Monday, December 9, 2019

"Porch Pirate" and Fugitive Wanted in Schuylkill County Arrested After Chase and Crash in Hazleton

A Luzerne County man who is wanted fugitive in Schuylkill County is behind bars after being involved in a chase and crash in Hazleton over the weekend.

According to Hazleton City Police Chief Jerry Speziale, on December 7th, 2019 around 4:00pm, Hazleton Police Officer M. Holguin while on routine patrol in the area of Hemlock Street observed the passenger of a Honda Odessy take a delivery package from the porch of a residence on Hemlock Street at the intersection of Cedar Street.

The officer began to follow the vehicle, which was occupied by a male driver and the passenger when she attempted to conduct a motor vehicle stop on the vehicle.

The vehicle stopped briefly for the officer and then took off at a high rate of speed and began travelling the wrong direction up Sybert Street until it crashed into a parked unattended vehicle and then struck a utility pole at the intersection of 23rd Street and Sybert Street.

Both males exited the vehicle and began to flee on foot with Hazleton Officers and Hazleton off duty Sergeant Joseph Babula in hot pursuit into the wooded area behind the homes and were assisted by numerous Pennsylvania State Police, West Hazleton and Butler Township units.

Pennsylvania State Police closed off the area of the mountain from Route 940 to the scene of the crash while the search continued and they assisted.

At approximately, 4:40pm, Officer R. Mariano captured the male passenger on the top of the mountain who was identified as Jose Arism Lopez, 40, of Hazleton. Lopez is wanted as a fugitive from Justice in Schuylkill County for Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle in McAdoo and Luzerne County for Drug charges.

Detective Lieutenant William Gallagher of the Hazleton Detective Division is investigating the alleged theft of the package and identity of the driver, which is ongoing currently.

Hazleton Police Officer Christopher Zubris suffered a non life threatening injury during the foot pursuit and was checked out at LVHH for non-life-threatening injuries.

“The collaboration between us enabled us to capture the individual and we will vigorously pursue the driver.”

“I am proud of the dedication of all the officers involved and extremely grateful for the Pennsylvania State Police and surrounding jurisdictions assistance.”

Lopez was taken to the Luzerne County Corrections facility for being a wanted fugitive.  The incident is still under investigation.

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