Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Sheppton Man Charged with Aggravated Assault and Robbery Following Altercation at Shenandoah Supermarket

SHENANDOAH - A Sheppton man was taken into custody and is now facing felony aggravated assault and robbery charges after an altercation with a store manager over alleged shoplifting escalated into threats against responding law enforcement officers on Monday afternoon.

According to court papers, Shenandoah Police received a distress call around 2:00pm on Monday from the Redner’s Warehouse Market at Gold Star Plaza, reporting an assault.

The victim, identified as the store manager, recounted being assaulted by John Gustites, 41, of Sheppton, after reportedly observing him discreetly placing multiple items into his backpack. 

Upon questioning Gustites about his actions, the situation rapidly escalated. Witnesses report that Gustites engaged in a verbal confrontation with the manager, followed by throwing a box of magazines at him. This escalated further to Gustites allegedly spitting in the manager's face and physically shoving him multiple times.

With witnesses providing a detailed description of Gustites, police immediately initiated a search in the Turkey Run vicinity, where Gustites was found heading toward Pioneer Road.

Patrolman Cody Applegate spotted Gustites walking along Gold Star Highway. Law enforcement officers approached Gustites and inquired about his presence at Redner’s. However, Gustites reportedly refused to cooperate, providing a false identity and birthdate instead. Subsequently, he was informed of his arrest in connection with the Redner’s incident.

The situation took an even more hostile turn as Gustites allegedly spat in Patrolman Hugh Clinton's face and resisted arrest, making repeated threats against the officers’ lives.

During the course of the confrontation, both Patrolman Clinton and Patrolman Applegate suffered minor injuries.

Familiar with Gustites from previous interactions, Patrolman Mark Hysock was able to confirm his true identity. A search of Gustites yielded seven pens and two stolen Arizona grape drink cans, allegedly taken from Redner’s.

Gustites now faces a total of three counts of felony aggravated assault, two counts of felony robbery, three counts of misdemeanor terroristic threats, one count of misdemeanor false identification to law enforcement, and one count of summary retail theft.

Gustites was arraigned and remanded to Schuylkill County Prison, unable to post $50,000 straight cash bail.

Gustites is scheduled to appear before Judge Kilker at the Shenandoah courtroom on September 28th.