old Doylestown man charged with attempted murder in stabbing of homeless man

Posted: Friday, July 5, 2013

After celebrating his 21st birthday Tuesday, a Doylestown man allegedly stabbed a 71-year-old homeless man more than 70 times, leaving him unconscious and bleeding near the Doylestown Train Station.
Police said Dale "Bugsy" Wakefield's sister turned him in after he called her, said he may have killed a man and that he planned to flee to North Dakota.
Dale Wakefield
Wakefield got as far as Baltimore, where he was arrested Thursday. He is charged in a Bucks County warrant with attempted murder, aggravated assault and possessing an instrument of crime, District Attorney David Heckler said.
The man he allegedly stabbed, George Mohr, a homeless U.S. Army veteran and Villanova graduate, remains in critical condition at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia.
Mohr was found lying on South Clinton Street — a block south from the apartment where Wakefield was staying — in front of a bus kiosk near the Doylestown train station about 2:45 a.m. on Wednesday, police said.
At first, authorities thought he’d been struck by a train or car, but realized he sustained several blows to his head and numerous stab wounds. Investigators said they believe Mohr took the train from Philadelphia to Doylestown on Tuesday.
When police arrived at the scene, they found Mohr unresponsive, unconscious and “bleeding profusely” from his head, chest and face, according to a probable cause affidavit. He was flown to Temple University Hospital.
“We are very concerned that Mr. Mohr may not survive his injuries and this may become a murder case,” Heckler said.
A Temple doctor told police that Mohr had multiple stab wounds and blunt force trauma to the head that resulted in numerous facial fractures and brain injury, according to the affidavit.
Heckler said the emergency communications department quickly set up an emergency tip line because authorities believed members of the community might have seen or heard something. In particular, Heckler said, investigators believed Mohr’s attacker would have blood spatter on himself and may have sustained cuts to his hands.
Wendy Wakefield, Dale's sister, called that line early Thursday morning and said her brother -- who stays at her apartment in the unit block of South Clinton Street — had called her Wednesday and told her he was in trouble, according to court documents.
He had stabbed someone and “may have killed him,” the affidavit said.
In subsequent conversations, Wakefield told his sister that he stabbed someone at the Doylestown Train Station and that he still had the pocket knife he used in the attack, but his bloody clothes and shoes were still in the apartment. His sister said that she had not been to the South Clinton Street apartment in two weeks, police said.
Dale Wakefield also told his sister he wanted to flee to North Dakota, but that he was currently at a hotel in Baltimore.
Several hours later, Baltimore Police executed a search warrant at Room 524 of the Mount Vernon Hotel where they arrested Wakefield and recovered a pocketknife. Wakefield remains in custody in Baltimore pending an extradition hearing.
Heckler said that investigators have information that others were with Wakefield that night and it is unclear if anyone was still with him at the time of the stabbing. He said that drinking on his 21st birthday is a violation of Wakefield’s probation and, at least initially, Baltimore authorities held Wakefield on a probation violation while authorities in Bucks County filed the attempted murder warrant against him.
Wakefield has a history of violent crime, according to Carbon County court records. He pleaded guilty earlier this year to making terroristic threats and simple assault stemming from an incident in September. He was sentenced to seven to 23 months in prison in March and ordered to have a psychiatric evaluation within 30 days of release and undergo anger management counseling.
Wakefield pleaded guilty to escaping custody in 2012 and was placed on probation. He also previously pleaded guilty to DUI and harassment.
Heckler said investigators will serve a search warrant at the apartment on South Clinton Street.
Mohr's last known address was in Phoenix, Ariz., and authorities said he’s been known to visit Doylestown in warm weather. Heckler said courthouse security has previously asked him not to sleep in an area adjacent to the domestic relations court building. Authorities said they do not know of any friends or family he has in the area.
Court records indicate Mohr was charged with harassment in 2011 by Doylestown police, but it is unclear what the resolution of that case was.

Authorities believe Mohr occasionally slept on a bench at the train station. Heckler said authorities have been in contact with Mohr’s family, some of whom are currently at the hospital.

