Monday, May 20, 2024

Trespassing Complaint in Pottsville Leads to Police Pursuit and Arrest

A man was taken into custody in Seltzer on Saturday after a trespassing complaint led to a pursuit in the city of Pottsville.

According to Pottsville Police, on Saturday, May 18th, 2024, just after 11:00am, Police were dispatched to 1909 West Market Street for a report of a possible trespassing complaint. 

The caller/owner of that property reported finding a book bag inside which made him believe someone was in there and the property was supposed to be vacant.

Officers arrived at the address and spoke with the property owner who reported prior to Police arrival, a male identified as John Schmitt, of Pottsville exited the property through the back door. The property owner confronted Schmitt about being inside and while doing so, he observed a black handgun in Schmitt’s left hand. Schmitt reportedly put the handgun in a book bag and fled on foot prior to police arrival.

While officers were conducting an investigation at 1909 West Market Street, citizens reported that a suspicious male was seen inside a garage behind 1305 Mahantongo Street and “ducking” behind a vehicle. Police went to the garage to check on the suspicious male, who was later confirmed to be Schmitt, and while arriving in the alley, a black Jeep Wrangler was seen exiting the garage. Police tried to conduct a vehicle stop on the vehicle, however, the Jeep, being driven by Schmitt, proceeded toward South 13th Street and failed to stop.

The vehicle proceeded to North 12th Street and West Market Street and drove into oncoming traffic. 

Schmitt then turned down (East) West Market Street into oncoming traffic then up (South) toward West Norwegian Street. 

While on West Norwegian Street, Schmitt still failed to stop and turned down (North) North 12th Street, nearly colliding head-on with a Police vehicle. Schmitt proceeded North on North 12th Street and a high rate of speed, crossed Laurel Boulevard, and up North 12th Street toward Mount Hope Avenue. Schmitt continued his high rate of speed on Mount Hope Avenue toward North 16th Street and Police lost sight of the vehicle.

With the assistance of the Pennsylvania State Police from Schuylkill Haven, Schmitt was later taken into custody in a residence in Seltzer. While in custody he would admit to stealing the vehicle, stealing the handgun from the same garage as the Jeep a few days prior, and also admitted to entering 1909 West Market Street through a side window on May 17th, 2024. During the investigation it was learned Schmitt was a person not to possess a firearm. Officers were able to recover both the vehicle and the handgun.

After the course of the investigation, Ptlm. Delinko completed a warrant of arrest for Schmitt charging him with Theft of a Firearm (F2), Receiving Stolen Property - Firearm (F2), Person Not to Possess a Firearm (F2), Firearms Not to Be Carried Without A License (F3), Theft of a Motor Vehicle (F3), Receiving Stolen Property – Motor Vehicle (F3), Criminal Trespass (F3), Fleeing and Eluding Police Officer (F3), Reckless Driving (S), Driving at Safe Speed (S), and Driving While Suspended (S).

Due to a medical emergency, Schmitt was transported to Lehigh Valley Cedar Crest and will be arraigned on the previous charges at a later date upon his release from the hospital.