State court upholds reducing $14 million verdict for Falls woman who lost leg as teen

Posted: Friday, July 5, 2013

A state appellate court has upheld a damage cap that effectively reduces to $500,000 a $14 million jury award to a Falls woman who lost a leg as a teen after she was hit by a Pennsbury school bus.
In its ruling Wednesday, the three-member Commonwealth Court noted that the courts upheld the state cap previously, Judge Renee Cohn Jubelirer wrote in the opinion. She cited case law that placed responsibility for changing the law with the state Legislature, not the courts.

“As tragic as the circumstances are in this case, we are constrained by the precedential case law that has previously upheld the constitutionality of the statuary cap,” she wrote in the opinion.
Ashley Zauflik at her 2011 civil trial
Ashley Zauflik, now 23, was the most seriously injured of 20 students hit by an out-of-control bus outside Pennsbury High School’s East campus in January, 2007. She lost her left leg above the knee and sustained other injuries.
She sued the Pennsbury School District and a Bucks County jury awarded her the $14 million in 2011. With interest, the total award is nearly $16 million.
Five months later, though, Bucks County Judge Robert J. Mellon, who presided over the civil case, reduced the award to $500,000 citing the state’s liability cap for school districts and municipalities.
Pennsylvania law limits the amount of civil damage awards against local governments and school districts to $500,000 per incident.
Judge Rochelle S. Friedman wrote in a dissenting opinion that she believed the cap is unconstitutional. She noted that had Pennsbury used a private transportation company, Zauflik would have been entitled to receive the full jury award.
“Surely the Legislature can devise legislation that more fairly and adequately addresses this gross disparity,” Friedman wrote. “A school district that opts to furnish a service often provided by a private entity should be required to insure itself in the same manner as a private entity and be equally liable.”
Zauflik’s lead attorney Thomas Kline said he would appeal to the state Supreme Court, which upheld the state law limiting civil liability for state and local governments in 1981 and 1986.
Kline believes that Pennsbury could tap a $10 million excess liability policy the school district had in place at the time of the accident to cover a substantial portion of the original verdict.
Kline added he was encouraged by the tone of the appellate court judges’ opinion and their acknowledgement of “the manifest injustice of reducing by 97 percent.”
“We look forward to the day when our Supreme Court places Pennsylvania in line with other states, including New Jersey and New York, which do not have this draconian law, and which hold their state government entities responsible for their actions without adverse fiscal impact,” he added.

Bristol Twp. 7-11 clerk: Robber said, “If you don’t open the register, I’m going to kill you"

Posted: Wednesday, July 3, 2013
Kevin "Man-Man" Fant
As soon as he saw the two men dressed in black with masks covering their faces enter the 7-Eleven where he was working shortly before 4 a.m., the man knew what would happen next.

“I knew they were going to rob me,” the man testified Tuesday at a preliminary hearing for a 21-year-old Bristol Township man accused in the March 27 knifepoint robbery on Bristol Pike, which occurred shortly after police say he robbed another 7-Eleven in the township.

The cashier testified that he ran toward the back of the store, but one of the suspects — Kevin “Man-Man” Fant of Marie Lowe Drive — caught him. Fant allegedly dragged him to the front of the store and ordered him to open the cash register, all while holding a knife against the man’s chest.
“If you don’t open the register, I’m going to kill you,” Fant ordered, the employee testified.
Bristol Township police allege that Fant and his cousin Derrick “Boo-Boo” Carroll, 20, of Bristol Township had a knife while robbing the two convenience stores less than a half hour apart. No one was hurt in either robbery.
Fant was arrested last month and charged with both robberies. He has a preliminary hearing on the earlier robbery case scheduled for next month before District Judge Joanne Kline. Police have arrest warrants out for Carroll in the two cases.
The cashier working at the Bristol Pike store testified that after Fant took money from the front cash register, Fant ordered him to open a second register. The store’s manager also testified that the suspects stole the cash drawer from the register, as well as cigarettes, cigars and energy drinks totaling $500.
After ordering the clerk to go to the back of the store, the two men left, the cashier said.
On cross examination, the employee admitted that he didn’t know the suspects’ identities and wouldn’t recognize any of their facial features.
“You can’t tell the face of either guy,” public defender Michael Lacson said.
Bristol Township police Officer Jarrod Eisenhauer, though, testified that when he interviewed Fant regarding the 7-Eleven armed robbery in the 800 block of Veterans Highway, Fant confessed to committing the crime with Carroll. Fant also identified himself as the suspect with a knife in surveillance video from that robbery, the officer said.
Fant did not admit involvement in the Bristol Pike 7-Eleven robbery during the police interview, Eisenhauer said.
But the police officer, who said he had previous contact with Fant, said he recognized Fant’s clothing, description as well as his mannerisms after reviewing surveillance video from the Bristol Pike robbery.
Following testimony, Wagner held Fant for trial on all charges, including criminal conspiracy, robbery, simple assault, theft, possession of an instrument of crime, receiving stolen property and terroristic threats. He remains at Bucks County prison in lieu of 10 percent of $100,000 bail in one case, and 10 percent of $500,000 in a second case.

Feasterville man held for trial on child sexual assault charges despite victim inconsistencies

Posted: Thursday, July 4, 2013

At age 4, she told investigators that a 38-year-old Feasterville man touched her privates under her clothing during a visit to a Bensalem home.
Before Bensalem District Judge Joseph Falcone, though, the now 6-year-old girl testified the man touched her in a “private spot” over her pajamas.

The difference may sound minor, but legally it’s the difference between a felony and misdemeanor charge for Michael Angelitis, who is accused of molesting the girl and a 7-year-old boy in 2010 and 2011.
Bensalem police started investigating after Bucks County Children and Youth Social Services notified them in 2010 that the boy had alleged that Angelitis tickled him “down there” 10 times and ignored the boy’s requests to stop, according to a probable cause affidavit.
The boy also claimed that Angelitis also showed him his “private parts,” according to police.
Michael Angelitis
Bensalem police said that there was not enough evidence to prove the original case, but it remained active.
At Angelitis’ preliminary hearing Wednesday, the now 9-year-old boy testified that Angelitis offered to show him his comic book collection in his bedroom. After the boy was done paging through the books, he said that Angelitis started tickling him on the bed.
The “tickling” started at his stomach, and progressed to his genital area over his clothing, he testified. He said that he asked Angelitis to stop three or four times, and he did after the fourth request.
How did it make you feel? Bucks County prosecutor Matthew Lannetti asked.
“Uncomfortable,” the boy replied, adding that he told his mom about it the next day.
The prosecutor asked if Angelitis said anything to him while he was touching him.
“He just kept laughing,” the boy said.
A year after the boy claimed he was molested, Children and Youth Social Services made a second police report that Angelitis had touched the breasts and genitals of the 4-year-old, according to police.
After the second alleged incident was revealed, the police investigation was revived, and several interviews were conducted, which led to the arrest in May.
On the witness stand Wednesday, the girl testified that she was sleeping when Angelitis came into the bedroom and touched her chest and genital area. He touched her over her pajamas, she said.
She asked Angelitis to stop touching her, but he didn’t. She added the inappropriate touching happened only that one time.
When cross-examined by defense attorney Michael Goodwin, the girl testified that no one told her that she should say Angelitis touched her when he didn’t. She testified she told her parents what happened.
“Did anyone tell you not to talk about it,” Goodwin asked.
“No,” the girl replied.
The girl’s mother also testified after her daughter returned from the visit, she complained about pain while urinating. When she examined her daughter’s genital area, it appeared red and inflamed, the woman said.
She took her daughter to the doctor, and it was during the office visit that her daughter said that Angelitis had molested her, the woman said.
Bensalem Detective Christopher McMullin testified that he was present at an interview the 4-year-old gave at the Bucks County Children’s Advocacy Center about two weeks after the incident happened in September 2011.
In the interview, the girl stated that Angelitis had touched her on the skin in her genital area, the detective said.
Before McMullin took the stand — and afterward — the prosecution and defense argued over whether the detective could testify about the girl’s 2011 statement, and if the statement itself should be allowed since it contradicted her testimony on Wednesday.
Lannetti argued that the girl’s earlier statement was made closer to the actual incident and would be considered more reliable than testimony given more than a year later.
He added the girl’s prior statement was admissible despite the inconsistencies, the same way an assault victim’s prior statement is admissible in a preliminary hearing even if the person recants on the witness stand.
“She is also 6 years old and may forget what happened a year-and-a-half ago,” the prosecutor said.
Goodwin countered that Lannetti only wanted the prior testimony included because it supported his case to hold Angelitis for trial on two felony sexual assault charges.
“She would not forget that if it was on top of her clothes or not,” Goodwin added. “We don’t know what caused the inflammation. We can’t speculate.”
In the end, Judge Falcone sided with the prosecution, holding Angelitis for trial on all charges including two felony charges of aggravated indecent assault on a child, as well as misdemeanor indecent assault, unlawful contract with minors and corruption of minors. He is free on $50,000 unsecured bail.

Cops: “We’re not afraid to shoot because we’re from Trenton,” robbers told Bucks victims

Posted: Thursday, July 4, 2013

Four New Jersey men who allegedly went on a one-night, two-state armed robbery spree last week are facing more than two dozen criminal charges in Morrisville, where two of the robberies occurred.
The men are also being investigated in connection with other unsolved gunpoint robberies, and at least one pistol whipping in the riverside borough last month, according to sources familiar with the incidents.

Joshua Holmes, 19, of Trenton, Terrell Reynolds, 20, and Damian Angus, 19, both of Ewing, and Raekwon Fulmore, 18, of Sicklerville, N.J., are charged with multiple counts of robbery, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person, theft, and receiving stolen property, and related charges in two complaints filed in Morrisville’s District Court on June 27 and Tuesday, according to court documents.
Holmes, Angus and Fulmore are incarcerated in Mercer County, N.J., on similar charges in connection with two armed robberies that occurred the same night as the Morrisville robberies, according to Morrisville and Trenton police. Reynolds remains at large.
Fulmore, who turned 18 six days after the robbery spree, will be charged as an adult in Pennsylvania, according to court documents.
The four men allegedly robbed seven people in Morrisville, then crossed the Delaware River and continued their gunpoint robbery spree in Trenton.
The first robbery occurred on Park Avenue at the Delaware River Dike shortly after 10:30 p.m., when police say Angus, Reynolds and Fulmore approached five men walking on the path. One of the men — police alleged it was Angus — put a handgun against the head of one of the five victims.
“We have guns; if you move we will shoot you,” Angus said, according to court documents. “We’re not afraid to shoot because we’re from Trenton.”
Reynolds put a gun to the head of the first man’s brother, while he and Angus rifled through the five men’s pockets taking wallets and cell phones, according to police. The third man — police allege it was Fulmore — stood nearby as a lookout, according to court documents. Holmes, the alleged getaway driver, was waiting in his mom’s 1996 red Saturn.
Eight minutes later, Morrisville police Officer William Smith responded to Giant Plaza in the 800 block of West Trenton Avenue for another robbery at gunpoint. This one involved four people who allegedly robbed four others who were walking through the shopping center parking lot.
Police allege that Angus pointed a handgun at the four while Fulmore and Holmes rifled through their pockets, stealing smart phones, a bank card, several sets of keys, wallets and an undetermined amount of cash before fleeing.
A Bucks County dispatcher notified Trenton police about the two robberies in Morrisville. About two hours later, Trenton Detective Scott Peterson contacted Morrisville after patrol officers there stopped three men in connection with a gunpoint robbery and a carjacking. The suspects matched the descriptions of the suspects in the Morrisville robberies, police said.
Trenton police allege that Holmes, Angus and Fulmore approached a car around 11:30 p.m., pointed a handgun at the driver and demanded property. When the person didn’t give them anything, he was pistol whipped.
About an hour later, Trenton police say Angus and Holmes approached a man sitting on his front porch on Adeline Street and held a gun on the man while Holmes rifled through his pockets, stealing a cell phone and $217.
Shortly after the second Trenton robbery, police stopped the three men, who were driving in a blue Nissan Maxima that matched the description of a car that was reported stolen at gunpoint on nearby Division Street. Angus, Holmes and Fulmore were taken into police custody and charged with robbery and weapons-related offenses in New Jersey. They haven’t been charged in the carjacking, which remains under investigation, police said.
After speaking with the Trenton detective, Morrisville’s Smith drove the Giant Plaza robbery victims to Trenton, where they identified the three men as the ones who had robbed them, according to the affidavit.
On June 25, Morrisville police Officer Wayne Apice met with a Trenton detective and interviewed Fulmore, who admitted that he and his cousin, Holmes, met up with Angus and Reynolds, who were friends of Holmes.
Fulmore said the four drove to Morrisville in Holmes’s mom’s Saturn with plans to rob someone at gunpoint, according to court documents. After robbing the five men near Williamson Park, Fulmore said they drove to the Giant Plaza area, where they allegedly committed a second gunpoint robbery.
Before the men can be arraigned in Pennsylvania, they have to be released on bail by New Jersey and extradited to this state. If they’re not released on bail in New Jersey, the men will be formally arraigned after New Jersey closes its case against them, officials said.

Philly man faces DUI charges in one town, but not town where he allegedly had accidents

Posted: Tuesday, July 2, 2013

A Philadelphia man was allegedly driving under the influence when he was involved in an accident and injured after his car ran over him in Wrightstown.
But Joseph Ellis Jr., 48, is not charged with DUI in two hit-and-run accidents he allegedly committed in neighboring Northampton shortly before the third accident where he was hurt, according to online court documents.

Newtown Township and Northampton police on Monday each filed charges against Ellis in connection with the June 15 accidents. Ellis also has another pending DUI case from earlier this year in Wrightstown, court records show.
Northampton Acting Police Chief Lt. Mike Clark said that Ellis was driving a truck owned by a landscaping company where he had worked until he was terminated when the accidents occurred. The company had been seeking return of its truck, Clark said.
The first incident happened in the 800 block of Bustleton Pike at the Crossroads Shopping Plaza. The second occurred two miles away, at Sackettsford Road and Second Street Pike, police said. No one was injured in either accident, police said.
After striking the second car, it appears Ellis drove north on Second Street Pike another two miles into Wrightstown, police said. Shortly after noon, Newtown Township police, who patrol Wrightstown, received a report of a one-car accident with injuries in the 2500 block of Second Street Pike.
When the officer arrived at the scene, he found Ellis out of his truck, which was stuck in a ditch, police said. He appeared injured and lethargic, according to police.
A witness at the scene told police that Ellis stopped his truck on the road in front of her house and asked if she had any gas. Police did not say if the witness provided the man with gas.
But when Ellis got back into his truck, it started rolling backward and the open driver’s side door knocked him to the ground, the witness told police. When Ellis was on the ground, the truck ran over his leg. He was taken to St. Mary Medical Center in Middletown for treatment.
Newtown Township police have charged Ellis with driving under the influence, careless driving and disregard of traffic lanes. Northampton police filed three counts of recklessly endangering another person, two counts of accidents involving damage, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and other summary traffic citations.
The Courier Times was unsuccessful in reaching the assistant district attorney who approved the Northampton charges.

A living tribute to a lifetime of service for 90-year-old Feasterville firefighter

Posted: Friday, July 5, 2013

Joe Lanzendorfer never wanted to be a firefighter.
Feasterville firefighter Joe Lanzendorfer, 90

But after he moved from Philadelphia to Feasterville he found out his next-door neighbor was a fire policeman. He introduced Lanzendorfer to the Feasterville Fire Co.

“It was the best thing he ever done,” Lanzendorfer said.
More than 50 years later, the neighbor is gone.
But Lanzendorfer is still with the Feasterville Fire Co., where he is listed as a past assistant chief, past president, past chief engineer, past trustee, as well as a current lifetime member.
On Thursday he earned yet another honor, one historically reserved for firefighters who’ve gone to that big firehouse in the sky. Lanzendorfer is the first living Feasterville Fire Co. member to have a fire vehicle dedicated to him.
The company’s new Ford F-550 utility vehicle, which replaced a now-retired 1996 model – now bears a brass plaque on its bumper with Lanzendorfer’s name.
Fellow firefighters surprised Lanzendorfer with the dedication, which was decided months ago. As he removed the firefighter coat hiding the plaque he had tears in his eyes.
“It’s just unbelievable,” he said. “These boys are so great to me. I’m proud of the years I put in here.”
At age 90 he doesn’t respond to fire calls anymore, but he never misses the monthly membership meetings. He also helps count the change collected at coin tosses. He never misses the annual banquet either.
Firefighters have a longstanding tradition of dedicating vehicles in memory of members. The three other Feasterville fire vehicles are dedicated to members who have died, Chief Frank Walter said.
When vehicles are retired — usually every 15 years or so — the dedication plaques are removed and mounted on the firehouse walls.
When it came time to replace the utility vehicle, Walter recommended dedicating it to Lanzendorfer and the rest of the membership agreed.
“This whole building stands in tribute to Joe,” past Feasterville Fire Chief Steve Eckman said.
As a trustee, Lanzendorfer was instrumental in exercising financial restraint among members. “His mission was teaching us young guys the value of saving rather than spending,” Eckman said.
With the type of dedication and loyalty that Lanzendorfer has demonstrated, it seemed like the right thing for the company to show its appreciation while he was still around to enjoy it, Walter said.
“What he has done in the past, and he’s still alive, and I think that is a very nice gesture,” he added.
His children, son Daniel and daughter Patricia Kelly, agree. They remember growing up how the fire phone in the house alerted their dad about a call. There were many early morning wake-up calls and interrupted dinners.
“It didn’t matter if it was 3 o’clock in the morning or 3 o’clock in the afternoon,” said Daniel, a past Feasterville firefighter. “He’d go flying out the door. He was dedicated to the department.”
He still is, Kelly added.
“It was a big part of his life,’’ she said. “It still is.”
Jo Ciavaglia: 215-949-4181; email:; Twitter: @jociavaglia

Carnival worker charged with golf cart DUI, hurting St. Michael's fair worker

Posted: Wednesday, July 10, 2013

A Florida carnie worker allegedly driving a golf cart while drunk hit and seriously injured a woman at a Tullytown fair last month.
Bruce Coppage, 30, who gave his address as Gibsonton, Fla., appeared before Bristol Township District Judge Robert Wagner Jr. on Tuesday for a preliminary hearing on charges including driving under the influence, but he showed up without a lawyer.

Coppage works for the Florida-based Reithoffer Shows, which manages traveling carnivals including several that take place in Bucks County.
Shortly before 11:30 p.m. on June 27, Tullytown police responded to a report of a struck pedestrian with injuries at the St. Michael’s church fair off the Levittown Parkway.
A source familiar with the incident say the injured woman is a 23-year-old concession stand worker, who remains hospitalized; she is listed in fair condition, according to St. Mary Medical Center spokeswoman Kate Smith.
When police arrived they found a woman screaming in pain with what appeared to be a serious injury to her right arm, according to an affidavit of probable cause.
Police say that Coppage was operating a golf cart on the fairgrounds when he hit the woman. Coppage appeared lethargic and had slurred speech when police spoke with him. He allegedly admitted to drinking “several” alcoholic beverages prior to the accident.
He failed a field sobriety test and was placed under arrest for suspicion of drunken driving, as well as charges of accidents involving death or injury and related summary traffic offenses including driving while suspended.
After Coppage, who is free on $5,000 unsecured bail, told the judge that he had not had time to apply for a public defender, Wagner continued the hearing for two weeks.
Coppage told Wagner that he works on the fair’s tilt-a-whirl ride — assembling and taking down the rides.